8 Things Your Pastor Will Never Tell You About the Bible

This is a guest post written by Richard Hagenston. Hagenston is an ordained United Methodist minister, a former pastor, and the author of Fabricating Faith: How Christianity Became a Religion Jesus Would Have Rejected.

When I was a United Methodist pastor, I learned an unsettling thing from my own experiences and those of some colleagues serving other churches: Many ministers keep secrets about the Bible, lest things they learned in seminary (or otherwise know) hurt church attendance and the Sunday offering.

This put some friends of mine in a terrible quandary, forced to say things from the pulpit that were doctrinally demanded but which they had come to privately question. As for me, I resolved the matter by leaving the pastorate. When I did, I got calls of congratulations from two nearby ministers. One of those calls was especially poignant. He said I was fortunate to have other skills from my previous work experience that I could draw on. But he added that all he had been trained to do was to be a minister and that he felt trapped in the pulpit saying things he no longer believed in order to continue supporting his family.

It’s time our secrets about the Bible came out. It’s time for Christians to know what their pastors won’t tell them.

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After Three Decades as an Ordained Minister, Syndicated Columnist Bob Ripley Comes Out as an Atheist

Rev. Bob Ripley was a minister for more than three decades, including 15 years spent as Senior Minister at Metropolitan United Church, a major Canadian congregation. He also wrote a syndicated column discussing religion for the past 25 years.

His most recent column, however, may raise a lot of eyebrows, because Ripley talks about how he no longer believes in God.

It’s a prelude to his forthcoming book Life Beyond Belief (not yet available online for some reason) explaining his deconversion:

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Pastor Explains How His Church Will Offer to Tutor Elementary School Kids… to Bring Their Families Closer to God

We’ve discussed the Good News Club on this site several times before — it’s basically an elementary school version of Campus Crusade for Christ. The Christians who run the groups want to reach the kids early — before they can think for themselves — in the hopes that they’ll be able to add another tally mark on the church walls and save some souls.

But there’s a less explicit, more insidious way to get to young children, and you can hear it in a recent sermon given at Calvary Alliance Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.

In the clip below, Pastor David Robinette explains how his church plans to gather volunteers, then approach local elementary schools with the offer of tutoring children for free. Why tutor them? Because they’ll win over the children, which means winning over the families, which means they’ll eventually come to Jesus. He doesn’t say that last bit explicitly, but the path is evident.

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Friendly Atheist Podcast Episode 21: Conor Robinson, Creator of the Pathfinders Project

Our latest podcast guest is Conor Robinson, creator of the Pathfinders Project:

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Uri Geller: The iPhone 6 Bends Because of Your “Mind Powers”

We finally figured out why the iPhone 6 bends. It’s not Apple’s fault!

It’s the energy of our minds… says “psychic” Uri Geller, who finally figured out no one cares about his spoon trick anymore:

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