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Caught in The Pulpit: Leaving Belief Behind (English Edition) [Kindle Edition]

Daniel C. Dennett , Linda LaScola

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What is it like to be a preacher who can no longer believe the creed?

In confidential interviews, clergy reveal how their lives of service are overshadowed by hypocrisy, as they contemplate taking a leap from their faith. As religious leaders struggle to adapt to the new transparency of the information age, the phenomenon of non-believing clergy portends surprising developments in the future of religious belief.

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Daniel C. Dennett is University Professor, Professor of philosophy and co-director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University. His books include Brainstorms, Elbow Room, Consciousness Explained, Darwin's Dangerous Idea, Freedom Evolves, Breaking the Spell and Intuition Pumps. He lives in North Andover, Massachusetts. Linda LaScola, qualitative researcher for over 25 years, has traveled around the country interviewing people on numerous subjects, including health, mental health, public policy and religion. She holds a Master of Social Work from The Catholic University. This is her first book. She lives in Washington, DC.


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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.5 von 5 Sternen  64 Rezensionen
114 von 121 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Profound, honest, and revealing 11. Dezember 2013
Von Dan Barker - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
I was also going to write "Surprising," but I am not surprised. As a former preacher myself (who has since abandoned supernatural beliefs), I know exactly what is going through the minds of the clergy who are struggling with faith and reason. What I most admire about this book is the careful, scientific approach to the topic. Dan Dennett's philosophical and moral insights combined with Linda LaScola's professional methodology make this not just another "anti-faith" tome, but an extremely useful objective examination of the phenomenon of the many ministers, priests, imams and rabbis who want to leave the pulpit but are "caught" in the horrible dilemma of choosing integrity over practicality and morality. (Disclosure: I know and admire Dan and Linda personally.) Whether a reader agrees with the philosophical and theological conclusions of these doubting clergy, no reader can deny that this is a fascinating study of a real problem: what happens to your career and life when your faith IS your career, and you give up your faith? I also loved reading Dan and Linda's personal stories at the end. It is nice to see Linda, who maintains a professional objectivity while interviewing and researching, actually tell us something about herself and her motivations. I know I am biased, but that does not mean this is not a GREAT book!
35 von 36 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Compassionate Reporting, Provocative Analysis 22. Dezember 2013
Von Amazon Customer - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
An alternate sub-title for this book could be: "Leaving Supernatural Beliefs Behind." Caught in the Pulpit should be widely read for the issues it raises about the roles of the clergy and the future of churches in an increasingly secular, pluralistic society. Its major value is in stimulating the kinds of conversations that need to be ongoing among believers, non-believers, atheists, humanists, Christians, adherents of the world's religions, and all those who care about creating a humane world for all peoples. The authors describe many kinds of faith and unfaith, focusing on both 1) clergy who struggle to maintain their integrity in institutions that are changing and who are supported by their members even when their understandings differ; and 2) churches that are evolving in a cultural context that no longer provides a "sacred canopy" to support their world views. (Full disclosure: I was "Rick," one of the original five "subjects" in the study in 2010; I was an "outlier" who never felt "caught").
Neither clergy nor religious communities have a clear blueprint for how to adapt. The authors prescribe strong doses of honesty, but they do not provide many positive or practical suggestions for moving beyond the ancient "atheist versus theist" debates, or how churches as social institutions might be helped to change. But they do give an inside glimpse into some of the problems that must be confronted if religious communities and their leaders are to evolve into cultural movements capable of continuing to contribute to creative human transformation and ecological flourishing.
Dennett and LaScola persuasively describe the discomfort of clergy who can no longer affirm "acceptable" orthodoxy. They also consider the potential evolutionary extinction of churches. They wonder whether removing supernatural elements from beliefs about God, the Bible, Jesus, creeds, and doctrines might help churches evolve into more relevant social movements in our increasingly secular scientific culture.
While the purpose of the study was to raise questions, I wish they could have done more to identify already existing non-supernatural ways to interpret and re-construct religions that honor the humane values that non-believers and believers alike can affirm. Some theologians, biblical scholars, church bodies, and progressive clergy are contributing to these efforts of reimagining, drawing on the core historical principle of many churches: "reformed and always reforming."
Yet the authors are correct in their assessment that while many liberal and evangelical churches have made significant contributions to ethical discourse, social justice, human rights, and equality for gays, women, and racial/ethnic communities, most of them have not updated their statements of faith to reflect our modern scientific world view (which, it must be admitted, has itself not been free from violence, war, repression and bloody conflict). Finally, the book leaves open the question of whether the churches will evolve or die. That may be partly up to courageous clergy like those in this study, to the religious communities which formed them, and to whether there can be cooperation between them and the emerging communities of humanists and freethinkers that are evolving alongside them.
-Mark Rutledge
25 von 26 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Compelling. I couldn't put this book down. 10. Dezember 2013
Von jshdhxh zj - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
This is a really important book. It reveals and reports on an up-to-now hidden development in American religion. Now that the cat is out of the bag I would expect that ministers and their hierarchies will be acknowledging what some of their people are facing. Dan Dennett and Linda LaScola give us a lot to think about in this book and I am curious to hear what happens next. I would not be surprised if this phenomenon is the logical next big step in a movement away from traditional belief and toward greater personal freedom. Both authors write with kindness and understanding.

