4/23/2016 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Carl S ~
What if we accept the premise that there is no god when we discuss evils enacted by humans?
"God" is useful for rationalizing many acts of evil, and an excuse for avoiding personal responsibility and consequences. (And while we're at it, let's leave "Satan" out too, for the same reasons.)
If we leave God out of the picture, we may be able to explain how pastors are able to preach one thing and live another. At the heart of their religion is the doctrine one cannot resist urges without supernatural help. This is predicated on another doctrine: that urges, feelings, doubts, and needs, can be evils in themselves. This is a pernicious doctrine that ignores reality, at peril to human wellbeing. It ignores the fact that urges, doubts, feelings, and needs, describe what it means to be human.
All members of the clergy are commanded to preach their followers to resist urges, feelings, doubts, and needs, by appealing to help from "God" (since they are powerless by themselves to resist them). These are human nature's "temptations" to be resisted through prayer. And I'm sure, in many cases, praying followers acknowledge, through encouraged personal testimonies, that prayer does work for them. (Some may claim they have "prayed away the gay." Oh how self-deceit is also encouraged by tradition!) Who knows how many pastors personally and secretly appeal to divine intervention in order to control themselves? With introspection and practice, they must come to the conclusion, as we have, that this practice is unrealistic. This praying practice proves, as it is said for most diets, that it doesn't work for everyone.
Feelings and tendencies don't go away, whether you're pastor or human. The urges to take a woman or a man or a child to bed are still there. Even those feelings aren't a matter of choice, of free will. Urges don’t consider the feelings of others, the damaging effects on their minds and bodies for the years after the urges of the user have been sated. Satisfying selﬁsh urges to the point of damaging others is morally wrong, even if the feelings themselves are not. No one is in prison for having urges, feelings, and needs; only for the negative results of acting on them to the detriment of others. Unable or unwilling to control themselves, the perpetrators have to be controlled by others. Hoping to pray the urges away by appeals to God for help doesn't deal with them. Redemption is not the answer for the irredeemable pedophile predators and psychopaths.
Serial offender pastors see that their congregations are composed of a certain kind of personality that equates feelings with "knowledge" of the presence of "God." But feelings are neither guarantees nor indicators of reality or moral behavior. Yet, such "spiritual" feelings are unquestionably embraced by believers as urges to be acted upon. It will be worth considering that serial perpetrator pastors also embrace their feelings, plus the doctrine they are helpless against their urges, and go with the ﬂow to act on them. The pastors know what they're telling others they must do to counteract urges via petitioning "God” does not work for them or the majority of the population. The information every pastor has is evidence prayer does not work.
Feelings are neither guarantees nor indicators of reality or moral behavior.Aren't there no-God-involved beneﬁts in being a deceiving pastor? Isn't there a conceit in deceit, because pastors who are perpetrators are able to stand in the pulpits, week after week, sometimes year after year, and deceive those who trust them most? (In an extension of discussing pedophiliac clergy, Fuego wrote: "And note that these are just crimes against children, not your standard adulteries, embezzlements, con jobs on the congregation to get money, slander against those they want out of the church, etc. The reality of church is far different than people assume." I have to laugh at his last sentence, because my wife’s a member of an Assembly of God church. After reading this, I'm thinking that all the assemblies ought to be re-named, "Assemblies of Assumers.")
So let's see what we have, sans "God." 1. Pleasurable conceit for a pastor able to successfully pull the wool over the eyes of those who trust him. 2. After he's found out, aren't there a few members of the congregation who secretly envy him? (I remember an interview with a bank robber. He said that many people probably envied his successful double life. He had money, inﬂuence, women; he's lived the high life. He boasted, "How many people can make that claim?") 3. The perpetrator pastor gives his congregation other great opportunities to practice their forgiveness.
Has belief in a deity or fear of eternal punishment ever been a dependable deterrent to the immoral behavior of clergy for thousands of years? You and I shouldn't be sidetracked into thinking too much about the fact that those issues apparently don't count when clergy follow their urges and biases, lying to themselves. Rather, we must continually speak out for their victims and do what we can to prevent ever more victims being made because of them; because there is no god available to save or defend them. With or without tragic consequences to others, the clergy will continue to cover their own asses. As Jesus might say, Goddamn the clergy hypocrites who are like cups clean on the outside but ﬁlthy within!