Are you in NYC or at least planning to be in October or November? There is a new play called “The Unbelieving” that you should check out! It is a dramatization of a real-life phenomenon that most people don’t know about: pastors who have left the faith but are still active in ministry. There’s more of these religious professionals than you might imagine. Here is the brief description of the play on the show’s website (here: http://Shows | www.59e59.org)
Show Info By Marin Gazzaniga Directed by Steve Cosson
In the classic tale of religious conversion, finding God holds the promise of a life filled with purpose and meaning. But what happens when this transformation occurs in reverse, and a faith you have built your life around begins to fall away? The Unbelieving takes a penetrating look into the lives of practicing clergy members— Catholics, Episcopalians, Evangelicals, Fundamentalists, Jews, Mormons, Muslims—who have stopped believing in God.
Staged by NYC’s acclaimed downtown theater company The Civilians in the brilliant investigative-theater style they pioneered, THE UNBELIEVING tells the intimate stories of these faith leaders. Using their actual words, obtained during a groundbreaking study by philosopher Daniel C. Dennett and qualitative researcher Linda LaScola, the play explores the struggles, courage, and great humor of these “unbelievers” as they face the hardest decision of their lives—whether to continue living in secret or to risk everything by telling the truth.
The play is based on a book that came out in 2013 Caught In The Pulpit: Leaving Belief Behind, co-authored by Daniel C. Dennett and Linda LaScola. The book is a non-fiction account of that kind of person: Christian ministers and rabbis actively engaged in ministry but who realize they no longer believe. What does one do in that situation, when one’s livelihood, training, family, social networks are all tied up in a faith that you no longer hold?
Many of you will know have read other books by Dennett or possibly just know about him.. He is one of the major philosophical thinkers of our time and a prolific writer. His main field is cognitive science and he works in such areas as the philosophy of mind, consciousness, and the philosophy of science, especially as these relate to areas of evolutionary biology. He is also widely classed as one of the major “neo-atheists,” along with Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens.
Dennett’s co-author was Linda LaScola. Linda is a psychotherapist, researcher, and clinical social worker. I have corresponded with Linda for many years because she was the co-founder of “The Clergy Project” which provides support for just the kind of religious professional who has lost their faith that their book and now the play is about. Do you know about the Clergy Project? It’s an extremely interesting group. Check out their website (http://The Clergy Project » Support | Community | Hope) Here’s the opening bit of what you’ll find there:
Welcome to The Clergy Project
Are you a religious professional who no longer believes in any God or gods?
Have you remained in vocational ministry, secretly hiding away your non-belief?
Are you struggling over where to go from here with your life and career?
Maybe you’ve been out for some time,out of the ministry and maybe even publicly out as a non-believer…
Maybe you’ve found that the challenges continueto come with your new life and you’re in need of some good community with people who understand the issues you face…
Maybe you’d simply love to connect with other religious professionalswho have likewise left belief behind…
If this is you, we invite you to join The Clergy Project!
The Clergy Project was launched in March 2011 to create a safe and secure Online Community of Forums composed entirely of religious leaders who no longer hold to supernatural beliefs. Many of our project participants have deep privacy concerns, and for that reason, we place your security among our top tier of priorities. Identify yourself with a pseudonym and an avatar image if you prefer. And our private-access website is held secure with air-tight features to make sure your anonymity is in the best of hands.
And so it goes from there.
Interested in the play? It will run from October 20 – November 20, 2022. If you’re going to be in the city, check it out!