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Evangelical pastor quits Christianity and tells it as it truly is
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Author:  DB Roy [ Sun May 12, 2019 8:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Evangelical pastor quits Christianity and tells it as it truly is

https://www.rawstory.com/2019/05/decade ... Gy81fgJilU

Missouri megachurch pastor Dave Gass stepped down from his position after 40 years and renounced his Christian faith, reported the Christian Post.

“After 40 years of being a devout follower, 20 of those being an evangelical pastor, I am walking away from the faith. Even though this has been a massive bomb drop in my life, it has been decades in the making,” he tweeted.


The tweets have since been made private, but a screenshots of the tweets were posted on Reddit.

“When I was in 8th grade and I was reading Greek mythology, it dawned on me how much of the supernatural interactions between the deity of the Bible and mankind sounded like ancient mythology. That seed of doubt never went away,” he added.

It went on to explain that even though he was a committed Christian that it could not help or save his marriage.

“I was fully devoted to studying the scriptures. I think I missed maybe 12 Sundays in 40 years. I had completely memorized 18 books of the Bible and was reading through the bible for the 24th time when I walked away,” he wrote.

“As an adult my marriage was a sham and a constant source of pain for me. I did everything I was supposed to – marriage workshops, counseling, Bible reading together, date nights every week, marriage books – but my marriage never became what I was promised it would be,” he said.

He then added that the church was a place of abuse for him, and that church people are “sh*tty” people.

“The entire system is rife with abuse. And not just from the top down, sure there are abusive church leaders, but church leaders are abused by their congregants as well. Church people are just sh*tty to each other,” he tweeted.

Adding, “I spent my entire life serving, loving, and trying to help people in my congregations. And the lies, betrayal, and slander I have received at the hands of church people left wounds that may never heal.”

Read the full report here.

Author:  geo [ Sun May 12, 2019 10:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Evangelical pastor quits Christianity and tells it as it truly is

The fundamentalist community loves to regale us with tales of atheists who converted to Christianity. C.S. Lewis, for example, famously converted to Christianity after falling away from his religion as a youth. Believers seem to see such conversions as evidence of the "truth" of their faith. But I don't see conversions as anything particularly unusual or significant, whether it's a switch from belief to nonbelief or vice versa.

Dan Barker is another former evangelical Christian preacher who "lost" his faith and is now an atheist activist. But is his message relevant because he once was a believer? Or is he simply a good writer and speaker, who can draw on his experience in the church?

Believers will look at Gass's conversion and say that he was never really a believer in the first place. And many others who consider themselves Christians will completely understand his "conversion" because they too have lived with seeds of doubt.

Personally I can really relate to Gass's familiarity with Greek mythology, seeing the many similarities between old myths and modern Christianity. I also remember how my own sudden questioning of God's existence. It was a powerful and cathartic experience, though always a personal one.

Author:  DWill [ Tue May 14, 2019 7:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Evangelical pastor quits Christianity and tells it as it truly is

Well said, geo. I, also, don't attach much significance to the direction of transformation, whether from belief to atheism or vice versa. Such changes in allegiance are no proof of the truth of the ideas that are adopted. What I suspect about people such as Dave Gass and Dan Barker is that they are unusual in being "all in" types. They need to have complete commitment one way or the other. In general, people aren't like that, in my opinion. Despite Gass now saying he had doubts all along, he must have been very gung-ho to have pastored a megachurch for so many years.

I'm reading David Brooks' new book, The Second Mountain. I'm not very far into it, but I read a background piece about his religious awakening, resulting from the dissolving of his marraige, loneliness, and alienation from his former fellow conservatives. He also has remarried, to a Christian woman 24 years his junior. It's not a conversion, more like an openness to the faith side of things. He now thinks more about God. I like to think that Brooks is more typical of the way people change, and of the somehwat elastic and forgiving nature of most people's beliefs. At least when it comes to religion--politics might be a different matter!

In one regard, though, Brooks does claim to have had a Road to Damascus conversion. I was a little bit amused when he says in the book he has become "radicalized." Can you imagine him as a radical? He's talking about his conviction that our hyper-individualistic culture has put us in crisis, in which we have wonderful technology and great wealth, but a poverty of meaning.

