Here’s an interesting quote from uber-atheist Daniel Dennett:
I know and love the Unitarians, but I don’t like the words to their hymns. The words are so insipid I can’t stand them. I’d rather sing the good old ripsnortin’ words and then put a little flashing light over the pulpit that says “metaphor.”
Now, I know that UUs are hardly the first people to do this – religious music is filled with plagiarism. A lot of folk songs were turned into hymns. Pagans have reversed that in the past 20-30 years putting occasionally-imaginative lyrics to Christian songs. Some of them are actually decent.
But still, Dennett has a point.
The quote comes at the end of an interview he did about a research project on ministers who become atheists. It’s a tough situation – their lives and livelihoods are tied up in their churches and their denominations. If they suddenly say “I can’t honestly do this any more” their friends and families are likely to desert them. And they’re out of work, sometimes with no skills for anything else.
I’m reminded of a quote from Rev. Eric Posa: “if you’re a UU, you don’t have to change churches just because you stop believing in God. Or in my case, if you start believing in God.”
Good luck to the ministers who struggle to serve with integrity where they can no longer accept the creeds they’re expected to preach.