The BBC reports today about a cleric who is actually an atheist …
The Rev Klaas Hendrikse can offer his congregation little hope of life after death, and he’s not the sort of man to sugar the pill.
An imposing figure in black robes and white clerical collar, Mr Hendrikse presides over the Sunday service at the Exodus Church in Gorinchem, central Holland.
It is part of the mainstream Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PKN), and the service is conventional enough, with hymns, readings from the Bible, and the Lord’s Prayer. But the message from Mr Hendrikse’s sermon seems bleak – “Make the most of life on earth, because it will probably be the only one you get”.
“Personally I have no talent for believing in life after death,” Mr Hendrikse says. “No, for me our life, our task, is before death.”
Nor does Klaas Hendrikse believe that God exists at all as a supernatural thing.
Wow … I’m blown away by this, an honest cleric, thats almost an oxymoron. OK, so what does he think about Jesus? If asked, he describes the Bible’s account of Jesus’s life as a mythological story about a man who may never have existed. The church also has another priest, and she (yes thats not a typo, she) also rejects the idea – widely considered central to Christianity – that Jesus was divine as well as human.
He has a book, “Believing in a Non-Existent God“, (sorry, not in English), so as you might imagine, the traditional believers saw this and called for him to be booted out, however they held a meeting and decided to keep him.
It does all beg the question, if they don’t believe in God, Jesus or an afterlife, then what the heck is the message here? It would appear that they are almost tossing everything out and starting again, as to what comes of all this, well I have no idea. Religion never stands still and is evolving all the time and so perhaps what we have here is an attempt to adapt to a more secular world, it feels almost like a social club … in essence, you get all the social interaction without the need to buy into all the supernaturalism.
I do however suspect it will not survive, and that instead a more evolved version of the current supernaturalism from the mainstream will be the variation that will thrive.