Former Pastor Mike Aus Speaks to Humanists of Houston

You might remember former pastor Mike Aus as the man who went public with his atheism on Up with Chris Hayes the day after the Reason Rally.

Aus recently spoke to the Humanists of Houston and video of his talk is now available:

As always, if any parts stand out to you, please leave the timestamp and summary in the comments!

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Ray

    The whole presentation is worth watching. Mike speaks with conviction and reason. He is never angry or condescending. All religious people could benefit from objectively watching this video.

    • NoRhythm

       Religious people could benefit from objectively watching anything

      …bu dum tssh 

      • crwre

        For holding themselves out to be “free thinkers,” that seems to apply only to secularism. The difference between you and me is that if there really is no God then I have lost nothing. On the other hand, if there is, YOU have a LOT to lose.

        I don’t imagine it makes any difference to anyone that this guy lost his job because of allegations of sexual misconduct. Some role model.

        • Kdwj

          Mike Aus was the Pastor at my Lutheran church in Katy.  It is shocking to me to see how he could go
          from a loving and respected Pastor to the fallen “angel” he has become.  It saddens me to realize that he is really
          just a master manipulator.  He left the
          Lutheran church after three women came forward with allegations of sexual
          misconduct.  He refused an investigation
          and walked away.  He tried to rebuild by
          starting a non-denominational church and half of his original congregation
          supported him.  I can only imagine what
          they are thinking now.  He confirmed my
          son and it angers me that he can stand there and make jokes about such an
          important part of many people’s lives.   He built the Lutheran church into one of the
          largest in Texas.  I believe his ego grew
          with it.  When you lose everything – your
          wife, your church, your status, your friends – and you cannot recover what is one
          left to do?  Switch sides and mock the
          church.  As he stated he is now
          unemployed and in need of a job or a career in public speaking.  One important lesson I learned from him when
          he was a Pastor at my church was that we are not perfect and never will be.  Jesus died on the cross for our sins and if we
          expect to be perfect then he died in vain. 
          We are saved by God’s Grace and through our Faith in Him.  I will try to remember that although Mike Aus
          was a Pastor he is human and susceptible to human failings.  I pray that God leads him back.   Listening to this man whom I do not recognize
          has drawn me closer to my God because it shows me how easy it is for Satan to
          take ahold of us and destroy us.  Mike
          Aus is proof of that.

  • Concerned believer in Christ

    If you Hemant was a former pastor; then this is an example of apostasy (abandoning the faith). Go to http://www.everystudent.com and read the testimonies of former nonbelievers (athesist) who gave in and surrendered their life to Christ, after being actively pursued by God. You shall seek me and find me,when you search for me with all your heart Jeremiah 29:13.The fool has said in his heart there is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that does good. Psalm 14:1.  Repent!!

    • Ken

      Meh. Prove it.

    • DKeane123

      I agree with the first reply. Bible quotes in an atheist forum? Might as well be an astrologer posting in an astronomy blog.

    • allein

      “who gave in and surrendered their life to Christ, after being actively pursued by God”

      and then, “You shall seek me and find me”

      Which is it? Is God pursuing us or are we playing hide and seek?

    • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

      Why? Because you say so?

      You theists are very strange people.

    • VorlonGuyverOss

      Nothing new on the site.  Just more mental gymnastics for the uninformed.  Unfortunate, really.  

      I pity those who think for themselves and have to live with the “Great Unwashed”.

      • Renshia

         “I pity those who think for themselves”

        Yeah, it is always better to let someone else do the thinking for you. I pity stupid people that are to lazy to think for themselves.

    • Great IAM

      In todays world it’s the fool who believes in god/gods. I pity the fool!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Claire-Stout/1241820429 Claire Stout

      Pity the Indoctrinated.  

  • Tom_Nightingale

    I love stories like these, keep posting them Hemant!  Right after 40:00, a question is asked about if it’s worth learning about the story of Jesus.  Mr. Aus answers by touching on a fact some people may not realize: Jesus is a projection of what their idea of a hero is, and not what may be biblically accurate.  His examples are mainline protestants believing Jesus is this guy who wants to help the poor (but never gets around to it as Aus adds), and southern evangelical Jesus who votes Republican and loves the military.  Hits on the psychological aspect of religion rather than the philosophical.  Jesus is who you make him.

