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Preachers who are not Believers

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posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 02:29 PM
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This is a study done for the “Center for Cognitive Studies” at Tufts University in Medford MA.
The study was published in 2010, and its aim in part was to give non-believing ministers a forum if you will, to express their views under the cloak of anonymity. The study was done by Daniel C. Dennett and Linda LaScola.

The study centers around 5 protestant ministers from a cross section of denominations. However, I did notice that the more “charismatic” denominations, and non-denominationals were not represented among the 5.

The denominations represented were: Methodist, United Church of Christ, Presbyterian, Church of Christ, and Southern Baptist.

Of the 5, none believed in a literal God. Although one believes there is “something”.


“The difference between me and an atheist is basically this: It’s not about the existence of God. It’s: do we believe that there is room for the use of the word ‘God’ in some context? And a thoroughly consistent atheist would say, ‘No...”



“If not believing in a supernatural, theistic god is what distinguishes an atheist, then I am one too.”

“If God is God, he’s big enough; he can handle any questions I’ve got. Well, he didn’t. He didn’t measure up!”

“The love stuff is good. And you can still believe in that, and live a life like that. But the whole grand scheme of Christianity, for me, is just a bunch of bunk.”


Most credit their college, and seminary especially, as a big factor in their change of heart.


“…like many students, I became agnostic – I didn’t believe any of it. I wasn’t reacting against it; I wasn’t abused, as many I talk to are. But I just said, ‘there’s nothing much there.”


“Oh, you can’t go through seminary and come out believing in God!”


All rationalize maintaining their ministerial positions.


“Just stick with what you’re doing; it pays good. It --- you’re not harming anybody, I don’t think [chuckle]. You’re doing good in your community; you’re respected. But it’s just gnawing away inside.”



“I think I’m doing it now because financially I don’t have a choice. I could quit and go in there today and say today, ‘I’m not coming back.’ But it would cause a huge financial burden on me. I mean, how would I continue to make my house payment and support my family?”


All believed there were many more ministers just like them.


“. . . there are a lot of clergy out there who --- if you were to ask them --- if you were to list the five things that you think may be the most central beliefs of Christianity, they would reject every one of them.”


I also found this to be an eye opening and telling quote from the study.


“One can be initiated into a conspiracy without a single word exchanged or secret handshake; all it takes is the dawning realization, beginning in seminary, that you and the others are privy to a secret, and that they know that you know, and you know that they know that you know. This is what is known to philosophers and linguists as mutual knowledge, and it plays a potent role in many social circumstances. Without any explicit agreement, mutual knowledge seals the deal: you then have no right to betray this bond by unilaterally divulging it, or even discussing it.”


This is a 28 page PDF file. I highly recommend reading it for yourself. It takes less than 30 minutes. And less than an hour to go through it twice as I did. I can’t do it justice here with snippets and synopsis. BTW, Christopher Hitchens and Bill Maher both get mentions in this study.

My personal thoughts on this study are somewhat mixed. I have learned not to take anything from the mainstream, or the alternative for that matter, at face value until I’ve looked into it further. However, as an ex-christian who has personally known several ministers, has been an elder, and has preached and taught from the pulpit, I can believe a good portion of what is written in this study.

I have heard more than one individual talk about their college and seminary education, and how much it “challenged” their faith.

But this is where the cynical conspiracy theorist comes out in me. While reading this the first time, a few thoughts crossed my mind. One was a comment credited to Henry Kissinger that the church had been infiltrated long ago. Whether there is proof that he made such a comment, I don’t know. But given Mr. Kissinger’s thoughts on other things, it wouldn’t surprise me.

Another thing that came to mind was the term “FEMA Pastor” that was bandied about a few years back. There was a booklet published by FEMA instructing ministers how and what to teach their congregations regarding governmental authority. Romans chapter 13 was quoted extensively as I recall. A chapter that deals with rulers and authorities. Rumors were that FEMA successfully recruited more than 26,000 pastors nationwide to be a part of this program. (Type FEMA pastor into google for more info)

Of course we have George W. Bush’s “Faith Based Initiatives” for churches that “qualify”. And which gave government some amount of leverage in the inner workings of those churches that accepted funding.

And what about these “christian” college and seminary professors? Are they even christians in the biblical sense of the word? As you read through this study, it becomes abundantly clear that these professors made it a priority to put their students faith through the fire so to speak. And call into question any and all literal belief in “scripture”. As one study participant put it:


“I went to college thinking Adam and Eve were real people. And I can remember really wrestling with that when my Old Testament professor was pointing out the obvious myths and how they came to be. And I kind of joked at the time that I prayed my way all the way to atheism.”


