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(NPR)   A Christian Minister comes to find out just how Christian her community is after she comes as an Atheist   (npr.org) divider line 634
    More: Florida, American Atheists, United Methodist Church, Southern Baptist, Teresa MacBain  
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27811 clicks; posted to Main » on 30 Apr 2012 at 6:23 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-04-30 06:42:26 PM

Ikahoshi: I was raised in a religious family, but grew up basically atheist. I say basically because I don't believe in anything like the concept of "God" in the Christian sense of the word.

Although there may well be forces at play in the universe, I don't think they are necessarily sentient or have a good/evil duality to them. They just are, and don't require our acknowledgement or worship.


Why don't you consider yourself agnostic then? That sound pretty agnostic to me.
 
2012-04-30 06:42:53 PM
wondermark.com
 
2012-04-30 06:42:56 PM

Coelacanth: "One reason I fear Christianity is that I believe it pressures one to accept an immoral god. Take Jesus as your savior, I was told, and you can smile as He hurls countless others into a lake of fire, including the Dalai Lama, Gandhi, Anne Frank and all those friends and neighbors of yours who don't "believe" in him. I found this idea pagan and ugly. Don't try to be superior to God, I was told. His ways are mysterious. Well, I wanted my ways to be moral, merciful, kind and just. I may fail every day at this but I want to try. This is a magnificent world we live in; surely it wasn't made solely for a fiery apocalypse. To love, to serve, to witness, to try to do something meaningful - that is what makes sense to me"
- Anne Rice [via Facebook Post]

As I said before, I fear Christianity. I have found it to be an immoral religion. And I have found it to be a very very aggressive religion which does a great deal of harm in the world. Christians in America spend millions trying to influence legislation and elections to limit the rights of women and the rights of gays. They do not leave the rest of us alone. They do not respect the rest of us. I fear this. I wish those who call themselves Christians, and claim to be loving and good, would take some real moral responsibility for their religion and the things it has done historically and the things it is doing now. ~ Anne Rice


According to the bible, they will all be there.
 
2012-04-30 06:43:07 PM

Ikahoshi:
Although there may well be forces at play in the universe, I don't think they are necessarily sentient or have a good/evil duality to them. They just are, and don't require our acknowledgement or worship.


upload.wikimedia.org

/Gaius agrees.
 
2012-04-30 06:43:35 PM
There = heaven.
 
2012-04-30 06:43:53 PM
Before RTFA: I bet she is Methodist.

After: Yup, she is Methodist. They are the 'liters' of the Christian world.
 
2012-04-30 06:43:57 PM

Weaver95: i'm more of a technocratic buddist these days.


Yeah Buddhism is actually pretty cool. Eastern religions are neat in general because they are much more like philosophies and focus on personal improvement.
 
2012-04-30 06:44:02 PM
mimg.ugo.com
 
2012-04-30 06:44:37 PM
I'm an avowed Atheist, and as jaded as I am towards religion in general, I couldn't Minister to a group of Christians.

Even if I were making serious bank doing it.

/Why yes, I DO have a sense of right and wrong.
 
2012-04-30 06:44:42 PM

Uncivil Engineer: Before RTFA: I bet she is Methodist.

After: Yup, she is Methodist. They are the 'liters' of the Christian world.


The Disciples of Christ laugh at that suggestion.
 
2012-04-30 06:44:56 PM

Cagey B: People had every right to be upset that someone professing to be something they weren't didn't have the stones to be straight with them until she was outed.

Also, I find these "conventions" and "coming out" when it comes to atheism to be really weird. It's not the "Religion of No God", it's the lack of belief. People that do this kind of stuff give the same vibe as Scientologists and addicts who move on to some obsessive substitute for whatever it was they were into.


I agree with the first one in part: it's one thing to profess something, it's quite another to reveal that you're now the polar opposite of what you were, especially as a spiritual leader.

But the thing is, if you're going to call yourself (and take credit for being) a Christian, as the complainers obviously do, then making "pretty hateful" comments and locking her out without discussion (the latter of which the Church Super was responsible for)...no. That's one thing that tends to get glossed over when talking about religion: it's not that I don't understand emotional reactions, it's not that people don't have the basic right to their actions... but are you a Christian or not? If you're going to define yourself as something, you should be that thing.

That's the point of not taking The Lord's name in vain... it's not something as childishly shallow as saying "Jesus Christ!" when you're stuck in traffic. It means you don't invoke God/Jesus/Joe Pesci/Whoever strictly as an ego boost. A lot of these people are obviously calling themselves Christian for the social status and personal peace of mind, not because they believe in the principles. Again, I get the emotional response, but if you're a Christian, you can't do that. That's like calling yourself a vegetarian and eating a cheeseburger for lunch every day. Put your money where your mouth is. Hypocrisy is not OK, no matter what happens... especially if it's just (let's face it) hurt feelings and not, say, hitting someone with a car.

