Caught in the Pulpit, pgs 185-186

Aug 16, 2016

More interesting, in many ways, than the membrane protecting the church from the outside environment are the policies and practices composing the additional membranes that typically function to protect the clergy, insulating them from subversive forces and temptations inside the church while maintaining the inner balance that seems to be necessary for proper functioning. Once again, these are designed policies without a designer. For the most part, they are the product of long ages of trial-and-error from which have emerged traditions – “best practices,” in effect – that have stood the test of time. Although they have served their functions well in the past, some of them are beginning to do more harm than good. Most of them have familiar counterparts in other contexts.
One is well-known by the name Bill Clinton gave it in another application: Don’t ask, don’t tell. There is a long-standing and unspoken taboo in many churches to the effect that inquiring pointedly about the religious beliefs of any church member – or, indeed of any pastor or other leader in the church – is not just bad form but altogether too aggressive and rude. this is a godsend (if I may put it thus) to many of our non-believing clergy participants, since they don’t have to worry overmuch about being put on the spot and forced to lie or confess. Except in private confessional conversations, and even then it is rare, this is just not done, one gathers – even in the case of interviews by a church search committee fro a new pastor.

–Linda LaScola & Daniel Dennett, Caught in the Pulpit, pgs 185-186


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3 comments on “Caught in the Pulpit, pgs 185-186

  • In the minds of the religious, the religion is a force for good; that is a (mis)given in their minds. Pastors are treated with respect, without any track record to have earned that respect..
    In reality, religion is just a money machine, and that is probably why so many idealistic people who want to be a force for the good, are turned off by the concept of the god business during semanary.
    Apart from that; the concept that you need all sorts of filters to protect you from outside influences in order to function, is plain ridiculous; that’s like a family doctor with a fobia about people’s bodies.



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  • How dare one question the faith of a leader in the Church. After all these leaders took an oath and were blessed by their superiors, sanctifying their stewardship. The indoctrination runs deep.

    How ironic and fortunate that these once stewards of the faith can now take up space that would otherwise be filled by zealots who would further indoctrinate the congregation in it’s mythical stupidity. From an atheist’s point of view, these people do more good than harm. Though, an outspoken dissenter of the faith would be more acceptable.



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  • christianitx by nature of it is a demand and pressure to conform or burn in hell. No free will in it. It props itself up as obvious truth. It scoffs at true honesty and objectivity.
    In short it demands pragmatic people to forfeit their pragmatism for wild beliefs in comic book supernaturalism. They rationalize constantly and claw on to eternal hope through rationalizing. But they are smart about it. They know how to avoid controversy. Most are honestly doing this. And quite a few others use it for affluent gain. The believers are ingrained in the doctrine and make it fit todays reality. It would be more effective than it is if it werent so filled witi ridiculous fables and violent vagueness about a rampaging god demanding blind faith. Some of the people are quite talented and gifted speakers. Dont be fooled christianity is all about pressure to believe. But that comes from fear and persuasion.



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