Daniel Dennett’s Latest Book Chronicles Pastors Who Are Secretly Atheists

It was three and a half years ago when philosopher Daniel Dennett and researcher Linda LaScola released a groundbreaking study of pastors who no longer believed in God yet were still in the pulpit.

The point wasn’t that religion was wrong, but that there were pastors who didn’t believe in what they were preaching and felt stuck in their roles. They needed a way out.

A year later, that study led to the formation of The Clergy Project, a private discussion forum for closeted atheist pastors.

Now, Dennett and LaScola have released a book (with a foreword written by Richard Dawkins) that details what they discovered and learned from their study. It’s called Caught in The Pulpit: Leaving Belief Behind:

Imagine what a momentous step it is to volunteer for these interviews. You have been conditioned not to unburden your soul, not to indulge in avowals with your parishioners or anyone else, and you have become adept at deflecting even your own attention from topics you know you can’t handle. To let down your defenses and explain the inexplicable, admit the inadmissible, and acknowledge your own complicity takes courage. Their belief that by doing so, they would be helping others deal with their own entanglements with faith is a belief we intend to honor by helping some of them tell their stories, without distortion, without special pleading.

Caught in The Pulpit is available for Kindle now and will be released in paperback in a couple of weeks.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.