Theologians who have left the Church report: The Theologians and Their Free Will
The Mode – Yesterday and Today – Special No. 2: The Theologians and Their Free Will – Theologians who Have Left the Church Report
What happens when young people decide to study theology and also attend a Catholic or a Protestant seminary? They then become priests, pastors or religion teachers and remain ideologically bound to their denomination throughout their professional lives and beyond – unless they no longer want that and leave their church.
In this program, a former Protestant pastor, a former Catholic religion teacher, who during his studies changed his career goal from priest to teacher, and another Protestant theologian, who left the church right after completing his theological studies, relate their experiences.
This includes the conflict when one grasps ever more contradictions between Christ and the Church; for example, the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth “He who takes up the sword will perish by the sword,” while the churches have always justified wars and violence, in our time, glossed over as an alleged “last resort.”
One of the topics is also free will, which – as only a few church members know – is denied by the Lutheran doctrine when it comes to the beliefs that, according to this church, are necessary for the salvation of the soul. They would then be directed either by “God” or the devil.
However, a democratic society and responsible cooperation among people is fundamentally based on the free will of the citizens in everything they do. This becomes difficult, for example, for theologians who, as young people, have committed themselves to a particular denomination and its dogmas and confessions. What happens when someone realizes that he no longer agrees with everything or if he no longer wants to submit to this in the future? In the Vatican Church, even disagreement with one single dogma leads for all people to a curse, which is then supposed to result in the eternal punishment of hell after death. So what experiences have people had who once took the path of theology, but then at some point, made a clean break, up to the point of leaving the church?
What do former church theologians have to say today after leaving the church about their time in the institutional churches and as honest seekers of truth and people of the Free Spirit?