Pastor loses job after questioning hell's existence
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25-03-2011, 07:17 AM
RE: Pastor loses job after questioning hell's existence
(25-03-2011 06:31 AM)Lilith Pride Wrote:  He will most likely get a job speaking for a different church, maybe a new age one. Unless he spends time needing work he will probably not ignore his life long focus.

Actually , I think you bring up a good point here.
If a religious leader realizes that his message is hate-filled and abandons the position of preacher what job is he/she qualified for ?
Can they even re-train for another job ?

Atheism is a religion like OFF is a TV channel !!!

Proud of my genetic relatives Big Grin
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25-03-2011, 09:15 AM
 
RE: Pastor loses job after questioning hell's existence
Pastor Carlton Pearson lost everything he'd built, as a fundamentalist Pentecostal minister years ago after he'd had an epiphany that changed his preaching style. He thought his congregation would welcome with open arms what he now calls, the gospel of inclusion. Boy was he wrong.

Now he has his own church, has written at least two books I know of and was given his second chance to get his new vision for a church off the ground by members of a local church who's minister was Lesbian and who openly welcomed Gays into the fold.

His views about Hell are similar to Mr.Holz. And in interviews I've seen where Mr.Pearson is featured telling his story of evolving in the name of his faith to a god that loves the whole world, while preaching the Gospel wherein he says Jesus died for the whole worlds sins which means everyone's sins were taken upon him, Mr. Pearsons contemporaries in ministry condemn him outright. One pastor said Pearson wasn't fit to minister in his church.

It's interesting, because the traditional god of the Bible is a terrorist, a mass murderer, psychotic and a sadist. That there are people who worship that,don't see it that way but instead see those deviant characteristics as proof of proof of an invisible things love for them, and live in fear of it at the same time, lends the impression psychosis is contagious.

Of course, if you've ever been in at a tent revival, that's not news.

Edit to add link: (Bishop Carlton Pearson Ministry)
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25-03-2011, 02:16 PM
RE: Pastor loses job after questioning hell's existence
In the words of Matt Dilahunty... He'd be qualified to work in a call center, albeit in several different languages.

Hey brother christian, with your high and mighty errand, your actions speak so loud, I can't hear a word you're saying.

"This machine kills fascists..."

"Well this machine kills commies!"
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25-03-2011, 03:32 PM
RE: Pastor loses job after questioning hell's existence
(24-03-2011 09:54 PM)Ghost Wrote:  A few things.

If the Vice President of McDonald's in charge of the Eastern Seabord of the United States posted, "McDonald's french fries sure do make people fat," he'd be fired too. Something about institutional loyalty. I mention this only to quell the shock factor of Holtz's firing.

I'm going to shock Ghost here and agree with him. The faith says there is a hell and the job requires you adhere to the faith. If you don't, then you're not qualified for the job. I'd have been more shocked if they didn't fire him.

I said this before, we don't tell god how it is; god tells us how it is. If you're in the job of delivering that message, you don't have the freedom to add your own nuances to it.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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25-03-2011, 03:45 PM
RE: Pastor loses job after questioning hell's existence
Hey, BnW.

Quote:I'm going to shock Ghost here and agree with him.

Not shocking at all. I know that you're an intelligent man.

Cool

Quote:I said this before, we don't tell god how it is; god tells us how it is. If you're in the job of delivering that message, you don't have the freedom to add your own nuances to it.

Too absolutist for my blood.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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25-03-2011, 05:50 PM
RE: Pastor loses job after questioning hell's existence
I'm not sure this is the right place for this but since you brought it up here....

How is religion anything but absolutist? How are there shades or gray in god's law and his word? Explain this to me because I really don't understand this concept at all.

I'm not an atheist by choice. I did not want to be an atheist. I'm like the Cypher character in "The Matrix", I want to take the pill and believe in it all again. I want to believe there is loving sky daddy who answers are prayers, protects us from danger, and brings us close to him when we die. Believe me, I really want that to be true. The problem is, I can't believe it. No matter how much I want to, I can't. Because all the evidence and logic in the world says it cannot possibly be true. So, with that said, here is how I got to this point.

