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"The place to be happy is here,

the time to be happy is now

and the way to be happy is to make others so."

----

"Happiness is the only good,

reason the only torch,

justice the only worship,

humanity the only religion

and love the only priest."



"Who can overestimate
the progress of the world
if all the money wasted
in superstition could be used
to elevate and civilize mankind?"



Robert G. Ingersoll ( 1833 - 1899 ),
son of a US Presbyterian minister

( and all the time & effort of so many people...)










-- Faith is the great cop-out,

the great excuse to
evade the need
to think and evaluate evidence.


Faith is belief in spite of,
even perhaps because of,
the lack of evidence.










Just recently I found that,
in nearby New Zealand,
at the time I was being guided
into the ministry,

a Presbyterian minister & theologian, Professor Rev. Sir Lloyd Geering was being tried for heresy.

During his church trial he claimed
that the remains of Jesus lay somewhere in Palestine

and that the resurrection had been wrongfully interpreted by churches
as a resuscitation of the body of Jesus.

He also rejected the notion that
God is a supernatural being who created
and continues to look over the world.










"I was born an Atheist.

All humans are born Atheists.

No baby born into the world
arrives with specific
religious beliefs or knowledge.


Such beliefs and knowledge
must be acquired,
which means that they must first exist before and apart from the new life


and that they must be presented to
and impressed on
the new suggestible mind

--one that has no critical apparatus

and no alternative views of its own.



Human infants are like sponges,
soaking up
(not completely uncritically,
but eagerly and effectively)
whatever is there to be soaked up
from their social environment.


Small children in particular
instinctively imitate the models
that they observe
in their childhood,

but I was not compelled to attend or practice any particular religion,
and as I grew I never saw any reason to 'convert' to any particular religion.


I have thus been an Atheist all my life.


I am a natural Atheist."


From the Introduction in
"Natural Atheism"
by David Eller Ph.D












Giordano Bruno ( 1546 - 1600 )
Burned at the stake by the church :

"The foolish renounce this world and pursue an imaginary world to come."


Michel de Montaigne ( 1533 - 1592 ):

"How many things
that were articles of faith yesterday

are fables today."
















"I want it so that every minister
will be not a parrot,

not an owl sitting upon a dead limb
of the tree of knowledge
and hooting the hoots that have been hooted for eighteen hundred years.

But I want it so that each one
can be an investigator,
a thinker;


and I want to make his congregation grand enough
so that they will not only allow
him to think,
but will demand that he shall think,

and give to them
the honest truth of his thought."


Robert G. Ingersoll ( 1833 - 1899 ),
son of a US Presbyterian minister







"Human beings are intelligent
and psychologically rich ...

We have much potential
which we can either use, misuse or squander.

There can be far reaching
ramifications
both in our mental lives
and in our interactions with others
when we take on a huge belief
system such as Christianity.

Many of us who are bought up to believe that Christianity is what the universe is all about
end up taking our religious beliefs
most ardently,
basing our personal,
interpersonal and
sometimes professional lives on this.

It makes a big difference to our lives
if Christianity is mistaken
and we take it as very seriously true.

It is therefore
worth examining our beliefs.


Some of us take up this challenge,
or are forced into it by noticing difficulties with the claims of Christianity.

We notice problems, think, read and often come to a startling conclusion.

There are many reasons why people leave Christianity,
but the most common reason
for a very serious Christian
to leave is through research.

Ironically this often happens when research is carried out in order be a better exponent of Christianity.

This happens to apologists,
theologians,
missionaries,
ministers,
fundamentalists and liberals.

The broad spectrum
from professional to
lay Christian of all Christian types..."

From
Leaving Christianity LINK






New reformation Leaving

this page, and my updates and interesting snippets on Twitter.

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"Time for another reformation :

From being "Sky - Daddy" centered to being centered on Humanity.

From concentrating on fables & old texts to facing facts & reality.

From worrying about displeasing an imaginary Almighty to eliminating the inhumanity of how some people have to live.

From seeing this life as a rehersal to living it now.

From being sheep led by a shepherd to being humans finding our way forward...."


- anon

---------------

For most ex-believers, leaving the faith's belief system means leaving the old faith community
& it's social networks, finding new friends, massively re-organising one's social life.
( I have some thoughts on that in leaving. )

There are some intriguing precedents where this was not neccessary.

-----

Most common were the cases where whole groups changed the nature of their religious belief,
to another set of religious beliefs.

This happened, of course, during the Reformation & with the establishment of the Church of England.

A number of Calvinist congregations in New England ( USA ) changed to Unitarianism.

Originally a Puritan Congregationalist congregation, First Parish,Concord, Massachusetts
( originating in 1636 ) evolved to Unitarianism during the 69-year pastorate
of Reverend Ezra Ripley ( minister 1778-1847 ).

