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Old May 9 2013, 10:27 PM   #1
Jolly Old Krampus
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Doctor of Divinity

I may have mentioned in the past that I'm an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church, which is a non-denominational organization that grants free ordinations on-line to anyone interested. Although I have no formal training in theology or Christian studies, I decided years ago that I wanted to take my Christian faith to the next step. So now I can legally perform weddings and other ceremonies in the state of California. So far, I haven't performed any weddings or religious rites (yet), but I would prefer to be addressed as Reverend.

It has occurred to me that anyone can have an "honorary" faith-based degree, and I mentioned in another thread that I would like to get a Doctor of Divinity certificate. There are several web-based ministries or churches that offer ordinations and honorary degrees and licenses: Universal Ministries, St. Luke Evangelical, and American Fellowship. Some organizations are way too conservative for my taste; some services are too expensive.

So what do you think of an honorary Doctor of Divinity? In this case, it's D.D. honoris causa (h.c., for the sake of honor). Is an academic doctorate degree necessarily better than the one that's honorary, which is usually awarded to people based on experience rather than academic achievement? What say you?
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Old May 9 2013, 10:31 PM   #2
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Re: Doctor of Divinity

Gryffindorian wrote: View Post
So what do you think of an honorary Doctor of Divinity?
Since divinity doctorates are basically doctorates about nothing, I have no opinion about them.

Honorary degrees, even less so.
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Old May 9 2013, 10:40 PM   #3
Count Zero
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Re: Doctor of Divinity

Honorary doctorates only have meaning if they're awarded as a form of recognition, i.e. an actual honour someone receives for their life's achievements. If you can buy it kind of defeats their purpose, in my opinion.
Obviously, a doctorate rewarded for academic achievements (and getting one is no small feat, it usually requires years of research and work) is worth more than one you just get or buy.

Doctor of Divinity has a nice ring to it but I wouldn't take it particularly seriously. It seems to me that you have to do much less for it than you have to do over here to get a degree (a standard one, not a PhD) in theology to become a church dignitary in the first place.
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Old May 9 2013, 11:26 PM   #4
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Re: Doctor of Divinity

What say I? I say this thread reminds me of...



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Old May 9 2013, 11:51 PM   #5
Lumos Ziyal
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Re: Doctor of Divinity

Gryffindorian wrote: View Post
So what do you think of an honorary Doctor of Divinity? In this case, it's D.D. honoris causa (h.c., for the sake of honor). Is an academic doctorate degree necessarily better than the one that's honorary, which is usually awarded to people based on experience rather than academic achievement? What say you?
I tried not to be judgmental (and I'm not sure how serious you are), but I have to admit I totally failed. So...

IMO, purchasing an "honorary" degree online is dishonorable. And somewhat deceptive. And, therefore, questionably Christian. It doesn't even serve a practical purpose, since you're already authorized to do weddings and other religious services.

If you want credentials so badly, and you want to minister in a formal way, why not go take some theology classes and get a real certificate or degree?

Tora Ziyal, M.Div.
(Yup, four years of hard academic work.)

Last edited by Lumos Ziyal; May 10 2013 at 12:32 AM.
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Old May 10 2013, 12:11 AM   #6
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Re: Doctor of Divinity

I've never really understood what makes some "legally" able to perform wedding ceremonies. A marriage certificate is what marries you, not a person.
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Old May 10 2013, 12:24 AM   #7
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Re: Doctor of Divinity

If you can buy a "honorary degree" what exactly have you bought beyond a piece of paper that looks good in a picture frame? If you believe in your message, then instead of spending that money to basically glorify yourself, why not spend it towards a good cause to help others? Living your life by example to spread your message is far more appealing to me than just false credential. At least academic degrees show the person put in the work for them.
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Old May 10 2013, 12:28 AM   #8
Lumos Ziyal
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Re: Doctor of Divinity

^Well said.

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
I've never really understood what makes some "legally" able to perform wedding ceremonies. A marriage certificate is what marries you, not a person.
Being legally authorized to perform wedding ceremonies basically means that one is legally authorized to sign those marriage certificates.
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Old May 10 2013, 12:30 AM   #9
RoJoHen
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Re: Doctor of Divinity

Tora Ziyal wrote: View Post
^Well said.

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
I've never really understood what makes some "legally" able to perform wedding ceremonies. A marriage certificate is what marries you, not a person.
Being legally authorized to perform wedding ceremonies basically means that one is legally authorized to sign those marriage certificates.
Sounds like too much work. Surely there's a phone app for that can do that for you now.

I mean, really, if anybody can just go online and ordain themselves, what's the point in even having such a person?
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Old May 10 2013, 12:33 AM   #10
R. Star
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Re: Doctor of Divinity

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
Tora Ziyal wrote: View Post
^Well said.