Author:  Robert Tulip [ Tue May 14, 2019 6:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Evangelical pastor quits Christianity and tells it as it truly is

DWill wrote:
Such changes in allegiance are no proof of the truth of the ideas that are adopted. What I suspect about people such as Dave Gass and Dan Barker is that they are unusual in being "all in" types. They need to have complete commitment one way or the other. In general, people aren't like that, in my opinion.
Yes, this point about truth is central to explaining religious commitments. Faith is about ideas that promote emotional comfort, not about empirical validation of Bible stories.

One of the main ideas that gives greatest comfort is the belief that one’s beliefs are objectively true. Ranging from the existence and nature of God, through to the truth of various Bible stories, to the possibility of miracles, these unprovable ideas all provide immense emotional comfort, and help to provide a structure for the community worldview.

For example, Young Earth Creationism is validated by the myth that the world has fallen from grace, and that Christ fixes Adam’s sin through the saving power of his death on the cross. Scientifically, this entire myth is purely ridiculous, but emotionally, it provides enormous comfort.

Crucially, an essential part of that comfort is the false assertion by pastors that Bible stories are objectively factual like scientific statements. That belief sets up listeners for betrayal, as they discover that such claims of objectivity are a cruel hoax.

Only when Christians become more humble, and admit that all their stories are parables, presenting ethical stories with meaning for the hearer, not historical claims about events that actually occurred, will religion deserve any credibility. That is obviously a very hard thing to swallow for the more imperial versions of Christianity that trumpet their 'objective' fantasies as requiring conversion of the world to assent with their ridiculous claims.

People like Gass and Barker are rather stupid in my opinion, or at least highly gullible, having suffered the psychological delusion of believing that Christian ideology was factual. They find the evidence of betrayal generates the need for a wild swing to the opposite end of the spectrum. They have lost the ability to see how it is enough that these stories provide emotional comfort, how Bible stories are parables that point towards deeper truths about reality without describing them literally.

Author:  geo [ Sat May 18, 2019 9:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Evangelical pastor quits Christianity and tells it as it truly is

DWill wrote:
What I suspect about people such as Dave Gass and Dan Barker is that they are unusual in being "all in" types. They need to have complete commitment one way or the other. In general, people aren't like that, in my opinion. Despite Gass now saying he had doubts all along, he must have been very gung-ho to have pastored a megachurch for so many years.

I agree that most people aren't "all-in" types. It seems dramatic for an atheist to switch to being a believer and vice versa, but perhaps it's just an indication of the psychological need to commit to a cause, a black-and-white temperament in a grayscale world. What I admire about David Brooks (and Jonathan Haidt too) is their inclination to at least try to see both sides of the divide. It occurs to me, too, that one's "all-in-ness" is itself something on a spectrum. I feel myself being pushed to the left, politically, by today's conservatives, who are increasingly sure they are on the "right" side.

DWill wrote:
. . . Brooks is more typical of the way people change, and of the somehwat elastic and forgiving nature of most people's beliefs. At least when it comes to religion--politics might be a different matter!

I suspect we are born with a certain political disposition—an orientation, if you will. And we more or less we proceed along that line as we live and grow. But it also seems that for many religion and politics are hopelessly intertwined. See Robert's comment below.

Robert Tulip wrote:
One of the main ideas that gives greatest comfort is the belief that one’s beliefs are objectively true. Ranging from the existence and nature of God, through to the truth of various Bible stories, to the possibility of miracles, these unprovable ideas all provide immense emotional comfort, and help to provide a structure for the community worldview.

Excellent observation. Do we also believe our political beliefs are likewise objectively true? This is perhaps the greatest human flaw, not fully understanding the emotional influence of our "ideas."

Author:  Taylor [ Sat May 18, 2019 12:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Evangelical pastor quits Christianity and tells it as it truly is

I have admired David Brooks because he has been anti-president shit for brains, (Trump is nothing but the personification of the cranial condition of shit between the ears, I will eventually cut the pejorative but only after the world admits I,m correct.) :P .