The latter part of your post... not sure why you'd bring up the "religion of no god," since the basic act of "coming out" has no religious connotations. Support communities serve a definite purpose, especially as openly hostile as many people can be towards atheists. I'm not gay, so I wouldn't presume to compare the two in terms of societal backlash, but I can definitely say that I know a lot of people who would have an easier time accepting me as gay than they would as an atheist.
 
2012-04-30 06:45:34 PM

Cagey B: Also, I find these "conventions" and "coming out" when it comes to atheism to be really weird. It's not the "Religion of No God",


upload.wikimedia.org

Speak for yourself. For some it really is a religion onto itself.

Great book--disillusioned WWII vet starts anti-God ministry in the South, becoming an antipriest.
 
2012-04-30 06:45:36 PM

feckingmorons: Cagey B: People had every right to be upset that someone professing to be something they weren't didn't have the stones to be straight with them until she was outed.

Yes it seems a bit unethical to be a minister if you don't believe what you are doing. It is more than a job it is a religious calling, if you don't believe in the religion it seems you should leave the job.


You are correct; as an example, individuals who believe child molestation to be immoral should leave the Catholic church.
 
2012-04-30 06:45:47 PM
As an agnostic, I can certainly understand why she would "lose" her faith, but I don't understand why one would continue to live the lie once one has come to the realization that the various "gods" were created by men, in the image of man.

By continuing to "minister" she wasn't being true to herself, or her "congregation", so, in that she was wrong IMHO.
 
2012-04-30 06:45:49 PM

Corvus: Weaver95: i'm more of a technocratic buddist these days.

Yeah Buddhism is actually pretty cool. Eastern religions are neat in general because they are much more like philosophies and focus on personal improvement.


the jury is still out on the pagans tho. sometimes I wonder if there isn't a trickster god or three out there mucking around with the evangelicals. Coyote maybe...or Loki.
 
2012-04-30 06:46:58 PM
People have been claiming the mantle of "Christian" since forever.

Believers have fallen into unbelief since forever.

The real road of walking in the way Jesus (the Christ) laid out is not just hard but often awful. And it damn sure doesn't help to have "churches" and "religions" operating in His Name who mock Him by their words and actions.

But then, The People are mostly ignorant uneducated swine who can't balance their checkbook, wash their hands after pooping and reliably not stick their tongues in light sockets, let alone choose to plunge into the depths of that which cannot be seen, searching out Very Reality.
 
2012-04-30 06:47:21 PM

Guidette Frankentits: "comes as an Atheist"?
[29.media.tumblr.com image 445x354]


LOL!
 
2012-04-30 06:47:21 PM

SirEattonHogg: I heard this on NPR in the car and I was sort of annoyed with this woman. I could care less about her being an atheist but how long was she lying to her congregation?

And she wouldn't come clean right away because she was worried about what her job options were and how she would sound in a job interview? Nice.


Her fears were obviously unfounded, as is evident by the abundant offers for employment that she now enjoys.
 
2012-04-30 06:47:22 PM
If faith without works is dead, what is works without faith?
 
2012-04-30 06:48:03 PM

Mixolydian Master: Cagey B: People had every right to be upset that someone professing to be something they weren't didn't have the stones to be straight with them until she was outed.

Also, I find these "conventions" and "coming out" when it comes to atheism to be really weird. It's not the "Religion of No God", it's the lack of belief. People that do this kind of stuff give the same vibe as Scientologists and addicts who move on to some obsessive substitute for whatever it was they were into.

For many people, coming out as an atheist is a huge paradigm shift. Many people may scorn them, and like anything else that is potentially life altering, it helps to have a support channel. What's the deal with gay people coming out of the closet, and needing support? Just put the dick in your mouth and be happy.


If you're serious about your question,
People are spending a lot of money slandering gays, paying for legislation to deny gays the same rights as other taxpayers.
If I want to be able to vote, drive a car, live in the house I'm paying for, marry and/or adopt, I need to be fighting every single day.
When I was married to a woman, all of this was taken for granted.
Think about that; same man, just as much within the law, neither more or less threatening as a person.
Come out and say, "I like guys. I've known I liked guys since I was ten. I just made myself say it in the mirror, and I'm not going to lie any more."
Poof! Can't marry or adopt anymore. A dozen TV channels are suddenly preaching that God shouldn't have created me.

