You can be skeptical and friendly at the same time.
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[Link to video]
I am age 78, once a Catholic priest for five years (in the 1960's), then a math teacher for 44 years up to the present day. I became an atheist a few years ago. My hobbies are music and chess.
I hope that many young people considering the seminary will find this video and make a wiser choice than that.
That’s an easy one: No!
I agree with your advice that someone should not join a seminary and study theology. However, I disagree that doing so yourself was the worst decision of your life. If you hadn’t done so, you wouldn’t be able to provide such wonderful, instructional insight to all of us about your experiences. If I believed in a god, I might almost say that it was his will, that he sent you there to be deconverted, so that you could become an “ambassador” for atheism.
i went to divinity school. i don’t consider it a waste of time. in fact, it was heh, seminal in the formation of my atheism. but i did not go to a “believer” sort of divinity school; the program was based in real history and academic theory and my advisors were atheists. i am glad that today i can speak about religion with authority and understanding, and its true purposes and causes.
seminary is a different story and i agree with Edward. we had a large number of seminary students who took classes with us, and almost uniformly they were less well prepared, more uncritical, and worked from assumptions that were not grounded in fact, science or history. i’m not entirely familiar with the curriculum of seminary schools, but what i have seen and heard from students in them does not impress me.
if you want to avoid real work, skip seminary and get a mail order theology diploma. that’s the beauty of this country; any grifter or con artist can call herself a “priest” and no one can legally refute it. open a store front church or house of worship, talk about invisible beings and mythology as if they were real, and then pass a plate around asking for money. there are plenty of suckers out there who will put cash in it.
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