Earlier this month, the Toronto Star reported on the United Church of Canada's announcement that one of their most popular ministers, Gretta Vosper, is "unsuitable to continue serving" the church and could be defrocked. Her crime? Vosper has declared herself an atheist she no longer believes in God. Despite this, she continues to preach every Sunday. In lieu of references to God, her messages from the pulpit invoke love, kindness and human connection. The well-liked pastor has been with the church for almost 20 years, and enjoys strong support. Although her congregation stands behind her, the church committee will have the final say in deciding her fate. Their decision is expected to be released in several weeks.
Vosper's defenders are concerned that reprimanding her may seriously halt discussion in the church about shifting beliefs. They think defrocking her may lead other pastors or laypeople who have doubts about their faith to simply stay silent thus bottling up their feelings instead of confronting them honestly. To this group, it would be counterintuitive to punish someone for expressing their true opinions at the pulpit.
Others demand that Vosper be removed immediately. They fear the consequences of letting an outspoken atheist preach from the Christian pulpit. In their mind, it severely undermines the church's message, and could negatively influence its membership going forward. If Vosper doesn't believe in God, they insist, she should leave and go start her own church.
Diversity of Beliefs
Of course, faith is a complex subject. Individual followers may identify with some aspects of their religion, but not with others. Although there are specific foundational doctrines of every faith, there exist plenty of nuances as well. It's fair to say that every congregation holds some diversity in its views, and that not every member completely supports every tenet of the faith.
It's also worth considering how beliefs can shift over time. All of us have changed our minds about something during our lifetimes. For certain people, that something is faith. Whether it be specific life experiences, an intense moment of clarity, or simply the course of time, there are many forces at work which can cause our beliefs to grow or evolve. As Gretta Vosper's story shows, even religious leaders are not immune to reaching a new understanding of their personal faith.
Vosper has made no secret about her changing faith. After joining the church way back in 1997, her beliefs gradually began to shift. In 2008, she published a book titled, "With or Without God: Why the Way We Live Is More Important Than What We Believe." In it, she identified herself as a non-theist. She then went on to publish a second book titled, "Amen: What Prayer Can Mean in a World Beyond Belief." It wasn't until she fully embraced atheism a few years ago that church leaders resolved that something must be done.
By nature, people trust and respect the leaders of their faith. These leaders guide the members of the congregation and help to shape their ideals and religious interpretations. In this sense, it's certainly possible that a pastor rejecting a basic tenet of the faith could create a negative ripple effect throughout the congregation. Interestingly, though, Gretta Vosper's congregation appears to be stronger and more united that ever. In fact, by all accounts, church members go to hear her sermons precisely because of the unique perspective they offer. Their support for Vosper is reflected in an online petition which now has well over 1,000 signatures.
The United Church of Canada is known for being open-minded and inclusive. However, Vosper admits to pushing the limits of the church's tolerance. Her progressive movement is not alone, though. According to the Toronto Star, there is currently a movement within the organization that seeks to put a greater emphasis on social justice and environmental causes.
Where's the Balance?
To what extent should the church and religion change to meet people where they are? Here in the United States, we're guaranteed religious freedom - but each religion has the ability to set rules for its members and its leadership. Some groups have chosen inclusivity. The Episcopal Church, for example, has made a complete change from the traditional, conservative Christian beliefs regarding same-sex marriage.
On the other hand, the United Methodist Church has fired ministers who are openly gay. They've even fired ministers simply for choosing to marry a same-sex couple. But those are just the publicized cases. Since pastors often step down before facing the possibility of being terminated, we have no way of knowing how frequently this happens.
A Question of Allegiance
Ultimately, religious leaders who no longer support tenets of their faith (or have changed their views entirely), must decide where their allegiance lies. Do they have a responsibility to suppress their true feelings and faithfully serve the church or are they morally obligated to listen to their hearts and act accordingly?
Change is never easy, especially if it's on a personal and spiritual level. But people change. Pastors change. It's a fact of life. This issue boils down to whether or not religious leaders should be allowed to question their faith without losing their ministry. Both sides of the argument present good cases, but we'd like to hear where you stand.
What should happen when a pastor, priest, imam, rabbi (or any other religious leader) changes their faith?
I think that she should voluntarily remove herself from the Church since she no longer believes in God and the people in her church will no longer be getting the support that they need to continue living a Godlike life. She is no longer helping her people.
Since churches are not much more than private clubs, I see no reason why the leader can't be removed, or for that matter, why she should be. It's up to the members to make that decision. After all, it's their club.
I think it should be a vote and if she wins she stays. If she loses she is not. Leave it up to the people.
The Church of Jesus Christ is not a club nor should it be...in the Bible (where the church should go to for all answers) the sheep never get together and tell the Shepard what to do...if she does not believe in God anymore she cannot teach in a Church who's foundation is God (we are built upon the Apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone)! The over Shepherds should not be afraid of what would happen to their congregation if they sit down a person they put up! The congregation is already split, she has poisoned them with her doctrine, a doctrine that's not after Christ Jesus!
Stated most eloquently and precisely... Thank You!
IMPORTANT NOTE: Dear ULC, what is going on here?
I just noticed my last reply appeared below, "Gladiola", and while I agree with some of her remarks, I do not believe the Bible is the "Unerringly Word of God" and therefore I do not believe it is "Where the Church should go for all answers"...
Regardless, I was not even replying to her comments in the first place.
Secondly, my reply was to DeAnna Tyree... And I clicked on the "Post Reply" button below her name, but that is (obviously), not where my reply ended up.
This has happened several times now!
Several of my direct replies are suddenly appearing below comments that I did not click on, and that I do not agree with, and on many of your BLOG Posts; thus making it appear I am agreeing with sentiments and statements that I do NOT agree with.
Please fix this!
No offense, but this is an archaically and out of touch post considering the actual facts of this case. As in everything else, life changes, as does reality. The Bibles themselves have been translated, transcript-ed, embellished, reduced subject to the whims and needs of Popes, Kings, Emperors, etc. Things change. Christ wasn't even "divine" until the Council of Nicea" ordered by the Roman Emperor Constantine tin an attempt to control the issue in the discrepancies in the Bible, etc. The end result is history. The changes in this modern world seen daily in the thousands of churches, synagogues, mosques, etc.cannot be ignored. That would be counterproductive. We evolve, religion evolves. Referencing the Bible is helpful but researching the history of religion is far more important and elucidating. Change is inevitable. We must seek a methodology to deal with all the changes that we see at this time and prepare for future changes. That's life, ever changing, never stagnant..
Much love and Oneness felt in your comment, Michael. I fully agree.
Very good answer. I could not agree more.
Thanks for your rational, intelligent input, Michael. It seems that most "Christians" that post here put a huge emphasis on belief (aka blind faith) and little to none on the history and veracity of their Bible. I have posted quite a number of challenges to those promoting beliefs as facts (and other assorted nonsense), usually without any response other than perhaps more scripture.
Hallelujah! I myself am an open philosophy Christian Minister as well as an an Alternative Faith practitioner who could be and has been judged harshly by others in the religious community (I've even had threats made against my safety), so this topic effects me personally. If one choses to 'look out side the box' there are many Faith/Belief systems outside of canonised Christian/Catholic doctrine which encourages and promotes 'Christian ethics' and good morals, but focus far less on God for example, Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoist, etc. These teachings of ethics, karma, and the 'right path' echo Christian thinking and enhance ones appreciation of it, if given the chance to. Whether or not this woman in question knows it, she is doing vital works on behalf of our Father. There are many who question their Faith. Who better to talk them through it than a Minister who is going through the same? At the end of the day what remains is the Godly message of love, unity and acceptance, of good morales and ethics not just preached but put into practice and that is what makes a difference in peoples lives. If the the attendees of this Church do not have a problem with it, why should I? So long as all are loved and all are treated as equal...
If someone calls ypu livestock, refuse to be a food animal for them.
You are not prey.
Stand up and be Men. Women get off your knees and STAND.
Bob, I would disagree with you. As leaders of Godly Faith it's our responsibility to guide God's children in His Word. To denounce God is blasphemy to him and deceptive to those seeking God's word. If she has changed her point of view that's her choice. However, to continue trying to guide Christians with her disbelief in God is sad-religious uninstall the Christian faith. Her views are her own. If she has chosen to disbelief then I feel it's privial for her to step down from a religion she can no longer stand by that will put those who do believe at risk for deceptive change in guidance. Church is NOT a social club, it's a religious sanctuary for those to worship him in fellowship with other believers. I do not disrupt others beliefs, however, I respect the Sanctity of every religions traditions, expectations, and sanctuaries. If Christians believe fellowship in a based sanctuary is important and tradition then we as leaders need to respect their traditions regardless of our choices of religion, sanctuary, or traditions. Period. Atheists don't have a congregation of Churches as they do not believe in that but they must have some form of fellowship meeting place to discuss their beliefs. It should be just as respected as churches to Christians. Period.
Why would a person wish to continue teaching something she or he no longer believes? How can the parish continue in faith when the minister has none?
Deanna you are so very Right
If your Jesus hadn't challenged the religious leaders, hierarchy and dogma of the time, the Christian religion wouldn't exist. Read Matthew 23. The reaction to his challenges and calls for reform was similar to what we can read here…. protecting traditions, dogma and authority.
Except that Christ was God in the flesh with God given authority for any and all the changes and not a simple human being denying the existence of God. Through Christ salvation was extended to those who were not God's original people (Jews) and as such it expresses God's great compassion and sincere love for all of His creatures. Also, it cleansed true faith from many of the man-made aspects. The two cases have nothing in common. The reformers who tried to get back to some of the original teachings and more recently the restoration movement have been somewhat similar to Christ's "reforms".
"Through Christ salvation was extended to those who were not God’s original people (Jews)"
Really? This is so wrong I don't even have words to respond. The Jews WERE God's chosen people. You must have missed the part about Jesus being a Jew.
You must have also missed the many examples of god's vengeful bloodlust, Ervin. Believing him/her/it to be compassionate and loving illustrates the delusion that can result from faith and belief (along with not reading the bible thoroughly).
There are many passages that clearly indicate that God and Jesus are two different entities….
Matthew 24:36 "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the Son, but the Father only." Here Jesus makes a distinction between what he knows and what the Father knows.
John 5:26 "For as the Father has life in Himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself." Jesus received his life from God. God received his life from no one. He is eternally self-existent.
John 5:19 "The Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees the Father doing, because whatever the Father does, the Son does also." Jesus declares that he is following a pattern laid down by God. He is expressing obedience to God.
Matthew 27:46 "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Inconceivable if he is God the Creator.
I agree..she should leave.. voluntary
I think the church should find a minister that believes in God for the health of the church
I agree with Reverend Paul our basic Foundation of belief is the foundation to our life and your kid's life I believe that there is a Supreme Being and he should be dealt with as respectful as possible so help me God
So it's healthier to cling to Bronze Age beliefs, dogma and church hierarchy than to address the doubts, concerns and questions many people have, Rev paul?
Are you ordained by the ULC or a different church to use the title "Rev"?
God is not a book written by men. In the oldest known writings Mary and Jesus are equals and a married couple, and that Judas died on the cross in his place so he could disappear with Mary. Peter is the fraud in the Christian faith. God is love not a book or a man. Even the Smithsonian Institute recognizes the fact that writings indicate a married couple. The bible you referred to was written in 300 and changed the story from one of equality and inner divinity to patriarchy and dependence on external guidance. To challenge the spirit of love as "god" instead of words written by men as god would be acting like "Christ" and not following the rules. My dad was forced out of the Episcopal church in the 70's for challenging aspects of the church that are now accepted. He became a UU minister and a humanist. Myself as an universalist I accept the aspect of love in all religions to be truth, the dogma and rules minutia. To be a church is to be open and inclusive, to be a private club exclusive and closed. To gender god as male is harmful to women, when children are told to always believe in him puts a girls word in doubt and a boys word supreme. Peter was a male supremist and was jealous of Mary. The Catholic and Orthodox churches derive their authority from Peter, King James (was gay)started and started the witch hunts that were in fact an attack on women. Mary,Jesus and Judas equals, Peter and Paul misogynists?
I believe she should resign as a United church minister, since a belief in Christ and God are fundamental to that group. She should then become ordained as a Universalist minister, and form a new congregation. Since she has a devoted following, this shouldn't be too hard. This would be the path I would take.
I think she should voluntarily leave the church. The church she belongs to is under the primary belief in God and the group is clearly exclusive to God as their ultimate leader. Together as the body under God the church accomplishes similar goals with the same beliefs. The body of the church is based on love, social justice, inclusive to those with similar beliefs working to better society. To divide and conquer the primary rock from which it stands breaks down the unity and power. If she lives her life under the umbrella of Love instead of God that is wonderful too but she will eventually realize that dividing and conquering is useless. She has the right to spread her similar beliefs under a different fundamental belief. I believe that building on the simiilarities of other religions whether it's Hindu, Islam,Christianity is much more productive than conquering and dividing. "God is Love and all who live in Love live in God".
I'm sorry. I thought this was the Universal Life Church, that didn't question a minister's theory before ordaining them. I am a Zen Buddhist and minister of this church since the Viet Nam War, when I joined with my husband to protect his decision to be a conscious objector (which he truly was) and so that I would be able to council young men who were facing a decision whether or not to refuse conscription.
Since then I became a Zen Buddhist, have been teaching a type of parenting is spiritual, leading meditation and teaching people that their very design created by evolution is holy, and it has its own internal guidance system, if you have no ego and are self-aware. My son turned out to be an atheist, because he had Christian friends who were petty and critical of his beliefs. He saw so much hypocrisy and intolerance in Christians that he continued thinking the way I think, but he called himself an atheist, because he thought the definitions humans had for God were petty, such as a God that likes to be prayed to and likes to challenge people to kill their kid to prove their loyalty. I left my church for a similar reason as a teen, because I was refuses absolution for confessing lethal anger (which I had no intention to act upon).
If this woman has a congregation, if she teaches values and self-reflection on a higher level than most Christian pastors, then God bless her. We need more honest spiritual leaders of substance who lack hypocrisy. I hate to hear that people sharing the privilege of this religion are now critical of ethical questioning in the name of higher values. If you stop espousing the invisible, you have to face the truth about the visible, including hypocrisy.
Well said. I love ministering to people, but the evidence strongly suggests there's no God.
Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Thank you for calling all the hypocrites out. Love one another no matter who they are or how the viewer sees them.
Agreed. The ULC has NO requirements of belief; that is, one's view of deity, or if there even is deity. Agreed. No argument there. However, the UCC has a foundational belief that there is a God. And clergy represent the group to which they belong. This is not about private belief, but public teaching. I rejoice that she still teaches great values and practices. Good for her (and may she be blessed in her journey). But for the sake of her own integrity, and the integrity of the UCC, I must conclude that it would be best if she formed her own congregation (not UCC), or became a Unitarian or whatever fits her newer stance. My opinion.
She is not working for the Universal Life Monastery. She is working for the United Church of Canada. If she has ministerial credentials from that organization and receives her paycheck from that organization, she should NOT be espousing atheism. It is absolutely her right to be atheist, but NOT to be a paid pastor in a nominally Christian church. It is hypocritical and cynical for an atheist to take money from Christians for being a pastor. The hierarchy of her church is grossly incompetent.
This is a Christian response........far more so that the bunch above. These are Christian values. Jesus would agree with you, and agree with her. Tunnel vision love and adoration is stifling. Real, vast, magnificent love and adoration is superior to petty requests, deeds. etc. So many "Christian" just don't get it. In this age of information, there is no excuse for ignorance. That is a choice.
yes i fully agree with drfaysenyder and fully support her/his comments, as a Moslum man said to me many years ago in Indonesia "There are many names for God, There are many ways to pray to your God but there is only one God and the way you believe in your God is within yourself and your beliefs/culture"
Go back and read the New Testament. Jesus never asked anyone to kill their children or act as most modern "Christians" do. We just won't do as we are told. St. Francis did, Saint Teresa did. We don't! If Jesus came back today, we would kill him again. Instead of following these examples, we pray to them and don't change our ways.
The article stated that the congregation appeared to be more in unity and stronger/as strong as previously. I think it may be hasty to conclude that the people in her church would no longer be getting the support they need to continue living a loving, compassionate, and "righteous" life.
I think Gretta should schedule an open meeting with the congregation, to discuss the situation and her position, field questions/comments from the congregation, and ask them what they would like to see happen, and whether they felt she should remain or resign.
They have already made their wishes clear - they want her to stay.
I agree that if a person who denies GODS existence does not need to lead a church the BIBLE plainly states if the blind lead the blind they both shall fall
The bible says a lot of things..many of them nonsensical and/or contradictory. If she preaches love and compassion she's doing her job.
Agreed my friend.
Has anyone read 'The secret in the Bible' by T. Bushby? I'm told it's fascinating.
The Bible teaches much more than love and compassion...it is the go to book of truth and if she does not believe in God, she is not teaching Jesus' truth! She is teaching man's carnal truth and that is clearly not truth.The only reason you think she is "doing her job" is because you think the Bible is filled with "nonsensical and contradictory things"!
Many "non-believers" are more familiar with the history of the Bible and the many contradictions it contains than Christians, Gladiola. It's the reason we're "non-believers" and do not believe it's the "go to book of truth". I encourage you to thoroughly read the information I've linked, and most importantly, to verify them yourself in your own Bible.
You cannot preach the word of GOD if you do not believe in GOD
I preach the deeds of man. You are free to follow any invisible deity you wish.
Why can an atheist not counsel religious people? Atheism is a religion and she has the ability to help others make important decisions and think and see both sides. Religious people do not have a lock on the ability to counsel.
Atheism is not a "religion", David.
I agree 110%
They should burn her at the stake (lol) You cannot minister The lord god almighty, or Jesus. if you don't believe. My feeling are if you don't you'll get one heck of supersize. My father was like that which helped strengthen my love for the Lord God Almighty. Personally. Only a fool doesn't believe So don't be a fool. They should ask her to leave and if she refuses !!!! restraining order !!!! May the Good Lord Bless your day
I agree with you 100 percent
I'm a little confused about the "supersize."
Here's the rub - her congregation doesn't want her to leave. She's not refusing anything - she's doing what she's been asked to do.
"Only a fool doesn’t believe So don’t be a fool,"
-Minister Thomas W Cornfield
“Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes. I personally resent it bitterly.” ― Isaac Asimov, The Roving Mind
“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” ― Philip K. Dick, I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon
“The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.” ― Neil deGrasse Tyson
“A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
“Tell people there's an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority will believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure.” ― George Carlin
“belief is the death of intelligence.” ― Robert Anton Wilson, Cosmic Trigger: Die letzten Geheimnisse der Illuminaten oder An den Grenzen des erweiterten Bewusstseins
“Religious doctrines … are all illusions, they do not admit of proof, and no one can be compelled to consider them as true or to believe in them.” ― Sigmund Freud, The Future of an Illusion
“It is from the Bible that man has learned cruelty, rapine, and murder; for the belief of a cruel God makes a cruel man.” ― Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason
I agree that she should voluntarily remove herself.
I agree since she no longer believes in god she can only hurt the church she should remove her self
When a person basis their teaching on a lie defining the fact that there is no God , is laying in dispute that quantum physics is a lie , We receive a message from the Divine our body redirects the truth that makes our body function .
How does the human body work without the source the Divine law
If you are an athiest then start a church with that idea as a topic of your church. Lets get back to realism and preach the holy Bible as written not a one person interpets. It. May God bless us all so we can find the right way his way no other. Amen. Pastor. Ed
Amen! Pastor Ed Pastor C. Chambers
Howard Masters: Have you researched how the "Bible" was "Written". How many "Gospels" there are and just how many are not included. How the choice of gospels, etc. were conducted, etc. History. Research. Belief if wonderful, knowledge makes it real. Simple words, transcribed, translated, by thousands of scribes, monks, etc. centuries after the death of Christ are suspect. One must research them oneself. Reality is not what it seems. Preaching and leading without this knowledge is inexcusable. It is choosing ignorance and leading others in the same direction. That is just not what Jesus wanted.
Excellent post, Michael. I've posted several lectures by Dr. Bart Ehrman, a well respected New Testament scholar who has devoted decades to studying extant manuscripts. You can find many of them on YouTube.
"If you can't stand questioning what you believe, then what good are your beliefs?" (from the tv show 'Lucifer', Season 2)
The thing about respecting your leaders is that respect must be earned, it cannot be given on command like training a circus dog. It's one thing to become a minister in a Church that you know doesn't advocate your values, but it's another thing to be a leader with ears that do not hear. It's a topic that, in a way, comes up rather often between Christians and non-Christians in America: if you don't agree with my religion, then you're not respecting me or my religion.
You don't have to agree with a person's argument, and you don't have to respect it if you don't agree with it. You can acknowledge the person's argument, if you wish to go that far, but that's the bare minimum to ask of anyone (or have anyone ask of you).
What Vosper's doing is just that: politely acknowledging and disagreeing with the United Church's leadership, while still doing her job of focusing on the message and not the messenger. You can be atheist, Muslim, Pagan, or any other non-Christian, and still practice Christ's teachings. It's very possible. In fact, it happens every day by 5.2 billion humans.
Imams would be seen as apostates, and rabbis... might get some flak for it.
You cannot be an atheist AND an ordained minister... agnostic perhaps, but not atheist. An atheist has declared that he or she has asked themselves the question "Does God exist?" and have answered it the negative - they have decided that, for them, God does not exist... so how then does that person then decide that they should be ordained under the eyes of a God that they firmly disbelieve in - that is called "Hypocrisy". Now, as a child, I believed in God, however, after a number of incidents that occurred in my life, I started to question my faith, to wonder if there really was a God... so I guess you can say that for a time, I was Agnostic - I was undecided... but I got my proof a few years ago that there must be a God, thus I decided to become ordained. Had I made up my mind that I didn't believe, then I would not have asked to be ordained. How can one become a servant of a God that one doesn't believe in? It just doesn't make any sense.
I believe you fail to understand where you are. Many of us here are ordained by the Universal Life Church and do not believe in a god, as there is no requirement to do so. We came to be ordained for many reasons, often because we wanted to be of service to our communities in performing various life rituals such as weddings, funerals, and others, for those who either do not have a church home, or do not subscribe to a traditional spiritual path.
