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Former Pastor Says He Lost Faith After Staff Member Beat Spouse, Faithful Mother Lost Baby

Christian Post ^ | 12/05/2017 | Leonardo Blair

Posted on 12/05/2017 7:37:41 AM PST by SeekAndFind

Jim Palmer, a former evangelical pastor who once served in ministry at Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago and went on to preach the power of faith to hundreds as lead pastor of his own church in Brentwood, Tennessee, is now the vice president of the Nashville Humanist Association, which promotes humanism and a secular state.

Palmer, 53, told The Tennessean that his journey away from faith in God was triggered about 20 years ago by two devastating events. He said his faith was shaken when he learned that a church staff member was beating their spouse. It then suffered another blow when a woman encouraged by his sermons believed her unborn child diagnosed with a fatal disorder would live. The mother blamed herself when her child died soon after birth.

“That triggered, ‘How can I preach this stuff?'” Palmer said. “Beneath the appearance and the surfaces of people’s lives there was a level of suffering and brokenness for which my theology did not touch.”

In his journey away from faith, the former pastor also lost his marriage.

Despite the loss of his faith and his family, however, Palmer is forging ahead with his belief that there is no God and has now placed his faith in humanity.

“I’m still going to plant my flag down on the belief that we are who we’ve been waiting for. There is no God in the sky who is going to rescue us,” he told The Tennessean. “We’ve got to pull up our big boy and big girl panties and be human beings.”

Palmer, along with Kay Overlund, 34, another former Christian, came together to found the Nashville Humanist Association in August.

Despite Nashville’s reputation as the “Buckle of the Bible Belt,” some 21 percent of Nashville residents are unaffiliated with any religion, according to the PRRI American Values Atlas.

And Palmer and his team of humanists are seeking to unbuckle the city.

“While it’s true that our city is often referred to as the ‘Buckle of the Bible Belt’ for being a hub of Christian fundamentalism, there is also a fast growing secular community in the Music City and Middle Tennessee. The Nashville Humanist Association aims to connect that community together in meaningful, enriching, empowering and productive ways,” the Nashville humanists say.

“Humanism encompasses a variety of views such as atheism, agnosticism, rationalism, naturalism, and secularism. As humanists, our outlook on life attaches prime importance to being human. We stress the value and goodness of human beings, emphasize common human needs, and seek solely rational ways of solving human problems,” they argue. “Outside the framework of religion or supernaturalism, Humanism affirms our ability and responsibility to lead meaningful, ethical lives capable of adding to the greater good of humanity and working toward a world of less suffering and more flourishing.”

Palmer became a Christian when he was in high school, then went on to seminary in Chicago to deepen his faith. After his spiritual unraveling, however, he is now teaching a course about Life After Religion.

“I find that there are many people who leave religion behind but still struggle with finding and experiencing true peace and liberation and happiness and I see that one of the reasons why that is, is that even after one leaves the externals of religion behind there is often a very deeply rooted religious pathology that’s persistent in people’s lives,” he said in a discussion of the course.

“Certain ways of thinking about ourselves and life and other people and these beliefs and mindsets, these narratives that have been indoctrinated into us can be very saboteurial into our journey of wanting to be at peace with ourselves and to live a life of liberation,” he said.

Palmer, who is a member of The Clergy Project, an organization that supports religious leaders who no longer believe in God, hosted a screening of a documentary about the organization called “Losing Our Religion” at the Metro police department’s West Precinct on Sunday.


TOPICS:Evangelical Christian; Moral Issues; Religion & Culture

KEYWORDS:humanism; willowcreek

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1posted on 12/05/2017 7:37:41 AM PSTby SeekAndFind

To: SeekAndFind

I see where he’s coming from.

It would be easy to lose faith in God if it were based on faith in people.

2posted on 12/05/2017 7:40:31 AM PSTby pax_et_bonum(Never Forget the SEALs of Extortion 17 – and God Bless The United States of America.)

To: SeekAndFind

Such a shame. He based his faith in God’s word on the actions of men not on the word of God.

3posted on 12/05/2017 7:41:46 AM PSTby jmaroneps37(Conservatism is truth. Liberalism is lies.)

To: SeekAndFind; Gamecock

“Jim Palmer, a former evangelical pastor who once served in ministry at Willow Creek Community Church”

It’s a stretch to call Willow Creek a church.

4posted on 12/05/2017 7:41:55 AM PSTby fishtank(The denial of original sin is the root of liberalism.)

To: SeekAndFind

Yeah, every time I question my faith and belief in God, I set up a radical “humanist” agency. Phew!