  • Bob Carlson

    Good talk.   Assuming his name is German in origin, it seems all the more appropriate that he finally lived up to it.  I got a chuckle out of the story about how he decided that his church could afford a better quality wine  for communion and, after making the change, was deluged with phone calls complaining about the change and had to go back to the cheap stuff ( Mogen David) that had become traditional.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1610947543 David Bentley

    I especially liked the part at 29:04 where Mike talks about the book “Losing my Religion” and how deconverting is too often framed as a some sort of a loss.  Having been raised in a hell-fire and brimstone church, I agree with Mike that shedding religion is like the light coming on for the first time and getting rid of a load of baggage.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Claire-Stout/1241820429 Claire Stout

    Around 28:04- “The cost of perpetuating the mythical dogma aspects of
    religion has become too great for our society.”

    Great way to put, I think, the reason why religion should not be taken seriously even though some religious sections and groups do some good.

  • Socialwkr

    This breaks my heart.  I am a Christian.  I am typing as I listen.  So many thoughts come to mind.  I was not raised in the church, but I innately knew God was there – I am an example of faith in the absence of “indoctrination”.  I progressed from Theist to Confessional Christian as an adult after considerable study.  My children know the Bible as do I and our congregation members (our Pastors teach it along with proper theology and history).  My kids can give you the Cliff Notes.  They can also discuss theology (along science, history, math, and literature).   Regretably if Mr. Aus’s parishioners did not know the Bible then he did not teach it like my church does because regretably he wasn’t taught it like my Pastors were – and they also sensed his lack of excitement and passion for it.  This is what happens when you are a victim of poor theology – this slippery slope into nonbelief is exactly why the LCMS split from the ELCA, and that regretably portions of the LCMS and other denominations continue to slip into.  Prayer is not a test for God to prove himself by healing someone (“You shall not put the Lord your God to the test” – Jesus’s response to the Devil).  Pastors in many Protestant Denominations have lost the theology around suffering and it’s origins and the purpose God gives it in our fallen world.  Salvation is not gained with works.  Freedom comes with Christ’s death on the Cross.  Salvation is by Grace alone through Faith.  If Mr. Aus had students at confirmation who do not profess the faith at the end he obviously wasn’t equipped through his education to teach them, or the student wasn’t ready, and he should not have confirmed or communed them.  You either believe it or you don’t, but you don’t try to coerce kids to profess it for the sake of the parents or the caterer.  Of course you would talk to the child and explore all the hard questions, but that should have already been done in confirmation class.  That’s what a good Pastor does.  That’s what our Pastors do.  On people dying because of their faith – Christ said we would be persecuted in this world, nothing new there.  Look how all the disciples died except John.  In the interest of free-thinking – watch Ben Stein’s movie “Expelled”, which features Richard Dawkins.  Another great book is Signature in the Cell:  DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design by Stephen C. Meyer.   I would also recommend “Darwin’s Black Box – The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution” by Michael Behe.  Mr. Aus does describe well the problem with Christianity in the US – there isn’t a quest and passion for Theology.  Much of American Christians are victims of poor theology.  That’s what’s wrong.  Read Luther’s Small Catechism and the Book of Concord in addition to The Bible.  Observations of the human failings of pastors and priests does not disprove God’s Word.  Am curious – why have “life passage ceremonies” if you don’t believe in God or an afterlife?  I find it ironic that former pastors are being enlisted to bring a form of liturgy to these ceremonies.  I would assert this desire for these recognitions and ceremonies comes from God.  I would encourage you to invite a pastor who does believe and also specializes in Apologetics to come if you want to hear the real perspective of a pastor – not from former pastors who do not profess the faith.  Better yet, have both in a table discussion.  In regards to the universality of ethics/values, as a Christian I believe that God has written the Law on our hearts whether you believe in Him or not, and that universality is evidence that there is a God.  So much more I could say, but will stop there.  Thanks for the interesting video.

    • livinginrality

      your comments sound great and sincere.
      except you have ignored the approach of religion that if you do not believe YOU ARE THE PROBLEM. BLIND FAITH. and they work you over until you accept their belief system. it sounds like you were very subtly coerced.
      my lady was raised agnostic and is now a devout christian.
      i was raised roman catholic and walked away almost 40 years ago. 
      all i can say to believers is WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO STAND ON YOUR OWN TWO FEET AND BE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN ACTIONS?
      WHEN WILL YOU CONSIDER THINKING FOR YOURSELF INSTEAD OF ACCEPTING WHAT YOU ARE TOLD AS FACT?
      funny how i see GOOD CHRISTIANS lie, cheat and steal monday through saturday but repent on sunday.
      this explains why the gop are unapologetic about having affairs and bad business ethics.  they just go to confession and do it again.


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