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Anfauglir

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If a church were to higher a minister who was secretly an atheist, I can image their anger at being sold on a lie when the truth were to come out. 

Depends - is part of the job description to believe in a praticular god?

That's a serious question.  Does every single minister, in any religious strand you care to name, believe in exactly the same god?  I very much doubt it - any argument to the contrary must perforce (for example) assert that every Catholic priest all the way up to Pope holds the same opinion on molestation as the few priests who actually carried out the crimes: that in some way god would be okay with it.  That's demonstrably not the case, so not all persons leading congregations have to hold exactly the same beliefs.

"But they must all believe in god!".  Again, no.  I forget the title, but I have a book at home written by a Catholic priest who interviewed a number of his colleagues who had lost their faith, but who continued to preach and be employed by the church.  Would it be the position of a church that a priest who loses faith be immediately fired?  I very much doubt it - if he was doing the job and bringing in the sheeple and the offerings, he'd be allowed to continue in post.

So a person who did not believe, but who toed the party line, should not present a problem.  The point of course is when a person gains a post with the deliberate aim of not fulfilling the specific requirements of that job - namely, to preach the Good Word....but even then, as I've said above, not EVERY priest will be giving exactly the same message.  At the grossest level, you will have some priests in a church teaching aspects as literal, and some teaching them as metaphor.

I guess the real question is: how far can a person legitimately go in the pulpit to say that all the stories are no more than stories?  An interesting question...but I definitely agree with Truth OT's point that a minister saying "this story is metaphor and not fact" would win more converts than an atheist telling them the same thing.

Perhaps we all need to get ordained?
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