Clergy Who Don’t Believe The Fairy Tales Are Screwed
Imagine the difficulty of being a leader in the Catholic church or a Christian ministry and then finding the power in science, truth, reason and logic. You have spent your entire life devoted to and studying something and no longer think you did the right thing with your existence. You have lost all of your faith in the supernatural, and now find yourself stuck in your life preaching rubbish you no longer believe. That’s the tough but unfortunate position of more and more clergy leaders this day and age as it becomes harder and harder to live life using a 2000 year old belief system and deny that it’s full of shit. Now stop and contemplate for a moment being a priest, and how extremely difficult it would be to actually break away from it all and leave the church to start anew.
Without some sort of outside support system, a priest trying to free himself from the church is doomed to failure, as a drug addict or alcoholic might be. These guys have been socially and financially dependant upon the church from the time they entered. Who are they going to try and go to for help? Another priest? They will only try and continue the brain washing… Well never fear, a group has stepped up to offer up the assistance, and it’s called The Clergy Project.
Those With A Naturalistic Worldview Have A New Friend
The Clergy Project was started in early 2011 as an invitation only group with 52 members but now offers a way for current or former professional religious leaders such as pastors, ministers, priests, nuns, rabbis, imams or theologians to join via their website. According to their site, “The purpose of The Clergy Project is to provide a safe haven for active and former professional clergy/religious leaders who do not hold supernatural beliefs. It originated from a growing awareness of the presence of these professional clergy and a concern about their dilemma as they moved beyond faith.”
The program is supported by the noble philanthropist Richard Dawkins through The Richard Dawkins Foundation. About the project Mr. Dawkins said, “It is hard to think of any other profession which it is so near to impossible to leave. Clergy who lose their faith suffer double jeopardy.” He continued, “It’s as though they lose their job and their marriage and their children on the same day. It is an aspect of the vicious intolerance of religion that a mere change of mind can redound so cruelly on those honest enough to acknowledge it.”
Another supporter of the program is the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a group whose goal is to to promote the constitutional principle of separation of state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism. If you are a clergy leader trying to break free, these are the sorts of people you want in your corner. And if that 1-2 punch combination wasn’t enough, The Clergy Project has also been endorsed by some groups I really like including The Center For Inquiry, American Atheists, and the American Humanist Association among others.
So Far It’s Been A Great Success
Just last week, Justin Vollmar, with help from The Clergy Project, publicly renounced his faith and said he is leaving the church. Justin had created an online teaching ministry for the deaf called the Virtual Deaf Church. He proudly announced, “I am coming out of the closet as an atheist.” His online proclamation has since gone viral and his coming out as an Atheist is being widely circulated in the media and is respected by people like myself.
Also, about a year ago the project announced a 6-month grant to help ex-religious clergy find secular employment. What this does is it gives clergy men and women the luxury of no longer having to put the priority of feeding their family above their desire to stop preaching what they no longer believe. It’s basically a cushion for the difficult transition. With this alongside moral support these people are set up to succeed, and help spread the word of truth, science, logic and reason. They are no longer alone in their battle.
The more this happens, the better it is for us as a civilization. Without groups like these, we are doomed to continue the cycle of religion and the religious bigotry. I stand up and applaud Richard Dawkins and The Clergy Project and wish them the best of luck continuing to do this good work.
What do you think? We’d love to hear you sound off with your thoughts in the comments below!