Atheist Pastors

I recently read this article about various pastors and worship leaders at Christian churches who have embraced atheism.  It is amazing that someone can get to such a position of leadership in a church without evidence of genuine salvation.  In addition, these pastors/worship leaders have kept their atheism a secret to maintain the income that comes with their church position.  The “atheist pastors” continually are affirming that they had to be “honest” with themselves about what they believe.  Apparently, that “honesty” does not include full disclosure to their congregation.

This is particularly depressing news, the kind that makes me think the situation with the “American” church is grim.

Thankfully, my hope is in Jesus and not dishonest “pastors.”

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8 thoughts on “Atheist Pastors”

  1. Well, you have to look at it from their point of view. I certainly don’t condone lying. But if you were an honest believer and became a pastor, only to eventually become an atheist…what would you do?

    As pastors, I imagine, their whole lives are centered around religion. Any social interactions they have would be heavily influenced by religion. And if they became pastors while relatively young and are now older, they might never have received training in any other form of employment. Losing a job in this economy is hard for anyone, but especially if you are now cut off from the only job you’ve gone to school for.

    So do they come out as atheists and lose their friends, their job and their income all in one fell swoop? Or do they try to fake it?

    I’m an atheist and I honestly don’t know what I’d do in their positions.

    1. I hear what you’re saying, but being a pastor is not just employment. You are dealing with people’s spiritual beliefs. Even a genuine believer should not treat being a pastor as merely a job. Pastoring as mere employment introduces mixed motivation for leading. A pastor should be concerned with doing the right thing and not just the most economically appropriate thing.

      1. I think calling it just the ‘most economically appropriate thing’ is grossly underplaying what it is. The worst case scenario (and when do we, as humans, not dwell on the worst case scenario) is that this hypothetical pastor loses his job and nearly every friendship he has. Perhaps even his family.

        Should someone risk poverty, seriously, because of a sincere change of heart? It’s not an easy question to answer.

      2. Again, i empathize with what you’re saying. I am not trying to be glib or say that this is an “easy” decision. Because it is not easy, does not mean it is not right (in this case). The difficulty involved in such a situation might explain why these pastors are still pretending to believe, but it does not excuse their dishonesty.

        I would hope a church would be graciously gentle in giving the “atheist pastor” some severance and time to seek new employment. I know that if one of my friends embrace atheism I would not shun them or sever our friendship; I’m sure this is the most genuine display of the gospel.

        Thanks for the comments.

  2. “I would hope a church would be graciously gentle in giving the “atheist pastor” some severance and time to seek new employment.”

    I would hope so too.

    And yet, my mind keeps seeing a mob with lit torches and raised pitchforks. 🙂

  3. ‘atheist pastor’
    sounds like an oxymoron to me!
    Seriously though, that is the reason Jesus instructs us to look to HIM and not man. Thanks for sharing this. I was not aware of this problem in the church.

  4. How many pators are merely a reflection of their congregants? How many “Christian Atheists” fill the pews every week in North America and we’re surprised that pastors burn out or that their ears are tickled by various heresies. Just thinking that if the Body were more encouraging, there’d be less of this problem.

    1. Mr. W, I definitely agree with you. The thing that surprised me was the level of formal acknowledgment from these pastors. For example, I think we have a lot of practical atheist running around our churches but many would still confess to believing in traditional Christian dogma. These “pastors” are confessing that they do not believe Jesus is the Son of God, etc… It’s all too crazy to me.

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