As to Brooks and his reborn faith, fuck him. The only thing greater than the individual that matters is the group. I use the word group deliberately because I am sick of the word tribe and the use of tribalism, Fuck Sebastian Junger too. I read these guys and find that they just add to the cacophony of bullshit thrown at us because they’re the ones to tell us who and what we are.

Spiritualism is entirely inappropriate to our times, we need more realism. These fucking Christians are incapable of separating their religious delusions from politics, What’s worse is the Free Market Fundamentalism they are oblivious to, and the fact that they manage life with empty heads. Brooks is trying to score points as a thoughtful conservative, he is oxymoronic, There is nothing thoughtful about modern conservatism, It is Economic Social Darwinism and I will keep-up the refrain until the world agrees.

@ Geo; I’m gladdened you feel you are being pushed to the left by these free market fundy’s, I will say this to you, Do not fear the left my friend, embrace the left, they are the necessary future.

Author:  LanDroid [ Sat May 18, 2019 6:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Evangelical pastor quits Christianity and tells it as it truly is

Well if there are "all in" types as DWill describes, there are also "all over the place" types, always questioning in some cases. In a series of tweets Damon Linker, senior correspondent for The Week, describes some of his evolution.

Quote:
1969-2001: Secular Jew
1988: Jesse Jackson supporter
1992-2000: Mostly apolitical Clintonite; philosophically torn between Socrates, Isaiah Berlin, and Martin Heidegger
2000-2002: Neocon
Easter 2001: Converts to Catholicism
Winter/Spring 2003: Breaks w neocons over Iraq
Nov 2004: Votes for John Kerry; breaks w theocons over lots of stuff
February 2005-November 2016: New Republic liberal (minus warmongering)
November 2016-present: Lost, wandering in the wilderness
August 2018: Exits Catholic Church; sorta secular Jew again; still torn between Socrates, Isaiah Berlin, and Martin Heidegger, with classical theism now thrown into the mix.

Author:  DWill [ Sun May 19, 2019 9:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Evangelical pastor quits Christianity and tells it as it truly is

Taylor wrote:
Brooks is trying to score points as a thoughtful conservative, he is oxymoronic, There is nothing thoughtful about modern conservatism, It is Economic Social Darwinism and I will keep-up the refrain until the world agrees.

@ Geo; I’m gladdened you feel you are being pushed to the left by these free market fundy’s, I will say this to you, Do not fear the left my friend, embrace the left, they are the necessary future.

It's not so much that I want to defend David Brooks, but I think you get him wrong if you believe he goes along with economic social Darwinism, whch says essentially that economic might makes right. That's not him at all. And who, these days, is really a conservative in any coherent, principled sense? It isn't the "conservatives" who back Trump's anti-free market tariffs. The "conservatives" who want to expel immigrants and deal harshly with those trying to enter, who back near-absolute executive power, and who don't think that norms of civility are important to preserve, aren't grounded in anything that looks much like the conservatism that was handed down by Edmund Burke and that you can see only in a few public intellectuals, such as George F. Will and David Brooks. If you want to define where Brooks is conservative, you can best find it in his belief that private virtue is the only way to get to a healthy public. That isn't a repudiation of government programs, but it is a statement of priorities.

If you read the book, you see a pretty squishy, touchy-feely, and compassionate guy. He's not a present-day "conservative."

Author:  geo [ Sun May 19, 2019 10:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Evangelical pastor quits Christianity and tells it as it truly is

Taylor wrote:
I@ Geo; I’m gladdened you feel you are being pushed to the left by these free market fundy’s, I will say this to you, Do not fear the left my friend, embrace the left, they are the necessary future.


I share your anger with the so-called alt-right, Taylor. And just as an aside, today's GOP has very little to do with conservatism. I suppose they may bring it back some day, if indeed the GOP ever regains some semblance of credibility. I like to think that once Trump is out, the GOP will have to make up for its Neville Chamberlain period. In this eventual return to civility and truth hopefully we can understand that there are very bad ideas, but not in all cases, very bad people.

