Candace Chellew-Hodge is the founder/editor of Whosoever: An Online Magazine for GLBT Christians and a Christian pastor. She wrote a post about Teresa MacBain for Religion Dispatches.
MacBain recently attended the American Atheist’s convention in Maryland, where she came out as an Atheist pastor and has found a home in a new coalition helping such disbelieving clergy called “The Clergy Project: “a safe haven for active and former clergy who do not hold supernatural beliefs.”
As a member of the clergy, I totally get it, but what I think is wrong with this situation is the false dichotomy at play here. Specifically, either you’re a Christian or you’re an Atheist.
No, but if you are an atheist then you’re not a Christian, and vice versa. She’s right if she means that those aren’t the only two options but not if she means you can be both.
You can be a Christian, be religious, without believing in the unbelievable, as Jim Burklo has recently argued.
This is where the Atheists come in. Even now, I have Atheist friends who tell me I’m very close to jumping the fence into their camp and they encourage me to take that final leap. But, this is disrespectful of my faith. Just because I don’t believe every jot and tittle of Christian doctrine doesn’t make me Atheist, or even a quasi-Atheist. It just makes me a particular type of religious person.
Well, if you insist, but really – the truth is it’s all unbelievable.
There’s a church in my neighborhood (there are a lot of churchs in my neighborhood) that has a sign out front that says it’s for believers and seekers and doubters. That’s kind, I always think, but what kind of “doubters” are you talking about? They sound like the kind of pseudo-doubters who just brag a little about their doubts but keep going to church anyway, as if paying a debt they owed. Chellew-Hodge comes across a bit like that. She disbelieves bits of Christianity but she still demands “respect” for her “faith.” One doubt too few, if you ask me.