Religion can't be true because some of the books that give it its authority have fatal flaws in them. How can only part of the bible be true and god still exist? He's god or he's not. This is his book and this is his story and these are his rules and laws. They are all true or none of them are. How can you believe in god and not believe in Noah and the flood? How can you believe in god and not believe that Moses parted the red sea, or (if you're a Christian) that Christ was his son and died for our sins, or (if you're a Muslim) that Mohamed rode his horse to heaven (or whatever, I'm not as up on my Islam as I should be), or that god said that a man who lies with a man as with a woman is an abomination? How can you believe part of it and not all of it? How can the word of god evolve? How is that possible?

It's god and he's all knowing, all seeing, all powerful, all everything ... or he's not. How can he be part and not all? How can that be? How does that make any sense at all? How can religion possibly evolve if it's the word of this omnipotent being who created everything, knows everything, sees everything including the past, the present and the future, and foresaw all we have created and all we have done. How can any possibly believe in god and reconcile the modern word and homosexuality, premarital sex, women not being subservient to men with their beliefs? Explain this to me because I don't see it.

I don't believe in god because I know gay people who would give anything not be societal pariahs but they are who they are, because I know not every animal on the planet lived in walking distance of Noah's house, because 600 year old men are not repopulating the earth with their 500 year old sons and their equally old wives, because the Flintstones belongs in the cartoon network and not the history channel, because the bible has so many logical fallacies and states so many things that are blatantly wrong that all of it has to be false.

The only authority for god is these books. If you take away the books then there is absolutely no basis to believe in god. None. Once parts of the book are proven false, it stands to reason that the whole thing is proven false. God is all knowing, all powerful, etc. or he's not. The Torah, the Bible, the Q'uron do not allow for any middle ground.

So, explain to me how there can be moderation in religion, acceptance of gays, and a compromised position on the existence of god and his laws. Because, honestly, I don't get it.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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26-03-2011, 02:20 PM
RE: Pastor loses job after questioning hell's existence
Hey, BnW.

That was a very well thought out and heartfelt post. I want to acknowledge that.

My issue with it is that it's a fine support for why you are an Atheist, but it falls short of being a... shall we say proof against moderation in religion (that was worded terribly, but I hope you catch my meaning).

Quote:So, explain to me how there can be moderation in religion, acceptance of gays, and a compromised position on the existence of god and his laws. Because, honestly, I don't get it.

For me, the important thing is that there IS moderation in religion. Primarily because the bulk of all individuals involved in any system of belief are moderates, but that aside, there is moderation. Statement of fact. There is acceptance of gays. And compromise. If you believe that this moderation is unsupportable or hypocritical, you have a valid position. But that doesn't take away from the fact that these things do exist.

Quote:How can religion possibly evolve...

Similarly, it HAS evolved. Quite demonstrably. There's like 38 000 Christian denominations. So clearly religion is subject to selection just like everything else.

Quote: How can the word of god evolve?

Two ways.

The first is mutation. Despite the fact that the copying fidelity of books is relatively high, there have been multiple editions, censorings and translations of the Bible. The most widely used, the King James Version, is notorious for taking liberty with the translation. So the source might not change, but the record does. It mutates. If it mutates, then there's selection. If there's selection and competition then there's evolution.

The second is interpretation. The Bible is a big book of memes. It's a ton of instructions. Do this, believe this, on and on. If there is a one-to-one expression of those memes, a verbatim expression of the memes, that is memotypic expression (analogue to genotypic). But that kind of verbatim expression and understanding pretty much never happens. The expression is affected greatly by other environmental factors. The Bible is interpreted and expressed phenotypically: the idea as affected by it’s environment. It can't be any other way. Just on the level of the minister, they all write their own sermons. There's no big book of sermons to copy them down from. They just say, this is what I've read, this is what I've gotten from it and this is how I connect it to life. It's very individualised. If it wasn't, it'd just be dudes reading the book. But even then, differences in inflection and stressed words could change how a congregation receives it. I can go on for a very long time, but the bottom line is, our relationship with the Bible is HEAVILY mediated and our understanding of it is interpreted, not absolute. That interpretation evolves.