5posted on 12/05/2017 7:42:20 AM PSTby miss marmelstein

To: SeekAndFind

Sad in so many ways. Now he is placing all his eggs in the basket of his fellow humans.

This is going to be a mixed bag, but he sounds like a true believer. Even after he gets walked on and used, he will still believe in his fellow man as the font of all that is good.


6posted on 12/05/2017 7:42:39 AM PSTby rlmorel(Liberals: American Liberty is the egg that requires breaking to make their Utopian omelette.)

To: SeekAndFind
“Palmer, who is a member of The Clergy Project, an organization that supports religious leaders who no longer believe in God, hosted a screening of a documentary about the organization called “Losing Our Religion” at the Metro police department’s West Precinct on Sunday.”


7posted on 12/05/2017 7:43:17 AM PSTby StAnDeliver(Prosecute the win. Run up the score.)

To: SeekAndFind

Satan won this one.

All the Enemy needed to do was cause other people to behave in evil.

Low-hanging fruit, apparently.

8posted on 12/05/2017 7:43:31 AM PSTby Lazamataz(The “news” networks and papers are bitter, dangerous enemies of the American people.)

To: SeekAndFind

Evidently all humanists, unlike some “Christians,” never beat their spouses.

9posted on 12/05/2017 7:43:37 AM PSTby E. Pluribus Unum(<img src=”” width=800>)

To: SeekAndFind

Don’t look at the people. Some people are bad all over. Look to the loving eyes of Jesus. I bet everyone has stories like this or similar; doesn’t take far to see this stuff.

10posted on 12/05/2017 7:44:05 AM PSTby Karliner(Jeremiah29:11,Romans8:28 Isa 17, Damascus has fallen)

To: pax_et_bonum

Yes, faith in God through the Lord Jesus Christ is independent of how the American people so often behave.

11posted on 12/05/2017 7:44:07 AM PSTby Theodore R.(Let’s not squander the golden opportunity of 2017. The golden opportunity is slipping away.)

To: SeekAndFind

Difficult events are a crucible that tests our faith.

It sounds as if he had a very weak faith, sadly.

“The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and promptly receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he remains for only a season. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.…

Matthew 13:20,21

12posted on 12/05/2017 7:44:19 AM PSTby aMorePerfectUnion

To: SeekAndFind

He thinks he was wrong once. He can certainly be wrong again. Yet he still wants to dictate to people based on his underinformed and reasoned opinion.

13posted on 12/05/2017 7:44:57 AM PSTby Dr. Sivana(There is no salvation in politics.)

To: SeekAndFind

God allowed him a challenge and this guy, after all the other obstacles in life God brought him through, fails this challenge and is now working for the opposing team?

When people are anointed/called by God the enemy will attack, you will be challenged time and again and again. satan wants to use people like this guy is choosing to be used to steer more away from Christ because it’s the easier route than sticking with God through the excruciating, horrible or lonely times in life.

14posted on 12/05/2017 7:46:00 AM PSTby b4me(God Bless the USA)

To: SeekAndFind

How can one preach about God when one puts his faith in men and judges God by the actions of men?

15posted on 12/05/2017 7:46:40 AM PSTby trebb(Where in the the hell has my country gone?)

To: fishtank

“It’s a stretch to call Willow Creek a church.”

Really? Why’s that?

16posted on 12/05/2017 7:46:43 AM PSTby SkyShot(Jesus is coming. Look busy!)

To: SeekAndFind

So his staff member beat people… so he flips God the finger and decides that humanism is super awesome… because God made the staff member beat people but humankind is really good.


17posted on 12/05/2017 7:47:30 AM PSTby Skywise

To: SeekAndFind

Poor silly man never understood Christianity in the first place. God is not Santa Claus who gives you everything you pray for. He failed the test of faith and wants others to share his failure.

18posted on 12/05/2017 7:49:25 AM PSTby gspurlock(

To: SeekAndFind

Perhaps we should pray for this man, and for all the lost souls, that the Good Shepherd find each one and bring them back home.

19posted on 12/05/2017 7:49:34 AM PSTby FamiliarFace

To: SeekAndFind

“We’ve got to pull up our big boy and big girl panties and be human beings.”

Dime store physician, heal THYSELF! Sadly, this man is an example of how certain personalities can end up in pulpits and wing it with a very shallow Scriptural foundation. One cannot be steeped in God’s Word and suddenly be thrown off by man’s wickedness. Where is his sense of his OWN? I bet it’s tiny. Apart from the strong antidote of God’s FREE GIFT in Christ, seeing how wicked YOU are, after all the delusions are stripped away….THAT can throw a man off!

20posted on 12/05/2017 7:50:59 AM PSTby avenir(“But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.”–Titus 2)

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