I get mail all the time from religious leaders who admit to me in private that they do not believe in God but think that the best way to continue their lives is to swallow hard and get on with their ministries, concentrating on bringing more good than evil into the lives of their parishioners and those for whom their churches provide care. I would never divulge their names without their consent, but I do wonder: How many millions of priests, pastors, rabbis, imams, nuns and monks around the world are living lives of similar duplicity? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the outing of Mother Teresa inspired a few thousand of them to come out of the closet and acknowledge their atheism! Then it might start being obvious not only that faith in God is not a requirement for morality, but that the loss of faith in God often goads people into living more strenuously helpful lives, as seems to be the case with Mother Teresa.
Perhaps it was her guilt at being unable to convert herself that drove her to work so hard to convert others to take her place among the believers.
Former pastor Dan Barker also mentions in his book that there was a time when he was giving sermons and conducting his pastor duties even when, deep down, he knew he didn’t buy into it. It wasn’t too long before he publicly came out with his atheism.
It seems that a number of pastors will talk about the importance of being honest without following their own rules.