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Atheist clergyperson


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http://news.nationalpost.com/news/religion/vitriol-among-united-church-members-as-atheist-minister-closer-to-being-dismissed-in-formal-hearing

 

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A United Church of Canada minister who is a self-professed atheist and has been the subject of an unprecedented probe into her theological beliefs is one step closer to being removed from the pulpit.

 

I found this one par for the course when it comes to the United Church of Canada. I grew up in that church so I know their thinking. They do have a history, as the article points out, of "openness and inclusivity." They'll accept virtually anyone and anything, once they get done with all the debate within the church about whether it should be accepted or not. I wasn't surprised when I saw this one.

 

(The United Church only exists in Canada. It is a merger of the Methodist, Congregational and Presbyterian churches.)

Edited by Sheep
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Just when you thought you heard it all when it comes to religion - a clergyman who doesn't believe in God!  What the heck does she preach about then?  What authority does she use to add weight to what she says?  How can anyone condone this?  Shouldn't the people who hired her have known this first?  All three of those religions believe in God - shouldn't that of been the first question they asked her when they interviewed her for the job?  What a bunch of morons!!!

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On 9/23/2016 at 9:31 AM, shali said:

Just when you thought you heard it all when it comes to religion - a clergyman who doesn't believe in God!  What the heck does she preach about then?  What authority does she use to add weight to what she says?  How can anyone condone this?  Shouldn't the people who hired her have known this first?  All three of those religions believe in God - shouldn't that of been the first question they asked her when they interviewed her for the job?  What a bunch of morons!!!

I could see this happening.  If you treat it as just a job you wouldn't necessarily have to believe in God, you could just teach from the  textbook, as it were.

 

I mean,  it does sound odd to us, as it is our way of life but I can see how this can happen. 

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I think there is quite a number among clergy who don't believe in God. They just don't openly admit it. Would be bad for business.

There's no requirement for clergy to believe in God. In this country it's not even required that the so called Christian churches base their beliefs on the bible. So you could have a priest who does not believe in God and for whom the Bible is just a pretty book.
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As I mentioned in the first post, I find the arguments going on in the United Church of Canada par for the course. I grew up in that church, and my parents remained faithful to their upbringing in it. Whenever I visited my parents, I would see a copy of the United Church Observer (the magazine published by the church), and would read a little bit in it. How worldly that church was becoming! I remember years ago at one point, one church after another was debating whether or not to accept homosexuals in the church. It happened in the Catholic Church, the Anglican Church, even the Mormons were discussing it. But when that discussion came to the United Church, the debate went on for at least a year! (if I'm recalling correctly) The "Letters to the Editor" column in the Observer was rather comical sometimes. People were threatening to leave the church if homosexuals were allowed in, and others were threatening to leave the church if they weren't  allowed in. The discussions went on and on. I remember asking my father during that time why there was such a controversy all this time. He replied that the church was not providing clear direction. My take is that the decision makers in the church were taking their time because they were trying to figure out how not to alienate too many church-goers.

 

If I know them, it'll probably take just as long to decide whether or not to accept an atheist minister.

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On 9/24/2016 at 5:38 PM, Thesauron said:


There's no requirement for clergy to believe in God. In this country it's not even required that the so called Christian churches base their beliefs on the bible. So you could have a priest who does not believe in God and for whom the Bible is just a pretty book.

So true!!! Not shocking!!!  At a family reunion A pastor told my hubby that he did not

believe in God - he was in it for the money!  And, he was a pastor of his church.   I never

forgot this when my husband shared it with me, and this was over 30 years ago.  So, one

can only imagine!  ICK!!! 

Edited by CyreJay
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On 23/09/2016 at 11:12 PM, Sheep said:

(The United Church only exists in Canada. It is a merger of the Methodist, Congregational and Presbyterian churches.)

 

That is not quite accurate. We have a United Church of North Australia, formed in 1956 which is also a merger of Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational churches. It was originally supposed to cover the whole of Australia but due to breakaways and reorganisation it eventually became the Uniting Church throughout Australia, but which is still the amalgamation of the same 3 structures: Methodist, Presbyterian, and Congregational with the apparent exception of Northern Australia, which appears to still hold on to the 'United' name, although the 'beliefs' appear to be the same.  

