on 3 May 2015
This book provided an excellent insight into religious professionals struggling with loss of faith. As an atheist interested in better understanding the phenomenon of religion, the interviews with a wide range of clergy, seminary professors and students. Most helpfully it highlighted the contrasts between literary and liberal interpretations of religious texts/doctrines, and how this impacts on individual beliefs. The book also suggests that the fact that there is a 'don't ask, don't tell' approach to doubt in faith may mean that there are probably many more people on both sides of the pulpit with significant concerns about their own faith (or lack of it) but without a forum to explore this without potentially exposing themselves to rejection in their communities. I've read Dennett, Hitchens, Dawkins and Sam Harris on religion, and I though this book gave a very different, and humane, insight into the nuances and practicalities of loss of faith from those most educated in theology. The fact, also brought out in the book, that in seminary classes the modern historical analysis of scripture demolishes preconceptions about the literal truth of the bible also demonstrates that the church conceals inconvenient truths from its flock - presumably concerned that if such realities were more widely known, the flock would disperse.
on 31 December 2013
All over the world there are preachers who are trapped in this position. After years of study and preaching it has dawned on them that religion is nonsense. But there they are with their home, relatives and almost all their friends and associates, and indeed their whole social structure dependent upon them professing their faith. It takes immense courage to break out. An organisation called The Clergy Project has identified hundreds, and that is just the tip of an iceberg. So sad.