In 1821 a group of congregants holding to trinitarian beliefs left First Parish to found Concord's Trinitarian Congregational Church.
In a spirit of harmony and concord, they were invited to meet for services in the First Parish meetinghouse until their new meetinghouse on the other side of the Mill Brook could be completed.


Today Unitarian Universalism is a covenantal rather than a doctrinal body:

instead of affirming that all members share the same beliefs,
they covenant ( promise together ) to support and respect one another in their lives.


This is obviously much better than forcing people to have to conform
- however tenuously - to some doctrine.

Time & effort are not wasted on constant re-interpretations & sophisticated wordplay.


-----

There are cases where religious congregations have moved to non-theism.

The Conway Hall Ethical Society http://www.conwayhall.org.uk/ethical-society
formerly South Place Ethical Society, in London, is thought to be the oldest
surviving freethought organisation in the world.

It began in 1793, as a group of nonconformists known as Philadelphian or Universalist Christians.
In 1888 the name of the Society was changed from South Place Religious Society
to South Place Ethical Society.


In California, Quakers formed a Humanist Society of Friends in the 1930s.

I noted at least one US Jewish group changed it's name to "...Community" from "...Congregation" because the earlier name was too associated with religion, which was no longer the emphasis.

-----

Professor Felix Adler ( 1851 - 1933 ) was the son of a New York Rabbi,
any idea of succeding his father as Rabbi finished when his first sermon made no mention of God.

He later founded the Ethical Culture congregations.

He wrote:

"In former times, when there was drought and famine in the land, men loaded the altars of the gods
with gifts intended to placate their anger, and to induce them to send the wished-for rain.

Today, in famine-stricken India, what is it that the wisest rulers of the country are intent upon ?
They are studing how to supply on a stupendous scale artificial irrigation,
how to increase the facilities of transportation,
how to uplift the peasantry by education,
so that they may be able to employ more effective methods of agriculture.

In former times, when the plague passed over Europe, mowing down its millions,
the churches were thronged with multitudes of worshippers
who besieged the Almighty to withdraw the fearful scourge.

Today when an invasion of cholera threatens a country, the Kochs and Pasteurs*
are busy in their laboratories,

seeking to discover the germs of the disease;
and rigorous sanitation is everywhere applied to deprive those germs of the congenial soil in which they flourish.

The conception of a Heavenly Father, interfering with the operations of Nature,
arose when the teachings of natural science were unknown.


These ( natural science ) teachings have been fruitful of substantial results.

The progress of mankind has been kept back for centuries
by the disposition to expect,
of ( from ) the love and kindness of Providence, ( ie. God - editor )
the benefits which, if obtainable at all, must be optained by human effort......"


....." From "The Religion of Duty" quoted in "A generation of religious progress",
commemorating the 21st aniversary of the Union of Ethical Societies. ( Watts & Co, London 1916 )



Louis Pasteur ( December 27, 1822 – September 28, 1895) was a French chemist and microbiologist.
He is remembered for his remarkable breakthroughs in the causes and preventions of disease.

He developed techniques of vaccination to control bacterial infection.
His discoveries reduced mortality from puerperal fever, and he created the first vaccine for rabies.
His experiments supported the germ theory of disease and led to the universal practice of surgical antisepsis.

He was best known to the general public for inventing a method to stop milk and wine from causing sickness,
a process that came to be called pasteurization.

He is regarded as one of the three main founders of microbiology, together with Ferdinand Cohn and Robert Koch.

Pasteur also made many discoveries in the field of chemistry.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Pasteur
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institute_Pasteur

Heinrich Hermann Robert Koch (11 December 1843 – 27 May 1910) was a German physician.
He became famous for isolating Bacillus anthracis (1877), the Tuberculosis bacillus (1882) and the Vibrio cholerae (1883) and for his development of Koch's postulates.
He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his tuberculosis findings in 1905.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Koch


---------

There is a risk of regression to old ideas if the church links are too strong.

I came across an instance when a supposedly very liberal church leader complained his congregation "didn't know the Bible well enough".
( Why should they bother? )

Personally I'd * prefer copying Humanist, Atheist, Freethinker, Rationalist, Ethical Society type groupings rather than attempting to graft Enlightenment onto existing religions.
Mix with people from these groups and study the writings on these subjects.

Some churches have distinct generational groupings - the older people could stick with whatever pleases them.

The younger youth & young marrieds, young adult groups could meet in the same church buildings
( for which their families have paid & which will be theirs' one day )
and explore a more rational form of "friendship" meetings.