Should I just find a convenient dick an use it for a pacifier?
Nope.
I'm not content to let the politicians and preachers win.
Took an oath once to protect the United States from such people.
Don't look for me in the bath houses; look for me on the front lines.
 
2012-04-30 06:48:08 PM

LeglessDog: Personally, I agree with some of her angles, but don't know that I'd "renounce" Christianity altogether--just the more bureaucratic sects (such as Catholicism) .


Her argument really is linguistic. In America, at least, the word "Christian" has come to mean "aggressive, faux persecuted, gay bashing, hypocritical right-wing theocrat." A person of faith can reasonably want to disassociate herself from that moniker.
 
2012-04-30 06:48:13 PM

Guidette Frankentits: Cagey B: Also, I find these "conventions" and "coming out" when it comes to atheism to be really weird. It's not the "Religion of No God", it's the lack of belief. People that do this kind of stuff give the same vibe as Scientologists and addicts who move on to some obsessive substitute for whatever it was they were into.

What I find weird are the people who were supposedly atheist who then found religion. Their stories about finding faith are odd and are usually rooted in some shoddy belief system of what they think Atheism is.

"I was sitting in the park thinking about the Great Flood and realized that atheism, the belief that you hate God, doesn't answer the questions behind the Great Flood. Right there I became a Christian."

It's like certain Christians take one for the team, and become phony reconverts claiming to be Atheist and then switching back over.


People raised in a certain environment are likely to respond the way they were raised. They see people coming to enlightenment or finding moments of clarity as they grow up in a christian perspective, it's not like they're going to suddenly change their reflex behaviors.

A friend of mine was raised 7th day adventist. He's been Roman Catholic for years but still maintains a vegetarian diet.

I was raised in the RCC. When I realized I was an atheist I just felt vaguely guilty and life went on.
 
2012-04-30 06:48:16 PM

o4tuna: If faith without works is dead, what is works without faith?


sounds like working for wal-mart or goldman-sachs.
 
2012-04-30 06:48:22 PM

Corvus: Weaver95: i'm more of a technocratic buddist these days. Yeah Buddhism is actually pretty cool. Eastern religions are neat in general because they are much more like philosophies and focus on personal improvement.


Yep.
 
2012-04-30 06:48:29 PM

skinnycatullus: Cagey B: Also, I find these "conventions" and "coming out" when it comes to atheism to be really weird

I'd never go to a convention, but "coming out" makes sense because it is often a very difficult step to take. If I were gay, I'd much rather tell my parents that than that I am an atheist. For lots of us, there is overwhelming pressure from family regarding religion. For me, it isn't a question of whether they would shun me (they wouldn't), but it would absolutely destroy them emotionally to know I don't believe anymore.


In the same boat...or was. Eventually enough of the family was around blathering such nonsense one day that I called them out on it, then made it clear that I am not religious and what they were saying was ridiculous, and then they left me the fark alone.
 
2012-04-30 06:48:41 PM

foxy_canuck: I think her congregation has a right to be upset. Its tough finding out someone you trusted as a guide and leader, whose teachings and wisdom you followed for a long time, was living through doubt, and eventually lies, and never trusted you enough in return to be honest.


I doubt you live in the south, eh? Her 'flock' can get over it.
 
2012-04-30 06:48:50 PM

UNC_Samurai: Weaver95: I'm starting to wonder if jesus isn't THE god, but one of many gods. I know for certain that a lot of the evangelicals here in the US certainly are faithful...but they're not worshiping Christ. that 'old time religion' they like so much has more in common with old pagan gods than it does with the religion of christ.

just a thought.

Considering how rampant the Prosperity Gospel is in American Protestant Churches, I'd say they're unwittingly worshipping Garl Glittergold.


If you want to keep it within the Christian mythos, believers in the Prosperity Gospel are clearly the deluded worshipers of a thinly veiled Mammon.
 
2012-04-30 06:49:09 PM

3 G's: As an agnostic, I can certainly understand why she would "lose" her faith, but I don't understand why one would continue to live the lie once one has come to the realization that the various "gods" were created by men, in the image of man.

By continuing to "minister" she wasn't being true to herself, or her "congregation", so, in that she was wrong IMHO.


That is pretty black and white. She had been raised and had grown up in the environment. It was all she knew. To suddenly become someone wholly different overnight? That is a tough thing to do. The fear of change and the unknown is a pretty powerful thing.
 
2012-04-30 06:49:13 PM

StaleCoffee: Guidette Frankentits: Cagey B: Also, I find these "conventions" and "coming out" when it comes to atheism to be really weird. It's not the "Religion of No God", it's the lack of belief. People that do this kind of stuff give the same vibe as Scientologists and addicts who move on to some obsessive substitute for whatever it was they were into.

