ATHEIST PASTOR

No life after death. God does not exist. Jesus is a mythological figure.

Opinions from an atheist? No – from Dutch pastor Rev Klaas Hendrikse from the mainstream Protestant church in the Netherlands. ‘God is not a being at all… it’s a word for experience… the Bible’s account of Jesus’s life as a mythological story about a man who may never have existed …’

‘somethingism’, it’s called. Hendrikse’s church attracts people who don’t believe the traditional Christian faith and want the freedom to make up what they believe, a sort of pick-and-mix spirituality.

Now Hendrikse is perfectly entitled to his views. But tell me this: if a person who belongs to an atheist society announces that he now believes in God, what should he do?

Hendrikse’s views remind me of a a football ref. One day he says ‘I don’t think the ball is useful any more. Let’s take it away.’ Fine … but don’t call it football any more. It’s become something else.

In the same way, taking God out of the church, which is traditionally understood as the body of Christ, is all very well – but it is no longer the church, and Hendrikse is no longer a Christian believer.

He should either leave, or no longer call his church a church. Integrity is vital.

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22 thoughts on “ATHEIST PASTOR

  1. I was thinking today how could God want his son to die for our or anybody else’s sins. I had thought about it many times before and I know others of faith [ Salvationists ] who puzzle how death of Jesus would atone or placate God.
    In the old Testament animals were regularly sacrificed then eaten.
    But put God on the cross and the problem resolves or disolves.

    Go a bit further and God is love …………and one empathizes with the Dutch Pastor……… the Bible is full of inconsistencies written at different times by different people….. so there must be diverse interpretations of the text. David.

    I hope my remarks don’t upset anybody.

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  2. There is already a Christian based pick-and-mix religious life. The Pastor is not revelatory or revolutionary. He could be admitting unpalatable beliefs that might be truths. After all, who created the bible in written forms, men, and the writing was made acceptable to men. We don’t know truly was was edited out, we do know that what is in can be very distasteful, warlike, murderous and not quite the morals many people would choose to abide by. The Bible can be seen as fanciful, much as you suggest the Pastor is.

    I think it is a load of hoo hah that attracts limited attention.

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    1. That’s an interesting comment, Barmac. I don’t think it would happen in the same way here, not in the C of E, at any rate! We have bishops etc and anyone who started to teach atheist views would be seriously ‘talked to’ and eventually asked to leave if they really had ‘lost’ their faith (although I am not sure whether it is possible for someone to lose a ‘true’ faith). That is one advantage of the C of E, that we do have somebody to be ‘accountable’ to. The free churches work differently, don’t have bishops, but are accountable to their church meetings instead. I’d rather take the bishops, myself … ๐Ÿ˜‰

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      1. I think my comment was due to a conversation I had with my Dad recently who brought us up as C of E but with everything that he has gone through he has changed his view, I wouldn’t say faith but changed his thoughts of what’s to come. It actually quite upset me at the time as he was quite strong on his point of view. My sister just told me to ‘take it with a pinch of salt’ and to accept that it’s just how Dad is feeling at the moment.

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      2. There’s quite a lot of research that shows that some elderly people find their faith getting stronger, and others find their faith getting weaker. All we can do is listen, encourage and pray for them, Barbara. Try not to worry too much – God knows what’s really going on!

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  3. I have to assume that there is little or no hierarchical structure in this Dutch church. I can understand why people might find this guy’s views attractive (from a personal point of view, not all of them, obviously). Disaffection with Christian orthodoxy is something that keeps an awful lot of young people out of Christian churchesย… but, I agree with you, this bloke is trying to use the church for his own personal platform. Having said that I can remember that a previous Bishop of Durham had some rather controversial views that got slated in the press and they also had a field day with the fact that York Minster was struck by lightning just prior to him receiving his Bishoprick at this steeple house. I seem to recall that the insurance company compounded matters by insisting that the lightning strike was “an act of God “

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    1. By contrast, churches here which have a lively and active Christian faith and preach and teach traditional Christianity often have droves of young people.

      People are entitled to say they don’t believe any more. Just don’t call it a church. It has become a ‘something club’.

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      1. I have thought about the apparent inaction of those clerics senior to this guy within this Dutch Protestant church and found myself pondering, at some length, as to why they have adopted a hands-off approach. I think they may be playing a ‘long game’ reasoning that this brave new idea will eventually fizzle out. It is possible that some good may come of the ‘something club’ as it may start several people on the road to God. As such this aspect will do no harm. Having said that, I DO sympathise with the way you feel concerning the way in which this bloke is hijacked the church and used it through his own purposes.

        In not getting upset and objecting the Dutch church is starving this guy of the oxygen of adverse publicity. If you say something is wrong and it shouldn’t happen, then a lot of young people will be interested in why.

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      2. Thanks for this reflection, Nigel. There’s a lot in what you say. However, the Dutch Presbyterians are a congregational church, so the pastor can only do this with the consent of his congregation. It suggests that they are like-minded.

        I am not asking for a big fuss to be made, or even attention to be drawn to it unduly: I am just asking for some integrity.

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    1. It’s sooooooooo strange. Why does he still want to be in the church? It doesn’t make any sense! You can rewrite the faith … but it’s no longer the faith :no:

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