I read a review today in The Hedgehog Review of Eli Saslow's book, Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist. This is an uplifting story about Derek Black, whose father was a former Klu Klux Klan grand wizard and who had family ties to David Duke as well. Black was deep into white nationalism and even had a radio show with his father until he went off to study history at a college in Florida. He is now a law professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law. I had never heard of him until today, but anyway, here is Tony Rehagen's review, which I think is really worth reading.

https://hedgehogreview.com/issues/anima ... ave-a-life

Author:  Taylor [ Tue May 21, 2019 5:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Evangelical pastor quits Christianity and tells it as it truly is

I spent a good amount of spare time reading up on Neville Chamberlain, Edmond Burke, David Brooks.

I first would like to thank DWiLL and Geo and to apologizes for what I would call a rage post on my part.

It was not fair or correct for me to lash out at Brooks and Junger, they are both talented and one could say important to current understanding of affairs, they both offer plenty for one to think about.

Pleasantries aside: \

I understand that there is a spectrum of political philosophy and that it is broad. For me personally, I concluded that as I’ve stated, “there is nothing to fear from the center left of that spectrum, For me that is kind of a big deal. On a national level I have almost always trended toward the center right politically, I do not want to bore you with the details of my perceptions as to how that came to be.

The long and short of it is, Conservative Ideology dominates the airwaves and to my shameful regret I bought into much of what they produced to the point that years ago I was almost a card carrying Libertarian. Along comes Obama and I was close minded to what he had to say, That was the success of the right wing media, It was what they(right wingers) wanted, to poison my brain, but not just mine, they want to poison all our brains. They fear mongered the system, our system, the truest democratic republic in the HISTORY of the world.

Neville Chamberlain was a pansy to the Nazis, But his story shows how grotesquely the world can blow up. I get the comparison Geo is proposing, on their part, the current congressional leadership is an abject failure when considering congress as a check on the executive and that the current congress has no intention of curtailing an executive that is providing what the party wants. On the surface it’s fair game, but below that is, in my opinion, the insidiousness of free market fundamentalism.

Back to that political philisophical spectrum; Center right includes David Brooks. His Burkian ideology is like a final defense against the tipping into center left, he gets to be poetic and deft, He gets to be squishy. It appears that this is his natural position and It could full well be a good position for him, but even he recognizes the merging of conservatism and the GOP. He, as fare as I’m gauging it, becomes a part of that right wing ideology and with it, he losses credibility along with the other supporters of that underlying political ideology.

Author:  Harry Marks [ Tue May 28, 2019 1:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Evangelical pastor quits Christianity and tells it as it truly is

Taylor wrote:
I first would like to ... apologize for what I would call a rage post on my part.
Okay, fine, but it was very funny in spots. I literally laughed out loud (as opposed to figuratively laughing out loud? I don't know, but anyway it happened).

Taylor wrote:
Neville Chamberlain was a pansy to the Nazis, But his story shows how grotesquely the world can blow up. I get the comparison Geo is proposing, on their part, the current congressional leadership is an abject failure when considering congress as a check on the executive and that the current congress has no intention of curtailing an executive that is providing what the party wants. On the surface it’s fair game, but below that is, in my opinion, the insidiousness of free market fundamentalism.
It's a curious case, since the swing vote to support Dear Leader came from anti-globalizers, mostly representing those whose livelihood and communities were upended by the tornadoes of free trade. So the current party dominating the Senate is quite literally a house divided - pro-trade and anti-trade, pro-freedom and anti-freedom. I might suggest that such disarray is a strong pre-cursor to strongman politics, since Because I Say So is a way to resolve such tensions, but at the least it does not reduce to the insidiousness of free market fundamentalism.

Trade policy before the GATT (so, back in the world of Smoot and Hawley) was a matter of giving out favors like a big city political boss handing out patronage jobs. Dear Leader, being a natural Godfather personality, is attracted to any such system of arbitrary rewards and punishments emanating solely from Himself as power broker. When he says, "I'm a tariff man" his supporters hear "I support solidarity" but of course what it really means is "I'm a guy who likes to hold the reins in my stubby fingers."

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