Sunday, February 7, 2010

50 blogs on disbelief - An African Seminarian

50 Blogs on Disbelief
My thoughts on the book, 50 Voices of Disbelief, Why We Are Athiests, edited by Russell Blackford and Udo Schuklenk. Written as I read them in no particular order. The page number of the essay is provided at the top of each entry.
p. 226 Peter Agedoke – Kicking Religion Goodbye…

Continuing the multi-cultural theme, Peter is from Nigeria, a very religious nation. He admits his scientific education was stunted. Somehow his creative mind developed skepticism at early age. His cultural bias was strong however and at 19 he went to Pentecostal Baptist Bible College hoping to discover the truth of Christianity. He loved the orchestra of the Apostolic Faith Church, but was disturbed when he read of a woman who died because of birth complications because that church chose divine healing over a medical doctor.

He continued to read and visit other denominations, eventually landing at CAC Theological Seminary. There he had a common experience of 20th century seminary students. He learned the difference of actual church history and what most people think. For example, that there is no “original Christianity”, it did not start as an organized movement, it had “a lot of colorations” and influences from Eastern and Western cultures. It was influenced by the works of Plato and shaped by Constantine.

This and the behavior of classmates and teachers exposed him to hypocrisy. Already frustrated with the classic problem of evil and seeing poverty all around him with no sign of salvation, he kicked religion goodbye.

I can’t say that I blame him. In John Shelby Spong’s book, “Jesus for the Non-religious”, he discusses how seminaries came to this curious situation where they teach things about Christianity that very few preachers repeat to their congregations. Most of this is now freely available although without the context of 4 years of study, I think it causes confusion for many. Spong makes some recommendations on how the Church needs to change its message in a more enlightened world. If it doesn’t, the world will go the way of Mr. Agedoke.

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