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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Atheist minister: Oxymoronic?

United Church Inauguration in 1925  (PD)
Some might think that it’s downright moronic to have a minister who doesn’t believe in God.  Or, at the very least, oxymoronic…

Nevertheless, an atheist minister does indeed exist at the United Church of Canada in Toronto’s West Hill district.  Pastor Gretta Vosper outright states: I do not believe in a theistic, supernatural being called God.  However, she definitely believes in “goodness and a life lived with compassion and justice.”

As far as Jesus’ two commandments (love God, love one another) are concerned, Vosper is actively engaged with at least one.  That’s far better than those who merely pay lip service to both.

So Church minus God equals what?  This congregation focuses upon moral teachings such as “human rights in Saudi Arabia, Syria and Palestine.”  Members are also “invited to share significant moments of the past week.”

Vosper didn’t always avoid the term "God."  When first ordained, she approached theism metaphorically.  On a later road to atheism, she first identified as a “non-theist,” and then as a “theological non-realist.”

These stances have not sat well with some powers that be.  Vosper will soon undergo a review by the Toronto Conference of the United Church in order to determine “whether she could stay on as minister.”


Copyright May 1, 2016 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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