Who is … Thorkild Grosbøll

January 26th, 2013 7:10 am| by admin

He is a former Church of Denmark vicar popularly known as the priest who didn’t believe in God.

Bad career choice, huh?
Well, saying he didn’t believe in God is something of an oversimplification. In his 2003 book ‘En sten i skoen’ (‘A stone in the shoe’), he wrote that he didn’t believe God created or played an active role in the world.

Doesn’t that still go against some kind of church teaching?
It does, but it wasn’t enough to get him kicked out of the church – at least not right away. He was given the chance to explain himself to his bishop, who then made sure his sermons stuck to church dogma.

Did they?
Not really. He wound up being suspended in 2004 and relieved entirely of his priesthood the next year, despite having the full support of his parish. He really didn’t do much to help his own case though – especially not when he repeatedly fed the press with quotes like: “God belongs in the past. In fact, he’s so old-fashioned that it astounds me that modern people can even believe in his existence.” At the same time, he blamed the press and his superiors for taking his quotes out of context. He was eventually allowed back, but only after he reaffirmed his faith, including the parts about God being the “all-powerful creator of Heaven and Earth”. He retired for good in 2008.

Is he trying to make a comeback?
No, but his moment of public doubt has apparently made such an impact that a church in Viborg, Jutland recently advertised an opening for a vicar, including as one of the requirements was that the successful candidate needed to be ‘a believer’.

Are there more like the Rev Grosbøll?
According to the church looking to hire, yes. Given the stink put up by the vicars’ union and the church minister over the requirement, they would appear to be right. Tolerance is apparently divine.


DSB boss: we give them an alternative, where their employees can work during the journey and arrive rested (photo: iStock)
Denmark’s road warriors are increasingly turning to the train
More and more companies are telling their employees to leave the car keys a...
Social worker representative: a departure from the goal that all children should grow up without basic deprivation (photo: iStock)
Report predicts new levels of deprivation in Denmark following benefit cuts
According to a new report by the analysis bureau Analyse og Tal, the govern...
The Great Belt Bridge could be a no go by this evening (photo: iStock)
Storm Gorm will bring hurricane strength winds to Denmark
A storm is expected this evening, affecting the whole of the country, with ...
(all photos: Daniela de Lorenzo)
Out and About: Inspiring talks at the Black Diamond
This weekend we were inspired, encouraged and we learned, because TED Talks...
We have evolved by learning from one another
The Valley of Life: A fertile collaboration
Most people are somewhat familiar with the Bible and the Book of Genesis. A...
Utzon's towering achievement
Today’s Date: Death of a Visionary
On this day in 2008, the notable Danish architect Jørn Utzon passed away i...