Give Up Seminary Degree?
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14-04-2013, 08:12 PM (This post was last modified: 14-04-2013 08:17 PM by Atheist_pilgrim.)
Give Up Seminary Degree?
During one of my seminary chapels, the school president made a presentation. He came to the podium, held up a diploma in its case, and read a letter from the alumni who had mailed it back. The former student had lost his faith, and therefore felt compelled to renounce and return his degree. The president ended by having us pray for the man, and the service resumed.

I went on to earn a Graduate Certificate in Biblical Studies and a MA in Pastoral Studies from the seminary. When I heard the president give his spiel, I felt bad for the man, but I never imagined that I'd leave the faith and become an atheist. So I'm wondering if there's anyone here who has taken a similar step and returned a degree earned from a religious institution - as I'm pondering making the same break as well...
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14-04-2013, 08:27 PM
RE: Give Up Seminary Degree?
I have no idea where my diploma would be so I'd have a hard time returning it. Smile

I receive a card from my former denomination every year certifying me as an accredited pastor. For the past couple of years I've meant to return it, but once again I can never find it when I think about returning it. Smile

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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14-04-2013, 09:05 PM
RE: Give Up Seminary Degree?
Why return it? You earned it, and it gives you atheist/antitheist creds.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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15-04-2013, 05:27 AM
RE: Give Up Seminary Degree?
Exactly - nothing quite sets the tone of a "you just don't understand Christianity" argument or "you didn't search earnestly" like explaining this kind of background and having the paperwork to prove it. I can't claim this one personally, but Matt Dillahunty gets good mileage out of his training.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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15-04-2013, 05:47 AM
RE: Give Up Seminary Degree?
(14-04-2013 08:27 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  I have no idea where my diploma would be so I'd have a hard time returning it. Smile

I receive a card from my former denomination every year certifying me as an accredited pastor. For the past couple of years I've meant to return it, but once again I can never find it when I think about returning it. Smile

What denomination were you a pastor in?

"Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.” ~ Ambrose Bierce
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15-04-2013, 06:45 AM
RE: Give Up Seminary Degree?
(14-04-2013 09:05 PM)Chas Wrote:  Why return it? You earned it, and it gives you atheist/antitheist creds.

I agree.

Interesting isn't it, how many folks here are ex-preachers of one kind or another.

Nonsense is nonsense, but the history of nonsense is a very important science.
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16-04-2013, 07:42 AM
RE: Give Up Seminary Degree?
Keep the degree. You earned it. It's part of your personal history and journey.
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16-04-2013, 07:47 AM
RE: Give Up Seminary Degree?
(15-04-2013 05:47 AM)Full Circle Wrote:  
(14-04-2013 08:27 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  I have no idea where my diploma would be so I'd have a hard time returning it. Smile

I receive a card from my former denomination every year certifying me as an accredited pastor. For the past couple of years I've meant to return it, but once again I can never find it when I think about returning it. Smile

What denomination were you a pastor in?

I was Baptist.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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16-04-2013, 09:16 AM
RE: Give Up Seminary Degree?
(16-04-2013 07:47 AM)Erxomai Wrote:  I was Baptist.

Now he's just any old asshole, not a specific flavour.
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16-04-2013, 09:44 AM
RE: Give Up Seminary Degree?
(15-04-2013 05:27 AM)Hafnof Wrote:  Exactly - nothing quite sets the tone of a "you just don't understand Christianity" argument or "you didn't search earnestly" like explaining this kind of background and having the paperwork to prove it. I can't claim this one personally, but Matt Dillahunty gets good mileage out of his training.

Dillahunty never went to seminary. I thought he had attended one as well, and mentioned this to him when we briefly spoke at the AA convention in Austin, but he said his own studies had led him to reject going to seminary as part of his transition to atheism.

I never got the feeling that other Xians really cared much for my seminary background. Some thought it was cool, but others (like Egon) say I lost my faith in part because I got "overeducated." Small group leaders tended to minimize it or say it was an ego trip, and pastors seemed kind of nervous, probably because they expected me to ask them for a job.

I suppose it may grant me some sort of "street cred" when it comes to my atheism, and it certainly helps when debating theists. But occupationally, it might as well be a degree in Babylonian Astrology. Wish I had gotten a MBA, bought a house, or traveled the world...but, it is what it is, and it did help kickstart my deconversion process.
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