Sleepy Time Thought: 3/27/2012
So the Fat Smug Bastard called me last night to complain about atheists (he’s a Catholic) that were working for churches but had lost their faith (hence, their current status as atheists). They were unwilling to leave because it’s a paying gig and they were not in a financial position to become jobless. He felt that they were being dishonest and doing a disservice to their flock. His words were something to the effect of “They’re depriving these people of the magic because they do not believe.” Let’s skip over the poor word choice of “magic.” The FSB and I have had several conversations about religion, some of which peeled the paint from the walls. However, he has made it very clear to me on a number of occasions that I, and most atheists he know, are more “Christian” than many who proclaim to follow the faith; particularly religious conservatives who praise Jesus in one breath and cheer the death penalty and war against Muslims in the next.
In this particular instance I agree that those who have lost faith but still lead a congregation are, indeed, being dishonest. I do not agree, however, that they are depriving their followers of anything so long as they preach the message as they understand it. The “magic”, as the FSB puts it, is not for others to give or take. It’s inside of those who have faith. Actually, I believe that it is inside all of us, all the time. Some need (or think they need) religion to call it forth. Others have it twisted and distorted into something cruel and uncaring by religious extremists. Still others, like myself, do not need anything at all to call it forth other than a desire to make the world a better place, even if it is only by tapping away at a keyboard.
I believe in the teachings of Jesus that we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us. I believe that the poor and sick should be helped even if it is at our own expense. I believe that we should love our fellow man. I do not need to believe in the supernatural nature of Jesus in order to follow his teachings. I think those preachers/padres/whatever they may be that have lost their faith should be honest about their loss but at the same time, I think they could still deliver the message and minister to the spiritual needs of others even if they do not believe in the mystical aspects of it.
No matter what, it would still be better than these fanatics that preach hate and bigotry.
Sleep tight you filthy liberal scum!