July 31, 2014

(Originally published 8/12/12 by paganpreacher, aka Mike Aus) Editor’s Note: The second lesson in this series was written over a year after the first one featured in this series, and several months after Mike “came out” atheist.  Here he uses several Bible verses to show how meanings can be easily manipulated, mistranslated and misunderstood. ==================== Some of my friends have been surprised to find out that I’m still reading the Bible.  They thought I would be totally done with it… Read more

July 28, 2014

Editor’s Note: For the next few weeks, in keeping with a long-standing tradition of vacation bible school, Rational Doubt will be featuring blog posts by Mike Aus, former Lutheran and nondenominational pastor and current humanist community leader. Mike has given permission to reprint posts from his paganpreacher blog, which he started writing in 2011 as a “closeted” non-believing pastor, and then as an “out” atheist, after appearing on MSNBC on the “Up with Chris Hayes” show in March, 2012.  Mike… Read more

July 24, 2014

Editor’s Note:  After writing about Rev. John Shuck’s efforts regarding Evolution Sunday last week, I invited him to speak for himself – and he did!  Please read what he has to say.  I think he’s the future of the liberal church –if the church has a future. ================================  I am a minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA).    I am happy to be one.   Even as I have been quite public that I do not hold supernatural beliefs, the church… Read more

July 21, 2014

Editor’s Note: In his second post, Chris Highland tells us how graduate-level theological study eroded his faith. He is not alone: it’s a well-known saying among seminarians that seminary is the place “where faith goes to die.” =========================== When I entered seminary 35 years ago, little did I know that I was also entering a cemetery for my Christian conclusions. With my Presbyterian, Evangelical, Pentecostal and Philosophy background, I was ready for seminary. Except, I wasn’t. I quickly found that… Read more

July 18, 2014

Editor’s Note: Welcome to our first “Ask an Atheist Ex-Pastor” column. “Dave” will answer religion questions you always wanted the answers to, but were afraid to ask (like mine below), Even better, Dave will give you straight answers you never got when you did ask your pastor.  Dave’s sensitive and serious answer to my question meant a lot to me, even though I no longer believe. Email your questions to Dave at askanexpastor [at] gmail [dot] com. An archive of… Read more

July 17, 2014

Editor’s Note: Dave, an atheist ex-Pastor with a “coming-out” book coming out in the fall, introduces a new feature on Rational Doubt.  If you have a question for Dave, please email him at askanexpastor [at] gmail [dot] com.  Check the Ask an Atheist Ex-Pastor tab above for answers to questions asked by doubting lay people and clergy.  ===================== When I was in ministry, a parishioner would sometimes come to me with questions about the faith we proclaimed.   Looking back,… Read more

July 15, 2014

  Editor’s Note: This article is part of the Public Square 2014 Summer Series: Conversations on Religious Trends. Read other perspectives from the Atheist community here: “Public Square 2014 Summer Series: Conversations on Religious Trends” http://www.patheos.com/Topics/2014-Religious-Trends.html and http://www.patheos.com/Topics/2014-Religious-Trends/Atheist.html I was one of the thousands of people cheering wildly on the National Mall as Obama delivered his first inaugural address.  I had campaigned for him in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia and while I’ve lived in Washington, DC long enough to be… Read more

July 14, 2014

Editor’s Note: I first heard about “Dave” when I received a manuscript of his soon-to-be-released book about his deconversion. A member of the Clergy Project and an accomplished writer, he seemed ideal to be the moderator of a new feature coming soon on Rational Doubt.  It’s called “Ask an Atheist Ex-Pastor”and will be a forum where anyone (and particularly doubting clergy) can ask questions about their religious doubts.  Like any good pastor, Dave wants to continue to help people.  He’s… Read more

July 10, 2014

Editor’s Note:  In his second post, Andy, a UCC pastor committed to a social justice ministry, asks himself if he is a con man because he makes a living, in part, by pretending to believe in “…the metaphysics some people find necessary to ground them.”   What do you think?  ================================  By “Andy” Steve Martin plays a traveling evangelist in the 1992 movie, Leap of Faith. He’s a golden-tongued con man, heralding a message he himself discounts, but one that nets his… Read more

July 8, 2014

Michael Zimmerman, head of The Clergy Letter Project, reports that active Presbyterian minister, John Shuck, was unsuccessful in his recent attempt to influence the Presbyterian Church, USA (the progressive branch) to endorse Evolution Sunday.  This is a part of Evolution Weekend observed by many progressive churches. The Clergy Letter Project (not to be confused with The Clergy Project – i.e., minus the word “letter”) sponsors a letter signed by nearly 13,000 Christian clergy who believe that “Religious truth is of… Read more

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