I'm having difficulty in understanding this... the definition of being ordained with regards to theology, is to have had holy orders conferred upon you - so I'm having a difficult time negotiating the logic behind accepting that one has been ordained by a system that is purportedly governed by a deity that one does not believe exists... that logic simply doesn't compute... that, to me, is like saying I want coffee every morning but I don't believe coffee exists. Like the saying goes... you can't have your cake and eat it too... if you don't believe in God, how can you preside over religious ceremonies that would, for all intents and purposes, be patently false? I get it, we now live in a world where it is all inclusive, where people expect reward without risk or effort, but how can one say "I want to be blessed by or otherwise receive benefit from a deity in which I do not believe exists" - to me that is hypocrisy. I don't think there is any evil involved or any wrongdoing - but I do believe that it may be spiritually harmful to preach faith to others when you yourself have none... it is basically living a lie... but that's just my opinion which, counts for nought so I guess I've nothing more to say on the matter.
Very well put, Rev. Denyer...We must "practice what we preach." Lead by example. While Gretta Vosper shares her beliefs, they must not infringe upon the rights of those who believe to the contrary of her beliefs...if she is strong in her convictions she must do the right thing of standing on her convictions without disrupting the belief systems of others. When we try to force hands, we rob others of their freedoms, liberties and "free-will." Love and compassion inspires us to honor this gift of free-will without infringement...Ms. Vosper has already challenged the church with her beliefs...she does not need to convince them further by staying and splintering, and or division of a church which opened the door to her "voice." Love and compassion respects...love and compassion does not disrupt...love and compassion honors freedom of choice...in respecting the choices of others, Ms. Vosper would honor her beliefs, by continuing with them to the congregation who accepts her beliefs...in their own church or gathering place...being true to yourself does not include forcing the affirmations of others by passive challenges of their beliefs, in side by side preaching of contrary beliefs...Ms. Vosper would also look deeper into her teachings of love...Love invokes the power of choice...Love does not challenge.....
Thank You, to tell the truth I just don't see anyway around this whole congregation ending up in hell
Which church conferred your holy orders and gave you the title Rev, Miguel?
Many Christians and their various churches do not recognize ULC ordinations as bona fide because they're available to anyone and the list of available titles is substantial.
She didnt start iff as an Athiest, she later became Atheist but still preaches the Principals We should all focus on: How to treat others, to serve others, to live clean & without harm to others, To Love obe another as we wish to be Loved.
I have known a Atheist that live Christian values far more consistently than oroclaimed Christians..
And how do we know Gretta Vosper or Any Other Questioning Minister, Rabbi, Priest, ect wont then change their belief back to a God (or thee God) in time, just as you had changed your view from a non-believer to an Ordianed Believer.
It is up to that Church to decide whether Ms. Vosper stays or goes.
"You cannot be an atheist AND an ordained minister… agnostic perhaps, but not atheist" says capturedwilderness. Most of us here are ordained through the Universal Life Church. Some of us are, in fact, Atheists (which you have defined incorrectly).
Is your ordination through the ULC? If so, why are you surprised that there are "non-believers" on this site? If not, why are you here instead of the source of your ordination?
Growth. Problem is not knowing God therefore understand what you preach is His Son's words. The same sword will cut you. Faith is wisdom of the power of love.
Rev. Roe What is the job of a minister of the church? I feel it is to tell of the many wonders of God. There are many religions one might chose. I look at it this way. Draw a circle and place a dot in the center which stands for God. Place each religion around the circle, all with a goal of reaching the center. Regardless of our faith, are goals are all the same. Without God, what does one have to pass on to their members?
Interesting analogy. I always imagined just the opposite. All the religions of the earth are the dot in the middle and we are surrounded by God.
Each person comes to God by their own devices, and it isn't unusual for someone to doubt or Thomas wouldn't have. Belief and Faith often do not hold hands until a person recognizes the wonder of the Universe and God's role in it as the creator.
The job of a minister is to help his flock.......plain and simple.
As Gretta Vosper has made her decision to embrace Atheism, why does she expect to stay on as Pastor/Minister to the congregation? Is it for financial reasons, what ever it is she receives? The question is a legitimate one. Why? And, why would a congregation want someone preaching to them who no longer believes what they themselves believe?
Agreed. It is time for Gretta to seek another avenue for her ministry.
I've been following this case some. Greta stays because her congregation wants her to stay... She's been out about her beliefs for years. Many in her congregation believe as she does even before she came out, and since the word got out that she's an atheist minister leading humanist services, many came to her church specifically for that.
Her congregation feels that they all believe in common what's most important to them, and they've decided that the most important part is not belief in God. (The Unitarian Universalists, a faith that also doesn't require a belief in God like the ULC, have said for years "we need not think alike to love alike". For UU theists, loving one another is more important than any other person's belief in God. I mean, we work with and volunteer with people every day who do not believe as we do, and we have decided that's not important... What's important is what we have in common.)
Both she and her congregation feels that she has a lot to offer the world in terms of ministry that does not involve theism: inspiration to be a good person, guidance, hope in hard times, loving community for support & belonging, and a critical mass to go forth in the world and help create justice.
If all of her congregation agrees with her, and they are happy with her stance, that's cool... but they then need to drop their affiliation with the United Church of Canada. If the church plant belongs to the local congregation, no problem. If the church plant belongs to the denomination, then they have to move to another building.
Sounds like they want their cake and want to devour it, too.
Having read her defense that she gave to the UCC, I think she doesn't necessarily believe that her beliefs are wholly outside of UCC's beliefs, given that the UCC seems to have a lot of leeway for individual belief within the denomination. She seems to assert that she sees these tenets as metaphor... As important metaphor... And her belief in the power of the metaphor is what still qualifies her. (Not saying it does or doesn't one way or the other, but just trying to clarify.)
I believe she should leave voluntarily, at least long enough to seek out her own path, whatever that may be. She may be confirmed in her atheism, and that's fine, but if so, she needs to leave an organization that is FOUNDED on a belief in God. To stay there as an atheist makes as much sense as a Jew joining the American Nazi Party: the belief systems are totally in opposition. Yes, she may be a wonderful person. Yes, she may be much more moral than many Christians, but that does not make her a good representative nor an appropriate leader for a congregation of people who are worshipers of the God she denies.
As someone said, let her leave and found another church. Her supporters, if they are true to their support, will follow her to the new church. She could affiliate with the Church of Humanism, or the Humanist branch of the Unitarian Universalist Church, begin her ministry, and not be in conflict with the basic tenets of the organization.
I think the reason she wants to stay is because she'd like to see the UCC take a path much like the UUs did. They, too, were a Christian church (2 of them) at one point in time, and they slowly evolved into a free faith without a creed that allows atheism. Of course, at some point, some folks had to start the church down that path... They had to question from the pulpit, they had to come out. In essence, they had to do what she's doing.
I believe she sees herself as acting in the same manner, trying to start that process for the UCC.
The cries of outrage about Vosper seem similar to that of the Pharisees and their supporters about Jesus.
"What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either."
Read more here about "teachers of religious law"……
No I believe she should get an absence from church till we find out her situation. We all have fatual situations that make us blame God.we are only human and not perfect. The only human in history that was almost perfect was Jesus Christ. He walked the desert for forty days and nights fighting the devil. So u see it does take more than one day.I say her Bishop or religious leader get with her and find out if possible for her to come back to God,if not than she needs to give up her letter to church.
If Vosper doesn’t believe in God, she should leave and go start her own church. THAT IS THE ONLY SOLUTION
Or join another church or organization that already exists that doesn't require a belief in God. And her congregation has already done that, even before the UCC ruling... They joined the Oasis Network.
Thus speaks Eric in capital letters!
At least it's not another FINAL SOLUTION
If we agree that God is love, and God is within all people, and she teaches love and human connection, isn't she teaching God's new covenant? Is dogma the stumbling block here? Is she not teaching the lesson of loving thy neighbor as thyself? Isn't that what Jesus said is the new covenent? God is not a finite thing, but an event. However if her congregation is wanting dogma, perhaps she should move on and teach to those who have ears to hear. IMHO
As Ralph Waldo Emerson said in his journals, ". . . in order to be a good minister it was necessary to leave the ministry." What he meant is precisely what you're referring to. When dogma becomes more important than mystery, when a church claims to have all the answers, when spirituality is defined by limits rather than possibilities, vanity and intolerance follow.
It sounds like she's been effectively leading this congregation for nearly 20 years as her own beliefs evolved. According to the article she has strong support within her congregation. According to the article, she "fully embraced atheism" a few years ago - and continued to effectively lead her congregation.
Is the messenger more important than the message? It sounds like the message she preaches is one that resonates with her congregants - not sure I see the problem.
As for drawing a circle and placing a dot in it, not all religions worship a god. Some are without a diety, some have more than one.
There's a place for everyone - and she seems to have found hers.
I think their church does believe in God. I think it's a conflict for her. I don't think it's honest and authentic for someone who doesn't believe at all, not at all, to say things they truly don't believe. It's not fair or fruitful for the parishioners and that is who should be considered most here. She should be asked to speak from time to time as she has positive messages to share. But as an employer, the church shouldn't have someone who is faking it simply because they have other things to share. It's a church, they have a belief system, their ministers should work within the confines of their church beliefs.
Can you elaborate on what you believe she said that she didn't believe? I read the article several times and all I could find was honesty and authenticity. Didn't see anything anywhere that suggested she was "faking it." What did I miss?
Amen to that Followers of Jesus To love
I'll guess the universalist church would have a place for her or she can start her own thing like thousands of of other Sunday morning speakers, carry on weddings and funerals, etc.
What is wrong here? Perhaps this is a chance for the congregation to find in their hearts and minds a way to embrace questioning. A chance to journey along an other path. Perhaps, this is the point of her actions. This is a chance to take faith out if the theoretical and into the practical. For all those involved. Isn't this a situation we can all identify with? Speaking out of my own spiritual journey I've been better for constant examination. I say, let her lead us all in coming to an understanding of faith and God.
I can certainly identify. I have been at both ends of the spectrum many times during my life. Still searching.
I understand your reply and agree with what you say for yourself and others, but the job of a minister in a church, and it is a job, is to spread the message put forth by the institution. It would be ok for a minister to raise topics that question all kinds of things including if there's a God. But this minister has declared being an atheist which means she can't sincerely represent this church and bring something to the parishioners, specifically the message of God when she firmly believes there isn't one. I think she should be invited to speak her loving messages though.
If it is a Christian Church then it should be a God and Christ believing person pastoring it. If the congregation wants her to stay, then they are no longer a church. Very sad, but we all are entitled to choose our path.
Excellent post, Pastor P!! Without constant examination; dogma, superstition and bigotry replace rational thinking, basic morality, and conscience.
The only Faith leader that I personally need is the holy spirit. When in doubt go with out but not ever without the holy spirit.?
GOD made religion, MAN made churches. For those on their own journey it matters not who pretends to lead us. Stay or go, will make no difference.
Dont remember ever reading about god coming down from the clouds to make religion. Some dudes just said god spoke to them. Now days thats called schizophrenia
The very fact (or faith) of God's existence creates religion whether or not you remember it.
The fact you believe God lives in the clouds constitutes a religion, Deny it if you like
I disagree with your statement that God made religion... I believe MAN made religion. if you read the bible it clearly says that the church is made of the PEOPLE. so it doesn't have to be a brick and mortar place. it could be under a tree as long as the believers of the bible are congregated there to worship him. all the different religions and their rules are not necessarily of God. I believe that man made up these rules. all God wants is for us to love and worship him and for us to love one another as Jesus loved us. none of the rituals that go along with individual religions. just my opinion and belief.
Assuming the title of her first book, “With or Without God: Why the Way We Live Is More Important Than What We Believe" accurately describes Volper's mindset, it seems like the issue is more about church hierarchy and dogma than what she preaches. The article indicates that her message continues to be well received by her congregation.
"In lieu of references to God, her messages from the pulpit invoke love, kindness and human connection". I have posed this issue a number of times as the biblical God is portrayed as far from loving, kind and forgiving. Christ is the namesake of the Christian religion and yet many Christians continuously refer to the barbarism of the Old Testament, rather than the teachings of their proclaimed Saviour, for moral guidance. It seems as though Vosper is focusing on the message of Jesus, not Moses and the OT, which is laudable.
Equally important is the definition of Atheism, which is commonly misunderstood, particularly by theist believers.
"Simply put, atheism means the absence of theistic belief. That's it. It doesn't mean anything else. Atheism is not a religion, a philosophy, a worldview, or anything similar. It is not the conviction that there are no gods, ghosts, angels, etc. Rather, it is the absence of a belief that these things are real...Atheism is nothing more than the lack of belief in a god or gods."
The only common thread that ties all atheists together is a lack of belief in gods and supernatural beings.
One only need to grasp the diversity of Christian denominations to understand how man made doctrine, dogma and hierarchy have fractured Christianity over the centuries, often pitting one against the other with horrific results.
Thank you for the needed clarification. I had to chuckle at the comments suggesting she "start her own church."
She must have read the bible. I know heaps of christians who decided its all a load of bull once they got around to reading and trying to understand all the compromised teachings of the multiple versions. Doesnt happen as much in islam cos nothing has changed since they have been torturing and killing off homosexuals, non virgin women and avoiding pork cos they once had no idea how to cook it without getting worms. Also they preach that it is the biggest sin ever to convert. Personally i have a lot of respect for her doing what she is doing. Showing that we no longer need to be governed by religion to be peaceful. In fact a world full of athiests would be much safer. war would only be between right and wrong instead of being between 2 religions with a difference of opinion. Also any alteria motive for war would be much easier to see if we weren't blinded by hate between religions. 2 thumbs up Gretta. Welcome to the new world of unforced love, respect and tollerence among all earths living beings. Peace ?
With all do respect it is time for Gretta to Go! This issue has nothing to do with religion. In America we are free to join clubs, groups, associations with like minded people to support, share beliefs, values, genders, skills whatever etc.....We have men's groups, women's groups, AA, car clubs, Scouts, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, I am sure there is a group for any interest and that's okay! Think how silly it would be if Gretta stood in front of an Atheist group and said I have a right to preach and I want to belong but I have one problem, I have a strong faith in God! Why wouldn't Gretta surround herself with her mew interest in life! Who knows maybe one day she would change her mind again I'm sure she would be welcomed back! After all that's what God does!
I think that she would serve better by being an invited guest from time to time preaching her positive message. As for leading the church, there's a most definite conflict, and dogma is a factor in church and people are not just listening to messages about love, but also the concept and understanding of God and His word according to this church. She should resign and recreate another kind of relationship with this church so it can be something good with no unnecessary loss or negativity. There are other places she can go to or create on her own to spread her specific beliefs and messages. A Rabbi has messages of love for humanity but he wouldn't lead a church due to conflicting beliefs, therefore, she must step down due to significant conflicting beliefs.
Rabbis don't ever lead Churches, but synagogues or temples, Jeanie
I have no problem with this lady being an atheist pastor. Sounds like she has a pretty incredible message that she presents; I'd like to hear one of her sermons. However, according to the UCC website: 'United Church ministers are required to be in "essential agreement" with the 20 Articles of Faith set out in The Basis of Union.'
If she does not subscribe to the most basic tenet of the church's belief -- a belief in "the one only living and true God" (Article I of the Basis of Union) -- then she ought not claim to represent them. If I, for example, went into an Arby's restaurant, I'd be pretty upset if all they offered were Chicken McNuggets, Quarter Pounders, and Big Macs -- false advertising, you know.
If her congregation really likes her that well, they ought to vote to leave UCC and go independent or something. I would wish them all the luck in the world with that. (And if she needs some sort of church backing to give her credibility, I've heard there's a church or Monastery or something that'll ordain you online . . .)
i like the way you stated your comment, & i agree. if one claims the title, rights, and privliges of a group then they must adhear to said groups rules. i see no reason for discussion, she must go set up her own worship center and those who agree with will follow.
Actually, her congregation has already voted to become part of the Oasis Network (of secular humanist congregations) in case the above decision happened.
And her answers to essential agreement were given in a long defense before a UCC board and can be read on her website, including how she defines God. They didn't just find out she was an atheist and kick her out. There was procedure. (But the article above doesn't really go into that.)
It seems as though the United Church of Canada is more progressive than many other denominations. The following is directly from their website…
"Jesus welcomed everyone, whether they were poor, rich, or just getting by; ill or healthy; self-made or educated; popular or a loner; secure or full of doubts."
"The United Church of Canada prides itself on welcoming everyone the way Jesus did, regardless of age, race, class, gender, orientation, or physical ability."
"The United Church celebrates the marriage of
same-sex couples previously divorced people couples of different religions all people who believe in Jesus Christ and want to live faithful to his way"
"God is greater still and works in our world by a mysterious Spirit that knows no distinction at the doorway of a Christian chapel; Buddhist, Hindu, or Sikh temple; Aboriginal sweat lodge, Muslim mosque, or Jewish synagogue."
"Today, difference is everywhere around us and, we believe, a great cause for celebration."
"Caring for one another was central to Jesus' teachings: Feed the hungry, satisfy the thirsty, shelter the homeless, clothe the naked, care for the sick, visit those in prison."
"There are no restrictions on gender, sexual orientation, age, or marital status for any branches of ministry" Wikipedia
"Remembering that Jesus was reported to have welcomed tax collectors, prostitutes and other "undesirables" to his table, the church attempts to welcome everyone, regardless of age, race, class, gender, sexual orientation, or physical ability. In the same manner, there is also no restriction on those interested in entering ministry". Source: Wikipedia
"The church believes that there are many paths to God. The United Church's path is through Jesus Christ, but the church also recognizes that Christians' understanding of this is limited by an incomplete comprehension of God; their belief is that the Holy Spirit of God is also at work through other non-Christian faiths." Source: Wikipedia
This last statement seems to sum up the controversy. "An incomplete comprehension of God" is not incompatible with Atheism, particularly in it's mildest form. Her focus on the teaching of Jesus (love, kindness, human connection) rather than a strict adherence to church dogma and hierarchy may be the source of the conflict.
As the UCC allows gay marriage and clergy, as opposed to many other Christian denominations who choose to condemn it, now would be a good time to honestly and openly explore whether beliefs and dogma are more important than how we treat our fellow human beings. In this case, it's based on the teaching of Jesus, not Moses or the biblical God that many people find abhorrent and barbaric.
As stated on their website… "Today, difference is everywhere around us and, we believe, a great cause for celebration." The UCC can either use this opportunity to continue to celebrate and embrace differences or allow it to be divisive and controversial. This decision also applies to her congregation.
"Ecclesia" refers to 'the work of the community'. This is about how the community lives together and what they do together. From one perspective, if the congregation is in its actions, then if the congregation is living better, the pastor is effective. If it is truly 'inclusive' of all beliefs, then that reasonably includes welcoming, affirming, and celebrating humanistic views and even those with no god equally.
The pastor's responsibility is simply to guide and protect the flock, not dictate what the flock is to think, or believe. Belief is a subjective experience. The problem with the American Christian experience is that the congregants attend worship for selfish and self-centered reasons. Most Christians in America want to leave feeling affirmed in their materialistic lavish lifestyles, uplifted and somehow ‘sanctified’ (superior) about their scapegoating (criticizing another to feel better about themselves). That’s why their ‘mega-temples’ clearly reflect their misunderstandings of the ministries of an ancient messianic prophet/teacher/rabbi their scriptures refer to as Yoshua Ben Yosef. From the brief accounts available, reason alone suggests the man they call Jesus was strongly opposed to religion.
A pastor/minister could easily take scripture – IN CONTEXT – and rationally use it for inspiration, from the perspective that ‘the ancients believed …’.
In organized religion, especially in the US, one might easily argue the proverbial 'wolves' have infiltrated and are sabotaging the actual gospel, for personal gain and power.
Awkward ... "From one perspective, if the congregation is in its actions, then if the congregation is living better, the pastor is effective" should read, "From one perspective, if the congregation is charitable and altruistic in its actions, and if the congregation is living better collaboratively, then the pastor is effective."
(Wish I would have proofed a little better, sorry.)
I think that if she is still teaching love and kindness and "do no harm" then who are we to judge her spirituality and beliefs? In fact, who are we to judge her at all??? If her congregation supports her then where is the harm in any of this??? Love sent!!!
I believe that being a Methodist, Catholic, Anglican is only a label almost like saying I'm a Rotarian. If her godliness is the same a goodliness then her god whether it be Christian, or something similar to that of First Nations, or Aboriginals who are we to condemn a person who preaches love, care and goodliness. The God of all faiths has enough worries about wars, disease, and corruption that such a minor incident is not worthy of being smote by a bolt of lightning or a severe proverbial kick up the tail end. It is the grumpy self serving church elders who are the cause of more people attending football games than going to church. Frankly I don't want to hear that I'm a sinner as do a lot of others, many want to hear the good news and all of us are capable of being good news creators.
Great comment, Brian!! Very few, if any, Christians would be able to clearly explain why the Christian denomination they've chosen from the thousands available is the "right one". However, many are quick to denounce "non-believers" as sinners and unworthy of the "God of all faiths" (as you eloquently put it).
If she doesn't believe in God she need to leave.she is preaching something she didn't believe.
Don't really understand how you can be a leader in an organization that iis predicated on the belief in God if you don't have that belief! This iis not to say that changing your belief is wrong. We are all free to believe whatever we want. But you could not be a general if you did not agree with war,nor could you coach football iif you did not believe iin tackling. For certain positions, there are requirements for leadership. This woman could start her own group of atheists and let the church move on as it should but there is no way I can see for her to continue in a Christian setting while countermanding the prime Christian belief!
You mean you can't see her continuing as your pastor, or in your understanding of your Christian beliefs, right?
Telling people how and what to believe is antithetical to the concept of a personal experience with the Divine, or any deity. Congregation is defined by what we do together, not by what any one member thinks. We are not automatons.
The strength of any organized religion is the 'ecclesia' ('assembly'), which was a Greek concept long before it was 'Christian'. As reason leads some to more humanistic or even atheistic beliefs, and if the congregation supports and embraces that leader, then her assembly is still an effectual congregation.
I applaud her ability to apply reason and use the ancient Christian tales and concepts - in context - to strengthen and build the community around her.
Bravo, J Coop-Klamer!! Unfortunately, religious dogma, tradition and adherence to Bronze Age beliefs does require the participation of automatons and the suppression of reason and rational thought. Fortunately, most of us are now able to question dogma and beliefs presented as facts without the traditional and barbaric punishments for heresy.
Thank you for your thoughtful, well written posts. I look forward to reading more in the future.
I enjoy your perspectives too, Bro John! I've been trying to follow you either by WP or on the ULC Minister's Network and can't find you. Would enjoy reading your insights into other issues and would enjoy seeing notifications of your posts. Keep the reality flowing! Pax et bonum!
You can't teach someone about something you don't believe. How can you fully sympathize with someone when you think their belief can't be true as an atheist would? You don't bellies my doctrine or my faith but yet you can stand before me and minister to me? No. if I don't believe in music theory, how can I fully teach you music?
