The Emergent Church: Gateway Drug to Atheism?
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23-05-2013, 12:33 PM
The Emergent Church: Gateway Drug to Atheism?
Lately I've been listening to iTunes podcasts from the following folks:

http://www.irreligiosophy.com/

One of the early episodes was about the Emergent Church and had two Xian guests who spoke at length about their experience with the movement. Here's a Wiki article on the Emergent Church:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergent_church

One author they mentioned that I remember from my Xian days is Brian McLaren:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_mclaren

During my last couple years as an Xian, I read his New Kind of Christian spiritual fiction trilogy:

http://www.amazon.com/New-Kind-Christian...an+Mclaren

This series of books features a somewhat burned-out Xian pastor who strikes up a friendship with his daughter's science teacher (nicknamed "Neo"), and together they deal with postmodern questions/issues within Xianity. It's been awhile since I read them, but I remember being comforted by the characters' acceptance of evolution (especially in Book 2, which is set in the Galapagos Islands).

However, looking back with atheist eyes, I wonder if reading these books inadvertently sparked my journey out of Xianity. Their new, somewhat radical/liberal (to me, anyway) approach to Biblical interpretation and postmodern ideas might have been a factor that led me to further challenge my presuppositions by reading Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris.

I'm sure that sending his readers off into atheism wasn't Mr. McLaren's purpose, but how can one control the course of new ideas and perspectives once the dike of faith has been cracked by doubt and the mind flooded with compelling information?

Anyway, just wondering if anyone else here might have read these books and traveled down a similar path...
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23-05-2013, 01:14 PM
RE: The Emergent Church: Gateway Drug to Atheism?
Oh man, this combines all that is best about religion Big Grin I love it when they do shit like this. Unintended consequences FTW Smile
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23-05-2013, 01:20 PM
RE: The Emergent Church: Gateway Drug to Atheism?
Ha! It was a gateway into Atheism for me!

Used to visit this site a lot: http://www.theooze.com/

I can certainly thank them (and author Donald Miller) for getting me out of Fundamentalism on my way completely out of the church. Thumbsup

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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23-05-2013, 03:17 PM
RE: The Emergent Church: Gateway Drug to Atheism?
(23-05-2013 01:20 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  I can certainly thank them (and author Donald Miller) for getting me out of Fundamentalism on my way completely out of the church. Thumbsup

Ah, Donald Miller - was a big fan of his as well. Loved his first book Prayer and the Art of Volkswagon Maintenance (reworked and rereleased as Through Painted Deserts), so when Blue Like Jazz came out, I jumped on it - and ended up joining his church, Imago Dei, in Portland Oregon (like a bunch of other local Xians). Saw him speak a couple of times, including once with Phillip Yancey.

Imago ended up being my last church as an Xian before I became an atheist. I'd say that Miller influenced my quest for truth as well, if only because he didn't seem to push the boundaries far enough for the answers to some of the questions he raised. Looking back, I feel that he'd go just to the point of where God could still be used to answer his queries, and no further. Maybe that was enough to quell his doubts? Hard to say...
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23-05-2013, 04:37 PM
RE: The Emergent Church: Gateway Drug to Atheism?
(23-05-2013 03:17 PM)Atheist_pilgrim Wrote:  
(23-05-2013 01:20 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  I can certainly thank them (and author Donald Miller) for getting me out of Fundamentalism on my way completely out of the church. Thumbsup

Ah, Donald Miller - was a big fan of his as well. Loved his first book Prayer and the Art of Volkswagon Maintenance (reworked and rereleased as Through Painted Deserts), so when Blue Like Jazz came out, I jumped on it - and ended up joining his church, Imago Dei, in Portland Oregon (like a bunch of other local Xians). Saw him speak a couple of times, including once with Phillip Yancey.

Imago ended up being my last church as an Xian before I became an atheist. I'd say that Miller influenced my quest for truth as well, if only because he didn't seem to push the boundaries far enough for the answers to some of the questions he raised. Looking back, I feel that he'd go just to the point of where God could still be used to answer his queries, and no further. Maybe that was enough to quell his doubts? Hard to say...

Phillip Yancey was a former favorite too. I felt like I was a "cooler Christian" when I read those guys because they were so much gentler and down to earth than the Fundie background I had come out of. But eventually I realized they didn't go far enough...to the point of recognizing that the god of the bible does not exist.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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