…oh, wait, it’s the same person, if you’re telling this joke in Amsterdam:

An elected official of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands has said congregations in his denomination should be wary of trying to set limits to the beliefs of their clergy, including those who say they do not believe in the existence of God. “You cannot capture the relationship with God in an arithmetic sum, just as you cannot turn a loving relationship into a formula,” said Jan-Gerd Heetderks, the outgoing chairperson of the church synod, in an interview with the Protestant newspaper Nederlands Dagblad.

One obvious question, of course, is how you can have a relationship with someone whom you do not believe to exist. I can have a good time reading about the adventures of Gandalf, for instance, but that doesn’t mean I have a “relationship” with the wizard. Another obvious question is, why bother? I mean, why go through the rigors of ministry (assuming Christian ministry is at all similar in Holland to what I’ve experienced in America) for the sake of a lie? And if you’re not lying, you’re out front about being an atheist, why not just work for the government (if you want to help people) or a school (if you want to be a scholar). But why inflict on yourselves and others the ridiculous fiction that you in any way are seeking to serve One whom you think is a fairy tale?

And what kind of a church is it that lets atheists occupy its pulpits?

I know, a dead one.

(Categorized under “Other Faiths” because this isn’t really Christianity, is it?)