Not all Christian beliefs can be cookie cutter formed and packaged, then sold as the only 'Christian' belief system. There are Christians who prefer to think for ourselves, and some even question what other self-appointed/self-professed authorities tell their congregants to believe.
Perhaps your comments would be more founded from a first person perspective. ("I can't teach someone about something I don't believe ...") From my perspective and the few details, she is offering her perspective to an already established and active community which accepts her wisdom and guidance. Therefore, if her reason and more humanistic approach is strengthening an already inclusive community, then I would argue she is quite an effective pastor of a congregation.
Thank you for your rational, thoughtful comments, J Coop-Klamer.
Early Christians were treated as far more radical than Vosper. It's ironic that Christians would disparage her enlightened and progressive approach in light of their namesake's legacy of challenging the establishment and hierarchy of the day.
This is ridiculous. You can't be a minister of the non-existent god. You certainly can't draw a paycheck from an organization which claims to serve a real One if you don't believe in the real One. In danger of being defrocked? Get out! Her FROCK should have been yanked at the first inkling of this.
There are tens of thousands of ministers of a non-existent god, John Owens.
Not in THAT church, Bro. The building and the assets belong to that church. She has no business in it as more than a visitor.
An Atheist wants to stay in a pulpit, and Christians wonder whether or not this is a thing that should be. This is the single craziest thing I've heard of in some time.
As long as she can keep supporting the congregation and teaching the religion without prejudice I don't see why not. People in respected religious positions change or loose and find whatever version of God they held all the time. Now if she begins to demand there is no God then yes, she should remove herself.
Perhaps she should step down from the pulpit, but stay within her congregration for support.
God works in many ways.
ABSOLUTELY, YES. SHE CAN CONTINUE.
SHE HAS THE GOD GIVEN RIGHT EVEN AS AN ATHEIST!
NEVERTHELESS, IT'LL HAVE TO BE IN HER OWN SAND BOX BECAUSE THEY DON'T WANT HER IN THEIRS. THEY HAVE RIGHTS TOO,
John 20:29. Thomas replied, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen, and [yet] have believed.” 1 Peter 1:8 Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and rejoice with an inexpressible and glorious joy,
Who are "THEY", DrRG? Her congregation or the church hierarchy?
She should voluntarily step down so that those who are continuing in the faith can be spiritual fed from a place of joint belief in God. She & whomever of her followers can meet on their own, but not on the Church's time or dime--because im sure she's holding a paid position in the church.
She should willingly leave a foundation addressed to God, without coercion appearing to be a hidden agenda. If she has enough followers, then she already has her own church. It's all about going where the path leads, not confusing those seeking where they were told they could find what they were looking for, only to be straddled with a confusion. With books that employ the idea that religion is not lead by God, and that God is imaginary, she shouldn't lead a Christian body. Truth is power, Love is what life is about, but don't lead what you don't believe in.
I'd like to add my two cents:
Someone who questions their faith and who is undecided in what they believe or whether or not God exists, is called an Agnostic. However, someone who declares themselves "Atheist" have made the decision that for them at least, there is no such thing as deity - for them, God does not exist. So, for an atheist to hold a position as an ordained minister, that is the height of hypocrisy - how you one hold a position within a system that, for them simply doesn't exist? Worse still, is a person who uses the faith of others purely for financial gain - such mercenary behavior should be frowned upon by the church - holding a position of trust (yes, as ordained ministers, we are trusted with the faith of those in our flock) purely for financial gain, is both hypocritical and mercenary and should definitely not be allowed. There comes a time when trying to take the politically correct stance simply won't do and one must call it for what it is.
If Vosper has declared herself Atheist, then she is not "questioning her faith", rather she is declaring herself devoid of faith and should therefore stand down.
One can have faith without a God. They're separate concepts. She's not devoid of faith, simply of a God. She has a very strong faith in things that aren't God. She believes in goodness, kindness, love, compassion, acceptance, diversity, justice. And it's her faith & her desire to serve the people that leads her to be a minister, not merely financial gain. (There are far better and easier ways to make money than being a minister in this style of church. It's not like a televised megachurch preaching a prosperity gospel & taking money from people.)
In fact, the very church that hosts this website does not require belief in God and has many atheist ministers. And the Unitarian Universalists do not require a belief in God of their laity or their ministers. And there are many secular humanist organizations who have leaders as well (although many do not identify with the word "faith" or "minister" and choose other words instead.)
As I said in response to another comment on here: I'm having difficulty in understanding this... the definition of being ordained with regards to theology, is to have had holy orders conferred upon you - so I'm having a difficult time negotiating the logic behind accepting that one has been ordained by a system that is purportedly governed by a deity that one does not believe exists... that logic simply doesn't compute... that, to me, is like saying I want coffee every morning but I don't believe coffee exists. Like the saying goes... you can't have your cake and eat it too... if you don't believe in God, how can you preside over religious ceremonies that would, for all intents and purposes, be patently false? I get it, we now live in a world where it is all inclusive, where people expect reward without risk or effort, but how can one say "I want to be blessed by or otherwise receive benefit from a deity in which I do not believe exists" - to me that is hypocrisy. I don't think there is any evil involved or any wrongdoing - but I do believe that it may be spiritually harmful to preach faith to others when you yourself have none... it is basically living a lie... but that's just my opinion which, counts for nought so I guess I've nothing more to say on the matter.
I can only assume you didn't read the article, as none of your objections actually exist.
Couldn't agree more!
Odly... My post seems to have moved. I was agreeing with Rev. Miguel Denyer!
...That is "Oddly"!!!
What entity conferred your "holy orders", Rev. Miguel?
I am an atheist and was ordained by the ULC and am not alone in this. Contrary to what you've said, we can "preside over religious ceremonies". Your concept of atheism may be incorrect. There's a big difference between lacking belief in a god, and denying that any god exists.
You're also off base by inferring that Vosper has no faith.
BTW… I appreciate your humility in stating that your post is only your opinion.
How does this work? Because there are people who understand a concept of holiness that doesn't come from a deity(ies). Once you separate the concept of religion from god, many things are possible.
I'm not saying you should believe, but simply imagine if possible... if something could be sacred or holy, not because it was ordained or created so by a deity, but because it simply IS that way. Or evolved that way. Or proves itself to be by its fruits. How can we tell it's holy? It's something that transcends humanity, something Good, something that contributes in a positive manner. Something that brings about peace & love for our fellow humans and/or the Earth and/or the universe we live in. Something that unites us, that makes this life, this world a better place. These things can exist without a deity saying "This is Good, this is Bad." If you can imagine such a thing, then you have the key to understanding religion without a deity.
RE: religious ceremonies, they don't have to be false. If said religious ceremonies don't invoke a deity, ask for blessings from a deity, or in any way involve a deity, then they're not false to a person who doesn't believe in a deity.
RE: blessings. She doesn't ask for or give blessings from a deity. Once again, you're hung up on these concepts that you assume require a deity when they do not. Or that she does everything that traditional religion does. You can ask another person for their blessing. (Like if someone asks a parent for their blessing for marrying said parent's child.) You can ask the community for its blessing. And you can give you blessing or give a community's blessing on something. Alternatively, you can say "if anything exists out there that can bless me, I would like its blessing". (Note: I don't think she does that, but it's a possibility.)
re: spiritually harmful preaching a faith when she has none. As stated before, she has a faith. It simply doesn't involve a deity. She believes in love, goodness, trust, relationships, peace, and many other things. She has faith that those things will make a better world. This is the faith she preaches. She does not preach any faith she doesn't believe in. She doesn't preach traditional Christianity.
There are a number of religions that don't have or require a deity(ies). Some (common) forms of Buddhism, for example, do not treat the Buddha as a god, but rather as a human guide. But no one tell them that they can't be a religion. Naturalistic Paganism, Spiritual Naturalism, some forms of Religious Humanism, Humanistic Judaism, even Nontheistic Quakerism... these all are either considered religions or could be considered religions if they wanted to be... and yet they are all non-theistic.
Try to separate the concepts of religion and holiness from a deity and you can understand how this works more. (I'm not saying you have to believe in it for yourself, just try to understand how it works for others.)
Devoid of faith equals devoid of God to you it seems, Miguel. There may be ways to prove this. But just asserting it isn't sufficient.
Rev. Catherine Paxton It cannot be all inclusive when it comes to this for many reasons. While she seems to have the respect and love of her congregation, I believe she cannot serve in the same capacity. Perhaps she could start a Humanist Center where she can continue her word and help many others who struggle...struggle even with the word "church". Love, above all else, would be just what many need now. Personally, I wonder how a person who has believed in God, or the Universe...different names.... changes their mind. Curious to me.
God, the Universe, apples, oranges. I ceased to believe in any god decades ago, as a fiction created by men. The Universe exists. It is visible. It is provable by science.
In the same way that children believe in Santa and the Easter Bunny, ceasing to believe in a god is really easy.
Concise, accurate and rational, hsw.
In my opinion she should leave also. How can you minister to a flock if you don't believe. Start your own congregation based on what you do not believe.
After 20+ years of active Christian ministry, I definitely relate with Gretta Vosper's faith evolution. My philosophy and theology studies have exposed me to reality, and have taken the magic and mysticism, common among the ancients, completely out of my thinking. Today, I identify as an apostate and militant agnostic. "I don't know, and you don't either." From one perspective, organized religion, particularly in the US is about power and politics. So, I've decided I'm done with any organized religion, and think I am a better person for it.
The Catholic Church teaches there is no physical Hell, no eternal torment, and the events of The Revelation are about events which have already taken place (1st Century Jerusalem), not prophetical horrors yet to come. Since the Christian Bible, in its present from, comes directly from their work and various councils, I respect their understanding and authority on the textual development and authority.
If there is no Hell, then there is nothing to fear when I go to sleep, and no death bed conversion is necessary. We have no need to frighten the children into being good with those scary stories any longer.
As I started paying more attention to the red-lettered words, instead of what I was being told to believe, I understood the ministry of an ancient, radical rabbi referred to as Yoshua Ben Yosef, was to bring awareness to the suffering in those around me, while exposing the hypocrisy of organized religion. From my understanding and experience, it doesn't take any god or deity to feel compassion and to do a little good for others.
I firmly believe, if the congregation is inspired to live better together, and her use (or non-use) of the ancient tales - in context - challenge each other to do good in the community around them, then Vosper is an effective pastor and deserves to remain in her office/position.
You make an excellent and often overlooked point, JC-K. The Bible was compiled and edited by the early Catholic Church. PROTESTantism (and the thousands of denominations it spawned) didn't appear until centuries later.
my view is the she needs to be preached counseled and know WHOM she is serving. 1John 2:22- 23, Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the Anti-christ--denying the Father and the Son. 23. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.She is Anti-Christ. You can't give what you don't have.
I feel that she should voluntarily remove herself. A pastor is a teacher, just as a rabbi, or high priestess or high priest. How can she teach what she does not believe? I am a eclectic Wiccan priest and would never consider being the pastor of a Christian church or the rabbi of a synagogue. She should respect the beliefs of the congregation and leave.
The congregation wants her to stay.
Then her church is already formed. Her association with the UCC is largely a political arrangement. Render unto Caesar ....
Better an amicable separation than strife that foments ill will.
So let it be, and go in peace.
Jesus bin Joseph went through this, and his new path changed the world.
This is not a difficult issue. A Pastor,a by his very nature, operates in a belief framework. A Catholic priest operates in one, the Baptist minister operates in another, and the Buddhist priest in yet another. The "church" is the association of those faithful who believe in and share that framework. When the Pastor can no longer accept the framework in which he functions, only one thing happens: a schism occurs, with the resultant conflict.
It is not the individual's personal belief that is in question, but whether the church as a whole suffers or benefits from the conflict. Martin Luther's conflict with the practices of the Church are instructive here, as is the entire Protestant reform movement.
The roads to salvation/understanding are many, and some are more narrow than others. She should create and walk her own path, accompanied by those who choose to follow, rather than try to make others accept her redefining of their faith.
It is written: In my father's house there are many mansions.
Amen to that
No woman is to hold the title. Read the Bible. She can share the word spead the word and belive. But not be a Reverend or Pastor or teach Its a sad days that so many take the bible for profit $$. You don't just give your time and heart to My Lord. If thats all you have to offer. You missed the goodness he delivers. One will never see the truth unless you hand over your Mind Body And Sole to the My Lord. ONLY then will you be gifted the seven gifts. Then you will know and see what Christianity is all about. Then you will see the truth!
"The Church a place to worship. Until one submerses ones self so far it becomes a religious cult. Beware of the wolf before ye that leadeth his flock to slaughter the truth lies in ones heart." Rev Benjamin E
Was I the only one wondering when this particular issue would show up?
This isn't high on the list, but it's definitely on the list of reasons why I left any form of organized religion.
No woman is to hold the title. Read the Bible. She can share the word spread the word and believe. But not be a Reverend or Pastor or teach, I have heard this before elsewhere and know Pastors that firmly believe this to be the word of God.
Can anyone tell me where in the Bible this is stated?
Yep - it's 1 Timothy 2:12 Which would give me one more reason to disregard, as Paul would have gotten along quite well with the extreme fundamentalists of our time. It's mostly in his writings that you can find anything that's used to subjugate women.
Not a fan of subjugation myself.
thank you, going to make this tonight's subject at our home church meeting, it really needs to be discussed, Paul's words, not Jesus's will be an interesting conversation.
I have been a christian for 7 years and this has always been an issue
subjugation of woman in Christian belief hidden by most, but in most churches and other religions that practice this it is definitely not hidden and I personally find it offensive.
As far as a non-believer being a pastor of believers, sounds like a scam to me
How about these "men and women of God", eric? They are ordained, know their scripture, use a Bible similar to yours and have millions of followers amongst them. Is it possible that any of them are scammers? How would you characterize their followers? Faithful? Gullible? True Christians? Deluded?
Agreed hsw. Christians claiming the Bible as inerrant, the "living word of god" and a book of wisdom and truth, cannot disregard the parts they find unpalatable without discrediting the entire book. All of the authors included in the Holy Bible were supposed to be inspired by, and writing on behalf of, god. As a result, there are billions of moral, rational people who lack the belief that such a god exists.
Here are a few that may not bar women from preaching, but are surely misogynistic, eric.
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Colossians 3:18; cf. 1 Peter 3:1 and Ephesians 5:22
... I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man ... For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. 1 Corinthians 11:3 and 7-9
Let your women keep silence in churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. 1 Corinthians 14:34, cf. 1 Corinthians 11:3-9 and 1 Timothy 2:11-12
I am ordained by the Universal Life Church. I chose this church because I see signs of what I believe to be Universal Life no matter where I look. A belief in "God" in this church is completely optional. How sweet is that? I think that we should all mind our own business and let Gretta Vosper and her church find their own solution to their problems and challenges. I am sure they will do fine. Just because we are ordained does not mean that our opinion is any more valid than that of anyone else. Let's give our own biased opinion where it will do the most good and the least amount of harm, to ourselves.
Finally. A sane person. I am a atheist minister also ordained in 1968 in the ULC. I applaud you comment's.
No woman is to hold the title. Read the Bible. She can share the word spread the word and believe. But not be a Reverend or Pastor or teach, I have heard this before elsewhere and know Pastors that firmly believe this to be the word of God.
Can anyone tell me where in the Bible this is stated?
Try Misogeny 6:66, eric
lol good one.
Actually it is a huge issue and it can be something to keep individuals from going to church
A thorough reading of the Bible, along with studying it's history, should be enough to keep some individuals from attending a traditional Christian church, eric.
Matthew 7:15-20King James Version (KJV)
15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
She should leave.
If those are your arguments they're invalid. There is nothing about this woman that is false, evil, or corrupt. She's been completely up front for years, and most of her flock want her to stay.
You are obviously not educated in the word of God. If you were, you would understand the scripture I posted. If you do not accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior and that he died for our sins, you will not be saved.
John 14:6 (KJV)
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
If you don't believe in Jesus Christ or God you will not have salvation. People who don't believe in God will lead people away from the Father. It's simple.
Ida I expect I am far more educated in the bible, which I assume is what you refer to as the "word of God" than you. I am educated enough to know that it's the word of man - many men actually - and has been altered so many times in the centuries since its inception that any "truth" has been muddied, at best.
You are free to believe as you believe, but please don't try to tell me or anyone else that your way is the only way - you don't know that any more than I do.
I don't believe in your god, and I don't lead anyone anywhere in a religious sense - nor does the pastor in question. She teaches love and compassion - if that's at odds with your religion then you're doing it wrong.
clap clap clap clap, hsw!! I love it when posters assume they know more than others with no evidence.
good answer hsw
Although the ULC is all inclusive regarding membership, the Bible doesn't seem to agree, Rev. Ida. We're the Universal Life CHURCH. You can scroll up to another reply I've just posted for more biblical misogyny. Perhaps it's you, not hsw, that could use some additional education regarding the "word of God".
Let your women keep silence in churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. 1 Corinthians 14:34, cf. 1 Corinthians 11:3-9 and 1 Timothy 2:11-12
Are you suggesting that women are not allowed to speak in church ? To minister or preach ? I am a atheist minister ULC ordained. Time to stop using the invisible friend in the sky as middleman. We are empowered to improved mankind with mankind.
I find much of what's in the Bible appalling and nonsensical, Don. I was simply replying to this condescending statement ……"You are obviously not educated in the word of God."
I am not educated in the words in the bible. They are words of man, ignorant and frightened.
She should leave that church and establish one one her own. I am a atheist minister in The Church of Man thechurchofman.com firstname.lastname@example.org
This might sound as if I'm mocking you but I'm absolutely not - I'm just curious - what does an atheist need with a church?
The "church" is a meeting place to review our members needs and solve the problems of the day. One on one without the invisible crutch of a god.
I think the better word, would be that she should set up a new meeting place with like minded people and call it that instead.
EXACTLY hsw, now tell that to Gretta Vosper.
Because I realize, "This might sound as if I’m mocking you but I’m absolutely not – I’m just curious – what does an atheist need with a church?"
Those are your words, but I totally agree with them. I hadn't noticed this reply before!
Care to answer your own question, because it also begs another one, why are you so adamantly defending Gretta Vosper's "right" as so many call it (which doesn't exist), to remain the Pastor of a CHRISTIAN church, where she, as an Atheist, so obviously doesn't belong?
Because, seriously, what does an Atheist need with a church?
You can't have it both ways.
I keep Capitalizing "Atheist" BTW, for all those who would call themselves "Atheist Ministers", oh, and of course for Richard Dawkins, who if not "Preaching", really needs to reform his over-the-top brand of "teaching".
BTW hsw, having read several of your sardonic comments now, drop all the sarcasm, it only makes your points seem petty and perfunctory, which makes you appear bitter and angry, rather than thoughtful.
...Unless that's what you're going for!
Dude, you're going to get my comments however they come.. I'm not angry - more often I'm laughing and shaking my head when I post. What you read into my comments, or anyone else's, is on you.
Actually you can have it both ways, since the situation that's being discussed here is not what I was responding to. My response was to those who said something along the lines of "let her start her own church." There are certainly some atheists (one who has commented in this discussion) who enjoy the company of other like-minded people. I think there are more who, as we have as much or as little in common as the rest of the population, just prefer to live their lives, without seeking out others for that specific purpose.
As for your inquiry (which by the way was sarcastic and angry-sounding), Gretta Vosper is already a long-standing leader of a congregation, many of whom with her to stay. In the same manner that many Christians do not feel the need to go to a building in order to practice their faith, and others do, this particular atheist obviously desires to congregate with like-minded people, and those people desire for her to continue to teach philosophy and life lessons to them.
Life is rarely black or white - more often everything is a situation. You can have it not just both ways, but as many ways as there are people.
Quoting YOU: "What does an Atheist need with a church"... Capitalization of "atheist" mine, because if they're gonna preach, then they should have a Capitalized denomination.
I am ordained in the Universal Life Church and am an atheist. I minister through my on line church, "The Church of Man" thechurchofman.com (under upgrade and maintanence) I believe and teach that we are strong for each other and can raise yourself to a higher standard without the crutch of a non-existent god. We fall to our knees much too quickly instead of straightening our backs and solving the day to day problems we face.
I was once frequently bothered by a relative claiming to be an atheist. One day, I asked him how much of the Bible he had read. He responded that he had not read any of it. I told him that he had no valid basis for disclaiming God to my face since he had not investigated the Bible first-hand. I suggested to him that I would be glad to engage him in further "confrontations" about God if he did two things: Read the Bible ... and then tell me what an atheist can do that a Christian cannot do. He has not responded ... and he never will ... because he will find out that there is absolutely nothing that an atheist can do that a Christian cannot do. Why? Because being a Christian does not give anyone "Superman's Cape" ... and Christians will sin just as much as Atheists will. The biggest difference is that a Christian can pray for forgiveness; whereas, an atheist feels no such compunction. Just because someone says there is no God ... that will not allow them to be excused from their eternal "dirt nap" from which their is no reconciliation or future consciousness. Crank up the theologians ... and then read: Matthew 10:28 ... and in case you are a little milquetoast Christian, read this verse: Luke 22:36.
Mitchell said, "there is absolutely nothing that an atheist can do that a Christian cannot do." As there are thousands of Christian denominations, there are many interpretations of what constitutes a "Christian", but here are some examples that may contradict your statement…
Atheists do not belive a god exists. Egnostic doubt. Kind od hedging their bets
Your statement that "Atheists do not believe a god exists" is not accurate, Donald. Although this may be your personal belief, it is a common misunderstanding and fuels the division between "believers" and "non-believers". An all encompassing statement might be that atheists lack belief in gods and supernatural beings.
"Atheism is usually defined incorrectly as a belief system. Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods. Older dictionaries define atheism as "a belief that there is no God." Some dictionaries even go so far as to define Atheism as "wickedness," "sinfulness," and other derogatory adjectives. Clearly, theistic influence taints dictionaries. People cannot trust these dictionaries to define atheism. The fact that dictionaries define Atheism as "there is no God" betrays the (mono)theistic influence. Without the (mono)theistic influence, the definition would at least read "there are no gods."
"The only common thread that ties all atheists together is a lack of belief in gods and supernatural beings. Some of the best debates we have ever had have been with fellow atheists. This is because atheists do not have a common belief system, sacred scripture or atheist Pope. This means atheists often disagree on many issues and ideas. Atheists come in a variety of shapes, colors, beliefs, convictions, and backgrounds. We are as unique as our fingerprints."
Some common characteristics of atheists include….
Lack of belief in any god or gods. Materialist -- relating to the physical (material) world, not shopping at the mall. Prefers science over folklore. Prefers reason over superstition. Prefers evidence over dogma. Insists -- in the United states -- on keeping the practice of religion separate from government. Understands burden of proof, Russell's teapot, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Often writes "god" with a lower case g. Lives in a completely godless world. Thinks the origin of the universe would be interesting to know, but not terribly important to everyday life.