What I find weird are the people who were supposedly atheist who then found religion. Their stories about finding faith are odd and are usually rooted in some shoddy belief system of what they think Atheism is.

"I was sitting in the park thinking about the Great Flood and realized that atheism, the belief that you hate God, doesn't answer the questions behind the Great Flood. Right there I became a Christian."

It's like certain Christians take one for the team, and become phony reconverts claiming to be Atheist and then switching back over.

People raised in a certain environment are likely to respond the way they were raised. They see people coming to enlightenment or finding moments of clarity as they grow up in a christian perspective, it's not like they're going to suddenly change their reflex behaviors.

A friend of mine was raised 7th day adventist. He's been Roman Catholic for years but still maintains a vegetarian diet.

I was raised in the RCC. When I realized I was an atheist I just felt vaguely guilty and life went on.


I don't know why I responded to your post, I meant to respond to the one you responded to... whatever. Your post was worth quoting anyway.
 
2012-04-30 06:49:32 PM
media.tumblr.com

/In Jesus' name, I pray.
 
2012-04-30 06:49:53 PM

Weaver95: i'm more of a technocratic buddist these days.


I don't know what that means. But, since my kids (three very white kids in college) are earnestly converting me to Buddhism, I appreciate everybody's ideas.

Seriously, what is a technocratic buddist?
 
2012-04-30 06:49:54 PM

s2s2s2: Coelacanth: "One reason I fear Christianity is that I believe it pressures one to accept an immoral god. Take Jesus as your savior, I was told, and you can smile as He hurls countless others into a lake of fire, including the Dalai Lama, Gandhi, Anne Frank and all those friends and neighbors of yours who don't "believe" in him. I found this idea pagan and ugly. Don't try to be superior to God, I was told. His ways are mysterious. Well, I wanted my ways to be moral, merciful, kind and just. I may fail every day at this but I want to try. This is a magnificent world we live in; surely it wasn't made solely for a fiery apocalypse. To love, to serve, to witness, to try to do something meaningful - that is what makes sense to me"
- Anne Rice [via Facebook Post]

As I said before, I fear Christianity. I have found it to be an immoral religion. And I have found it to be a very very aggressive religion which does a great deal of harm in the world. Christians in America spend millions trying to influence legislation and elections to limit the rights of women and the rights of gays. They do not leave the rest of us alone. They do not respect the rest of us. I fear this. I wish those who call themselves Christians, and claim to be loving and good, would take some real moral responsibility for their religion and the things it has done historically and the things it is doing now. ~ Anne Rice

According to the bible, they will all be there.



s2s2s2: There = heaven.


[citation needed]
 
2012-04-30 06:51:18 PM
I've been an atheist for 30+ years now, and yea Christians are dicks when they find out you are an atheist, but what sort of idiot goes before the American Atheists convention as a "coming out"?

If you want to tell your story, you first, move, second, get another job, third THEN come out and say it took you several decades to figure out what a thinking person should before they turn 16.

Glad you figured it out sister, welcome to the club, but use some common sense.
 
2012-04-30 06:51:46 PM

Coelacanth: "One reason I fear Christianity is that I believe it pressures one to accept an immoral god. Take Jesus as your savior, I was told, and you can smile as He hurls countless others into a lake of fire, including the Dalai Lama, Gandhi, Anne Frank and all those friends and neighbors of yours who don't "believe" in him.


That was a mistranslation. "Lake of fire" should read "hot tub."
 
2012-04-30 06:55:11 PM

Dimensio: Her fears were obviously unfounded, as is evident by the abundant offers for employment that she now enjoys.


Do you live around North Florida? It's a completely founded fear; everywhere you go, everyone you meet is a phoney christian who will berate you in a heartbeat for not proclaiming that you believe in Jesus. Everyone wants to proselytize. They'll stop being your friend if they find out your beliefs. They'll find a way to fire you. And the backwoods part of it all is that many of them really don't believe it themselves, but it's just the way things are 'supposed to be.' I can't imagine being a pastor who sees the light.

It's gotten better, but it's still really bad.
 
2012-04-30 06:56:22 PM

Weaver95: I'm starting to wonder if jesus isn't THE god, but one of many gods. I know for certain that a lot of the evangelicals here in the US certainly are faithful...but they're not worshiping Christ. that 'old time religion' they like so much has more in common with old pagan gods than it does with the religion of christ.

just a thought.


i105.photobucket.com

(Jesus was [mostly] a pretty cool philosopher, and if the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes were the heart of Christianity, I would probably be a Christian. Paul was a dickweasel who took a good idea and turned it into a tribalist death cult, and his modern-day descendants would gladly crucify Jesus again for being a "hippy libtarded OWS Union thug.")
 
