I think this is way more common than religious people think.  I had a friend who attended seminary and she said many people lost their faith at seminary.  She said atheist ministers were common.  In addition, I was good friends with an Air Force chaplin who told me very few chaplins actually believed in god and he was unsure himself.  That was okay for him as he was Unitarian.  Christians reading this article are all shocked.  Wake up, people! Those guys aren't in the ministry for god (at least most of them), they're in it for power.  They like people worshiping the gorund they walk on.  They like the money and the status.  A lot of ministers could less about god.  i figured this out before I was 12!

Atheist Ministers Struggle With Leading the Faithful


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Darn! Can't edit an opening thread.

Here's the article from ABC News:

"I am an atheist," says "Jack," a Southern Baptist with more than 20 years in ministry.

"I live out my life as if there is no God," says "Adam," who is part of the pastoral staff of a small evangelical church in the Bible Belt.

The two, who asked that their real identities be protected, are pastors who have lost their faith. And these two men, who have built their careers and lives around faith, say they now feel trapped, living a lie.

http://abcnews.go.com/WN/atheist-ministers-leading-faithful/story?i...
I feel for these guys, they're in a really tough spot. It's one thing to be a layman and lose your faith, but to be a church leader...wow. I can imagine they fear being shunned and isolated from their communities if they were to ever come out.
You might find Daniel Dennet's report interesting

http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/Non-Believing-Clergy.pdf
I've always wondered how a Catholic priest I know balanced his science degree with theism. I guess maybe he doesn't.
I lost my faith while in the seminary and called it quits. I am very glad to have gone through that painful experience while not employed in full time ministry and while single.
Isn't there some organization that's working to help get atheistic ministers and priests out of that position and get them training in another field? I vaguely remember hearing something about it on The Atheist Experience. Episode #649 looks like a good candidate.

I like that; a recovery program for atheist clerics. It would have to be a 12-step program to fit in with AA, etc.

;)

You know, maybe what religious people are saying is right if there are a lot of atheist ministers...maybe a lot of the world's problems are caused by atheists. It just happens to be the closeted ones who are ripping off the ignorant masses about the Jebus.
Yeah, but without all of the gullible dumb-asses who believe that stuff and give them money ...
I lost my faith after twelve years in he ministry. Life now is so much better. After studying the bible for myself and learning more about be real world, I couldn't believe that any of it was real. My wife, who is still religious gives me credit for not being a hypocrite and remaining in it just for the money.

The Freedom From Religion podcast is cohosted by Dan Barker, a former evangelical minister.  I listen to every episode (American Freeethought).  The podcast is not "about" his history, but it's interesting to know. 

 

It was also the bible that led me away from christianity.  It was (A) not compatible with the Baptist version that I was taught, as well as all of the other protestant religions and catholicism (for I while I thought Worldwide Church of God was closest).  and (B) was inconsistent with itself, full of contradictions.  Studying science did the rest for me.

 

I have a lot of admiration and respect for people who went through the difficult journey from clergy to freethought.  It's got to be very hard.  Worth it, in the end, and morally "right", but that doesn't make the process easier.

The journey is intensely painful. Going through it was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. After gaining an understanding of the real world and a little science everything that I held dear from child hood came crashing to an end. Was my pastor wrong? Mommy is wrong? My aunts, uncles, friends...all wrong about life purpose and god. There isn't a special angel assigned to watch me when I go to school or when I sleep? No inner holy spirit speaking with me on a daily basis. No heaven or eternal rewards, and no hell to avoid. I couldn't comprehend what I was learning. Then I read about all the other creation myths, cults and savior gods that have been apart of other cultures prior to the Nazarene. I was astounded.
My former church didn't push seminary, and some preachers taught against it. I can see why!!!! It was actually my thirst for more of god that turned me away from the idea. I can completely identify with biped, after doing research, there was no way I could believe anymore. After I read Thomas Paine's "Age of Reason", I knew I was no longer a believer.

"Properly read, the bible is the most potent force for atheism ever concieved"
- Isaac Asimov

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