No response, Mitchell?
I am a Gnostic-Christian. We know that our predecessors came up with " Jesus' " life story to illustrate just what it might mean to BE God on Earth. We believe in God; He is in us; He IS us... After all, ALL is God if everything came from divine One Source. What else is there? I mean, it's not like there is other spiritual material from which One can draw in creating women & men, is there?! We are NOT the God of the Bible; He was called the "Devil" by our made up literary character who had these words put in His mouth, "Your Father is the Devil..." And, then "Jesus" goes on to say that their god is the "Father of Lies!" The Gnostic Father-God is a Power of God who resides safely ensconced in the Pleroma, or the fullness, of the Heavenlies. He may not appear "to be" because He's too holy for us!
If you live in San Diego & wish to explore our church, please write; email@example.com
That Church is a church of God. As she no longer believes in God, she should clearly understand that she can no longer be a shepherd to Christ's flock, and leave - possibly opening up her own church. Christ's flock is not humanist but believes in the power of God and our relationship to him, having one God, and Loving our neighbor as ourselves. That we can do no more, and that, Christians can not reassign the cause of our being to a materialistic and not a Spiritual cause.
&... I almost forgot the MOST important part of my post: We believe in God, Our True Father, The "Power" of God, but KNOW that... http://jesusneverexisted.com WE MADE HIM UP AS A TEACHING TOOL for others to see what it could mean if a person were to be God walking on Earth. The gospels are very clever teaching tools, in that respect, but we KNOW that Mark was the very 1st one & even it is a Fantasy Novel written after the style of Homer in his creation of the Odyssey of the Iliad...! Just as Homer's Hero kept his identity a mystery, so Jesus had what we call the Messiah Mystery where He asks His people "Do not divulge to others my true identity." This may be part of the teaching here, that we are not to go about the world claiming to BE God, but mysteriously act as He.
I belong to the church of bended knee, and have been an ordained minister with ULCM for about 7 years. I am of Christian faith I can put this whole subject to bed real easy. If the individuals follow her that is their god given right, but it seems to me if they keep following her they may end up in a place they wish to avoid,, HELL
God gave us free will and that is why in my opinion all of us need Jesus, he is the only one that can save anyone from HELL, but you got to want him
That being said I have individuals I associate with Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, Macuba, ETC... that have their beliefs that are different from mine and I can only share what I believe, I can not control what they do, say, or think.
Reality is Jesus loves you, but I'm his favorie
Go with GOD (JESUS)
Not all Christians believe that God is Jesus, as you've indicated, based on scripture, eric.
Matthew 24:36 No one knows about that day or hour, not even the Son, but the Father only. Here Jesus makes a distinction between what he knows and what the Father knows.
John 5:26 For as the Father has life in Himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. Jesus received his life from God. God received his life from no one. He is eternally self-existent.
John 5:30 By myself, I can do nothing: I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who has sent me. Jesus says, “by myself, I can do nothing.” This indicates that Jesus is relying upon his own relationship with God. He is not trying to “please myself” but rather is seeking to “please the one who sent me.”
Matthew 6:9 Our Father, which art in Heaven. He didn’t pray, Our Father, which art standing right here!”
Matthew 27:46 My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me? Inconceivable if he is God the Creator.
John 17:21-23 . . .that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. . ..that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. In this prayer Jesus defines the term “to be one.” It is clearly accomplished through the relationship of two autonomous beings. Christian believers are to model their relationship (to become one) after the relationship of God and Christ (as God and Christ are one). Notice that “to be one” does not mean to be “one and the same.”
Hebrews 1:3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being. Jesus is the exact representation of his being. I send my representative to Congress. He is not me, myself. He is my representative.
James 1:13: When tempted, no one should say, God is tempting me. For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt. Jesus was tempted in every way, but God cannot be tempted. This is why Jesus said, “don’t call me good, none are good, only God.
Having read a number of thoughts and perspectives on this matter, it appears that being ordained by ULC is simply a matter of business and not so much about faith or theology, granted there are a number of ordinations that uphold a Christian type base, and others who have a faith geared toward a path of love and generosity which are not of the basic Christian faith, yet there is clearly enough to make this merely a business. For that reason, I'd like to ask if the business side of it has comfort and fellowship without identifying with a deity? and if so, has it developed a fellowship of caring and sharing beyond the scope of business? if so, then the service itself is blessed in its own way, life moves on and religion takes a new phase or page in history. this leads to the true meaning of Namaste. In my own belief, there is a universe of which we are all part of, and inside of this is an embrace for everyone to become part of, regardless of your faith, or religion, as long as we harm none, and its for the greater good, then let it be :)
The preaching of man's ability to prevail in all situations with the help of his fellow man is the message. We are powerful as a race of one's throughout the world.
She need to go!
Unless you're a member of her congregation, or at the least, the United Church of Canada, Joe, who are you decide?
My first question that I would ask, is for her to describe the God, she does not believe in. In my evangelism an atheist can describe God. The description is a result of the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit, how can we tell if someone is permanently indwelt by the Holy Spirit? [1Co 12:3 NIV] 3 …. and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit. This was accomplished as what [Rom 10:9 RSV] 9 …. because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Adam Clarke Commentary (Romans 10:9) Verse 9 That if thou shalt confess, etc. - Acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ as the only Savior. Believe in thy heart that he who died for thy offenses has been raised for thy justification; and depend solely on him for that justification, and thou shalt be saved.
Once saved always saved and you cannot lose your salvation. For as Eph 2:8-9 says it really well. [Eph 2:8-9 NIV] 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. Adam Clarke Commentary Verse 8
For by grace are ye saved, through faith - As ye are now brought into a state of salvation, your sins being all blotted out, and you made partakers of the Holy Spirit; and, having a hope full of immortality, you must not attribute this to any works or merit of yours; for when this Gospel reached you, you were all found dead in trespasses and dead in sins; therefore it was God's free mercy to you, manifested through Christ, in whom ye were commanded to believe; and, having believed by the power of the Holy Spirit, ye received, and were sealed by, the Holy Spirit of promise; so that this salvation is in no sense of yourselves, but is the free gift of God; and not of any kind of works; so that no man can boast as having wrought out his own salvation, or even contributed any thing towards it. By grace arc ye saved, through faith in Christ. This is a true doctrine, and continues to be essential to the salvation of man to the end of the world. But whether are we to understand, faith or salvation as being the gift of God? This question is answered by the Greek text: τῃ γαρ χαριτι εστε σεσωσμενοι δια της πιστεως· και τουτο ουκ εξ ὑμων· Θεου το δωρον, ουκ εξ εργων· ἱνα μη τις καυχησηται· "By this grace ye are saved through faith; and This (τουτο, this salvation) not of you; it is the gift of God, not of works: so that no one can boast." "The relative τουτο, this, which is in the neuter gender, cannot stand for πιστις, faith, which is the feminine; but it has the whole sentence that goes before for its antecedent." But it may be asked: Is not faith the gift of God? Yes, as to the grace by which it is produced; but the grace or power to believe, and the act of believing, are two different things. Without the grace or power to believe no man ever did or can believe; but with that power the act of faith is a man's own. God never believes for any man, no more than he repents for him: the penitent, through this grace enabling him, believes for himself: nor does he believe necessarily, or impulsively when he has that power; the power to believe may be present long before it is exercised, else, why the solemn warnings with which we meet every where in the word of God, and threatenings against those who do not believe? Is not this a proof that such persons have the power but do not use it? They believe not, and therefore are not established. This, therefore, is the true state of the case: God gives the power, man uses the power thus given, and brings glory to God: without the power no man can believe; with it, any man may.
Since our salvation is a gift of God and not of works, it cannot be taken away from us since we are not greater than God who is the only one that could take the gift away. Since it is not by our works, we cannot lose our salvation. Permanency of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a fact.
The rest is learning to walk with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ having fellowship with Him. The simplest way for me to explain it is in the 12 steps with scripture. 12 Steps
1 We admitted we were powerless over the addictive/compulsive behavior of ourselves and others, and that our lives had become unmanageable. Romans 6:16-23 2 Peter 2:19 Proverbs 5:22 John 8:34-36 Galatians 5:16-23 2 Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves…the Lord Jesus Christ. Could restore us to sanity. Philippians 2:13 Psalm 51:10 Isaiah 40:31 Proverbs 3:5-6, Psalm 111:10 Galatians 2:20 Ephesians 3:16-18 3 Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God through Jesus Christ. John 14:6 Hebrews 11:6 John 7:16-17 John 1:12-13 Isaiah 55:6-7
4 Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. Proverbs 28:13 Psalm 32:5 2 Corinthians 13:5, Lamentations 3:40, Romans 12:3 Galatians 6:3 5 Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. James 5:16 1 John 1:8-9, Psalm 32:3-5, Luke 15:17-18 6 We’re entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. Psalm 139:23-24, Ephesians 2:8-10, James 4:6-10, Psalm 32 5-6 7 Humbly asked him to forgive and remove our shortcomings. 2 Chronicles 7:14 Psalm 51:1-3, Romans 12:1-2 1 John 1:7 2 Corinthians 5:17 John 8:36 8 Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all. Proverbs 16:7 Colossians 3:13, Ephesians 4:26, 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 9 Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. Luke 19:8-9 Romans 12:17-18 Romans 13:6-9 Phil 2:14-15, Romans 12:21 10 Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. 1 Corinthians 10:12 Proverbs 21:2, Psalm 139:23-24 (also review passages to step 4) 11 Sought through prayer, meditation, and bible study to improve our conscious contact with God through Jesus Christ, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the strength to carry that out Romans 12:1-2, 2 Peter 1:2-11, Psalm 1:1-3, Ephesians 1:17-19,1 Timothy 4:15-16 12 Having been spiritually renewed in Christ and having applied these steps in our own lives, we try to carry this message to others in need of it, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Romans 15:1-2, 2 Corinthians 3:5-6, John 5:16 Mark 5:19, Mathew 25:40 If Gretta Vosper can say “Jesus is Lord” than Let God be God and leave room for Him to do the work. For there are only 2 commandments. [Mat 22:37, 39 RSV] 37 And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. ... 39 And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The fact that her congregants support her is irrelevant to this discussion. Atheism is defined as heresy by all the major world religions. On what basis should any religion's hierarchy allow a clergy person who is by definition a heretic to continue their role as a clergy person? Because the congregation likes and supports her? So let them go and form a study group where they can preach, and follow, all the messages of peace and love that they choose. But a church, or synagogue, or mosque, etc., is defined as a House of God, and functions as such. Without that God, there can be no such house.
What about people who were world leaders in faith who decided later that no longer Believe? Mother Teresa is the first person who comes to mind. What about Thomas Aquinas, Ansel of Canterbury, or countless of other theologians that begin with the premise of doubt as a basis for thier faith? Should people uncritically just follow or learn why they believe? Are we saying that atheist shouldn't participate in church?
That's an excellent question! I'm not sure anyone could honestly say they became terrible people because they lost or questioned their faith. Is a faith that can't be questioned really faith, or just mindless conformity to the norm?
As an atheist, I don't exactly understand why most would want to participate in church, but in this case, the pastor has been part of this church community for decades, and as her beliefs changed, she has learned to speak a somewhat different language, based in love and compassion rather than dogma, but isn't that what most of us want anyway? Jesus taught love and compassion, yet one of his followers in a post on this thread suggested that this pastor should be burned at the stake. For teaching what Jesus taught just because the doesn't invoke the name of a diety?
Her congregants want her to stay - the message she gives them obviously resonates with them as people of faith. What is so fearful or wrong about teaching love and compassion to followers of Christ? She's not trying to change what they believe, if anything she's reinforcing it in the most positive way possible.
Gods word the king james version is the word either people believe or not. no one has ever been able to proven it wrong in any way, not even the top scientest in the world no not even lawyers that has taken it to a court type cituation can not find one littlle mistake and history it self has proven it true so the king james verson of Gods word is the only real truth. if people believe it and live it and have eternal life or don't believe it and go to hell is there own choice , God said by your words you are condemend or by your own words you are saved and will be judged by Gods own words. so commen sense tells me that any one who does not believe will go to hell by there own choice and can not blame know one else not even God for what they them self and the path they have chosen. as for me I believe Jesus is comiing again to take his people away and those that are left will be destroyed.
Why do you consider the king james version "the word"?
I don't understand why I must be saved ? From what ? I believe in the good in man and to find that in every man to make us all strong because of one another. We will all die and be dismembered for what what did in life. NOT JUDGED by man or invisible deities..Take responsibility for your life. Do good, be good, and help others to do the same.
"Do good, be good, and help others to do the same." That is exactly what this pastor is doing so I have a hard time understanding why anyone is having a problem.
God is the foundation of any "Church" or "Faith-Based" group; which is at the very core of FAITH itself. Take that away, and what's the point? You are left with philosophy... Which is fine if that's what you want, what you're "about", but it's no longer any kind of denominational or non-denominational "Church" or "Faith-based" group. It then becomes a mere social group or philosophical gathering... Which again is just fine if that's what you're going for, but again that is not the point of having any kind of "Faith-Based" organization. This is absurd! What's next, sporting events with "make-them-up-as-you-go-along "Rules"; or flexible morals and values because some folks find real ones inconvenient: No stealing, killing, or maming unless its inconvenient to your new found flexible values. This is like Common Core the "educational values" system that says 2+2 can equal whatever "The Group" agrees upon. Great, but try balancing your checkbook with that BS! This is a joke! Let's dumb it all down, seems to be the real message here, or find in favor of those who dispise or have at very least come to disavow "Faith" all together... That's the real message. If you are an atheist, then God Bless You, but go sell crazy somewhere other than inside a church, as a "Paster"; I mean REALLY? A "Faith-based Pastor" who is an atheist, is sort of like a Vegan Butcher... It's a completely ridiculous concept. Argue the morals and ethics of eating meat, or even believing in god if you like, but please do it in your own place of parsing, business or "worship" or congregation. I believe she is (appears to be) a great "Councilor" of morals and ethics and values, which do not require "Faith in God", but I also believe she forfeits the right to be a "PASTER" leading any (GOD) Faith-Based group by virtue of the fact that she no longer believes in the MAIN tenant of her "FAITH", and of what any "Faith-Based" group is supposed to represent. Let's hire criminals as Cops too (like that isn't already a problem).
Minister Norman said, "If you are an atheist, then God Bless You, but go sell crazy somewhere other than inside a church, as a “Paster”; I mean REALLY?"
These people aren't atheists, MN. They are preaching in a church and many of them (as you can see) have substantial congregations. No doubt there are many more who haven't made it to YouTube. They are Christians, not Atheists. They reference a Bible similar to yours and believe in the same God. Some of Vosper's sermons can be viewed on YouTube. Watch and compare. Who's "selling crazy"?
First, if you're going to misspell (twice) the word that is at the core of your points, it's probably better not to put it in all caps.
But what I really want to say is that you are the worst kind of self-involved so-called "Christian." Not every faith subscribes to your god, and that does not make their beliefs any less "faith" than yours. Not every faith subscribes to only one god. Not every faith even has a diety. That doesn't make it any less "faith" than yours.
Faith, at its core, is belief in something for which their is no proof. I believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the existence of life on other planets, and even that people such as you can be redeemed, if your desire to do so is strong enough. That is faith.
You are free to continue to lead your narrow-minded life with your narrow-minded "faith" but kindly do not try to re-define the meaning of the word to justify your own prejudice.
It is a sign of the times. People want physical evidence to support their "faith". Faith is the evidence. Before I join an organization I look at the basic beliefs. If they don't fit my beliefs, I don't join. If I later find that the beliefs are not practiced by the members, I leave. If there are no stated beliefs for an organization, then how can a leader change their beliefs so that they do not conform to those of the organization?
Who said anything about wanting physical or any other kind of evidence?
You're describing cognitive dissonance and bigotry, william. Protecting your beliefs from anything contrary to them. What if your long held beliefs are wrong? Is it better to be comfortable and happy with untruths, or uncomfortable with truth and reality? "Believers", particularly the religious variety, often band together for comfort and common defence of their beliefs which are based on faith, not evidence or rational thought.
Very good prognosis of the human condition, Brother John
Is that a good thing to believe in the untruths ? Sounds weak and unable to face life as it really is. Would it not be better to face truths together and better ourselves as one body ?
Unless one belongs to the United Church of Canada or to Greta's congregation... Not your monkey, not your circus! It is an issue for that comnunity alone to decide.
In the 5th century, St. Gregory of Nyssa said, "Concepts create idols; only wonder understands anything,"
St. Augustine of Hippo said in the 4th century, " If you understand it, it's not God."
I believe the discussions and exchanges on this subject are extremely healthy when we read them with an open mind. We are reminded of the obvious, we are different each and every one of us. We can think and participate as individuals willing to see both sides of a situation. We can question beliefs and perhaps gain insight into our own ministry. I believe we all have a path to follow and mine started through Catholicism, and graduated to the new thought beliefs and today I find the old Shamanic system of being the direct channel to a Universal God works for me. As I see it Gretta Vosper is in transition in her beliefs, her ministry, and possibly in her life. I believe we should all support her to find not the "right" answer (that only feeds the righteous) but the "best" answer for her and her congregants. That would be highest form of faith. The best sermon I have heard to date, and I have been around the sun 79 times, was a Baptist minister on a Christian Radio station in Dallas Texas in 1993. He told his flock that morning that he would help them to find and follow God and Christ in their hearts and in their doings (living) and if he was successful they would not need him anymore. He encouraged them to do their homework and like a good parent hoped that someday would find the strength to live in their own Godliness. Yes organized religion has a place in society but are we not able to grasp the changes and challenges it represents? If not then we do not understand the true meaning of "ministry".
I did not wade through all the comments, but I'll just say that we consider ourselves to be followers of Christ. It is imperative that we follow Christ's example and go forth in serving those who are less fortunate than we ourselves. Too many of these, particularly, television super church types emphasize our building more stately mansions (self serving). What was that little ditty about a camel and the eye of a needle?
You didn't specify who you meant by "we", ed. I assume you're referring to a Christian denomination you've chosen to affiliate with, not the ULC. There are many here who are not Christians.
"PASTOR"... Their jack hole! ...And I never trashed anyone elses faith or nonfaith... That Pathology's all yours. And by the way I'm dyslexic, and it mostly manifests in spelling errors, and this phones spell check is also dysfunctional, so perhaps you'd like to trash me on that one too... THE POINT, the only point here (and this is all about a Christian Church, so get your facts straight), is that a "Christian" organization should be about CHRIST; not some nebulous ridiculous "Nothing". How someone (anyone) who is an Atheist leads a self-avowed (and I'm not my saying it they are), "Oldest Protestant CHRISTIAN Congregation in Canada" is beyond ridiculous. Either they ARE Christian, or then they are not. And that's fine, but you can't be a Christian-Atheist, anymore than you can be a Vegan-Butcher, unless of course you're insane! Or perhaps this is just more Christian bashing by the pseudo-intellectual "New Age" anything goes crowd... And BTW, that crap (NewAge) is older than Christ! I do realize in "LA-LA" everything is equal to everything else world (even if it is not) dream thinking has replaced any bastions of reality... And as Common Core would dumb it down, so to, too many are seeking to nebulize Faith, so that 2+2 really does equal "Whatever the crowd says it does". If you're an Atheist, fine, go be that! Why do Christians who are not inflicting their beliefs on you disturb you so? And why do you feel you need to inflict your beliefs or Non-beliefs on anyone else. This is a self-avowed "Christian Church", and that's what this is all about, or did you not read that part of the Blog? And those who choose to actually practice "FAITH" in GOD, in Christ, in something greater than themselves have the same rights you have, to seek, or even lambast beliefs. But you do not have a right to tell Christians or anyone else thst they must adopt yourviews on their religio. Trouble is, in this now self-indulgent, self-involved world (and I think ya need a mirror on this one), "Do What Thou Wilt" is fast replacing faith with some sort of Godless nothingness in the name of political and social correctness... But then its not really nothing now is it? Your agenda is showing! So go sell crazy someplace else! Just as you have a right to be a "Flying Spaghetti Monster"minion, Christians also have a right to practice their faith unmolested by Atheists and those who worship Aliens or Monsters, or nothing at all! Either argue the actual POINT (and no one ever said anything against anyone's Religious or non-religious beliefs; I certainly didn't... you invented that argument), so either get your facts/arguments straight, or then shut up! YES, I'm that kind of Christian, and I will fight back against anyone who would try to mandate my beliefs, either by coercion, shaming, political correctness, or by any other means. Be satisfied to beleive whatever you wish... And afford that right to others. You argue for the right to believe what you believe, but while trashing Christians... How Pathetic!! ???
Sir you are in severe need of mental health treatment - or perhaps simply remedial reading tutoring - but I'm leaning toward the first one.
i didn't "trash" anything - my objection was and still is to your attempt to alter the definition of "faith" to be only that faith of which you approve. I have no issues with Christianity or any other faith, only with some followers who believe their way is the one true path, which you no more know for sure than any of the rest of us.
In any case, I don't spar with unarmed opponents, therefore I will leave you to yell at the walls or whatever else you can get to listen to your rants.
PS: How about we have a Christian lead an Atheist Philosophical Group... Yeah, that'd last about a minute, because its not "Most Christians" who are intolerant of non-believers or those of other faiths, it is those whom by way of their unbeleif, their atheism, literally ridicule anyone of faith, and call that "Fair", and feel justified for "putting stupid people still following Superstitions in their place"! How absolutely arrogant!
BTW, I disagree with the idea that, "If this is not your congregation, then this is not your fight". Christianity is under fire from too many "Outside Sources" these days; many of whom are (merely) out to destroy all faith. And the argument that this is good for the Church is only true if they retain their right to be what/whom they say they are, and hold on to what they claim to be all about: GOD/Christ... I do not take the Bible "Literally" as many do, and some would call me an apostate for that. That's okay, I'm not trying to overthrow anything. I also do not believe Jesus was trying to start a new Religious; just reform one... As perhaps this situation may do. My whole point however, is that within the Christian Church there is most obviously room for many views and interpretations of Faith and God. Non-belief is not one of them: not in a "Christian Church" anyway. If you are a part of any group, then they should be about what they claim to be about, or then change what it is they say they are really about... A Non- believing, in God (Atheist), "Christian Church", is most obviously (to anyone except the haplessly entrenched or ridiculously inclined), no longer a "CHRISTIAN" organization at all, and by it's very definition. A "Grocery Store" that sells auto parts is not a "Grocery Store" either. Why is this even an argument? It's a disingenuous one at best! Funny how so many Atheists say "Just leave us alone", but will not return the favor!
hsw... So you go to the last bastion of a scoundrel; so be it! Shows your hand, not mine. I am not/was not trying to "Define faith", except what is and is not "Christian Faith". That disturbs you because you are most obviously a disturbed person. See if you can follow along with this very simple concept: "Atheism" (a disbelief in any deity, personal God or Higher Power), is not "Christianity" (The belief in Jesus Christ as God manifest, made flesh)... They are total opposites. Just like Intelligent (which you are obviously not), and Stupid!
