For the context of the following comments and to reply, please click on the DATE/TIME above them.
[Note: This is from a Rational Doubt blog – “Clergy Fuel the Flight from Religion” ,written by Linda LaScola.]
Linda LaScola – “I extend my thanks to all the non-believing and doubting clergy past, present and future who subtly help people discard supernatural thinking and move toward a humanistic future. You are a modern day underground railroad to freedom. I’m sorry it’s caused such turmoil in your lives. I know you to be good people who went in to ministry to be of service to others. You didn’t see this change coming. But here it is and you are being of service in a way you never imagined.”
As this final paragraph indicates, the semblance of objective research is being displaced by overt activism.
What exactly justifies this? Where has all this certainty come from?
Will you now change the name of the blog from Rational Doubt to something more confident and authoritative?
Linda_LaScola – “The non-believing clergy research was completed 3 years ago. I’m expressing my opinion based those findings and in light of the new Pew study.”
I guess I’m not clear what is meant by a “Humanist Future”. And how the shuffling of the Christian deck would indicate such a thing is immanent?
At 3.1% declared atheists, this would indicate y’all are still bucking the tide.
Perhaps some genetic modification could be applied to the problem, or outright genocide, but until then, Human Instinct will impel us to seek an answer that satisfies.
In that Nature is playing with a full deck, and we are not. We should be asking ourselves; Why are we deifying empiricism? What role has this orphaning of “reason” played in the wonder of Existence?
Just maybe there is something to learn from the Yogis, Zen masters, mystics, Bodhisattvas and Saints. And (yes, even) Jesus. These too are Human beings. They have gone further than you and I. Maybe we should hear what they have to say.
Linda_LaScola – “We’ve been listening to the Yogis, Jesus, etc., for a long time and some of what they have to say certainly is worthwhile – as is what the humanists have to say.
But Humanist voices tend to be muzzled because they lack belief in the supernatural. That is changing now and for that I am grateful.”
ObscurelyAgnostic responding to the original blog by Linda LaScola – “Far from dealing in ‘fabricated dogma,’ ‘superstitious rituals,’ or ‘magical delusions,’ liberal clergy (practicing agnostic priest here) are teaching their congregations to understand their tradition as living myth, metaphor and metanarrative, and are thereby indeed ‘moving their congregations into a more humanist future,’ as Linda states in her excellent post. Surely even many atheist fundies will accept ‘half a loaf’ here?”
carolyntclark responding to ObscurelyAgnostic – “perhaps the growing number of nones indicates that fewer people want or need the half-a-loaf.”
ObscurelyAgnostic responding to carolyntclark – “I sincerely hope that is the case — in the meantime, as a liberal minister I’ll keep helping to subvert doctrinal orthodoxy to keep those ‘no-loafer’ (or is it FULL-loafer?;) numbers growing …”
I think one will find that there is stratification in the spiritual needs and ability within the congregation.
Rather than seeing the goal as one of dismantling structures of ritual and dogma, (not implying that you in particular are), it might be more fruitful to cultivate an “Inner Chamber” and an “Inner Inner Chamber” as needed. A nursery for future teachers
I suppose they will say that this is what the seminary is for. But somehow I suspect that the standards of authenticity are in dire need of review.
I never hear much talk about “Initiations” and “transmissions” in the Christian Church.
Even in traditions where such things are the norm there are cycles when decline takes over. Teachers teach to an imitation without even realizing it. Things progress to the absurd.
This then is gets refreshed by the arrival of an undeniably genius and authentic reformer. Gets carried forward by direct disciples until another cycle of withering revelation.
So it goes and always has. It is the nature of the thing.
If those who “Get It” abandon the tradition, who will remain to guide those who don’t? To demonstrate that it matters? Offer the PROOF?
Christianity does not seem to me to embrace the full path of enlightenment. Did it in the past? If so I wonder when they dropped the ball?
ObscurelyAgnostic – “My own practice in liberal ministry is not to ‘dismantle structures of ritual and dogma’ but to re-orient them to fully HUMAN (vs divine/supernatural) truth. And as I serve in a sacramental tradition, initiations like baptism and confirmation are a very big deal indeed. In fact now that you’ve got me thinking about it, the very concept of sacrament as an ‘outward physical expression/embodiment of an inward spiritual grace’ offers a way to restore human being to its rightful place on earth (vs heaven) …”
“…but to re-orient them to fully HUMAN (vs divine/supernatural) truth. “
Ah! Now this is where it gets interesting.
What is the difference?
Except for that word, “supernatural”, which “has no real meaning”, even to those who use it.
God as nature is not “super” to it. But is still Infinite, Eternal, Omni-sentient. (Aggregate of all Sentience, Yes?)
I always chaff at the downgrading of the divine. We are it. But only in theory, until we actually Know what that means.
This is not a trivial quibble, at least it seems to me.
Would you sell Manhattan for a string of beads?