 

Information taken from 'Many Faiths One Nation' 'A guide to the Major Faiths and Denominations in Australia' by Ian Gillman. 

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Here in Denmark it is quite common  for clergy to be atheist. It has been in the newspapers a few times in the last few years, but it seems not to be very much interest in it for the public. Most people just shrugs. But, well, the danes are not that much religios either.

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19 hours ago, GeordieGirl said:

That is not quite accurate. We have a United Church of North Australia, formed in 1956 which is also a merger of Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational churches. It was originally supposed to cover the whole of Australia but due to breakaways and reorganisation it eventually became the Uniting Church throughout Australia, but which is still the amalgamation of the same 3 structures: Methodist, Presbyterian, and Congregational with the apparent exception of Northern Australia, which appears to still hold on to the 'United' name, although the 'beliefs' appear to be the same.  

 

Information taken from 'Many Faiths One Nation' 'A guide to the Major Faiths and Denominations in Australia' by Ian Gillman. 

 

Thank you for that information Terri. I had never heard of that church before. Doing some quick research I found the Uniting Church in Australia, and according to Wikipedia it is indeed a combination of those three churches, just as the United Church of Canada is. However, I'm not certain that there is any relationship between them except the similarity in name and make-up. The United Church of Canada can be traced back to 1925, but as you noted the one in Northern Australia goes back to 1956. Furthermore, the United Church of Canada also included a fourth denomination since 1968, the Evangelical United Brethren Church. There could very well be other countries with a church called the "United Church," but that doesn't necessarily mean they have anything to do with each other. It can be very confusing when you look into the melting pot of religions when various churches decide to merge or split. It's enough to leave your head spinning! What I am certain about is that the United Church of Canada  exists only in Canada.

 

I never understood one thing though. In Canada, every member of the United Church can believe whatever he or she wants. So how can they call it the "United" Church? :confused: To me they are anything but united.

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2 hours ago, Sheep said:

 

Thank you for that information Terri. I had never heard of that church before. Doing some quick research I found the Uniting Church in Australia, and according to Wikipedia it is indeed a combination of those three churches, just as the United Church of Canada is. However, I'm not certain that there is any relationship between them except the similarity in name and make-up. The United Church of Canada can be traced back to 1925, but as you noted the one in Northern Australia goes back to 1956. Furthermore, the United Church of Canada also included a fourth denomination since 1968, the Evangelical United Brethren Church. There could very well be other countries with a church called the "United Church," but that doesn't necessarily mean they have anything to do with each other. It can be very confusing when you look into the melting pot of religions when various churches decide to merge or split. It's enough to leave your head spinning! What I am certain about is that the United Church of Canada  exists only in Canada.

 

I never understood one thing though. In Canada, every member of the United Church can believe whatever he or she wants. So how can they call it the "United" Church? :confused: To me they are anything but united.

The United Church of Northern Australia is the one that goes back to 1956.  The Uniting Church of Australia appears to be between 1904 -1907 but there are so many dates and so many conferences and withdrawals that it is a confusing mess to those of us who are used to being organised.

 

It makes sense that the United Church Of Canada would only be in Canada and that there is no relationship between the 2 of them despite the name and I agree about the head spinning bit .... one would expect that churches with a common name, especially when it includes the word 'Unite' would be connected in some way. :confused: The Uniting Church here also seems to be somewhat erratic in its beliefs and also in it's 'membership'. Aren't we so glad we have the truth. :D

 

This book I quoted from is very interesting.  It was published in 1988 for Australia's centenary, which was also the year I started studying (a much more important event :)), so of course the first thing I did when buying it was to look up Jehovah's Witnesses. 

Interestingly in view of our discussion, the person who wrote it is an ordained minister of the Uniting Church and (was at the time) a lecturer in religious studies at Queensland University. He contacted the many and various religions of Australia and elicited their co-operation to send him the beliefs and worship of their own religions.  Consequently, the information is very accurate ... which I know because he got us right. :D  Over the years I have found it very useful when coming across various religions in the field and I have been able to refer back to the book to find out what these ones have been taught, what they believe and how they worship. 

 

 

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