Your definition of Atheism ("a disbelief in any deity, personal God or Higher Power") incorrect. common and the root of much misunderstanding, MN.
"Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods. Older dictionaries define atheism as "a belief that there is no God." Some dictionaries even go so far as to define Atheism as "wickedness," "sinfulness," and other derogatory adjectives. Clearly, theistic influence taints dictionaries. People cannot trust these dictionaries to define atheism. The fact that dictionaries define Atheism as "there is no God" betrays the (mono)theistic influence. Without the (mono)theistic influence, the definition would at least read "there are no gods."
"Simply put, atheism means the absence of theistic belief. That's it. It doesn't mean anything else. Atheism is not a religion, a philosophy, a worldview, or anything similar. It is not the conviction that there are no gods, ghosts, angels, etc. Rather, it is the absence of a belief that these things are real...Atheism is nothing more than the lack of belief in a god or gods."
"Atheism comes from the Greek "a - theos," and since the "a" prefix means "without" or "the absence of," we must first make sure we understand theism. Theism refers to the belief that some sort of god or gods exist. A theist is one who accepts the theistic claim (i.e., some sort of god or gods exist). An atheist is one who does not accept the theistic claim. That is, atheism means "without theism" and refers to the absence or lack of theistic belief."
It is always interesting to me that the thinking people say--PERHAPS IT IS POSSIBLE--and the fundamentalists say---YOU'RE STUPID---SHUT UP. I'm not sure what the best answer is in this case, but the attitude suggesting ACCEPT MY LOVING GOD OR HE WILL DAMN YOU doesn't sound very Christian to me.
In a spirit of healing some of the contentiousness that occurred here around this issue, that I was also a part of, I apologize for my role.
I am now also aware that some folks from the UCC are looking in on this Blog and all of our comments.
With that in mind, I offer this...
My beliefs are NOT by any stretch of the imagination, "Standard (cookie cutter) Christian beliefs", so take them as you will... And judge my comments along with all the others accordingly.
I have attended many seminars on "Faith" (including many at the Huntington Library and elsewhere), and after engaging in extensive Bible Study, and reading both detractors and apologists, found out just how that book came into being... In its many iterations. I have also read the works of so many other faiths and their Holy Books, and I do not now believe in any "One Way" to God or that there is a "lock" on enlightenment or salvation by anyone, by virtue of any belief system or otherwise...
But I absolutely believe in GOD.
For me that is the cornerstone of my life, and the key to all "Faith".
"Faith" is, or at least Symantecally has become synonymous with the belief in a deity (GOD or GODS), and faith is decidedly not Atheism. That's not a slap or a put down of Atheism; it is merely a FACT!
We must all (believers and non-believers alike) at least be true to what we espouse... in other words, "Practice what you preach, or don't preach"... But at least be real about it!
Just as believers cannot honesty espouse Atheist beliefs, likewise an Atheist cannot do justice to or serve Christian or any other religious beliefs.
It just doesn't work!
Personally, (and Im sharing this, not inflicting it), I beleive TAO is the unmanifested ONE, and that Jesus is TAO/GOD made manifest.
I consider myself a Christ-Taoist... Which is very foreign to many Christians. As such, I also do not believe those of no faith (in a deity or personal God, or who may believe in multiple gods) are lost, or damned or "going to Hell"!
I think its all more different and loving, and logical than most care to believe.
I also do not beleive we just popped into being; nothing ever has, so how logical is that assumption? And nothing, to date, has ever been created from anything not already here. Even Einstein said he believed in an "Intelligent Force in the universe, who's logical language is mathematics", but he absolutely refuted the concept or "idea of a Personal God".
In any event, I will not accept "hate" as any part of my "faith"; that any loving system of Intelligence or "God" is about HELL and revenge, and that practising & preaching "Forgiveness" is just a temporal thing.
What I've argued for earlier is clarity of values within a particular faith that is supposed to have GOD at its center, a faith that I choose to follow a major part of, and is not offered as some nebulous nonexistent "other" (changeable yes; we can certainly argue or disagree on so many of the interpretations, and creeds, and even, or especially on the Bible or any "Holy Books" themselves), but the fundamental foundation of any God-centered church (Christian or otherwise), must be GOD!
...And either remain so or then be replaced/transformed into something decidedly "different".
And that is absolutely okay, if that's the desire or stated goal of this or any other organization... But I don't believe that is true in this instance.
Here, we have someone, an individual, who has chosen to disavow (or has lost faith in) the very essence of what she signed on for within this organization: To be a Pastor who preaches the gospel of Jesus Christ.
That's no small thing, and it shouldn't be negotiable.
GOD is at the very core of what this particular faith is all about, and at the very heart of any "Christian" organization, or any other"Faith".
Ms Vosper's is asking to continue to lead from within an organization she no longer supports, because she no longer beleives in what they are primarily about... GOD and GOOD!
Oh she seems to have that second part in spades, but no longer the first.
How can that ultimately be workable... "I just won't talk about the elephant in the room"... Instead I'll replace YOUR values and beliefs with my own. I find that very selfish. To NOT practice the fundamental "Truth" this organization is organised around in the first place is a dereliction of duty: The teaching that Jesus is the living manifestation of a God (she no longer beleives in).
I was born into a Catholic Family, and found I could no longer follow/live their Dogma; so at 13 (prior to being "Confirmed" as a true Catholic), I left.
I didn't expect the Catholic church to accommodate my new found disbelief in their tenants and dogma, and I don't believe anyone else has that right either.
That's all I'm saying, and as I said before, I really do not understand the issue here: It's simple. Either you have faith and preach about GOD... Or then you don't! ...But don't be a hypocrite!
I wish Ms Vosper well with whatever outcome, and I wish the same to all of you in whatever you believe.
Gretta Vosper is not a victim, and she's also not as benign and innocent as so many have painted her!
I did a bit more research on this and here's a direct quote from "Pastor" Gretta Vosper, “We don’t talk about God,” Vosper said in an interview, describing services at her West Hill United Church, adding, "It’s time the church gave up on the idolatry of a theistic god.”
She is most obviously and decidedly not just "An Atheist of 'personal' conviction who is preaching love and joy", as so many have sought to falsely declare (and she's no victim of intolerance), but is in fact radically intolerant herself; an aggressive Atheist whom is decidedly and deliberately seeking to destroy faith in Jesus Christ within her own congregation, and overthrow the very foundations of her church.
She now opening disavows all things "Christian" and openly expresses her Atheist views to her parishioners, and not merely by omission as has been suggested, or by quietly leading her congregation in love and peace as has been very much represented here.
Gretta Vosper is very radically now Anti-Christian, but is still "leading" (where?), a Christian Congregation: What is she still doing there?
I doubt that Greta needs the UCC for her income, or to accept her beliefs, MN. She is both a published author and speaker. Those who disparage her beliefs (or lack of them) are advised to spend some time on her website (linked below) and read her own words. Those who prefer "the idolatry of a theistic god" have many denominations from which to choose.
"For the most part, my denomination – one I consider to be the most progressive in the world – tolerates me as I continue to irritate it toward publicly stating what so many who lead within it believe: god is a metaphor for goodness and love lived out with compassion and justice, no more and no less."
Here's a short clip of Greta at the pulpit….
Here's a collection of evangelical preachers. For those who believe Vosper is too extreme and unfit to represent Christianity, how about these "men and women of God"? I guarantee you that many of them have congregations far larger than Vosper's, and are affiliated with mainstream churches.
Jesus said: All are welcome.
To those who think Vosper should be removed for her honesty, what do you say about the United Church of Canada itself? The UCC accepts homosexuals as both clergy and congregants. It also performs same sex marriage. Do you consider this a Christian church? If not, your objections are neutered. If so, do you agree and does the church you've chosen do the same?
Excerpts from "What We Believe" from the UCC website….
"Yet we also know the various books that make up the Bible are the stories of two ancient communities trying to be faithful to God under difficult circumstances-ancient Israel and the early Christian movement-and some of what was experienced and written then doesn't fit with today's world. We don't condone slavery, for example, or stone those who commit adultery." It's apparent that this also includes homosexuals and disobedient children.
"The United Church of Canada prides itself on welcoming everyone the way Jesus did, regardless of age, race, class, gender, orientation, or physical ability." Rightfully so, the emphasis seems to be on the teachings of Jesus, not Moses.
"Jesus welcomed everyone, whether they were poor, rich, or just getting by; ill or healthy; self-made or educated; popular or a loner; secure or full of doubts." Many consider Atheists to be "full of doubt".
No replies from the Christians believers on this site? I posed two simple questions.
Wow! My beliefs have changed a lot over the years. I have an M.Div. from the Church of the Brethren (1968) and have found a home in the U.C.C..I am not a pastor but have been an involved member for a long time. I find it increasingly difficult to call myself Christian because or the doctrine of the trinity and the resurrection.Thus,I don't believe that I could pastor a church where those two tenets were a basis for belief and membership. So. I think our sister should resign and leave it to the congregation to follow her if they wish .Shalom,Sara.
YES Jesus did say that, as congregants, absolutely!
However, if Jesus employed "Pastors" who did not believe in him or his message, then it's doubtful we would even know his name today, let alone his teachings: And that seems to be the point!
That is a disingenuous argument. Don't you see how absurd this is?!
No one is hating on Gretta Vosper, but her actions could be taken as hatefulness toward "believers", whom she sees, in her role as a "Christian Pastor", as foolishly Superstitious... Her words and actions, not mine!
Maybe next we can employ doctors who do not believe in any kind of medical intervention, or Teachers who believe Education is a waste of time.
This just isn't workable. If she was merely a congregant, then no one should ask her to leave, unless of course she was being disrespectful and disruptive. And in truth that is exactly what she is now become toward her pointedly "Christian Congregation", Disruptive and very decidedly disrespectful.
Gretta Vosper needs to practice her Atheism on her own, or start her own place of "Worship", and outside a Christian Church.
MN, hyperbole like this, "Maybe next we can employ doctors who do not believe in any kind of medical intervention, or Teachers who believe Education is a waste of time" is bordering on ignorance and weakens the point you're trying to convey. The UCC accepts homosexual clergy and performs same sex marriages. Is this contrary to what you believe are Christian values and god's commands? If so, why aren't you condemning the UCC rather than one of their more progressive pastors?
In an open letter, Rev. John Shelby Spong, a retired American bishop in the Anglican Church and a leading voice in the progressive Christianity movement, criticized the United Church of Canada for trying to get rid of “one of its most creative, future-oriented pastors” and urged leaders to “call your church back from its precipice.”
“Gretta has called herself ‘an atheist minister,’” wrote Spong, a mentor to Vosper. “While that language is startling to some, the Christian academy knows exactly what she is saying. To refer to oneself as an ‘atheist’ does not mean that one is asserting that there is no God; it means that the ‘theistic’ definition of God is no longer operative or believable.”
The debate swirling outside West Hill about what goes on inside West Hill frustrates and baffles church members. Critics have called their minister a bully, a provocateur, an ego-driven self-promoter, a heretic. West Hill attendees have a different view.
“Gretta is one of the most courageous people I have ever met,” says Anne Jackson, 61, who joined the congregation a decade ago. “She’s full of humility and discloses her own personal faults. She’s very real and authentic and a seeker of truth.”
They say she listens intently and anticipates need. She connects people who have common interests or goals. “When she sends us out the door, she speaks to us in a way that says, look, you have the ability to make things better — go out and do it,” says Babette Oliveira, 48, the church vocal director and a member for 15 years.
Some West Hill members were disturbed when Vosper began calling herself an atheist, but they understand her motivation and see that she is the same person she was before she began using the word.
“She was trying to defuse the power of that word to hurt people,” says Scott Kearns, West Hill’s musical director and Vosper’s husband of 12 years. “And that is so Gretta, that sort of solidarity with people being treated unfairly, unfoundedly, being oppressed over a word, over a belief.”
What most frustrates Randy Bowes, chair of the church board, is that Vosper isn’t saying anything now that she hasn’t been saying for more than a decade, with one exception: the word atheist. Bowes, 58, doesn’t see that as a big deal. Vosper has made it clear — to the congregation, if not to the world — that she doesn’t believe in a certain kind of God, but she isn’t denying the existence of God altogether. Source: https://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2016/02/21/meet-the-united-church-minister-who-came-out-as-an-atheist.html
she needs to leave the church im sorry so call Christian people have probably made her feel this way several people in church have gave me sour notes but that is what the devil wants to happen their spirit is not right I am ordained ministry threw your church god is the light the truth and the way
I do not believe in the way "Christian" churches teach the bible. God is not a separate from you, God IS you, I can understand her not believing anymore. The name of God ... I AM Let her people follow her if they choose, if not that is their right. I do not know her or them. And it is not my place to pass judgement on any of them, so my opinion does not matter. Blessings Everyone!!
I think if she does not believe in God she should step aside and let someone that believes in God teach the word of God to the ones who love the Lord. She can start her own place and teach what she believes and if they follow her then they where not really Christian.
The cries of outrage about Vosper seem curiously similar to that of the Pharisees and their supporters about Jesus and his calls for change.
27 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. 28 Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness." Matthew 23
Read more here about Jesus' criticisms of “teachers of religious law”……
I was not planning on commenting further on this Blog, or this issue, but as you have now addressed me directly, I will now answer you...
Why quote JESUS in defense of someone who beleives Jesus to be a theistic fable? As "Christian Pastor" Gretta Vosper, has openly stated?
Kind of ridiculous.
Also, given such views as she now openly expresses, Jesus and his teachings would soon disappear all together (thus so would your arguments, and that seems to be the point), to be replace by some "Feel Good" empty "Gospel" that says we created outselves and God is just for Superstitious Fools and and idiots or the otherwise obviously insane!
Plain and simple, Gretta Vosper believes those who worship Jesus Christ are backward, ignorant, and silly, and perhaps even delusional?
You can't have it both ways, as Gretta Vosper is trying to do. You can't be an "Atheist" and a "Christian" all at the same time. They cancel each other out. And YOUR definition of "Atheist" is a far cry from what so many avoid Atheists claim for themselves; especially so very many who call any "Believers" fools and simpletons, or out right crazy people.
Ignore that if you like, but it cuts out the heart of belief in Jesus as Christ.
If you've read more of my postings, other than those you cherry picked, and posted words from her dissenters as well as her supporters, and within her own church and organization, then a very different picture emerges, one counter to the simplistic loving portrait you now so craftily frame!
Too many sites now, incluing the UCC have stated, "Many have left her congregation in protest of her now openly stated Atheistic views". Congregants were already asking why she stopped mentioning Jesus and/or God in her "Sermons", and why she suddenly stopped performing the sacrements.
It's because she now sees all of that as silly (within a Christian Church), and, "Seeks to replace Superstitions with more tangible concepts".
...All on her own!
By her own words, Gretta Vosper is trying to overthrow the entire foundations of belief in Jesus Christ, and from within, "The Oldest Christian Congregation in Canada"... Hers and their words, not mine.
Gretta Vosper now claims, "Total disbelief in any theistic GODS", and many of her parishioners walked way.
That is a fact!
It's also why there is now, "A crisis within her church community", as stated by the UCC, prompting hearings and, "A pending judgement on Pastor Gretta Vosper's fitness to remain a Minister with the UCC; based on her disbelief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ".
THAT is what is at issue here!
I am not hating on anyone. I am merely stating facts. As I said before (and you jumped on it for whatever your agenda is); this IS exactly like hiring Teachers who do not belive in education, or Doctors who think medical intervention is silly.
But it's really as hypocritical as a Vegan-Meat Market Butcher... An "Atheist Christian Minister/Pastor is a totally ridiculous concept, unless of course you are trying to do away with beliefs in God and Jesus and the concept of The Holy Spirit... And that is now Gretta Vosper's stated purpose, "To do away with all Theistic Superstitions, and replace them with a common spirit of good will". Argue the actual points I'm making!
An Atheist "Pastor" and a "Christian Congratulation" are decidedly different things. Either you teach/preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or then you MOCK his teaching by saying you just won't mention God.
I really don't see the disconnect you and so many others are having.
This isn't about being mean, or Hateful or backwards on the part of her critics!
This is absolutely about a Pastor of a Christian Church either teaching the great moral lessons (that yes, she already does), but either including the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and teaching from that perspective, or then not pretending to he any kind of a "Christian" Church or congregation.
ATHEISTS: I have known many in my life thus far, including a prominent JPL Scientist that I became friends with from Martial Arts, and later used to trade counterpoint essays with on Theism vs Atheism; most entertainingly!
Sadly, he was the exception!
The majority of Atheists I've known, have not been so (intelligently or) academically inclined (except to avow science as their "Religion", even though most of these folks knows absolutely nothing about any science, and they otherwise disavow any and all religion, that they also seem to know absolutely nothing at all about, well except as parsed by the likes of Michael Hastings or Bill Maher).
Sampling one , who sadly speaks for too many, I was informed, "All believers are Morons" and asked, "Why would I discuss fairytales with the haplessly stupid?" No, he wasn't a JPL Scientist; not even close; just arrogant, cocky, too self-assuredly obnoxious, and hopelessly ignorant.
The majority of Atheists I've known (a surprisingly large number), either laugh out loud at you for "Believing in fairytales" or otherwise lambast or ridicule any believers for being so "Absolutely Stupid", or inflict some other vile comments about, "Stupidity, Superstitions, ridiculous outdated and outmoded beliefs", or outright call believers in God or gods or Jesus, "INSANE" or "Neanderthals" or worse...
And all the while claiming "Science is their hallmark, and the only true 'Religion' if you will, or measure of reality, because at least Science is based in fact and not on some ignorant Superstitions."
Well, let's look at science, and those who believe in ignorant Superstitions!
I am so very happy to share a common beleif with this lot...
Einstein said, "The more I look at the Universe, the more I believe in God, because the universe is most obviously ordered by some great Intelligence, and it's language is Mathematics!"
He said "It's", and not "his" or "hers", because Einstein (who was decidedly not an Atheist), believed in GOD, just not in a "personal god".
Giorgi Docsi, in his masterwork, "The Power of Limits", refers to the symmetry of creation and the obvious Intelligence behind it all.
Sir Isaac Newton, the father of modern science said, "Anyone of great thought and contemplation must conclude, there is a God; even if the intractably ignorant disavow such a force."
Wilhelm, the great mathematician, who brought us "Base Ten" (the basis of all binary computer language), said, "Fu Si, that great thinker, invented his order of the 64 Cua (trigrams) of the I Ching, and attributed it to devine inspiration. However it came to be, it shows the hands of an obviously intelligent force at work in the cosmos. I see it as a tiny model of the Universe, and the foundation of my greatest breakthroughs within mathematics."
Gretta Vosper, arrogantly dismisses all those who believe in God or Jesus as, "Theistically Superstitious, following outdated and outmoded beliefs"...
What would she then say of these prominent Scientists about their "Theistically Superstitious (thinking), and outdated and outmoded beliefs"?
In the final analysis, who is shutting down whom? And who is really stifling open thought and discourse?
I think Gretta needs a mirror, perhaps as a going away present!
Thanks for your reply, MN. This is a forum for discussion amongst a wide variety of members. It's not uncommon for Christians posting here to present their beliefs and opinions as facts and when challenged, choose not to reply. It remains to be seen if you're willing and able to answer the straight forward questions I've posed in my response.
Let's clarify your core beliefs to determine how they affect your mindset, MN. The UCC welcomes both gay clergy and congregants. It also recognizes and performs same sex marriages. Neither are considered "abominations". This is not a craftily framed deflection from the topic, but will help to determine whether this is just a case of progressive vs traditional beliefs in a common framework.
Do you consider the UCC's above practices biblically justified?
If "yes", do you and your chosen denomination (if you have one) also agree with same sex marriage and the acceptance of homosexuals?
If you don't agree, do you accept the UCC as a bona fide, biblically sound Christian organization?
MN said, …."If you’ve read more of my postings, other than those you cherry picked"…. I don't cherry pick. You often make several different points in your posts. Some are valid, some are not. I don't consider challenging those without foundation as "cherry picking".
MN says, "Plain and simple, Gretta Vosper believes those who worship Jesus Christ are backward, ignorant, and silly, and perhaps even delusional"?
Ironically, this statement is backward, ignorant, silly and likely delusional, plain and simple. Provide the evidence (preferably direct quotes from her) that she thinks of her congregants, or even Christians in general, as you've charged. You could probably be sued for slander without evidence to support your accusation. This is far beyond simple hyperbole.
There's also this …. "By her own words, Gretta Vosper is trying to overthrow the entire foundations of belief in Jesus Christ, and from within, “The Oldest Christian Congregation in Canada”… Hers and their words, not mine." I"d suggested to you that the use of hyperbole to make a point is a weak approach, but you obviously think it's effective. You failed to provide "her words" that indicate she's attempting the preposterous claim you've made about overthrowing Christianity. Do you think she's the prophetic Anti-Christ?
I had posted this from one of her mentors…. “Gretta has called herself ‘an atheist minister,’” wrote Spong, a mentor to Vosper. “While that language is startling to some, the Christian academy knows exactly what she is saying. To refer to oneself as an ‘atheist’ does not mean that one is asserting that there is no God; it means that the ‘theistic’ definition of God is no longer operative or believable.” This flies in the face of your accusations. Is there a reason for your extreme interpretations and distortions of simple explanations?
You said, "Gretta Vosper now claims, “Total disbelief in any theistic GODS”, and many of her parishioners walked way.That is a fact!" "Total disbelief in theistic gods" does not define most Atheists. You stated this as a direct quote. Link your source for verification.
MN asked, "Why quote JESUS in defense of someone who beleives Jesus to be a theistic fable"? I'm not sure who you're referring to with this statement. If it refers to my Oct. 18 quote, it was to illustrate the hypocrisy of many fundamentalist Christians and their leaders. Did you read Matthew 23? It is supremely appropriate to this issue.
You said, "Either you teach/preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or then you MOCK his teaching by saying you just won’t mention God."
There are people who believe the God of the O/T is also Jesus. Are you one of them? If so, scroll up to my Oct. 13 reply to "eric". It seems like you're confusing the two entities. I have no reason to believe that Jesus and especially the biblical god isn't just another "theistic fable", but that is not Vosper's belief. Her focus is on the teachings of the namesake of CHRISTianity, not the God of the O/T. Can you provide examples of her MOCKing the teachings of Jesus?