This book combines personal stories with enough detail that I felt like I really understood the dilemmas the people were describing and how their situations came to be. I was surprised with how much I sympathized with the interviewees. Linda LaScola's presentation was sensitive. I also found myself thinking about the decision making process when it comes to important career and personal choices. The subjects in this study were thoughtful and honest. They feel like friends.

Richard Dawkins' foreword is an excellent introduction.
23 von 26 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Expert, Intimate Analysis of the Inner Lives of Doubting Clergy: a fascinating read 11. Dezember 2013
Von Mary Johnson - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Reading "Caught in the Pulpit" is like listening in on intimate conversations, even confessions, of clergy who doubt the very beliefs they are paid to teach and support. The intimacy and honesty of these conversations drew me in, as did the compassion and insight of both Dennett and LaScola. This book is a rare combination of intimate, qualitative research and expert philosophical and sociological analysis. What happens when a person has made a public commitment and has received public trust, but then no longer believes in the cause in which he or she has invested his life? How is that complicated by the fact that religion is not only an occupation for these people, but is interwoven with every aspect of life? These are some of the questions this book addresses with both skill and compassion.
25 von 30 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Would like more stories 11. Dezember 2013
Von Michael Beverly - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition
So I was/am very interested in this topic and had just finished reading Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon so I thought I'd give this a look. First off, the information here is revealing and interesting and I didn't rate it 3 stars because I had some disagreement or dislike of the topic.

I felt it had too much of a college paper feel to it, it wasn't "fun" to read, it wasn't like reading Gladwell or something filled with anecdotes or even that much opinion or polemic (so part of this is a personal taste issue).

But what it was and is, is a book that breaks the ice on a topic that is probably far more common than anyone realizes and hopefully it's a book that paves the way for others to break out of shells they have self imposed on their lives. I left Christianity about 14 months ago. The spark was a crisis at church and the ending of my marriage, excommunication and a shunning were part of my experience.

I went to Dawkins first, and then Hitchens, and now I'm not only an atheist I'm starting to become active in out reach and public promotion of humanist values and thought, I want the world to shed religion, I believe we can better society by shedding false beliefs (and I realize this isn't a cut and dry topic, as the book I linked above states, we need more study on this topic for sure).

When I left Christianity it was a huge struggle, my income wasn't deprived from church, but other than that the emotions of it were similar to many of those that participated in the study covered in this book. I was first angry then depressed and then angry and then confused and I had a lot of mourning to do. Falling out of love with Jesus isn't easy, especially when you've spent a lifetime devoting so much of your life to "Him".

I lost nearly all (essentially all) of my friends and social groups (part of this started as it does in divorce situations, but it ended up going to an extreme). I used to attend church, home groups, mid week church and other events at least 2-3 times a week, sometimes more. I went on outreaches and mission trips and was a lay leader in things at church. I was well liked and respected and had many friends, some as close as brothers and sisters and many more who were part of my weekly life.

My point being, I understand how difficult it is to not only shed myth, but to deal with the ramifications of doing this publicly, and I wasn't dealing with it effecting my career, so I understand the pain and heart ache pastors, priests and so forth have to have leaving behind faith.

So I think the book has a lot of value and should definitely be read by those that are interested in the subject and especially any working or preparing to work in Christian ministry that have that splinter in their mind nagging them about something they just can't quite figure out. At least it would be good to hear from some people that made the leap.

Now, perhaps you've come this far as a Christian worker, pastor or the like and just can't make the decision to keep searching (staying in the fence is secure, I know) I'd like to suggest a work: Resident Aliens: A Provocative Christian Assessment of Culture and Ministry for People Who Know that Something is Wrong.

This book suggests that Christianity is very off base from what it was supposed to be historically, it goes on to describe how Christian leaders tend to fall into one of two camps, either they become self righteous and arrogant or they become self loathing and depressed. The worst of them become both.

The book describes why some of this is true (in their research) and what they think you can to about it. While I don't agree with the authors Christian view, because my mother was a pastor and I was friends with a lot of leaders and pastors (before they un-friended me) I understand the dynamic that the book describes. I think it might be a good step for some that are questioning things. Another one to try is this: The Subversion of Christianity, a rather unknown book by a French theologian who describes why so much of the Christian church is off base and not historically following Christianity as it's suppose to be.

Of course I don't believe in the world view espoused by either of the Christian books I just mentioned, I do understand that a Christian worker or leader is not likely to just up and say one day that they are not Christian anymore.

Side note: this book isn't just about Christians leaving their posts but I mostly identify with that position because as Hithchens noted I'm a protestant atheist.

I would like to see more Christian leaders have an open discussion about works like this and of course to read and study things like the works of Bart Ehrman and so forth (in the studies in this book some of the participants mentioned reading Ehrman as well as the four horsemen of the new atheism movement). I owe a lot of my de-conversion to work done by such men and I remain grateful to them.

So, all that said, my less than 5 star rating has more to do with style, price and lack of anecdotes, and so forth, so if you're interested in the topic don't let that scare you away, it's just not going to be pleasure reading so much...

I do recommend it.
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