Ask 100 clergy the reasons why they have lost their faith and you will likely get 100 different answers. But one thing they all have in common is that there is a place they can all go to discuss their reasons why in a new and (hopefully) inspirational search for the answers that their respective religions could not provide for them.
The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Science and Reason and the Freedom From Religion Foundation launched The Clergy Project earlier this year. It is a website devoted to helping clergy, rabbis, and other similar religious professionals who feel otherwise lost in a seeming emptiness of religouslessness. As per the recent report over at The Christian Post, the project is about 100 members strong at the moment and they are reaching out to try and encourage hundreds, if not thousands of other clergy from around the world who have experienced similar personal conflicts within their religious-based careers.
According to the article, there are currently only two testimonials are featured on the website. One is by “Lynn” who states: “I am an active Methodist pastor who is also an atheist.
“Every week I feel like a fraud. Every week I struggle with the fact that I’m lying when I stand before my congregation. I’m leading a double life. I do have an ‘exit strategy’ but it requires some time. Until then, I will continue to serve my church and fight the battle in my mind.”
Your heart has to go out to people like Lynn who are in the position of having to live a lie every single day. As I have said before on The SGU and in interviews, freedom is the bedrock upon which the foundations of science and skepticism are built. It is impossible to advance science and skepticism in societies, castes, and cultures when the freedom to express one’s self is prohibited or discouraged to the point of being ostracized from everything (and everyone) a person holds dear. When you do not have the freedom, or feel like you do not have the freedom to express yourself, it is a life of chains, tethers, and anchors. In my opinion, this is no way to spend our once-in-a-lifetime chance at … life.
I’ll encourage you all to go pay a visit to The Clergy Project, and to check them out on Facebook. These are people in need of help and support, and as good-hearted skeptics we should do everything we can to encourage and support people trying to make one of the most difficult transitions a person can possibly make.