I dont believe in idol worship.If Elvis Presley was the Pasteur of my church and he proclaimed to be an athiest he should go. Christ is the Church.He is the star not her.She's thinks that by eliminating God ,she can take over. I'VE GOT news for her .No Church can stand without him. The elders of this place should be ashamed of themselves.Yes,I call it a place because without God it just a hangout for dogooders.To call this place a Church is a the greatest Sin because you reject him.How can you all as a congregation call yourselves Christian.You should know better.To support this place is an o bomination of our most supreme being.Please don't call it a Church.Please don't follow this false prophet.Please don't follow this idol.Turn back to God.As for you elders you are the worst of all.Some people will reject our Lord for money.Ask yourself ,is it worth the money?Think of a name for this place and change it.By doing this ,you can keep your idol and your money.You get to keep it all,except for Christ.He will be gone from your life.If you follow this pasteur you can call it what you will but you will never be happy.Your conscience won't let you.Life is made of chooses. Make the right one.I'm very sorry for judging you but when I see this autrusity against my Lord and Savior I have have to stand up and express what I believe.God Bless You.
First, just to clarify - Pasteur was a french chemist. Gretta Vosper is a pastor.
Now to the important part - you seem to be addressing the parishioners of her church. They are not here - they will not read what you wrote. This is a site to discuss how we feel about various issues, and specifically on this thread,the issue of a pastor whose faith has changed and who no longer believes in the God of your bible.
You should know as well that this is not a Christian forum - it is a very diverse forum composed primarily of people who are ordained by the UCC, which requires no specific belief system and permits all to come and (hopefully) peacefully coexist. There are many Christians here - there are also atheists, Buddhists, Wiccans, Pagans, and others to diverse to list.
Speaking for myself only, I would rather be in a "hangout for dogooders" than a church where the primary concern is sin and abomination. The Christ you profess to follow had no interest in being a "star," he taught about love and acceptance. He ate in the homes of "sinners" - he didn't mock them.
Finally, I don't think you're sorry for judging at all - that seems to be the entire point of your post. I'm not sure what an "autrusity" is, but if it means that you insist on everyone believing exactly as you do, you're not going to be very happy here.
BTW...A couple corrections to my (still being "moderated" from last week...), most recent post (on Atheism)...
I spelled one reference phonetically (so incorrectly), but both references are still correct, it should have been Gyorgy Docsi (a former colleague lifted my personal copy of "The Power of Limits"), but I should have looked up the spelling online anyway--and just did); also "Wilhelm" (a reference from Mathematics notes), refers to Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, the great German Philosopher and Mathematician.
Anyway, just thought I'd correct myself before someone else (I wonder WHO?), jumps all over it and makes straw dogs out of remnants of nothing.
PS: Forgot this... That should have been blow hard "Richard Dawkins" (who can ever remember that strange man's name), rather than Michael Hastings...
Apologies Michael. You were such a great reporter, how did I ever make that mistake? Perhaps to say you are most obviously in a better place than Dawkins is headed. LOL!
I'll leave it there...
...On second thought, let's go a bit deeper, to the heart of the argument so many Atheists hold against "Theism" and "Organized Religion"...And "Christianity" in particular: "Theistic Beliefs and Religion are or were mostly responsible for most of the Wars, world turmoil and horrors, murders, and mass murders throughout World History." ... That's the claim! ...Gretta Vosper, likewise blames Theism and for promoting backward thinking, hate, and holding back world progress.
REALLY? ...Then explain all this:
That's a very interesting list - could you provide evidence of a link between the atheism of the people listed and the horrors they perpetrated? Most, if not all, of the wars and atrocities you cite were about power, not religion or lack thereof.
I'm not sure how the fact that these people were atheists entered into anything - having lived through much of this, it seemed to be more of an issue for "us" than for them.
Evidence and proof of statements made by some posters here (not sure who is ULC ordained) is often sadly lacking, hsw. All too often the "evidence" is more scripture, which means little to those who have researched the origins, veracity and inerrancy of the Bible without the influence of pre-existing faith and beliefs.
You are correct in saying, "Most, if not all, of the wars and atrocities you cite were about power, not religion or lack thereof." But, in many cases, collusion and complicity between state and church was an important factor in the horrific outcomes.
Rather than wandering off to other issues, I'm waiting for a cogent, intelligent response from MN to my Oct. 22 post, that challenged some of his unsubstantiated and extreme statements.
I hope you're not holding your breath :)
...The "Evidence" is the direct (unambiguous) statement(s) or "Quotes" each of these insane people makes about their own Personally held beliefs and actions... Which accompanies each brief statement(s) made on the list (I linked to), about each of these individuals atrocities.
All you have to do is read...
Feel free to fact check their death talleys, and their own words. And if you find any of these people's attributes or quotes to be in error, then please by all means, enlighten us all; but with something more than a summary dismissal based purely on your own opinions.
Finally, your "belief" that their actions were not predicated on their "Atheism" is meaningless, especially in light of THEIR own words to the contrary.
BTW, the list (I linked to) also includes a complete (numbered) bibliography at the end, with SOURCES, and even the page numbers (of books) where all the provided information and any quotes originated.
Again, all you have to do is read; and not between the lines of any of these fully attributed historical FACTS.
Reading is good. Comprehending is better. I didn't dispute your list. I asked for any proof of a connection between the atheist beliefs of the people on your list and the events.
Comprehending is always better, otherwise reading is pointless...
So what part these people's OWN philosophy's, where they themselves directly connect their Atheist beliefs and horrific actions, are you not getting?
The Sources listed clearly substantiate: Their stated Intent and Reason; And they themselves connect their horrific actions to their Atheistic philosophy's and beliefs; and see themselves as completely autonomous and unaccountable to anyone or anything (certainly not to any higher power), but instead defer to their own twisted world views.
I am not claiming all or even most Atheists harbour such views or share such traits or desires; but the Atheists listed certainly did.
That's historically indisputable.
The point here was to show a counterbalance to a long standing Atheist argument, that Religion is responsible for all or most of the mass horrors in this world, and that Atheism is a superior philosophy that denotes greater or more consistent moral values and teachings.
That's just not true!
While Religious Zealots and insane "believers" have most certainly created mass chaos and horrors in this world, so have Atheists, and equally so.
It's time to realize the problem isn't Religion or a lack of religion, but power structures and individuals that co-opt civil society... And both Religious and Atheist constructs are equally guilty in that regard.
My arguments against Gretta Vosper do not extend to this, as I see her as a decidedly moral person, but one who seeks to overthrow (by her own words), "Religion and Theisic Superstitions".
And from within a CHURCH!
My main issue with her has more to do with the selfish imposition of her beleifs on an already defined system.
The only hope for humanity is to fight against abuses of power, and no matter who is committing them.
BTW, I am equally opposed to "Christians" imposing their beliefs on soceity at large, Atheists, agnostics, or any other Religions.
And Yes, I realise "Atheism" is not technically a religion, but then so many outspoken Atheists these days are doing one hell of a good impression.
Here's another interesting list, hsw. Maybe the "atheists" listed had their morals twisted by reading about this angry, vengeful monster.
Very interesting list indeed:
The God of Abraham killed far fewer human beings IN TOTAL (unless you believe as I do, that those who actually did those murders just ascribed them to God to justify their sadistic actions... I follow Christ, but otherwise take the rest of it with a grain of salt, as I know the true origins of "The Bible", and for me anyway, Jesus Christ stands apart from all that... Especially because he was trying to reform all of it), but anyway, that number (God's alleged killing spree), is still far and away SO MUCH LESS, than just one of either of these two ATHEISTS: Stalin, who at least, doubled those numbers, or Hitler, who likely quadrupled them, at least.
Yes, many "Religious Zealots" have killed in the name of "God"... That is just a fact (I mean look at ISIS), but just as it is a fact that many have done so, many more have killed in the name of "Atheism".
Or at LEAST by equal numbers.
But great list... Now add up all the people Murdered by ATHEISTS... And by Atheistic Ideologies such as Fascism, Communism, and Socialism, and even Paganism: Thosr numbers are staggering!
Unlike you (judging ALL Religions and their followers), I'm not condeming all Atheists; just the crazy ones.
Let's be honest about all this, Crazy Humans love to kill, and regardless of whether or not they do or don't have a Religion.
I personally believe many Atheists preach a beleif system that looks an awful lot like Religion, and as adamantly as any other Religion.
I mean look at Richard Dawkins, if he's not a Religious Zealot (preaching his twisted views of ALL RELIGION), then neither are the mindless minions of the Westboro Baptist "church" who spread their hate all over the place.
Regardless, as I said before (and I'll say it again), the problem isn't Religion or a lack of Religion, or belief or disbelief in any deity... The problem is crazy insane charismatic "leaders", and of any stripe, and all their demented followers.
The total for God is just shy of 30 million. By your count Hitler quadrupled this number. Your source?
The flood that God created accounts for an estimated 20 million deaths on it's own.
It's unlikely that Hitler killed anyone. The killing was done by Christian Germans in collusion with the churches and based on biblical anti-semitism.
There is overwhelming evidence that Hitler was not an atheist, but rather a Catholic. Denial does not eradicate facts and history.
Be sure to view the view the photos (sixth section) as a picture is worth a thousand words.
Stalin may have been an atheist. He was certainly a megalomaniac. He was also one of the "good guys" and a leader of the Allied forces playing a key role in the defeat of Germany in WWII.
Here's some information about Pol Pot, Hitler and Stalin
Have you watched any of the crazy, insane, charismatic Christian leaders I've posted?
It's unlikely any Pope every (Hands On) killed anyone either, or that "God" directly killed anyone at all...
And you're quoting statistics from a "Flood" you don't believe ever happened, really?
As I've said before, its much more likely that MANY were murdered "In Gods name" by madmen, just as ISIS is doing today... And that "God" however anyone envisages IT, did not actually kill anyone.
That aside, check with the Simon Wiesenthal Center (And many others... Including US government statistics), for SOURCES, multiple and many WORLDWIDE... Incluing Germany), about all the Blood on Hitler's hand... And likewise Stalin, Pol Pot, et al's hands... Or are you a Holocaust Denier too?
Oh, none of the above (except for that coward Hitler), ever pulled a trigger themselves (except for the coward Hitler who shot himself in the head, instead of actually standing up for his "beliefs" after the fact), but they (just merely) incited all of the horrors and violence and were direct architect's of all of it, and not in the name of Christianty (as you so incorrectly state), but because of their twisted Atheistic philosophy's.
With Hitler, the Roman Catholic Church was complicit, no doubt, but Hitler and his henchmen (as proven by too many sources known historically... WERE NOT CHRISTIANS... LOOK IT UP, because regardless you'd have some excuse as to why it's not SO... Guess according to you, he and his henchmen were just somehow misunderstood or falsely accused, and the entire free world was just fighting against them for the hell of it), regardless of your "opinions", these were all ATHEIST Insane people, NOT Christians by any stretch of anyones imagine... Least of all Hitlers, who called it a Surge to be wiped off the face of the earth"!
Your tactic is always to refute without any evidence of your own... I've cited a lot of evidence in many postings that you choose to ignore or refute without any evidence of your own.
Symantecs seems to be your continuous cover or shield against any of the historically accepted numbers, statistics, or these madmen's own words (historical statements), and therefore against any FACTS.
Its like arguing with a racist, so I'll just leave it there!
To continue to engage you is obviously a pointless exercise, because your "arguments" and all your "facts" are just opinions.
PS... In his manifesto, Hitler pulls religious jargon and bible references out of his backside to somehow "rationalize" his acute insanity, but many more statements by this ATHEIST madman totally refute any of that nonsense...
MN said, "It’s unlikely any Pope every (Hands On) killed anyone either, or that “God” directly killed anyone at all…" "And that “God” however anyone envisages IT, did not actually kill anyone."
"To continue to engage you is obviously a pointless exercise, because your “arguments” and all your “facts” are just opinions."
The epitome of denial. The biblical flood plus many other mass killings are directly attributed to the God of the Bible. Many of them are detailed in my Nov. 12 post. This is not my opinion. Simply reading the applicable scripture is the evidence.
"Your tactic is always to refute without any evidence of your own… I’ve cited a lot of evidence in many postings that you choose to ignore or refute without any evidence of your own." More delusional bullshit, MN. I included three links to evidence and facts on Nov. 18 alone. It's one thing to choose not to educate yourself, but to deny that I've included them is pitiful.
I also see, however, that you've failed to verify your statement that Hitler's killings quadrupled those of God, not to mention the preposterous claim that God did not not kill anyone. Couple that with your failure to verify the statements that you made about Vosper, and your credibility is seriously lacking.
(Whose) Brother, John,
Let me see if I understand your latest (feeble) hateful and sarcastic statements?
...A "God" you don't believe in, killed countless, and partly with a "Flood" you also don't believe in... And I, who do not believe any part of that, I'm somehow "delusional"!
You do realize just how "off" (or perhaps "delusional") that sounds don't you?
...But my saying "Religious Zealots" killed in the name of God, and still do (hence my references to ISIS and others whom we all know were/are not doing any part of God's bidding, or anyone else's, except for their own twisted beleifs and agenda's), that's somehow ridiculous, or as you so arrogantly put it, possibly "delusional"!
Yet another of your very nasty personal attacks, and you wonder why I called you simply, "John" and not by the fained "title" you've given yourself... Yup, again, I think you need a mirror on this one... And to redress holding any "Title", let alone making outlandish comments in the name of a "Religious Title" where your bitter judgements are heaped upon anyone of any religious bent.
BTW, in an earlier posting you mentioned my use of "Minister", and how you opted for the more "Humble" title of "Brother"...
Odd, First off, I consider "Minister" a very humble title that I seek daily to live up to, but Secondary to that, how humble is a "Brother" who seeks to ridicule and lambast and put down others beleifs, and why does an "Atheist" need (or want) any kind of religious title in the first place?
Sadly, I am now, too many times in your cross hares... And let's hope that's an analogous statement.
As your "stability" eludes me!
Your use of the title "BROTHER" seems to belie the benign loving nature that humble title should denote, or that you claim it to be...
At least your nasty, sarcastic, and ridiculing comments would thoroughly betray any claims to being "humble"! You certainly do not comport yourself in any dignified manner denoting any "humble" let alone "Ministerial Title".
So what's up with that?
You claim a walk your comments utterly betray, and as your sometime cohort "hsw" put it, "What does an Atheist need with a church", and I'd add, or with any kind of ministerial title?
You're a "selective type", I'll give you that.
You seem to selectively pull apart fragments of mine, and so many other's statements and pick them apart (ignoring so much else that was also said, in context), and either to react to your own selective mussings, or more frequently to ridicule not just the statement or the point being made, but to thoroughly make it a personal attack!
You want to attack something personality? Well that sounds like a personal problem!
Again (and Ive stated this a few too many times now), I AM NOT A BIBLE LITERALIST (or any kind of "Literalist", though you do seem to be), but I am a believer... And perhaps that's what really bothers you the most; anyone who isn't "frothing" at the mouth, but still believes.
Which is also why I say/said it's really pointless to continue to engage you!
Last time, and regardless!
I am not a Bible Literalist, and as such, I believe just as with today's "Religious Zealots" THEY, not "God", are responsible for all the killings THEY, and YOU (and you know better), attribute to God.
Madmen attributing their insanity to "God" has been happening from ancient times forward. So why pretend an argument, especially one I'm not making?
Sadly, there are just too many "Christians" who take the Bible LITERALLY!
I am not one of them...
But I do believe in Jesus Christ, and have thoroughly studied the Bible (including its origins and codification, and many iterations, as I've said too many time now), and I have personally concluded on "The Bible" being a part of history (however, feebly exaggerated), and lore, and heroic myth of a desperately beaten and struggling people.
Oh, and there actually are many beautiful passages that are true moral lessons, and not in any way about killing.
Some Christian Scholar's, but many more Rabbi's will tell you all those stories (expect for the interspersed "Jewish History"), are allegory and myth, interspersed with exaggerations of History to teach moral, but (in the Old Testament, mostly), also stories and myths used to empower the mostly illiterate, and so downtrodden masses while in exodus and sojourn.
They were never, sadly, meant to be taken LITERALLY...
And certainly never meant to create all the hate and dissention, and distortions and anger, thus now associated with them...
Ask a Jew, they know better!
Jesus however (mentioned in the Old Testament, and many times secularly (See Roman writings including those of Pliny the Younger, among others), Jesus (singular) primary message appears to be real and honest and was of love and unity... And meant primarily as reforms, not to create any new Religions.
And, again, me (like so very many Christian and Jewish lay scholars, and academics), do not believe Jesus was ever trying to create any Religion. ...Certainly nothing called, "Christianity".
He was merely trying to reform his own sect, and make it more loving and inclusive; which is why I am not a "conventional" Christian by any stretch of anyones perverse imaginings (and certainly no kind of "LITERALIST"), but instead, I am a "Christ-Taoist".
Not sure now exactly what it is YOU really believe...
One minute you're using Literalists arguments (many that others are not even making), and to lambast, ridicule, and counterpoint; and in the next instance you're a true non-believer, but (unless YOU have issues, that you keep ascribing to others), you cant have it both ways...
But knock yourself out!
Just in future, please, leave me out of any of your further Pathologies.
Dobtake the "Christain Literalists" to task, with my blessings (but for Chrissakes try to be less obsequious about it), and stop ascribing (your/their Delusional), attributes to my faith and to my comments!
Again! I do not believe GOD killed anyone, because I do not believe in any mythic "God" of hellfire and damnation... Go argue that nonsense with someone else!
I believe in the benevolent SOURCE of all creation: TAO!
I further believe Jesus Christ emanated from that Source, and that his devine message was corrupted by first century Romans and so many others, and for their own nafarious agendas...
RE: The Council's of Nicea.
Further, Organized RELIGION, with all their skisms, and reformations also point to this corruption of a pure and loving message... Because let's face it, just as Hitler did (and Trump just did), you win more support by creating common "enemies"!
...And, no, I'm not comparing Trump to Hitler, except by means of election tactics; and let's hope that's the only comparison that will be forthcoming.
Anyway, its really too bad so many alleged "Christians" and their "Atheistic" counterparts argue for a NASTY hateful "god", and just to win points and counterpoints... I see no other reason to argue such nonsense, or the point.
I mean, unless it's directly interfering with your beliefs, what the hell do you care?
Gretta's the one who's trying to directly "interfere" with others beleifs, not me!
YOU, as such, have ascribed attributes to all my posts and statements that just are not there... So reprove yourself!
I am not a religious zealot, or your foil, never was, but sadly you are a most arrogant Atheist (just like Gretta Vosper, and Richard Dawkins), not content to believe what you will, but intent on stopping others from also exercising that RIGHT!
As such (and so obviously), anyone of any "Faith" in any deity must, in your (Richard Dawkins) clouded eyes, either be delusional or otherwise in some wise perverse or in need of your laughable council, and regardless of their true beliefs or statements to the contrary.
So WHY "Brother", John?
Seems you've got the Richard Dawkins (and Gretta Vosper) disease of absolutism; you're either with us or against us... How, one dimensional: Either Atheist or INSANE, is that it?
How hysterically Laughable!
Check yourself on that one, and at least try and reign in your absolute arrogance!
This is exactly the argument against Gretta Vosper, who wishes to remain the Pastor of a "Christian" church while also holding such arrogant beliefs about the very people she "Loves" and would fain "Serve and Guide" (where?).
...Now that truly is Madness!
Congratulations on your longest, most rambling reply yet, MN! Despite it's substantial volume, it completely failed to address any of the repeated challenges to your previous misinformation.
"I also see, however, that you’ve failed to verify your statement that Hitler’s killings quadrupled those of God, not to mention the preposterous claim that God did not not kill anyone. Couple that with your failure to verify the statements that you made about Vosper, and your credibility is seriously lacking."
You said, "You seem to selectively pull apart fragments of mine, and so many other’s statements and pick them apart….."
I object to having beliefs promoted as facts and untruths as truth, as I've done with yours. Many people prefer the comfort of belief (especially when shared with other believers) to potentially disturbing truth.
MN said … "Sadly, I am now, too many times in your cross hares". I assume you meant "cross hairs". That's because you've made a number of claims that have no validity and when confronted, simply provided more of them.
I have to go soak my hands now. I'm getting cramps from scrolling through your latest epic reply.
Go soak your head instead, and challenge yourself, as you are so obviously, and so perversely, "Challenged!"
Or perhaps as you so nastily suggestion to me, find some remedial reading courses or perhaps therapy; as you obviously can't comprehend even the most basic comments or statements anyone is actually making.
"Delusional" seems to be your favorite put down, so perhaps that's a good starting point for your own pathology.
You are such a Richard Dawkins sycophant, that it's not only laughable (how everything that comes out of your mouth, came out of his first... Like you're some baby bird sopping up all his regurgitated grubs), but just like him, and Greedy Gretta, you have an absolute disdane for anyone of faith in any deity, and as such, you don't just seek to believe (or disbelieve) whatever it is you actually do believe, but you are hell bent, and so arrogantly so (and sophomorically), on trying to prevent others from exercising that same Right.
Oh well! That's your problem.
BTW, who appointed you Moderator? You seem to troll and splatter your venom over so many of these postings, and over anyone's comments (happazardly), that you disagree with, and not with some civilized (or even cogent) rebuttal or reply, but with obvious disdain and with sad attempts at ridicule; like you think it's your birthright or something, or that anyone really cares what you think.
I don't! Others obviously likewise!
Sadly, I now see you as merely a hapless "TROLL"!
Norm advised…. "Dobtake the “Christain Literalists” to task, with my blessings". I'm going to quit dobtaking for now, but may pop in from time to time. Thanks for your blessings though.
I hope you're feeling better after your Nov. 28 thought enema, Norm. Whew! Lots of pent up thoughts in that head of yours.
Wow, brother "John", you really are a hapless disingenuous TROLL...
The "John" is where you obviously compose all your sarcastic spasmodic gems, and where they belong. And POACHING TYPOS! Wow, a new low; even for you.
...(s)TROLL along now!
That's what can happen when you put yourself in the "cross hares" by making unsubstantiated accusations and failing to verify them when challenged, Norm.
You have a point about poaching typos, but a basic proofreading before posting would eliminate most of them. Since you've brought it up, my basic reading comprehension did notice several errors in your posts that aren't simple typos though. As someone who regularly flaunts their vocabulary, you, of all people, should be aware of them.
MN…. Dec. 1 "Or perhaps as you so nastily suggestion to me, find some remedial reading courses" I can read just fine, MN. You may want to proofread what you've written and check your syntax and spelling before posting, however.
