A Documentary About the Clergy Project

Last week I wrote about Jerry DeWitt, the first “graduate” of The Clergy Project–an online community for non-believing preachers who are trying to figure out how to go about coming out as atheists and getting on with their post-religious lives. This fascinating looking documentary, currently in production, interviews Daniel Dennett and Linda LaScola, who began the research on closeted pastors which lead to the creation of The Clergy Project, and members of The Clergy Project themselves (some still in the closet, others already out, including Jerry, Teresa McBain, Mike Aus, and others). Also a wide range of familiar religious and irreligious pundits offer commentary as well. The project needs a lot of help with funding, so please consider donating to its Indie Gogo page.

The stories of ex-clergy are a tremendous vehicle for educating people about the reasons for atheism, the process of deconversion, the cruelty that believers subject apostates to, the strength to be found in coming out, and the hope that can exist on the atheist side of the fence. This documentary, in my estimation, has the real potential to influence the public dialogue and to change some lives. The least we can do is chip in to help it get made.

On a lighter note, here is footage of one Clergy Project pastor’s farewell sermon to his congregation:

And, seriously again, below is a video with pastor-turned-atheist and Clergy Project graduate Mike Aus on MSNBC, the day after the Reason Rally:

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • http://refusingmyreligion.com Michael Dorian

    Making this documentary has been an unforgettable experience. We’ve met countless impressive people along the way, on both sides of the atheism/religion divide. And thanks, Daniel for this truly fine piece. Someone in The Clergy Project just forwarded me the link to this! Your piece and your call to help our film is greatly appreciated…


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