Quote:Religion can't be true because some of the books that give it its authority have fatal flaws in them.

I can't get behind this statement. I've thought of a number of different reasons to explain why, but I don't think I can give you one that you'll accept. So I think it's easier to just say that I disagree with this on premise and leave it at that.

Quote:How can only part of the bible be true and god still exist?

If one’s position is that a perfect God sat down one day with a quill and a few pieces of parchment and wrote the Bible then handed a copy to humans, then the Bible must be infallible. Any falsity or half-truth means it's either a sham and he didn’t write jack, or that God is not perfect (or that he deliberately lied). But that's a very specific position that not all Christians believe in. Most Christians are comfortable with the idea that the book was written by humans. Humans can get some things wrong and still be right.

Just yesterday I watched a TED talk where this physicist was speaking about a German physicist who read Einstein's General Relativity paper in the trenches of WWI and was like, "This shit is brilliant, but it means there are "black holes" in the universe." (He didn't coin that term). So he wrote Einstein with a mathematical proof and Einstein was like, "This shit is brilliant, but they must be a mathematical oddity and not actually exist physically in the universe." For decades, people believed Einstein. Doesn't mean relativity is wrong, it just means he fucked some of it up. The same COULD be said of the Bible (again, I must stress that I'm not a Christian). It can be wrong in part and still be right about a great many things.

Quote:How can you believe in god and not believe in Noah and the flood? How can you believe in god and not believe that Moses parted the red sea, or (if you're a Christian) that Christ was his son and died for our sins, or (if you're a Muslim) that Mohamed rode his horse to heaven (or whatever, I'm not as up on my Islam as I should be), or that god said that a man who lies with a man as with a woman is an abomination?

Belief in God and belief in the Bible as written by God and perfect are two different things.

If I were so inclined, I could very easily say that I believed in the Christian God and in the same breath say that the Bible was full of shit.

Quote:How can you believe part of it and not all of it?

(Again, I’m not saying that one should or that people are wrong to believe that people shouldn’t, but):

Choice really.

I mean, it's long been established that religion is not based on fact but on faith. Faith doesn't prove or disprove, it believes. So people can have faith in whatever they choose.

I think that it's important to point out that beliefs are a system. Here's something I wrote a few years ago. I hope it's not too out of context. The only preface is that I use the word "mythology" to describe belief systems regardless of if they are fact-based or faith-based.

Quote:II. INTERNAL CONSISTENCY
Models are most useful and most meaningful, that is, effective at conveying meaning, when they are internally consistent.

If I ask anyone who uses the mathematical model what the sum of 2+2 is, there is only one possible answer; 4. The reason for this is that mathematics is a model that is internally consistent.

...Western medicine is a very useful model even though, like all models, it is wrong. The model has many rules. Muscles work a certain way. Your circulatory and nervous systems function a certain way. Your digestive and energy systems work a certain way. More than that, all of the individual systems interact a certain way. When a doctor comes to treat you, they have a specific way of going about it based on their interpretation of the model. The model allows them to interact with your body in a meaningful way and gives them insight into what might be occurring and how to go about preventing or healing illness.

III. INTERNAL CONFLICT
Models are designed to help us understand the relationship of ideas. If we cannot understand the model itself, then we have no hope of gaining enough insight for action.

If a doctor in a hospital in Vancouver comes up to a cancer patient and tells them that their cancer was caused by small elves living in the patient’s stomach and that she’ll have to increase her intake of gingerbread men in order to beat it, the patient will probably not feel very comfortable dealing with that doctor. In the Western medicine model, not only is there no such thing as elves, but also, cancer has very clear causes and very clear treatments; none of which involve gingerbread men. The patient assumes, because of their belief in the Western medicine model, that the consumption of gingerbread men will not lead to the curing of their cancer.