MN… Nov. 22 "Symantecs seems to be your continuous cover or shield…." This is both ironic and amusing, MN. In your attempt to slam my use of "semantics" (the study of the meanings of words and phrases in language), you used the wrong word yourself. To quote you… LOLOLOL
"…...but just like him, and Greedy Gretta, you have an absolute disdane for anyone of faith in any deity"…. Even without a remedial reading course, I noticed yet another error. Do you see it? Looks like another grade school spelling error, not a typo.
Nov. 28… "except for their own twisted beleifs and agenda’s"
Nov. 1.. "My main issue with her has more to do with the selfish imposition of her beleifs on an already defined system."
When I'm typing "beleifs" a correction appears. I guess you ignored it and used your own version.
I can only assume the "F" in "LMFAO" stands for "FAT"!
LOL... I'll say it again, but only because it's true: TROLL!
Oh brother, John (et al)!
So now you're asking for a litmus test and implying what I must be thinking!
Go to Gretta Vosper's web site: GrettaVosper.ca
Their is neither room here, nor inclination on my part to parse all the too many Anti-Christian, Anti-God, and Anti-Theistic statements made by Gretta Vosper...
And go to the UCC website, and read so many other Blogs and Articles all over the Internet now about this story!
What you will discover is the one and only "Main Issue" here, that a Christian Church has the right to dismiss a Pastor who refuses to teach about God and Christ... In other words: Their main intended purpose for organizing in the first place!!
That's the ONLY issue here.
A lot of HER hyperbole (and yours) about Christianity is what I and so many others are challenging (Including her own "Beloved UCC"), and so many others who choose to identify as not "Atheists", or some nebulous "Other" but decidedly as "Christians".
It's almost funny... how Gretta's Atheistic points actually sound sweet (mostly), until you listen to what she's actually (and so snidely) saying, about, and against her own church and her FORMER congregants.
Yeah, A LOT of 'em left!!!
Well, I should say "sweet", if you dismiss all her cracks about "Outmoded Thinking" and calling what IS a "Christian Church and Christian Congregation", "A place Steeped in Superstitions", and merely because her "Church" and FORMER Congregants have the audacity of suggesting Jesus Christ is something other than a man-made myth, and for being so ridiculously simple minded as to actually put the "Christ" in "Christian".
But she's not JUST Anti-Christian, she calls all Theism, "Superstitions" and suggests that sort of thinking is what's caused all the sorrows in the world (read Wars, Murders, Mass Murders, etc... (Hence my last post, which you are welcome to look up for yourselves, it's all FACT, and it was their Atheism), anyway Gretta says, SHE (in her infinite Atheistic wisdom), knows better than all of THEM, and will school them, by setting all of them straight about their (rube-like) simplistic beliefs.
Oh she says all of that SO VERY sweetly, but if you actually look at what she's saying, and they're aren't many lines to read between... Its exactly what she is so unwaveringly stating! Now go "Cherry Pick" some quotes from her website Brother John (et al)!
Her stated plan is to "Just not mention God (or Jesus, and AGAIN John, et al), in a decidedly "Christian" Organization, that she sign on with to teach "Christian-based moral values and teachings", but she's decided that's just not acceptable anymore, so she's single-handedly going to help all these wayward theistic (non) thinkers turn the corner, by ridding HER organization of "Superstitions"...
This is her real (arrogant) plan!
And that's her real (loving) message to a decidedly Christian Congregation, and Christian Church.
What part of THAT aren't you getting John (et al)?
She's not at the "Y" doing her take on theology in some pop culture class...
Gretta Vosper planted herself in a "Christian Organization" that She herself signed on with, was ordained by... "As a Christian Minister", and that she knew full well exactly what they believe and always have, but now she refuses to deliver any part of THEIR "Christian Message", because in her own words, "I can no longer teach what I don't believe"... Referring to Christian teachings as , "Backward", and "Outmoded" and "Theistic Superstitions".
I didn't make ANY of that up!
So according to you John (et al), greedy Gretta should have that "Right"!
No one has that right, unless you fully overturn (overthrow), an organizations FREEDOM to be what they wish to be (yes, so long as they do not impinge on anyone else's rights; which they are not), and Gretta has a right to GO, and believe whatever spins her propellers; anything she wishes to believe, or can otherwise concoct out of thin air or convince other of, but she has ZERO "Rights" to impose her personal beliefs on anyone else; Especially not on the self-proclaimed, "Oldest 'CHRISTIAN' organization in (all) of Canada!"
AGAIN, go to her web site!
Go to the UCC website, read something other than your own vapid opinions! I did, so that I was not just parsing my own "OPINIONS"...
I'm challenging hers, and yours (et al)!
One of her so called "Beautiful Encounters" that she says led to her Atheism, was going to a book signing for some Atheist Author, "...Who's book has a shiny cover like a mirror, with the words 'MEET YOUR GOD' written on the cover! ...And of course you're seeing yourself."
...And NOT some made up deity, right? Yeah, just create yourself, Gid knows no one else did!!! LOLOLOL!
Go to her website...
It says everything all of her detractors are saying (only in a "nice" fluffy way, well, not entirely), but she is as I said (mostly) sweet and fluffy and calm and so very self-assured indeed, but she is also now very aggressively Atheistic, and damaging the outright foundations of (again, John, the words of the UCC, not my words or OPINION), "The Oldest CHRISTIAN Organization in Canada!"
As for YOUR agenda and litmus Test: Gay Marraige isn't the issue here, unless of course it's your issue (I don't have any issues with Gay Marraige, except is it "Gay Marraige" or just "MARRIAGE"? ... See how easy it is to twist words, and make others appear small in their beliefs by implying things what they're NOT saying?!)
Anyway, the UCC has accepted Same-Sex couples as a part of their Inclusion, and likewise, her being a Woman Pastor isn't an issue either, or any of the other things you mention John, BUT selling her Atheism from the pulpit WITHIN a "Christian" Church?
That's the issue here John (et al)! Not my issue!! Because I'm not defining the UCC! Gretta Vosper is trying to do that all on her own... Well, with the help of a few high powered friends.
The UCC has already defined themselves, and Gretta Vosper, on her own, has no right to now redefine this or any other organization... But she's obviously welcome to try! Though that has proven to be more than just a distraction, and I believe absolutely INTENTIONALLY!
Gretta's got LAWYERS (plural)!!!
And Gretta's got an AGENDA! Gretta knew what she signed on for, and when her beliefs changed, she also knew what she should have done; LEAVE!
Instead she got herself several high powdered Attorneys to combat the UCC in an attempt to force her own beliefs on an entire organization.
How absolutely selfish!
But more than that, it proves what so many of her detractors are saying , Gretta Vosper is trying to overthrow their entire decidedly "Christian" values and teachings, and replace them with her own; Atheism!
That's just plain selfish, but I believe its more than that... Or did all those lawyers just pop out of thin air, like Gretta believes all theistic Gods do?
Gretta's agenda is showing!!!
Which is why so many (that you just refuse to mention), FLED! "Her Congregation." They just walked away, because they didn't sign on for her brand of "Atheistic Christianity".
Those are the issues here John, not your agenda or Gretta's!
...But feel free to continue on in your snide Opinions... Parsing litmus Tests that are of no real value (except to your opinions).
That certainly shows your hand.
...This was no issue before greedy Gretta showed her hand, and forced her selfish issues on her CHURCH!
"Pack up all your cares and woe"... Cause Gretta, it's time to GO!
PS: (John, et al)...
The UCC decision, that now awaits final disposition, and GRETTA VOSPER'S OWN WORDS...
Where she so sweetly, and fluffily says EXACTLY what I have been writing about, and indicts all Theism and Organized Religion with her weird twisted world view. Though, I'm sure you'll parse her words differently!
Here's just a very small sampling... From: charismapodcastnetwork.com with direct QUOTES from the Ottowa Star Newspaper:
"The United Church of Canada voted to defrock atheist minister Gretta Vosper.
'In our opinion, she is not suitable to continue in ordained ministry because she does not believe in God, Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit," the church's Toronto Conference Review Committee said, according to the Toronto Star.
(Nothing ambiguous there, AND THAT'S FROM THE TORONTO STAR... It's a major newspaper, not a Blog)...
"After prayer and much discussion," the committee decided Vosper was "unsuitable' to continue serving."
Vosper "came out" as an atheist in 2001.
"After I spontaneously preached a sermon in which I completely deconstructed the idea of a god named God, rather than fire me, the congregation chose to step out on an unmarked path."
(Yeah, a lot of them stepped out and never returned, and complained to church officials... How else do you think this all came to light?)
"With them, I've labored, lamented, lost and loved. It's (a) hard road but a worthy one with no finish line in sight," Vosper writes.
Vosper writes that people can live compassionate lives with or without God, and has taken a proactive role in fighting for freedom FROM religion.
(Even though she wants to continue to call herself a "Christian Minister", and avidly promotes her Atheism to her Christian Congregation, she promotes "FREEDOM FROM RELIGION" inside a Christian Church, and she doesn't see what the problem is... REALLY? What an absolute disconnect).
"Where it may once have seemed justifiable" Vosper's says, "Ours is not a time in which personal religious beliefs can be welcomed into the public sphere; we can no longer claim that the impact of religion on political and social structures is purely beneficial,"
(Thus her whole agenda is to do away with any Theistic Beliefs, just as I said).
Vosper writes. "This truth is obvious in the shadow of Paris, Ottawa and countless other tragedies. We must boldly stand with those who would clear the public sphere from the prejudices of religious belief... EVEN as we defend the rights of individuals to hold whatever beliefs allow them to sleep at night."
(You wanted more of her words. Well she's not ambiguous about what she's trying to accomplish from WITHIN the "Christian" UCC organization... It's that last part she's not real strong on, because her message isn't really about tolerance for anyone, except those who think and believe the way she does. ...But that last part sounds all nice and fluffy in print, doesn't it?).
So sue me?! REALLY? ...Over what; telling the truth?
And while you're at it, sue the ULC who moderates my comments, sometimes for days, and then decides they meet muster after all, and the UCC (oh right, Gretta already did, but obviously only because she loves them so much... Perhaps she'll ask for a monitary settlement for all the hassles; she's caused, and all the chaos she's inflicted, not just on her CHURCH, but on all those parishioners she chased away... Hey, maybe they can bring a "False Advertising" Class-Action Lawsuit against her).
The truth is, FACTS are hard things for liars to accept, and all those who would distort the truth to serve their agenda, or otherwise deconstruct history based merely on their Opinions of "How it all should Be, or may appear to THEM ANYWAY!
She can be whatever she wishes to be, but has no right to force her Atheism on Christians and others of faith (in a God(s)), and while also laying the blame of psychopaths on "ALL RELIGION" or Theism, and then expect a warm fluffy response!
How totally absurd!
Yeah Gretta, do away with all religion because some murdering psychopaths have taken over one part of one Religion and are killing people in the name of their twisted version of God.
Perhaps we should also outlaw Atheism, because after all, EVERY Mass Murderer (and so many Socialist and Communist regimes), have all (mostly) claimed they were Atheists, well, a few said they were Satanists!
Do you see how absured her ideas actually are... Blaming, ..."Paris, Ottowa, and countless other tragedies", not on a group of crazy Zealots, but on Religion and Theism.
But here's a fact, Atheist- Socialist & Communist regimes have racked up one heck of a world history body count of death and destruction! And yes, so have Religious Zealots and other complete lunatics.
That is still not a grounds for sweeping distortions about Religion or Theism...
THAT'S JUST CRAZY!
You chose not to address the challenges I posed to a few of your statements in today's reply, MN. You begin with… "So now you’re asking for a litmus test and implying what I must be thinking!" I'm not implying anything about your thoughts. You made them quite clear and the three below are direct, accurate quotes of yours, made in your Oct. 21 3:03 post, are they not? I'm not asking for a "litmus test", but rather verification that the statements you made are true.
You said, “Gretta Vosper now claims, “Total disbelief in any theistic GODS”, and many of her parishioners walked way.That is a fact!” “Total disbelief in theistic gods” does not define most Atheists. You stated this as a direct quote. Link your source for verification.
MN says, “Plain and simple, Gretta Vosper believes those who worship Jesus Christ are backward, ignorant, and silly, and perhaps even delusional”? Ironically, this statement is backward, ignorant, silly and likely delusional, plain and simple. Provide the evidence (preferably direct quotes from her) that she thinks of her congregants, or even Christians in general, as you’ve charged. You could probably be sued for slander without evidence to support your accusation. This is far beyond simple hyperbole.
There’s also this …. “By her own words, Gretta Vosper is trying to overthrow the entire foundations of belief in Jesus Christ, and from within, “The Oldest Christian Congregation in Canada”… Hers and their words, not mine.” I”d suggested to you that the use of hyperbole to make a point is a weak approach, but you obviously think it’s effective. You failed to provide “her words” that indicate she’s attempting the preposterous claim you’ve made about overthrowing Christianity. Do you think she’s the prophetic Anti-Christ?
Not only didn't you address these specific issues, you've added another by stating…. "Which is why so many (that you just refuse to mention), FLED! “Her Congregation.” You may be right, but, once again, didn't provide any verification. How many congregants did she have a few years ago compared to now? How many is "so many"?
FYI, I have been to both the UCC and Vosper's websites, and did not see the quotes you attributed to her, did you? In my reply to hsw today (posted before I noticed this reply), I'd hoped for a cogent, intelligent response from you regarding the statements you'd made. I'm still waiting.
BTW, is your use of the title "Minister" through a mail order ULC ordination, or a traditional church? I noted your clever play on words at the outset and just going to John at others. I chose the more humble "Brother" over your "Minister" from an extensive list of choices.
Have you considered any of the more bombastic titles available to you through the ULC? Bishop, Cardinal, Father, High Priest, Friar, Padre, Saint?
Here's a link to a screen capture from Gretta Vosper's Facebook page, praising Richard Dawkins on the 10th Anniversary of his book, "The God Delusion"... He's a radical Atheist and so is she...
What is your definition of a "radical" atheist"? By the way most of us don't capitalize it, as it's not a religion - it's a lack of belief in a diety.
In reviewing her page, where, like Brother John, I did not find the quotes you attributed to her. I could not follow your link because it didn't take me to the page, it took me to a warning page, but I did see the post, and I can't understand where you get the "radical Atheist" thing - if such a thing even exists.
Best quote on her site, from one of her many friends: "Perhaps most organised religion is unsuitable for 21st century society. Maybe we should gather on Sundays to celebrate an ethical model of behaviour, rather than sing about a fanciful interpretation of history, myth and conjecture.
I think Jesus would prefer us to behave differently rather than argue about dogma."
Isn't Norm the one you thought might have mental health issues, hsw? Discussions here would be far more productive (and entertaining) if "true believers" had the knowledge and courage to defend their faith, particularly after making preposterous, unsubstantiated claims.
I have posted many challenges to their proselytizing under a variety of articles and have yet to see a cogent, sensible and honest response. They're usually ignored, or in the odd case, uselessly defended with "it's in the Bible so it's true". Many of my posts have challenged the veracity and reliability of the Bible, which neuters it as a source of truth (and, no doubt, why it's proponents chose to avoid the truth about the book itself and simply quote more scripture).
Fortunately, crackpots like "marysbirdworld" have left us, perhaps to post her babbling at bigotsunlimited.com. However, she and others with similar delusions have been replaced by a new group of "true believers".
I don't mind reading the opinions of those with beliefs I don't share, no matter how misguided they may be, but I'm sick of seeing them posted as factual statements and "THE ONE AND ONLY TRUTH", often punctuated with scripture.
On the bright side, if the Christians posting here are typical Defenders of the Faith, their religion will continue to be dismantled by reason, knowledge, common sense and reality. Potential (and existing) believers seeking these will be encouraged to look elsewhere. It breaks my heart that children are programmed with Bronze Age nonsense (especially little girls due to the misogyny) that may be difficult to overcome as adults though.
The Bible instructs believers to justify their faith. I'm not sure if it's yet another sin to avoid challenges, but doubt that their god is pleased with their lack of response (unless these passages aren't true either).
1 Peter 3:15 but honor the Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.
2 Corinthians 10:5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ
I always enjoy reading your thoughtful, well constructed comments, hsw. That was a RADical quote you posted... (An abbreviation of 'radical'--a term made popular by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Still primarily used by people on the West Coast who find words like 'cool', 'awesome', and 'tight' to be tired and overused; 'rad' is generally considered to be a much higher praise than the aforementioned superlatives. Also used as a general expression of awe." Source: Urban Dictionary
We'll probably both tire of sparring with the defenceless at some point in the future, but perhaps some of the challenges we've presented shattered the odd delusion and those who harboured them are simply embarrassed to admit it.
Peace to you and yours…..
And to you and yours. I'm afraid I'm rapidly losing the ability to be thoughtful, as I lose patience with the same issues you cite - primarily the continual posting of scripture as a response, rather than a response that allows for the give and take of true communication.
I enjoy talking with those who have different beliefs - but not with those who insist that they have the "one true way" and no other belief system is valid.
On a forum where I used to be a member, we created a sub forum called "The Sandbox" as a light-hearted place to share different beliefs. We went to the sandbox and "picked up a toy" and then described our toy - for instance, "today I'm playing with a Buddhist toy," and talked about the beliefs of Buddhists (and their various sects) and how they differ (or don't) from other beliefs.
It was a non-threatening way to engage people in talking about the differences, and even seeing that most weren't as different as they perceived.
Even as an atheist I want the same things everyone else does - a safer world for my children and grandchildren, peace, security, all the same things any other human wants. I wish we could just start with that - just have a conversation that starts with being human, with how we're the same before getting into how we're different, rather than being subjected to those who want to shout down the "other" as if different beliefs are something to be feared.
PS: See latest post from MN. Attack. Deflect. Never actually have a dialog.
Stunning, wasn't it, hsw?
I did find it amusing that he used quotes from Dawkin's and never addressed his own "quotes" from and about Vosper that launched the entire "discussion". Although I also find this pitiful, there's obviously some delusion involved. I do not have the skills, experience or patience to deal with those whose realities are distorted by delusions.
a : something that is falsely or delusively believed or propagated b : a persistent false psychotic belief regarding the self or persons or objects outside the self that is maintained DESPITE INDISPUTABLE EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY; also : the abnormal state marked by such beliefs
I've been on a couple of other blogs lately and find them devoid of the rambling, delusional nonsense that appears here on a regular basis. I'll be devoting my time to having honest, thought provoking conversations with intelligent, open minded people elsewhere. There aren't enough people like yourself here to make it worth continuing, hsw, but I may pop in now and then.
For some reason I've been inspired to paste a list of quotes in closing…..
"When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called Religion." -- Robert M. Pirsig
"'I refuse to prove that I exist,' says God, 'for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.'" -- Douglas Adams
"I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world." -- Richard Dawkins
“The human brain is a complex organ with the wonderful power of enabling man to find reasons for continuing to believe whatever it is that he wants to believe.” ― Voltaire
“Science is what we have learned about how to keep from fooling ourselves.” ― Richard Feynman
“There are so many paths to contentment if you're open to self-delusion.” ― Anthony Marra, The Tsar of Love and Techno
“We all know dogmatists who are more concerned about holding their opinions than about investigating their truth. ... if they are mistaken, they will never discover it; they have condemned themselves to perpetual error. Human beings (including myself) sometimes use their beliefs for wish-fulfillment. Too often we believe what we want to be true.” ― David L. Wolfe, Epistemology: The Justification Of Belief
"Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions." -- Frater Ravus
"Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned." -- Anonymous
"Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived." -- Isaac Asimov
I'd already read the page you linked (and more) and it does not confirm the extreme statements you made, which I repeated as direct quotes again yesterday. Your brief, two sentence reply is a pathetic response. You chose to present ridiculous opinions, without verification, as facts, including direct quotations. Unless you're willing and able to prove your statements are true, you're beyond misinformed. You're either a liar or, based on your rambling diatribes, delusional (Psychiatry. maintaining fixed false beliefs even when confronted with facts, usually as a result of mental illness).
Your mention of Vosper's lawyers encouraged me to forward your potentially slanderous, public comments to her for their files. Even if you live in Canada, they probably won't be concerned about them, but who knows, maybe you'll be providing her with an income in the form of a settlement some day.
It was stunning and somewhat scary. I have left on several occasions, but I'm invariably drawn back by a new topic - which also invariably devolves into what we have here, often, as with this thread, at the behest of just one person who ruins a potentially enlightening discussion for everyone else.
I'm going now - but again I'm sure I"ll be drawn back by another topic at some point - hope you will drop in from time to time.
It's been a pleasure - other than the obvious.
OH BROTHER, john (el al)...
Please, mail yourself to the moon, or continue to screw yourself into the ground. You obnoxious blow hard!
Are you serious, intentionally being contrary, or just terribly challenged?!
...Before your vapid attacks, and your SLANDERS and THREATS against me, become a more serious concern: FOR YOU, my Lawyers, and a court of LAW!
In case that's too subtle for you, as all MS Vosper's so obviously pointed ramblings seem to be, I mean for you to comprehend, or admit, then I'll be crystal clear: THREATEN me again, and you are the one who will need a lawyer and find yourself in court!
You have obvious "ISSUES" Johnny, that I no longer care to participate in.
Now you're THREATENING ME!!
Wow, how sad you can't make your points by any other means!! ...Just SAD!! You are so vapidly attached to your agenda and your own self- important opinions to continue bothering with... How pathetic!
Go play pretend with et al; or then just to play with yourself! It's all pretend with you; I hope! Like Gretta's stated intentions arent clear to even to a low grade moron.
But maybe they're not!
You don't really know her true agenda?! Her Richard Dawkins connection didn't do it for you?
Let her sue me, I'll counter-sue, and with her intended "Purpose" in mind, man, I can see "Christians" and other Religious Folk (especially after her crack about Theism and Religion causing so much turmoil in the world: ..."After Paris, Ottowa, and countless other tragedies..."), yup, coming out of the woodwork to aid my Legal Defense Fund! Can you say "Media Circus" Johnny!... I'll call all my friends in the media and well have a real dog and pony show; can you say "Viral"?
...You'll need a lawyer too Johnny!
You either do, or should get her most obvious agenda, as you (and et al) seem to share the same one; the same one she's stated now all too clearly all over the Internet (where nothing goes away) ...And Repeatedly!
...Let the chips fall!! ...I'LL CASH OUT!
From here on out, I'll let you and et al diddle each others empty heads. I'm done with all of this, and thankfully the UCC seems to be as well...
But if they do cave in to social or political pressure, then it'll only be to their own detriment, and the downfall of what used to be, "The oldest Protestant 'CHRISTIAN' Church in Canada", and that seems to be Greedy Gretta's main point!
