From ABC News,
Two active ministers say they no longer believe in God, but no one knows [about it].
“Reading the Bible is what led me not to believe in God,” he said… it was difficult to continue to work in ministry. “I just look at it as a job and do what I’m supposed to do,” he said. “I’ve done it for years.”
If “the Bible led me not to believe,” did this pastor find the magic bullet that kills biblical faith? If so, no longer does “faith comes from hearing the Word of God,” as Romans 10:14 claims. Or maybe the atheist pastor is confused?
Later he tells ABC News the real faith-killer was a sheltered upbringing, which includes seminary!
“I realized that everything I’d been taught to believe was sort of sheltered,” Adam said, “and never really looked at secular teaching or other philosophies.
It seems this pastor simply encountered the weakness of his own faith, which “was sort of sheltered,” he said.
The saddest revelation is this man’s faith was seminary-trained. To emerge from seminary “sort of sheltered” means the seminarians (the professors) lost sight of the reason for seminaries–namely, to prepare students for effective communication, especially with the secular world. But he encountered the “New Atheists,” and it was a one-sided debate because he lacked intelligent, biblical counter-arguments.
There are innumerable examples of cogent, intelligent responses to the New Atheists, such as the Lenox-Dawkins debate, but tragically, these pastors were apparently unaware the answers were available.
This raises the problem with the seminary model, which is clearly outdated, even if it was efficacious once in the High Renaissance.1 Learning how to manage the church budget and arguing about obtuse speculations from the Cappadocian Fathers produces graduates vulnerable to the secular culture. The problem is not faulty professors as much as a faulty system. The seminary model treats ministry as a profession, like accounting.
Ministry should be the natural outcome of personal discipleship. Clearly discipleship was the primary model of training used by Jesus and his followers, even though they could have employed the Rabbinic school model at the time.
Does it bother the conscience of these atheist-pastors to lead “the flock” while misleading them about God’s existence?
[Adam] and Jack said that when speaking to parishioners, they tried to stick to the sections of the Bible that they still believed in — the parts about being a good person.
“I try to be a person of integrity and character,” Adam said. “With the economy the way it is, with my lack of marketable skills other than a seminary education, it has me in a tough spot.”
Since Christianity is about God’s forgiveness and not about “good person” living, these Pastors are perpetrating a hoax on their unsuspecting “parishioners”. Something is amiss when a Pastor can mislead so many and still consider himself “a person of integrity.” (Pastor Adam later admits even his own wife doesn’t know!) But then again, it sounds like Jesus never made a difference for Pastor Adam:
“As I lost my faith … I realized that really had no bearing on who I am and my character and my actions. I live no differently than I did when I was a fervent believer.”
Surely that can’t be entirely true? At least he didn’t have to lie as “a fervent believer.”
- Citing classic European/humanist cultural bias, “the High Renaissance is widely viewed as the greatest explosion of creative genius in history…The High Renaissance is widely viewed as the greatest explosion of creative genius in history.” Wikipedia, High Renaissance. [↩]
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