...[When one believes in the traditional Western view of cancer and it’s treatment] there is a useful and consistent cause and effect relationship between therapy and remission. There is no conflict between what is believed and what occurs.

Conversely, if people believe that rocks will float if a virgin blesses them on the Sabbath day might find that by and large, the rocks never float. There is a clear conflict in that model between what is believed and what occurs in actuality.

So returning to Box’s statement:
Quote:Remember that all models are wrong; the practical question is how wrong do they have to be to not be useful.
-George E.P. Box, from “Empirical Model-Building and Response Surfaces”

The answer that I would give would be, the more internal conflicts that a model suffers from, the less useful it is...

8. THAT MAKES SENSE

Humans have a strong tendency to believe mythologies that are internally consistent and a strong tendency to disbelieve mythologies that are not.

When a mythology is internally consistent, it makes sense to people. This is because all mythologies are a complex lattice of symbols, models and stories, all of which are interconnected and supported by one another. When one of the pieces does not support the rest or is not supported by the rest, then the lattice collapses and this is instantly apparent to us. When the pieces fit, the lattice is strong and can support our belief in it.
When one’s own mythology is challenged by experience, the alteration of one belief can have a cascade effect that makes belief in the entire mythology impossible...

Every human imports beliefs, assumptions and dogma with them from the mythology they were raised with, or from the mythology they adopted later in life, when they investigate other mythologies. If any of these beliefs clash with the ideas knit up in the other mythology, then the lattice of that mythology will collapse in that person’s mind. And so we often dismiss alternative mythologies, not because they are untrue, but because our own beliefs prevent us from believing in them.

Conversely, there is little in this world as influential as a mythology that makes perfect sense to a person.

All of that is to say that facts are not the basis of whether or not we have faith in whatever belief system we have been taught or have adopted. The basis is actually irrelevant. Differing belief systems exist. The relevant thing is that a belief system must be internally consistent (to varying degree among individuals) in order to be of use and to make sense to a person. If I believe in the natural universe and God taps me on the shoulder and says hi, the collapse of my belief system would be the likely result.

So bits and bobs of belief systems are often excised or elevated to fact from fiction or to fiction from fact in order to maintain the integrity of the belief system.

As long as a belief system is internally consistent and it allows the individual to interact with their surroundings in a useful way, it can be believed in.

Quote:It's god and he's all knowing, all seeing, all powerful, all everything ... or he's not. How can he be part and not all?

Despite claims to the contrary, William Wallace didn't shoot lightning from his arse Smile Again, if the Bible is written by God, you're right. If not, then there's much room for movement.

Quote:How can religion possibly evolve if it's the word of this omnipotent being who created everything, knows everything, sees everything including the past, the present and the future, and foresaw all we have created and all we have done.

My understanding is that we all have Choice. We have the choice to do good or bad or love God or not. I don't think the belief is that God created a universe governed by causality. So what we think and how and if we worship is for us to determine. I could be wrong there, but that's my understanding.

Quote:The Torah, the Bible, the Q'uron do not allow for any middle ground.

They're books. They don't have the capacity to do anything.

Strict interpretations are the only things that don’t leave middle ground.

I think it's safe to say that the majority of Theists in the world do not govern their lives by strict interpretations of their holy books.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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26-03-2011, 03:30 PM
RE: Pastor loses job after questioning hell's existence
We see this very differently. I understand that as the bible has been copied there have been some changes and I further understand that as it has been translated from one language to another there have been some interesting repercussions from that. For example, in the earliest texts of the new testament, Mary may not have been a virgin. So, yes, I get that there has been some evolution due to translation issues, the passage of time, etc.

However, the basic premise of the book endures. The translation and copy issues are relatively moderate in terms of the overall message of the book. And, the books are pretty clear as to what they say and what they mean. Even if you have a version that has been changed over time, you believe that book or you don''t.