As one who now sees the bible and the idea of god from a whole different perspective, I tend to think that christianity may have its roots in ancient elitist minds who were after as much long term control as possible of the masses. At the very least, for me, it is built around a mix of history, analogy, and esoteric meaning that some could easily translate, while the laity were encouraged to be literalists.

From a christian perspective however, this nearly translates into an end times scenario:


2 Thessalonians 2:3
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition”
KJV.

A falling away from the faith? Brought on by the very scholastic infrastructure that is supposed to teach adherence?

Or from a less apocalyptic perspective, it says a lot about the state of the christian faith as a whole today. Considering some atheists know more about scripture and doctrine than many christians do.

Is this a modern phenomenon?
Or is this the same church heirachy thats always been in place?

Links.
Tufts University

This second link will take you to a page that has two links. Clicking on either will open a PDF file in your browser. There is one at the top called “Original Link”, and one at the bottom called “Continue Reading”. I did it this way because of the T&C’s.



edit on 6/10/2011 by Klassified because: Correction

edit on 6/10/2011 by Klassified because: Redaction




posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 02:35 PM
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reply to post by Klassified
 


Religion is just a way for semi intelligent people to control the actions and thoughts of the less intelligent people around them. That is how it started, and it continues today.



posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 02:36 PM
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After being a Christian with questions & doubts that weren't politically correct to ask for many years, I finally read the Bible on my own. And realized Christianity is simply a Hellenic-pagan off-shoot of Judaism, loosely based on the life of an apocalyptic Jewish preacher.

It was so simple and so clear, when it wasn't manipulated by someone else. It made my belief in God easier, to no longer have to swallow the myths of Christianity. I started searching & found I wasn't alone - many have come to this same conclusion.

And I wonder how many preachers I have listened to who KNEW this, who knew the truth, and continue to preach lies to their congregation every Sunday.

And how many people have turned away from God completely because Christianity just doesn't add up.



posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 02:41 PM
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reply to post by Schkeptick
 


My story is much the same. Only I went one step further beyond just rejecting Christianity. I studied other religions, from the polytheistic to the pantheistic. I became a sort of spiritual drifter of sorts, half pantheist half deist depending upon how I was feeling at the time. Eventually I drifted out of that and lacked belief in all gods at which time a friend of mind explained to me that I was an agnostic-atheist, a label I wasn't familiar with. I looked into arguments for and against the existence of gods hoping to find something compelling to convince me to believe. Looking at it logically and skeptically only led to embracing my atheism, since the arguments for God are all logically flawed and there is a lack of compelling evidence for the existence of any deities.

I'm not at all surprised that there are preachers who don't believe and yet keep up appearances as if they still have rock solid faith. Preaching is probably one of the easiest careers out there, you need no real qualifications other than some studying of Christian mythology and the Bible.
edit on 10-6-2011 by Titen-Sxull because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 02:58 PM
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Interesting study and not at all suprising. Funny that the preachers call their congregation a flock as in sheep.



posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 03:01 PM
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Originally posted by klarkowski67
Interesting study and not at all suprising. Funny that the preachers call their congregation a flock as in sheep.



Common language among leadership and laity alike in the church.



posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 03:01 PM
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I was invited to this thread.
And I am not gonna debate all this
as there is really no point.

One thing I have learned from my
spirituality is that not to put your
faith in man but only in God himself.

Satan has had millions of years to
perfect his plan and his assault
on Christ's return. he has infiltrated
and corrupted on every level. All
religions have been targeted.

The reasons why so many Seminary
students turn to Atheism is due to they
can see the ruse in front of them but
actually believe it is coming from God.
When actuality, it is coming from Satan
to keep God out of the world.

Trust in your heart and it will guide you.
If you listen to man only, you will become
corrupted just as the millions before you.



posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 03:04 PM
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reply to post by boondock-saint
 


How could Satan, or anyone else for that matter, actual do something that contradicts God's will? And how exactly does one muck up the perfect plan of a perfect deity? And how does a perfect God create an imperfect world to begin with? Just a few logical holes that haven't received patching after centuries and centuries of apologist failures. If Satan's responsible at least he has logic on his side

edit on 10-6-2011 by Titen-Sxull because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 03:06 PM
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reply to post by boondock-saint
 

Thanks for your input Boondock. I think balance is important in a thread like this, and all perspectives should be examined without any bashing of either side.



posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 03:13 PM
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I believe Kissinger was being honest about infiltration. In fact, many of the Ivy league schools were once Christian seminaries, but look at them now.

