You can be skeptical and friendly at the same time.
Follow Patheos Atheist:
(via The Far Left Side)
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.
Obviously this cartoon is funny but it’s overstating it a bit. For every pastor like the one in Charlotte with 1.7 million dollar home you’ve got quite a few struggling to make their mortgage on a $140,000 home. The average pastor makes according to this article http://www.christianpost.com/news/church-pastors-pay-rises-to-more-than-80-000-33898/ $81,113. Nothing to sneeze at certainly but they won’t get rich off of it.
And what kind of service do they provide? What sort of useful work do they do?
And how much does the church make?
Obviously whether it’s useful work or not is up to debate. My only point was that the cartoon was somewhat inaccurate since most pastors will not get rich off of what they do. IMO it’s just the really charismatic con artists that do.
I understand your point, but I don’t care how much money they make, I care what they do with it. If they work to help their fellow man, good. If they enrich themselves, I like the Yiddish blessing: My you inherit a shipload of gold….may it not be enough to pay your dental bills.
No, the question is WHY do pastors take ANY money? I understand maintenance on a church building carries costs. But why does the pastor need money? Why does the message that he is distributing, that anyone can access for free, carry with it a cost? Jesus had no home (if you buy the story), the disciples had no home. In fact they had no buildings either. Even if you buy into the concept that a pastor should be fed and housed in return for what he does, why should his lifestyle be on a Paar with, let alone better than his parishioners? And why should it be tax free? Churches are financial scams that not only perpetrate lies on witless participants but rob the rest of the public of much needed tax recompense for goods, services and property value.
Good points but where in my comment would you get the idea that I disagreed with you? Just trying to point out that the vast majorities of pastors don’t get rich off of what they do.
Well, they still need to eat now and then. I agree that that they should be paid a fixed salary, but the church needs to get that money too some way.
No, the question is WHY do pastors take ANY money?
Both Jesus and Paul defended financial support of emissaries of the gospel.
I’d say $1/year is far too much to be paid to sell lies and mythology.
Maybe but it would certainly be from our point of view that they’re selling lies. They think they’re speaking grand truth. And in all honestly preaching is the least time sucking thing they do. The sincere ones also “minister” which pretty much involves visiting their “flock”, talking with them, making sure someone is there to take the older members to their doctor’s appointments, visit the sick in the hospital, etc. I doubt the higher paid pastors do any of this but the ones who run small churches who are pretty much the only paid staff members do this in abundance. And just to again reiterate my point, I’m not defending the occupation. Just pointing out that most pastors don’t get rich from doing it.
How is this different from any con artist? For every Bernie Madoff there are thousands of guys running three-card Monte games and struggling to survive. And a lot of them still think they’re going to get rich, even if they never do.
Most pastors don’t go into the field thinking they’re going to get rich and then deliberately tell lies in order to do so. Most of them believe what they’re selling.
So, the only difference between a con artist and a pastor is that the con artist doesn’t lie to *himself*.
Every pastor who is not a con artist is himself a victim of one, either directly or through a chain of deception. Every religion was created by con artists- the people who originally invented the stories obviously knew they were made up.
The difference beween a “religion” and a “cult” is that in a cult, the leader knows it’s all a lie. In a religion, that person is dead.
Agreed. Some are con artists, but most are simply delusional.
I would make the case that every Christian pastor who is living significantly above the poverty level is a con artist, however, since Christian dogma pretty much requires poverty.
That is certainly supportable by biblical scripture although most Christians would debate you on it.
Bernie Madoff claimed to have believed in his trading strategy and only switched to fraud to get through an economic downturn.
We don’t know if Madoff was telling the truth.
We don’t know what most pastors believe.
No it is certainly true that we don’t know what most pastors believe. There are a lot. Most could be purposely dishonest and conning every Christian out there. But damn that would be a ton of dishonest, immoral and despicable people in evangelical churches and I think the fallout from it would be a great deal more noticeable if that were the case.
The best con-artist is the one that con’s himself first.
$81,113 is about twice the US average salary. Almost 3 time the average customer service job, and nearly three time that of a starting teaching job. It’s even significantly more that the average nurse. So what is your definition of rich?
My opinion is subjective obviously. Is there a definitive definition out there? If so, does the average pastor’s salary fit it? If so, then the cartoon would be accurate.
2011 median -=household=- income in the US was $50k. $81k for one person is pretty good pay for peddling woo with a bit of unlicensed therapy thrown in.
Yep. But is it considered rich?
It doesn’t matter. If they are rich-rich, or some-what-rich, or not-quite-rich-upper-middle-class. They may not be trust-fund baby rich, but they are richer than those they ask to give money. And they peddle lies and delusions
They are not always richer than those in their congregation. The pastor at my last church was poorer. It was a small church made out of relatively wealthy congregants and although they tithed (some even more so) the money they gave couldn’t afford to pay him anything more than 40K. He also never gave sermons on tithing or giving. Perhaps it’s why his salary was so low. He believed in trusting God to provide.
And just for the record that same pastor was a superb man. He gave out of what little he had to all kinds of charities even secular ones. He took care of the people in his church equally well regardless of their wealth. He volunteered with the poor, the mentally ill, anyone who he felt he could be of service to. He is probably the exception but even now, being a non-theist, he still stands out in my mind as best person I’ve ever known bar none.
And many get free or subsidized housing, free or subsidized private education for their kids (if married), and generous retirement benefits. Not rich, no. But certainly more comfortable, on average, than many of the people they ask for $ each week. And all because they administer a placebo.
And don’t pay tax!
When your serving your fake god you love so much,you shouldnt make a dime!
Necessity is the mother of invention. (from the perspective of evangelists, pastors,…)
Hemant, thanks for posting this because I went to look at the rest of the comics and am really enjoying it…:)
I like the touch of the mini-dinosaur reaction shot.
Follow Patheos on