( There is a risk that groups can become isolated, inward looking and self-referencing;
just as church groupings can be. )

Such get-togethers do not always have to copy a church format.
Speakers could be invited from University people and existing secular organizations.
Reviews of books & websites could be given.
The Conway Hall Ethical Society ( London ) has a long tradition of well-attended secular concerts during winter.
Videos & documentaries could be viewed.
Purely social & informal occasions are important.

You are limited only by your imagination - focus on a happy, enjoyable life for all.

http://humanisteducation.com/demo.html offers a free intoductionary online course
- you do not have to register.
I haven't read it but it could provide good information.
There are many websites.

A recent development, also in London but spreading elsewhere,
is an "Atheist Church", "Sunday Assemblies" http://sundayassembly.com

( Huge varitations in content and organizers' outlooks
might make some gatherings too much of a change
for your particular group's current / habitual mind-sets, of course;
yet an attitude of exploration could allow helpful ideas to develop.

* I am an International Lifetime member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation,
Freedom From Religion Foundation

and an Internet member of American Atheists.
American Atheists


----

More scholars & theologians are publicly sharing that their professional studies
show that the old religious ideas are in error.


There are some cases where a minister wants to stay in the ministry
but is not really a traditional believer.
She / he might be a helpful friend, mentor and group organiser and be very valued in that role.

( Many clergy and lay people make some "personal adjustments"
to the way their group has traditionally required doctrine to be viewed,

in order to be personally comfortable as they gain life experience,
read and think more comprehensively.

Some of my site pages touch on some of the key issues.
This : http://expreacher.com/shame.htm is a common one.

This one : http://expreacher.com/theology.htm raises an issue which most journalists
do not have the training to realize,
yet which should cause massive re-assessment in the honest observer. )


Thorkild Grosbøll is a former parish priest in the Church of Denmark.
In the early 2000s he achieved a lot of media attention in Denmark for publicly stating
that he does not believe in an interventionist creator God.

The parish community in Taarbæk stood by Thorkild Grosbøll.
There was an animated public debate, occasionally fuelled by statements from Grosbøll like:

"God belongs in the past.
He is actually so old fashioned that I am baffled by modern people believing in his existence.
I am thoroughly fed up with empty words about miracles and eternal life."

(Ude og Hjemme, week 24, 2005)

---------

Are these examples worth considering in your case ??

---------

The green sidebar on Very_Important.htm has some Bible verses that came as a shock
when I really thought about them,
yet I'd read the Bible from childhood,
as a theological student & as a minister
and had NOT really realised the implications.


This site has two lengthy Bible quotes on the page Jesus _died.htm here.
If you haven't already done so, please read ( or re-read )
"Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah!" in the side panel....


The dates I've highlighted in bold remind us that these are not new ideas.
The Information Age means we can not remain unaware of their validity.



Why do you emphasise that clergy have special responsibility ?


"Devout people are trained to rely on their priest / minister.

They are seen to be in a special relationship with the Divine.

They are thought to be experts in what they teach.


Any teacher of anything has an obligation to teach what is correct

& to be informed properly on the subject matter,

including facts that might cause thought & re-assessment."











" From the dawn of humanity,
there have been those who doubted the 'official religion'.

( Often privately,
since being sacrificed
to the local tar pit
or volcano
'Mountain God' / 'Holy Mountain' ;

being banished outside the town walls
to the garbage dump
or being "examined"
by The Inquisition"
had little appeal.)

With the rise of the printing press
more people recorded their doubts,
studies and assessments.

We live in a fortuitus time when the results of these studies
are freely available to anyone who decides to find them.

We have very many who are very happy being 'Good without God'."






"An Atheist loves himself and his fellow man instead of a god.
An Atheist knows that heaven is something for which we should work now
- here on earth - for all men together to enjoy.

An Atheist thinks that he can get no help through prayer
but that he must find in himself the inner conviction and strength
to meet life, to grapple with it, to subdue, and enjoy it.

An Atheist thinks that only in a knowledge of himself and a knowledge of his fellow man
can he find the understanding that will help to a life of fulfillment.
Therefore, he seeks to know himself and his fellow man rather than to know a god.


An Atheist knows that a hospital and a school
should be built instead of a church or mosque.
An Atheist knows that a deed must be done instead of a prayer said.



An Atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death.
He wants disease conquered, poverty vanquished, war eliminated.

He wants man to understand and love man.

He wants an ethical way of life.

He knows that we cannot rely on a god nor channel action into prayer
nor hope for an end to troubles in the hereafter.

He knows that we are our brother's keeper and keepers of our lives;
that we are responsible persons,
that the job is here and the time is now."










"El Credo falso"

"The Beliefs are false"






this page, and my updates and interesting snippets on Twitter.

Email Bookmark and Share Hover cursor over "SHARE" for 300+ social media options.
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