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
I've never really understood what makes some "legally" able to perform wedding ceremonies. A marriage certificate is what marries you, not a person.
Being legally authorized to perform wedding ceremonies basically means that one is legally authorized to sign those marriage certificates.
Sounds like too much work. Surely there's a phone app for that can do that for you now.

I mean, really, if anybody can just go online and ordain themselves, what's the point in even having such a person?
This will be followed soon by the divorce app.
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Old May 10 2013, 12:34 AM   #11
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Re: Doctor of Divinity

If you wish to be married, please enter your and your spouse's username and password.
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Old May 10 2013, 12:37 AM   #12
Lumos Ziyal
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Re: Doctor of Divinity

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
Tora Ziyal wrote: View Post
^Well said.

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
I've never really understood what makes some "legally" able to perform wedding ceremonies. A marriage certificate is what marries you, not a person.
Being legally authorized to perform wedding ceremonies basically means that one is legally authorized to sign those marriage certificates.
Sounds like too much work. Surely there's a phone app for that can do that for you now.

I mean, really, if anybody can just go online and ordain themselves, what's the point in even having such a person?
Good question. But not all states recognize that kind of "ordination."
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Old May 10 2013, 02:24 AM   #13
Jolly Old Krampus
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Re: Doctor of Divinity

Tora Ziyal wrote: View Post
^Well said.

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
I've never really understood what makes some "legally" able to perform wedding ceremonies. A marriage certificate is what marries you, not a person.
Being legally authorized to perform wedding ceremonies basically means that one is legally authorized to sign those marriage certificates.
Correct, and marriage laws vary form state to state. In California, I believe the minimum requirement for a wedding officiant is that he/she be 18 years of age.


Tora Ziyal wrote: View Post
Gryffindorian wrote: View Post
So what do you think of an honorary Doctor of Divinity? In this case, it's D.D. honoris causa (h.c., for the sake of honor). Is an academic doctorate degree necessarily better than the one that's honorary, which is usually awarded to people based on experience rather than academic achievement? What say you?
I tried not to be judgmental (and I'm not sure how serious you are), but I have to admit I totally failed. So...

IMO, purchasing an "honorary" degree online is dishonorable. And somewhat deceptive. And, therefore, questionably Christian. It doesn't even serve a practical purpose, since you're already authorized to do weddings and other religious services.

If you want credentials so badly, and you want to minister in a formal way, why not go take some theology classes and get a real certificate or degree?

Tora Ziyal, M.Div.
(Yup, four years of hard academic work.)
So you're saying honorary D.D.s are totally useless and not legally valid. Interesting. I should point out that there are real-life ministers, pastors, preachers who have been granted honorary Doctors of Divinity for their years or decades of religious work and experience (without having completed any of the academic requirements). Here's an example of an institution that grants such honor.

While I agree that an academic degree has to be earned, some would argue that Jesus Christ himself didn't need a Ph.D. to preach. Besides, if it's only an honorary title, I say what's the harm?
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Old May 10 2013, 02:49 AM   #14
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Re: Doctor of Divinity

You should totally give up your house and job and start wandering the land doing good deeds, only to be known as "Preacher".
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Old May 10 2013, 03:26 AM   #15
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Re: Doctor of Divinity

Gryffindorian wrote: View Post
So you're saying honorary D.D.s are totally useless and not legally valid. Interesting. I should point out that there are real-life ministers, pastors, preachers who have been granted honorary Doctors of Divinity for their years or decades of religious work and experience (without having completed any of the academic requirements). Here's an example of an institution that grants such honor.

While I agree that an academic degree has to be earned, some would argue that Jesus Christ himself didn't need a Ph.D. to preach. Besides, if it's only an honorary title, I say what's the harm?
Aside from a slight financial loss, there's not a lot of harm in it for yourself, but remember, that piece of paper is only for your edification. You can look at it and say, "I have proudly paid $39.95 to have a Doctor of Divinity degree."

That's about all it's good for, is to catch a friend's attention on the wall, and even then, as soon as they see "Universal Life Church" they'll know it's worthless. That's not to say the ULC is worthless, but it takes little to no effort to get ordained by them. I'm ordained as well, and I'm also registered with the State of Ohio so that I can legally officiate weddings and have those unions as binding.

Those fools, they gave me this authority! <evil cackle><lightning><thunder>

*ahem*

I didn't go to any theological seminary, and am not a graduate of any Bible college, though I can generally out-Bible most of them, but that's because I spent my formative years poring over the Bible and many other religious texts. Now, I did have an ordination by an actual church, but I left that church once my theology changed and was no longer acceptable under the by-laws, so I went to the ULC.

I have officiated weddings (I have two coming up in a couple of months), and that is where I am pleased to serve. I could buy one of those "Doctor of Divinity" papers, but it would only be to stroke my ego, and would serve no other purpose. After all, the people who receive honorary Doctorates have contributed to society in some way that gets them recognized. What did you do to get your Doctorate of Divinity? You shelled out some cash. Not quite the same.

If that's what you want to do, that's cool, but why waste your money?
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