To Go or Not to Go

by | September 2, 2015

Bob Ripley, a retired, non-believing United Church of Canada minister, has a guest post on Rational Doubt where he examines his “mixed and strong feelings about the efforts of his former colleague, Gretta Vosper, to remain in the church as an open atheist.” In his post entitled “Atheist Clergy Colleagues Agree on Many Things, but…,” Ripley says,

I agree that how you behave trumps what you believe. I agree that religion is a human construct and a source of horrific violence. I agree that God and Jesus, along with the hundreds of deities humans have worshipped, are the products of mythology.

However, Ripley does not agree with “Gretta’s insistence on continuing to serve a Christian congregation under those vows” because although

Gretta sees herself as a catalyst for changing the church into something that jettisons a theistic god in the absence of doctrine [,] . . .  the church is a community of believers in a supernatural deity.

Ripley would like to see Vosper leave her congregation and the United Church. He does not support the fact that

Gretta’s friends are raising money to support

her legal costs in a potential “heresy trial.” There will be no heresy trial. Whatever happens, she will not be tried for heresy. She is not being persecuted. The church may conclude, after due process, that she is no longer faithful to her ordination vows. It is the church’s right and duty.

Ripley would like Vosper to go quietly; however, he does provide a link in his post to the Friends of Gretta Vosper Association’s GoFundMe page.

2 thoughts on “To Go or Not to Go

  1. billybob

    Ripley has a point if you are not believer why not just leave, why stay in a religion when you are not religious?

    1. Tim Underwood

      This is a transition that all churches are facing and they will need leaders to guide them through it. Supernaturalism, in all its forms, will disappear eventually. The stories and their influences on us will remain. The churches, that survive, will end up being institutions for art criticism and appreciation. It would be nice if the United Church of Canada lead the way, and in some fashion, survived Gutenberg 2.


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