This is why I say that you believe the book as it is written or you are off the faith and into the realm of just making shit up. There is no authoritative basis to believe anything other than what the book says. The book is true, and god is real; or the book is false and god is not real. I don't see how there can be any other choices. I'm generally not an absolutist in my views but on this I am. How can you not be? I hear your explanations and I understand your point but, to me, these are ultimately rationalizations and apologies. Rationalizations of people who are trying to shoehorn their beliefs to coincide with modern scientific understanding and current views on mores, and apologies by people who let them get away with it (and no, that's not an attack, it's an observation and a general one and not about you or anyone else in particular). People that are finding ways to explain how religion coincides with science are grasping, and are probably in the evolutionary path to atheism. I've a lot more intellectual respect for the fundy crowd who simply denies science and holds their faith no matter what contrary evidence is thrown at them. They, at least, are logically consistent.

We're never going to agree on this point so there is no need to hit it back and forth. I understand what you're saying, but I just completely disagree. I don't need it explained to me again so probably best to just move on.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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26-03-2011, 10:05 PM
RE: Pastor loses job after questioning hell's existence
Facts are facts and beliefs are beliefs. Changing beliefs has no effect on facts, no matter how many people change their beliefs. This just shows that christianity is filled with beliefs and extremely short of facts.

When I find myself in times of trouble, Richard Dawkins comes to me, speaking words of reason, now I see, now I see.
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27-03-2011, 10:20 AM
RE: Pastor loses job after questioning hell's existence
Hey, BnW.

I'm the one in shock now. You wrote something that didn't anger me Big Grin It's evolution, baby!

That being said, this:
Quote:I don't need it explained to me again so probably best to just move on.
does irk me. It's a peeve of mine. I find it disrespectful to get in the last word and then shut down the conversation. It reminds me of Peter Griffin. But hey, whatev.

Quote:Even if you have a version that has been changed over time, you believe that book or you don''t.

I acknowledge that this is your position. Mine is not as absolute.

Quote:This is why I say that you believe the book as it is written or you are off the faith and into the realm of just making shit up.

I see your point. I would say that there can be a difference between making things up and interpreting things, but that's me. Also, I'm a relativist and a subjectivist so things being capital T True aren't important to me.

Quote: I hear your explanations and I understand your point but, to me, these are ultimately rationalizations and apologies. Rationalizations of people who are trying to shoehorn their beliefs to coincide with modern scientific understanding and current views on mores, and apologies by people who let them get away with it (and no, that's not an attack, it's an observation and a general one and not about you or anyone else in particular).

I just want to defend my good name on this one. I'm not rationalising anything. I'm explaining. There's a difference. I have passed zero judgement on this. I'm just calling it as I see it. I'm not apologising for anything because, again, I pass no judgement on any of this. No one has done anything "wrong".

Quote:People that are finding ways to explain how religion coincides with science are grasping, and are probably in the evolutionary path to atheism.

I agree! Wow! With the first part anyway Cool

Like I said above, recent scientific discoveries are to religion like God tapping you on the shoulder and saying Hi is to Atheists. It is something that challenges the very structural integrity of the belief system. It is an internal inconsistency. Those religious groups that have articulated the new information into their system are moving forward just fine, those that refuse to articulate it are fighting it vehemently because they believe it constitutes an internal inconsistency and those that cannot reconcile the two are watching helplessly as their belief system crumbles and they're left with an identity crisis. Atheism seems the vogue way to fill the hole these days, but I wouldn't call it a slam dunk end result Cool

Quote:I've a lot more intellectual respect for the fundy crowd who simply denies science and holds their faith no matter what contrary evidence is thrown at them. They, at least, are logically consistent.

For me, intellectualism doesn't enter into it. I believe in socially constructed reality. What we're talking about is the collapse of reality for some people. This is a very significant thing and it functions in very specific ways. None of this is shocking to me because it is all consistent with the model with which I view the situation (see what I did there? Cool ).

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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