My formal education was not in theology or history, but I don't believe there's a college or university or even tech school that steps outside of the mandates of its benefactors. Whoever funds the endowments etc. rules the world, and the very rich who fund higher education absolutely control it. Their views, it would appear, have been anything but favorable to the Bible and the Christian faith. So I do not trust the colleges to be neutral; they will present only the data that supports their agenda and either ignore or distort that which does not. Ideology is power, and education has long been indoctrination. The last thing they want is for people to learn how to question authority. Peer pressure esp. in higher ed. can be intense, and who wants to jeopardize their GPA and stand up to a professor who mocks your faith or the documentation that supports it? Students follow profs like lemmings or baby ducks, practically worshiping them as prophets who must not be questioned or doubted.

That's how you destroy Christianity; you pervert the best and brightest who will spread the disease to the masses.



posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 03:35 PM
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reply to post by SaberTruth
 

Would you agree that the church as a whole would be better off shunning the christian educational system in favor of those who have studied on their own, and have shown a solid understanding of biblical doctrine and interpretation in order to preserve traditional beliefs?



posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 04:22 PM
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reply to post by Klassified
 





One was a comment credited to Henry Kissinger that the church had been infiltrated long ago. Whether there is proof that he made such a comment, I don’t know.


IMO it doesn't matter if he says it or not. It's the same bible. You cannot infiltrate a book.

Their problem is that too much information is coming out that shows christianity to be crap.

You're always going to have the True Believers. They're idiots imo. But the smart ones, the real truth-seekers, will leave it.
And naturally the True Believers will blame the 'great apostasy' for that.



posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 04:29 PM
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reply to post by LHP666
 

You can however infiltrate the inner workings of a system to twist and pervert it to your liking. Our government is a good example of such.

Also, is it not the same people disseminating the information you speak of? Maybe playing both ends against the middle?

Just a few thoughts.



posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 04:48 PM
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On the topic of 'Preachers Who Are Not Believers', check this thread out Click Here .

I attended church when i was younger with my mother and my step-father, you can say i "grew up in the church". I was on the phone with my mother recently and i started talking about the bible and she said that she really didn't know much about it (the bible), she just went along with whatever my stepfather said (he was a preacher) but they are now divorced. This blew my mind!! I was forced to live a certain way and study the bible and take it seriously. All the punishments, whoopings and things i couldn't do and she didn't even take it seriously!!

I am grown now however and i have studied the Holy Bible for myself, i now have my own views. In retrospect i was introduced to Christ by a preacher who wasn't a believer. I however do believe because i've studied for MYSELF.



posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 04:53 PM
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Originally posted by Klassified
reply to post by SaberTruth
 

Would you agree that the church as a whole would be better off shunning the christian educational system in favor of those who have studied on their own, and have shown a solid understanding of biblical doctrine and interpretation in order to preserve traditional beliefs?

I've known people who had part of their training in the relevant disciplines at secular schools, and part at seminaries. Both sides are biased, in their estimation, and that's if you can find a seminary that hasn't swallowed the secular bias already. As you know, "history is written by the victors", and each school will perpetuate its own biases. But when practically all the schools are using the same playbook, and you get no respect without accreditation from biased authorities, any creditable sources not agreeing with the accepted (by majority vote or political intrigue) view are dismissed out of hand. The game is rigged to exclude any evidence by omission or ridicule which does not agree with a foregone conclusion. So you create consensus by controlling all the sources, much the way the media march lockstep and defeat "alternative" media by ridicule or silencing.

So if by "the Christian educational system" you mean that Christians have been using an inferior or erroneous method of research and analysis, no such thing ever existed. The same methods and criteria are used universally, but the bias is in interpretation and control of data. Another problem is that of putting any data favorable to the traditional Christian viewpoint under the most intense spotlight while practically approving data unfavorable to it without much analysis at all. Authorities simply make pronouncements and that is that, in many cases. What a secular university may say about a seminary's methods or scholarship isn't necessarily true and accurate, so one would have to fairly analyze both in order to say that Christians use substandard methods.

As for studying on their own, many of us do that. But who cares? Nobody listens to a nobody, regardless of the strength of argument or documentation. I've been working on a Greek/English interlinear and commentary for years, but I doubt more than a few dozen people will ever read it, much less take it seriously, because I have no credentials. But what if I happened to get an insight on something? You never know. It's like that lowly intern who insisted that all the medical authorities had been wrong for a long time, all over the world, about stomach ulcers; he insisted that his research showed heliobacter pylori as the cause, yet "conventional wisdom" said no bacteria could live in the stomach long enough to eat a hole in the lining. They were all wrong, and the intern was not arrogant. I don't claim to have achieved any great thing, but I sure am learning a lot just by doing the project, because I'm using sources that often conflict.

Don't know if I answered your question though.



posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 05:05 PM
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Originally posted by LHP666

IMO it doesn't matter if he says it or not. It's the same bible. You cannot infiltrate a book.

