What is it like to be a preacher or rabbi who no longer believes in God? In this expanded and updated edition of their groundbreaking study, Daniel C. Dennett and Linda LaScola comprehensively and sensitively expose an inconvenient truth that religious institutions face in the new transparency of the information age - the phenomenon of clergy who no longer believe what they publicly preach.
In confidential interviews, clergy from across the ministerial spectrum - from liberal to literal - reveal how their lives of religious service and study have led them to a truth inimical to their professed beliefs and profession. Although their personal stories are as varied as the denominations they once represented, or continue to represent - whether Catholic, Baptist, Episcopalian, Methodist, Mormon, Pentecostal, or any of numerous others - they give voice not only to their own struggles but also to those who similarly suffer in tender and lonely silence. As this study poignantly and vividly reveals, their common journey has far-reaching implications not only for their families, their congregations, and their communities - but also for the very future of religion.
©2015 Daniel C. Dennett and Linda LaScola (P)2015 Pitchstone Publishing
For those who have lost their faith or are weighing it up this book might be comforting as you will hear stories from pastors, chaplains, rabbis etc who have lost their faith while still entrenched in their jobs.
These stories, which are often quoted verbatim by Linda LaScola are quite interesting , although you may have varying degrees of empathy for the people telling their stories, considering some of them are still swindling their congregations by not coming clean, hiding behind the excuse they need their job / income, or are cynically and dishonestly holding out for their pensions.
The half of the book written / narrated by Linda LaScola is by far the more interesting part of the book. The alternating chapters are a collection of Daniel Dennett pieces which are fairly boring - this is the second Dennett book I have ready / listened to recently and he's got far less substance (and style) to offer than the other 3 of the "Four Horseman" of Atheism. If you've read a Dennett book before, feel free to skip his chapters as they are a boring re-hash of things he's said before that were just as boring the first time around.
I've read most of the books by the "four horsemen", but this one stands out. It creates a sense of empathy for the clergy, both present and former. I highly recommend this book for both theists and nontheists, alike.
i read the negative feedback about performance and thought it was fine after listening. the subject matter is interesting to me because of my religous background but i dont know if everyone finds clergy who stop believing an interesting topic. its good research they did for the book.
The narrators. I understand that publishers want to get the authors of the book to provide the narration, but here it was a very bad choice. Dennett is passable as a narrator (barely), but LaScola is dreadful - to the point of it ruining the whole experience. It is so bad that I almost felt like I should ask for my credit back.
After listening to many wonderful narrators over the years, it was a real surprise to hear such amateur efforts in what was an interesting book.
I enjoyed the discussion about why the pastors stay where they are. The authors captured a range of different pastors, all who have their own issues and problems and reasons for staying in their jobs. Many of the stories were quite tragic, when you think about it.
By using different narrators.
The existential angst I was caused when, after completing Harari's Sapiens, I first connected the dots on my own previously latent agnosticism has sent me on a journey of faith (or loss thereof) that eventually led me to this fantastic sharing of results -- told by those responsible for its completion -- for a tremendous research project that will undoubtedly be considered a pivotal moment, like Harari's work, in the 21st Century's large scale movement away from organized religion. My only disappointment was the lack of Islamists in the otherwise scientific approach to a controversial topic.
The book is a study about clergy who lost their faith in the supernatural part of religions and struggled to find a new role in society. Very enlightening.
I love just a few things... Family, Drumming, Baseball, and Intellect.
I can't say it is better than the print version, I don't have it. However, I did enjoy having both Mr. Dennett and Ms. LaScola narrate their own sections of the book.
It was enlightening to see how different clergy handled the loss of their faith. That some ran from the pulpit, some were open to the congregations and some remained in the closet. And to hear about how they were treated both good and bad...
They were both great, and I love when the authors read their work, they are the only ones that can vocally express their points accurately.
This was a good book to listen to in sections. The sections seemed to be broken up well and the story, though related, is not continuous to a degree that you need to remember all of the names and details throughout.
I found much of this valuable. As someone who has long wrestled with faith and doubt, I found the personal stories of non-believing clergy to give me much to relate to. The pain and trauma of drastically changing worldviews is addressed, as well as the freedom and jubilation. The words of the clergy members were worth the credit of the book, although I probably could have lived without Dennett's sometimes smug and patronizing tone (but I get that from most of his works).
Great book, great narration, easy to follow and understand. Highly recommended. Authors know their material. This is a great (audio) book to see religion from a different angle...from the inside out and left behind.
Incredible first-hand experiences from those most invested in maintaining the appearance of faith. Powerful, inspiring, heart-breaking stuff. Only drawback is the authors' dull narration.
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