Jannah’s post reminded me of something I knew well when I was a Christian: Pastors know pretty much everything dark that goes on with the flock.
They are usually aware of women who are regularly beaten by their husbands, children who are ,or have been, sexually abused by a caregiver, and extra-marital affairs church members are involved in. The good shepherds are also quite aware of which members are addicted to drugs and alcohol, who struggles with gambling and pornography, and even of people with obscure business endeavors.
The higher a person is in church leadership, the more he or she knows about how un-saintly the churchgoers are. Yet they dare to stand in front of the congregation, twice on Sunday and once on Wednesday, to tell the naïve followers of 1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people: that you may declare his virtues, who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
I can understand that ordinary people like me can go to church for years believing the deception that most churchgoers are actually trying to live up to the “chosen generation” lie. I can see why someone like me would believe that God changes people. But how can pastors believe it? They know darn well that it is a fallacy.
I maintain that most pastors are atheists deep down inside. I dare to affirm that most of them lost their faith shortly after college, and that they keep at it for the sake of the money or of some other rationalization they have created for themselves.
I'd like to ask questions of the former pastors and leaders who come to this forum after leaving the faith. How you could stomach Christianity after discovering the "sins" and crimes many church goers are involved in? Did you ever feel like a huge hypocrite?
When I was a Christian, I thought pastors “survived” the church because of the love Jesus had put in their hearts. I thought it loving that secrets were kept and reputations were protected. But now I see it as a conspiracy to keep the ignorant masses controlled and willing to dish out the money. If regular Christians were to find out some of the secrets pastors keep, would the religion lose power over people?
Unfortunately, a study would be difficult to conduct, but let’s assume the congregation hears 30% of what’s really happening. That 30% is easy to sweep under the rug. What would happen if the faithful heard the other 70%?
Perhaps most will stay, since believing in the tenants of Christianity requires a fair bit of self-deception to start with. But at least the few sincere followers would be freed to go on with their lives. That would be nice!
Still, I’d like to hear what sorts of rationalizations former pastors and leaders created for themselves to stay in the pastorate. How hard was it to look at yourselves in the mirror every morning, or to preach a sermon and bring people to tears in repentance? Particularly, when knowing that those who cry are usually the ones with the best “record.”
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