HER AGENDA IS SHOWING; So's yours!
BTW, I've saved all of this, including YOUR hapless threats and nasty slanders of ME (so maybe I'll sue you), and I have all the links and downloads of all of it, including Gretta's Garbled Marbles (you'd call them gems), but it'd be hard for anyone to sue me over...
THEIR OWN WORDS!!!
But, like I said, if anyone does come after me (it'd be groundless), but brings some frivolous lawsuit, Ill make sure you're enjoined as a co-defendent with them in my counter-suit. So, be careful what ya wish for Johnny!
How dare you threaten!
Doesn't rock my faith or my world! You and snidely whiplash (hsw), you work it out... Parse nonsense between your vapid minds until Richard Dawkins head explodes (LOL), or until your own eyeballs pop out of your heads from spacial exasperation!
You seriously need more than your own council Johnny... So obviously.
If not, like Greedy Gretta, grab yourself a mirror and just barb AWAY!
A very boastful and talkative person; a braggart
One would only need to count the number of posts and words used to determine who's a blowhard, John.
CORRECTION: Minister Norman, not John
Don't ya just love QUOTES!!
Atheist Christian Minister Gretta Vosper is just a huge fan of Atheist author Richard Dawkins!
She even posted a hearty congratulations on the 10th Anniversary of his book, "The God Delusion" on her Facebook Page.
Gretta also credits him on her website with helping her see things more clearly; stating that his book opened her eyes!
Isn't that nice?!
Here are a few Quotes by Richard Dawkins From the website BrainyQuotes!
Now I can't attest to all of BrainyQuotes attributions, because the final quote I'm listing, I am certain is not by Richard Dawkins, but the rest sure sound like him...
"Many of us saw religion as harmless nonsense. Beliefs might lack all supporting evidence but, we thought, if people needed a crutch for consolation, where's the harm? September 11th changed all that." --Richard Dawkins
Wow, Gretta says something very-very similar, only with different locations, "After Paris, Ottowa, and so many other..."
"Why are we so obsessed with monogamous fidelity?" --Richard Dawkins
I wonder if "Aheist Christian Minister" Gretta Vosper believes that? It sure puts a different spin on "Marriage"!
"Religion is capable of driving people to such dangerous folly that faith seems to me to qualify as a kind of mental illness." --Richard Dawkins
Well Gretta hasn't stated it like THAT! She's more warm and fuzzy about everything she says, but so many of her statements do seem to imply that sentiment.
"We cannot, of course, disprove God, just as we can't disprove Thor, fairies, leprechauns and the Flying Spaghetti Monster." --Richard Dawkins
Now where have I heard that one before? hsw, did Richard Dawkins plagiarize you???
"By all means let's be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out." --Richard Dawkins!
Well, it's attributed to Richard Dawkins by BrainyQuotes, but then that was also one of my Granny's quotes. She told me that when I was 10, but Granny said "Keep an open mind" and "Fall out" instead of Drop Out, oh and "your" instead of "our"!
I guess I can understand him changing that last part (if he even said that); Atheists aren't hot on personal Gods, so "Our" has a nicer generic ring to it, just the way they like their "faith" and by changing it up just a bit... Oh well, you get the point.
Either way, I'm certain my grandmother never heard of any frothing Atheist named Richard Dawkins, so if he is claiming that last BrainyQuote, then he plagiarized it from somewhere else, and just changed it, and not appreciably!
Oops, I'd better be careful... Someone might forward this to Richard Dawkins! I guess so he can confirm his insane postures about all us religious folk!
BTW, my Granny never claimed that quote was original to her. She said her Mother told her that! So I'm certain it didn't come from Richard Dawkins.
OH WELL, "Ya can't win 'em all!" ...He might have said that!!!
And perhaps Gretta can take yet another lesson from her Atheist mentor!
BTW, I was chastised about capitalizing "Atheist", because as I was informed, "It's not a Religion!"
Tell that to Richard Dawkins, and Gretta Vosper! Because he's more procelatizing than a Baptist Minister, and she's sure challenging the hell out of her Church to prove that philosophy belongs there!
BTW, here's that "Open Letter" from Gretta Vosper copied verbatim from her very own website, that she sent to UCC Moderator, Gary Paterson, so the UCC has it on file also, and it's all over the Internet. She sent this letter after that horrific ISIS attack on Paris...
Evidently (in her own words), Gretta can't distinguish between "Religious Zealots" or insane extremists, and Religion in general. Hence her remarks.
And this isn't sowing the seeds of hatred toward innocent non-violent Religious folk... REALLY?
She's not being very ambiguous here about what she's actually calling for, so I think even a casual read shows the extreme nature of her deep seated anti-theistic, Anti-God, anti-religous nature. Here are more of Gretta Vosper's own words. (Capitalizations mine for emphasis) YOU decide...
Home About Books Words Speaking Contact
a letter to gary paterson regarding paris
January 8, 2015
Moderator The United Church of Canada 3250 Bloor St. West Toronto, ON
I write with deep concern for the world’s community as it reels following the RELIGIOUSLY motivated attacks in Paris this week and as diverse groups respond with courage and a renewed commitment to ending acts of terrorism.
The prayer posted to the United Church’s web portal is one of the myriad responses and I appreciate that we chose to offer it in a timely manner. I question, however, the merit of such a response because it underscores one of the foundational beliefs that led to the horrific killing in Paris: THE EXISTENCE OF A SUPERNATURAL BEING, whose purposes can be divined and which, once interpreted and without mercy, must be brought about within the human community in the name of that being. THIS BELIEF HAS LED TO INNUMERABLE TRAGEDIES THROUGHOUT THE TIMELINE OF HUMAN HISTORY AND WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO UNTIL IT FADES FROM OUR RAVAGED MEMORY. If we maintain that our moral framework is dependent upon that supernatural being, we allow others to make the same claim and must defend their right to do so even if their choices and acts are radically different from our own; we do not hold the right to parcel out divine authority only to those with whom we agree.
I URGE YOU TO LEAD OUR CHURCH TOWARD FREEDOM FROM SUCH IDOLATROUS BELIEFS. For decades, our denomination has pressed forward the edges of social, sexual, and environmental justice. FREEDOM FROM RELIGION IS NO LESS URGENT AN ISSUE. Individuals around the world face execution and imprisonment because of the beliefs they do or do not hold. It is essential that those religious organizations that have recognized and taught the human construction of religion speak the truths they have achieved with a clear and uncompromising voice. Ours is the denomination within the Christian church that can and must do so at this critical time.
Where it may once have seemed justifiable, OURS IS NOT A TIME IN WHICH PERSONAL RELIGIOUS BELIEFS CAN BE WELCOMED INTO THE PIBLIC SPHERE; we can no longer claim that the impact of RELIGION on political and social structures is purely beneficial. This truth is obvious in the shadow of Paris, Ottawa, and countless other tragedies. We must boldly stand with those who would CLEAR THE PIBLIC SPHERE FROM THE PREJUDICES OF RELIGIOUS BELIEF even as we defend the rights of individuals to hold whatever beliefs allow them to sleep at night.
Now is the time to speak clearly and bravely. I appeal to your vision of and commitment to a future of peace within the human family and urge you to do everything in your power, even and especially those most difficult, to MAKE IT SO.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized on January 9, 2015.
CORRECTION (in my capitalizations), "PUBLIC" SPHERE... That was Autocorrect!!
h.s.c.In case you dont know,the word pasteur is pastor in French.We are in America.I choose to use the french translation.Thousands of Christians use it.I researched your place;not church because Christ is the Church.Christ said,I am the vine you are the branches.When you drop off the vine you wither and die.You go ahead and keep your liberal progressive views and I wish you the best.It is no surprise to me that this is Obama's place where his speaker God Demands the United States. WHAT'S NEXT? Whatever you answer does not interests me,since you've already chosen but I still love you anyway as your still my brother.God bless you.
I have seriously no idea what you just said. Still wondering what "autrusity" is though, and additionally now wondering why you think a woman could be your "brother."
In any case, no thank you.
I'm very sorry sister for that mistake of gender.Im also sorry for my misspelled word.I'm not very good at spelling. You don't have to be so sarcastic.Remember every thing will fail, even knowledge,but the love of God will never fail.No more comments from me.God Bless you sister.
Nobody expects a female to be such a jerk, eliud.
If you're not afraid of reason and facts, and whether you're a Atheist, or a wavering Believer, check out these counter arguments to Richard Dawkins Atheist Manifesto, "The God Delusion".
The video, "The Atheist Delusion" offers intelligent arguments FOR the existence and believe in God, or at very least the existence of an Intelligent Designer of all that is.
What have you got to lose, except maybe (as Gretta Vosper would put it), YOUR "Superstitious Beliefs"?
I've seen it before. It's like "Logical Fallacies: The Movie." About 20 minutes of junk science, and the rest is worse. I've addressed previously the issue of God and morality - the idea that morals come from God - which is so stupid it makes my head hurt. There's nothing new in the movie - I've had more intelligent things screamed at me through a bullhorn when I participated in pro-choice marches.
What do I have to lose? Well there's the wasted time that I'm never going to get back...so I'm not going to do that again.
I watched it along with Comfort's ridiculous banana production. Both confirmed that faith and belief can over ride rational thought and average intelligence. Here are two reviews that clearly indicate Comfort will not be placing an Oscar next to his Bible collection.
A BETTER CHALLENGE!!
Okay, so that last posting may have boiled your blood...
It did mine!
No one OWNS or has cornered the market on what God is or does. While the book analogy in "The Atheist Delusion" is a good overall argument for God (and for as I believe, and as Einstein and Newton did, in Intelligent Design), it's not an argument for all that was then hung upon it by this video; namely that Fundamentalist "Christianity" is the one and only way.
That fundamentally offends me!
As a Christ-Taoist, I do not subscribe at all to that form of "Christianity"... Because I KNOW (not opinions, but historically), that HELL was not Jesus message... Love was nearly his entire message, and still IS.
Too many rulers and kings, "...filled in the blanks!"
Also, the BIBLE is not proven to be the "Unerring Word of God", by this ir any other arguments, nor by any I've ever heard. The exact opposite is true if you actually study the origins, codification, and changing history's of that book.
Jesus, on the othet hand is mentioned Religiously in many "Holy Books", including the Bible and Qur'an, and secularly, by Pliney the Younger, a Roman Archivist (among others), and Jesus message, was seen as heresay because it went against the very establishment that later co-opted and (I believe), perverted his inspired loving message.
I believe, The Fundamentalist (Kirk Cameron/Ray Comfort), views presented by Living Waters Minestry in "The Atheist Delusion" are just as self-serving, nasty, destructive and DELUSIONAL, and ill conceived, as are those of Richard Dawkins.
It's sensationalism passing as fact and reason, and one individual's, or in this case a particular Religion's views of what they insist, must be everyone else's concept of God; and both pass judgement on an entire world of now approaching 8 Billion people.
I believe in God (the SOURCE of All That Is), but am not arrogant enough to suggest it's "being" or "Will", except to say it's designs are miraculous (and I di not believe just emanated out of nothing), and for me anyway, are obviously not a human construct or a happenstance of spontaneous construction. I also believe God's vision is bigger than our own (my own) and therefore cannot be "Defined" by it's own creations.
I further believe in Jesus, whom, I believe was a rebel, who did not come here to start or invent any new Religions (only to reform one), and who's divinity was in question as late as 324 bce (during the Council's of Nicea), but who's message still stands as a singular example for all of humanity as the only true human challenge, to do/be better than the sum of our parts.
So if you're a Literalist Fundamentalist, then forgive me, but YOU need to get right with Jesus, because he did not teach or preach your brand of "Christianity".
The Bible so many would damn others with is a construct of so many peoples designs and changes and alliterations (that's just a FACT), and was codified mostly by the ruling classes throughout all it's history.
Jesus loving message lays outside all that, except as his message was/is co-opted and used to sell the entirety of the whole by those who would use his loving (and I believe very divine message), to sell their Fundamentalist beliefs, and otherwise maintain their exclusivity "HOLD" on God's Grace.
GOD is bigger than that...
Or then, "god" is no bigger than any of us, and I believe the SOURCE of all that is, must by it's very nature be BIGGER; a true, "Higher Power"!
I believe Jesus was a divine being, who came here to bring us together, not tear us all apart.
With that in mind, here's just one counterpoint...
PS: hsw (et al), I should have said, "Wait for it!", in my previous posting titled, "A CHALLENGE". Life is indeed a challenge we all must answer!
God knows, even if none of us do.
Jesus' challenge is the one I take up... To be as much of a follower and a practitioner of his divine example as this human form can or will allow; and God knows I (we all) fall short of that, because it's one hell of a challenge, but a noble undertaking none the less!
Taoist call this process Cultivating, "Your true authentic self"!
That is a lifelong pursuit!
Didn't boil my blood at all - I'd have to actually care what Mr. Comfort says or things - which I don't.
I really have no interest in watching (or reading) anything relating to Christianity - I spent 40+ years doing that, to no end other than enhancing my ability to argue with people who cite the bible as “Unerring Word of God," and that gets old fast. They're not going to change my mind and I'm not going to change theirs.
Maybe somebody else will be interested in picking up this discussion. I'm going to go have a glass of wine and relax.
A spartan idea... I'm doing just that.
This wasn't intended to try and make yours or anyone else's blood boil (though Bible Literalists and other religious Fundamentalists can have that effect), nor was it intended to in any way argumentatively persuade you to mine (obvioisly not Mr. Comfort's), or anyone else's point of view or beliefs; but instead, was offered to show what so many fundamentalists do believe, and contrast that with the misrepresented notions ascribed to my own BELIEFS by sarcastic and otherwise unproductive responses/postings.
Especially as I'm not inflicting my beliefs on anyone: Certainly not on any already formed or structured church organization.
As such, I stand firm in my beleive that Gretta Vosper does not belong in a self- described "CHRISTIAN" church.
...And that was my entire point!
That aside, I do not ascribe to the kind of self-righteous "Christianity" that Mr Comfort or anyone else is pushing, preaching, selling, or trying to coercing.
Unlike "someone" you were also communicating with, and too many othets, who so sophomorically try to coerce a point-for-point test of (I guess according to just their measure) standards of appropriate beliefs, I'm not selling anything.
I was now (however, and after so mamy contentious replies), offering a view of where I do stand, but without any ridiculous "Litmus Tests"... That oddly, are exactly what Mr. Comfort and so many other zealots (including Richard Dawkins), tries to coerce or initiate from those with differing or divergent views, beliefs, or opinions.
I'll leave it there!
Enjoy your whine! Just kidding, wine!
PS: Some final thoughts...
Isn't the REAL issue here (and from the very beginning), whether or not an organization (any organization), has a right to define itself; and unmolested by any individual, group, outside influence, or secular desires to change the way they define "Themselves"?
...Unless THEY want to change???
That was my point; and regardless of how anyone else might have perceived or twisted it for their own agenda.
The UCC has stated unwaveringly, and unequivocally what they believe, and yes, they are what many would call a very liberal church with progressive views, but they have still chosen to remain, "The Oldest Protestant CHRISTIAN Church in Canada".
They define Themselves as Christian!
And unless the World went cock-eyed, "Christian" includes CHRIST.
Yes, the UCC also states very openly, their tolerance of others, especially for all other denominations with differing beliefs and views, but (unlike what too many have stated here), they still do not share in many of those beliefs, nor obviously want them preached within THEIR churches. They are decidedly a Christian "Beleiving" denomination.
As such, THEY, reject Atheism!
So an individual seeking, especially through litigation, to force them to change their beliefs (because she's changed hers), sets a dangerous precedent. If you disagree, then turn it around! Would it be okay for someone to sue you into agreeing with them?
Or doesn't this work in reverse?
I'm not being facetious! Look at the absurdity of attempting to litigate your personal views onto anyone else!
This is a very dangerous precedent!
The idea that someone can sue you for their missplaced "right" to inflict their beliefs on you, let alone on a well established or defined group, is not only absurd, that's scary.
This is why we have Freedom of Religion... But also why we have that Separation of Church and State clause (in the U.S. anyway); and why our Supreme Court has upheld that separation for over half a century!
Yes, I realize the UCC is in Canada!
Regardless, we each (as human beings), have the right to believe or disbelieve anything we want, but we have zero "Rights" to inflict those personal beliefs on anyone else.
Freedom of Religion... Does not mean, the freedom to force your religion down the throats of others, nor does it open the door to individuals, or anyone else inflicting their views on an already defined organization; through litigation or otherwise.
BTW, so far as I understand it, the UCC has connections within the United States, so I'd imagine their rulings would also effect their U.S. counterparts.
Its disturbing, how off-base so many of these postings have been.
One "individual" posting here, touting Gretta Vosper's "Rights", actually threatened me over his disagreements with my views; in a pathetic attempt to silence me.
Yet another "individual" took me to task, several times (joining in with this other "individual"), in a decidedly bullying fashion, where both of them "tag-teamed me with various sarcastic and insulting remarks.
Later to refute "Bullying" on another Blog. How disconnected is that?
When their sarcasm and insults didn't work, they both then attacked me personally, even suggesting I was somehow mentally ill. Richard Dawkins minions obviously, as they both quote him (and he claims anyone with a religious bent is somehow insane; one of his most disgusting tactics), but while they are (obviously) quote him (Oddly), it's without attribution!
How surreptitiously cleaver!
Their lack of attribution really speaks to a deficit of any true debating skills or cogent arguments, which define their sense of propriety over their own beleifs... Assuming they have any.
One of these "individuals" however, said something quite succinct and oh so very thoughtful and original, in a reply to a fellow "Atheist" who talked about his "church"... Asking, "What does an atheist need with a church"?
Wow! That was my entire argument!
It amazes me (why, I'm not sure, having witnessed it so many times), but when seemingly intelligent people resort to attack, but only because they're not convincing (or coercing) enough to get their points across in some other way. But it's especially perplexing when they so harshly attack, only to then offer up the very seed of the argument you've been making all along, and in a nutshell.
Why does an Atheist need a church?
Why then too, should Gretta Vosper, now an Atheist, remain a "Christian" Pastor of a Christian Church?
Why is that even a point of contention?
Was that Tower of Babel really a myth? You sure could argue for a "Confusion of Language" by reading so many of the replies presented here.
"Communication" must be more than attack or nasty put downs.
In future, wouldn't it be nice to have discussions that do not devolve into personal attacks and sarcasm?
Let's keep these Blog Postings civil!
If you do resort to attacks, then realize just how out of control you are, and how seemingly powerless to effect any real change that makes you, but also how pointless that makes your beliefs and opinions appear; opinions that might otherwise have real value, or a positive impact on the discussion.
Most of us on these Blogs, are defining our beliefs for ourselves, and many times for our organizations or groups, and otherwise searching for truth.
If that is not why you're here, then just why are you here?
If you've come to turn it all into some sort of a joke or punchline, then why not try "Stand-up", or perhaps just sit down and get out of the way of those trying to have a grown-up conversation.
Or contribute... But without attacking!
That's my humble "Opinion".
HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL!
Some last words on this particular Blog, as we firmly enter the Holiday Season...
This year Christmas and Hanukkah (begins) on the same exact days.
I found this interesting... If only because of all the false devisions we as human beings impose on ourselves and others, and most especially, within the Religious community.
I get Gretta Vosper, and in many ways very much respect her, but I still don't agree with her.
This is a thoughtful time of year, and regardless of the fact that it has literally nothing to do with Jesus Christ, we celebrate.
The fact we celebrate any holiday so honoring that, "One Solitary Life", a magnificently humble and enlightened life, we owe not to Jesus, but to the Emperor Constintin, who after his fained "Conversion" (and he wanted to and then did control "Christianity" and also bring pagans into the fold, so "Saturnalia", a pagan holiday, then became "Christmas"... Look it up, it's an historical fact), anyway he took over Christianity in the name of Rome, and the "Christmas (Pagan Saturnalia) Celebration" became a mandate! And Rome (and the the Holy Roman Catholic Church), then fully controlled "Christian faith" and "Christianity" became the "Official State Religion"... And with all others outlawed, and by punishment of death.
There's why we need that Separation of Church and State!
Anyway, look it up! Interesting stuff.
And look what they (Rome et al), have done to it. Jesus wouldn't recognize it, because Jesus was a reformer, and he wasn't trying to create any new Religion; just reform one.
So why mention all this on this particular Blog Post?
Because Gretta Vosper said that was her intent; to reform her Christian Church, but by championing "Atheism". That's not "Reform", that's destruction. That's also why I've squared off with several folks on this particular Blog about that exact point.
I should have said this before, but destroy if you will, or at least fight against the insane harsh, hardliner "Christians" and their hateful dogma, but why seek to, in any way, subvert a very inclusive form of Jesus Christ's love, as practiced by the UCC?
Brother John, hsw, and others I've engaged, I sincerely apologize for any of my hurtful comments, and any other "nonsense" I have said, but then actual "communication" broke down on both ends of those scales, and actual useful dialogue descended into destructive "sorties" on all fronts.
Your own "Hard Lines" clashed with my desire to uphold a "Good" example of Christianity, as I believe the UCC to be (and even though I didn't always represent that POV effectively), and I as you, descended into a sort of one pointed din of Philosophical entrenchment, that on a broader scale, becomes the flashpoint of Wars, and so much mindless and needless sorrow.
We, you and I, I believe, are better than that. It seems obvious to me.
And this is an observation (and may well be incorrect), and is not meant as any kind of condescension, but it appears that you, both of you, and too many others who post here, have been beaten down by some form of mindless "Religiosity", and are thus lashing out, or striking back defensively, but then also offensively at that mindless Gorgon, if anyone even appears to be that. I am not!
The UCC seems to me, to be a very enlightened "Christian" organization.
I just want it to stay that way.
We need as many voices as possible that represent a broader "Christianity", that is still preaching Jesus Love, but not also practicing hate and exclusion, and if only to counter so many now, harsh forms of dogmatic, and I believe, harmful and "False" forms of "Christianity" that do "sell" hate.
Brother John, hsw, and the entire ULC Family, I wish you all a safe, happy, loving, prosperous, and enlightened Holiday Season, and in whatever form you do or don't chose to celebrate!
Brevity. I see it now.
She's an employee at Burger Hut.
She decides she will no longer sell burgers.
She only wants to sell sushi.
There is no sushi at Burger Hut.
She wants to still show up at work, stand around doing nothing, and still get paid by Burger Hut, for NOT selling burgers.
She should resign from Burger Hut and go work at the Sushi Palace down the road.
p.s. Jesus Hated Religion. Jesus taught people to Love LOVE caring and kindnesd and abandon the Jewish faith.