Ah, but you can. The United Bible Societies have been the "keepers" of the original language texts for generations. They are supposed to adhere to strict rules and document every little claim if the official text is to be updated. Yet they were caught (in the 1950s I believe) turning the apostle Junia into a man by changing the accent on the end of the word, without any of the required documentation. When they finally put the required footnote for the reason for the change, they said something about the accent being attested. But the originals had no accents at all! They were written in all capitals (majiscules) and had no accents. So basically the UBS was pulling this stunt from thin air, because they couldn't stand the Bible teaching that women could have authority in the church. Eventually they simply couldn't hide this anymore and removed the accent, again without the required documentation.

But the damage had been done. Think of all the translations based upon that text in the course of 50 years. And if we know this happened at one spot, how many others have been altered? There is an excellent book called God's Word to Women by Dr. Katharine Bushnell which enumerates many of them, and it was done in the early 1900s. But nobody hardly knows her name because she was a woman, though she mastered both Greek and Hebrew and got informal peer review from respected scholars of the day.

And that's just the original languages, The translations are a whole different can of worms.


Their problem is that too much information is coming out that shows christianity to be crap.

Crap is being flung in all directions.


You're always going to have the True Believers. They're idiots imo.

The well is truly poisoned. All you have to do is declare it and it must be true, eh? But don't listen to me, I'm an idiot in your estimation.



posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 05:38 PM
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reply to post by ProphecyPhD
 




I am grown now however and i have studied the Holy Bible for myself, i now have my own views. In retrospect i was introduced to Christ by a preacher who wasn't a believer. I however do believe because i've studied for MYSELF.


And isn't this most important? I am a big believer in self study. We cannot rely on academia, or preachers from the pulpit, or professors at the front of classes for everything. I appreciate those whose intent is good in those professions. But it is up to us to study and learn.



posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 05:45 PM
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reply to post by Klassified
 


What an excellent post! Just some thoughts:

I have suspected for many years that a number of preachers, especially the televangelists, aren't sincere in what they're doing. I remember when Pat Robertson did his unconvincing and tearful apology on TV for whatever sex scandal he had initiated. I was glad my mom wasn't alive to see it.

It's interesting that these preachers basically become atheists in seminary, but not too surprising. For me, being immersed in religion my entire youth, and therefore getting a really good education in it contributed greatly to my eventual departure from it.

I'm actually interested in the beliefs of the modern day Christian. If the preachers don't believe in God, do the people? I mean really? I think there probably are some preachers who still believe in the literal God, but I find it fairly easy to believe that many or most don't.

It would have been interesting to hear from Catholic priests, too. It could explain why so many are willing to sin in horrible ways...

It's clear to me that the purpose of religion is to control the masses. I have no doubt. And it works fairly well... But the conspiracy suggested here is really exciting to me. The level of cooperation between religion and government is something that really needs investigating.
I will be reading the study at some point and thank you very much for posting! Great thread!



posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 05:45 PM
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reply to post by Klassified
 


I've actually heard about this from The Atheist Experience public access show and The Thinking Atheist podcast. I sort of get it, and I'll use a military analogy. A lot of people who come out of special operations units, SEAL teams and the like, often have trouble adapting back into civilian life after devoting so much time to their specializations. And it's so much worse if you're a preacher, which is a field where there aren't exactly all that many ways for an injury to take you out of it.

You spend your life doing something, you're bound to have trouble finding something else to do.

Anyway, great topic, star and flag.



posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 05:47 PM
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reply to post by SaberTruth
 





As for studying on their own, many of us do that. But who cares? Nobody listens to a nobody, regardless of the strength of argument or documentation. I've been working on a Greek/English interlinear and commentary for years, but I doubt more than a few dozen people will ever read it, much less take it seriously, because I have no credentials. But what if I happened to get an insight on something? You never know. It's like that lowly intern who insisted that all the medical authorities had been wrong for a long time, all over the world, about stomach ulcers; he insisted that his research showed heliobacter pylori as the cause, yet "conventional wisdom" said no bacteria could live in the stomach long enough to eat a hole in the lining. They were all wrong, and the intern was not arrogant. I don't claim to have achieved any great thing, but I sure am learning a lot just by doing the project, because I'm using sources that often conflict.

Don't know if I answered your question though.


As I said above. This is most important, whether anyone listens to a nobody or not. Even though it is frustrating. I personally believe the fundamentals of any religion, but in this case christianity, will be carried forward by those who are self taught and diligent. Not by those who stand in pulpits, or behind lecterns, preaching and teaching what they don't even believe or truly know from an experiential perspective.




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