I've decided I really would like to be ordained...again. I was ordained many years ago when I was in my "leave no stone unturned" phase of looking for God. At the time, I did it primarily for the purpose of seeing for myself whether or not being a real ordained minister carried with it any special knowledge or revelation not available to the laity. In a way, it did. I found that he wasn't under that stone either.
There are always scoffers...those who would claim that an ordination that does not follow from years of theological study in some formal seminary is not "legitimate". After all, who could take seriously someone who claims they are a "scientist" if that person never even graduated high school, and certainly never attended any college. For such a person to say they are a "scientist" would belittle all those real scientists, right? The ones who DID spend many years in college and then grad school, etc., getting a Master's Degree in ... something? Well... no.
"A scientist, in the broadest sense, refers to any person that engages in a systematic activity to acquire knowledge or an individual that engages in such practices and traditions that are linked to schools of thought or philosophy. In a more restricted sense, scientist refers to individuals who use the scientific method. The person may be an expert in one or more areas of science." Wikipedia. I am a scientist, not because I have any degrees, or make money from it, or get to work in labs and stuff. I am a scientist because the scientific method is my approach to all life and I continually study and learn all I can from a wide variety of both the "hard" and "soft" sciences. I don't have a degree or any other physical documentation of my studies. However, I believe my "results" speak for themselves, and that is quite sufficient for me.
In a similar manner I am a minister or preacher of the Gospel. Some will claim that the etymology of the word is Anglo-Saxon, meaning "God's Spell" or "word of God". It is true that Christianity has been quite effective, in practical terms, in securing almost exclusive use of the term to refer to its doctrines. However, a glance at a thesaurus reveals several synonyms which have no Christian entanglements at all, such as, "glad tidings", "good news", "the naked truth", etc. I know of no more naked a truth, or of better news, in cosmic terms, than that the existence of the being referred to as "God" in Christianity, is utterly impossible in both empirical terms and logical ones. I am, therefore, a preacher of the Gospel, an Evangelical Atheist. To any who might claim there is no such thing as an evangelical atheist... yoohoo! Looky...looky!
Being such, I have decided to acquire for myself all the legal ramifications of being a minister. This is possible through being ordained. Though some will derisively refer to such a place as a "diploma mill", I personally consider the Universal Life Church (ULC) to be the single most "legitimate" source of legal ordination of ministers that I know. Why? Because, "The Universal Life Church wants you to pursue your spiritual beliefs without interference from any outside agency, including government or church authority. You may become a legally ordained minister for life, without cost, and without question of faith."
There are cool credentials you can get from the store too.
Hey, the Unitarian Universalists have ministers, the Humanists have ministers (celebrants) - but that costs you money - so why shouldn't Atheists have ministers too? I say we need many more Humanist and atheist ministers. The ULC has the advantage of not gouging people out of big bucks, and of not having some huge pretentious list of rules and regulations to which you must adhere. They ask only that you adhere to the "universal doctrine of religious freedom", which is: "Do only that which is right". Wouldn't we be better off if the Robertsons, Falwells, Haggards, etc., had followed this?
"We are on the verge -- within 10 years -- of a major collapse of evangelical Christianity. This breakdown will follow the deterioration of the mainline Protestant world and it will fundamentally alter the religious and cultural environment in the West."
Thus begins one of the latest articles on the coming Evangelical Collapse from "post-evangelical" Christian Michael Spencer. Number 7 in his list of "why this will happen" is "The money will dry up". Weeeeeelllll....
I'm all for the demise of evangelical Christianity. But, first, being evangelical doesn't have anything to do with money. Second, most of Christianity is ALL about money. Third, there is little evidence that "the money will dry up" simply because a preacher's fraudulent nature has been revealed. Indeed, it often makes them even more successful in terms of acquiring money. The list of "false prophets" is long and includes such as Peter Popoff , Robert Tilton, W. V. Grant, and of course, Jim Bakker and his Heritage USA debacle.
Popoff still sells miracle spring water; on the newest W. V. Grant site I could find, the very first sentence on the page says, "We are pleased to announce our new PAYPAL SECURED SHOPPING area for your convenience!" No shit. Robert Tilton moved to Miami (and mostly online now), and Jim Bakker got himself a new TV show, a new Tammy and even a new scandal and is moving right along, raking in the dough (sung to the tune of "Bringing in the Sheaves").
In light of all this, and the ongoing ABC News Nightline Faceoff on whether Satan exists; the perpetual Scopes Trial (now in Texas); Kamea Frog's letter to the Canadian Ministry of Education promoting creationism, I thought, "Why not be a preacher?" since it's in my nature anyway.
Also at El Solo Lobo