2012-04-30 06:56:37 PM

Ikahoshi: Although there may well be forces at play in the universe, I don't think they are necessarily sentient or have a good/evil duality to them. They just are, and don't require our acknowledgement or worship.


Who here in the Slowness can comprehend what happens in the Beyond?
 
2012-04-30 06:58:09 PM

Delay: Weaver95: i'm more of a technocratic buddist these days.

I don't know what that means. But, since my kids (three very white kids in college) are earnestly converting me to Buddhism, I appreciate everybody's ideas.

Seriously, what is a technocratic buddist?


god is knowlege. the more we learn, the closer we get to the divine. sharing knowlege, propigating information is how we bring other closer to the divine. blocking information, hiding knowledge is wrong..as is deliberately distorting knowledge or information.
 
2012-04-30 06:59:15 PM

Pocket_Fisherman: If you want to tell your story, you first, move, second, get another job, third THEN come out and say it took you several decades to figure out what a thinking person should before they turn 16.


What? She has to move to become an open atheist? She has to find another job and then tell her former congregation (after moving)? Maybe she was late to the club, but that ain't how life works.
 
2012-04-30 06:59:26 PM

Weaver95: Delay: Weaver95: i'm more of a technocratic buddist these days.

I don't know what that means. But, since my kids (three very white kids in college) are earnestly converting me to Buddhism, I appreciate everybody's ideas.

Seriously, what is a technocratic buddist?

god is knowlege. the more we learn, the closer we get to the divine. sharing knowlege, propigating information is how we bring other closer to the divine. blocking information, hiding knowledge is wrong..as is deliberately distorting knowledge or information.


If god is knowledge what are false knowledge, pseudoscience, and disingenuous propaganda?
 
2012-04-30 06:59:57 PM
Like most other 'Christians', they only practice what they preach when around lik-minded company.
 
2012-04-30 07:00:02 PM

Chthonic Echoes: If you want to keep it within the Christian mythos, believers in the Prosperity Gospel are clearly the deluded worshipers of a thinly veiled Mammon.


yup.

I don't understand why the prosperity gospel people aren't burned at the stake for heresy.
 
2012-04-30 07:00:04 PM

GilRuiz1: "So what the hell am I supposed to do?" she asks in one recording, her voice sounding desperate. "Really, the options are work at something like Starbucks or McDonald's - and even there they're going to ask those questions. I could even clean houses and not make a great amount of money - but at least nobody would be asking me questions."

Unitarians need preachers too. There's even atheist chaplains nowadays. Just because you're an unbeliever doesn't mean you can't still be a minister.


I've seriously considered becoming a humanist chaplain.

Most atheists and humanists don't care if you still want to worship a god of some kind. Do good works, improve the lives of other people, and try to leave the place a little better than you found it, no matter what your motivation is.

You can still believe in love, forgiveness, and kindness to your fellow humans. We just believe in life BEFORE death.
 
2012-04-30 07:00:39 PM
www.everydaynodaysoff.com

You're a loose cannon, MacBain!
 
2012-04-30 07:00:59 PM

Weaver95: god is knowlege.


Pass the bong, bro. Also, God is my cat.
 
2012-04-30 07:01:25 PM

Salt Lick Steady: She has to find another job and then tell her former congregation (after moving)?


She doesn't have to move but I'd imagine faith is a pretty important quality for a baptist minister to have. She should probably have stepped out of the role.
 
2012-04-30 07:02:07 PM

ph0rk: If god is knowledge what are false knowledge, pseudoscience, and disingenuous propaganda?


steps upon the path. obstacles thrown in the way that a true believer must evaluate and overcome.

nobody said it would be easy. But true knowledge is worth the effort. deliberate distortions are exposed and the path eventually becomes clear.
 
2012-04-30 07:02:24 PM
well ,Il be god dammed
 
2012-04-30 07:02:26 PM

s2s2s2: There = heaven.


I will give you the benefit of the doubt. (And I am interested to see your reasoning.) How is Anne Frank in Heaven according to "the bible."

//You didn't capitalize "bible". Is that your loophole?
 
2012-04-30 07:02:39 PM

Weaver95: god is knowlege. the more we learn, the closer we get to the divine. sharing knowlege, propigating information is how we bring other closer to the divine. blocking information, hiding knowledge is wrong..as is deliberately distorting knowledge or information.


is that what you'd call a religion?
 
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