Do a lot of religious leaders understand it's all BS?

I’ve often wondered how many religious leaders are actually atheist. Surely most of those tv evangelist charlatans are only doing it for the fabulous wealth and prestige. When you actively sort out and select certain types to be “healed” on camera and employ magician tricks to make it look real, then you must know you’re not healing anyone. Maybe some think they’re doing god’s work, and god has blessed them with riches? But not just them, I think a fair number of pastors and priest were pressured into it by family or saw it as an easy career path. Maybe I’m wrong. I know plenty of smart, life long fervent believers so the clergy being just as deluded is a possibility. Ever come across clergy you think are actually atheist?

A whole lot appear to just be con men. Others are filled with the force.
This is real:

Me too.

I’ve often wondered how many priests actually believed in the sale of indulgences in the middle ages. IE paying for the remission of sins.

Worth remembering that during the middle ages especially, many people of station were also often bishops or even cardinals ,and led dissolute lives… My favourites are the Borgia and Medici families in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

I heard in recent years that all but one of my teachers at the catholic boys school I attended had left the order and gotten married. (They were De La Salle Brothers) Talk about out of the frying pan----

My conclusion is that these blokes almost certainly entered the seminary in their teens or early 20’s, convinced they ‘had a vocation’. At around age 40, mid-life crisis arrives, and they think 'What the fuck have I done with my life?" They may have simply ‘lost their faith’/ come to their senses.

At 16, I attended a weekend retreat at a monastery with the rest of the year 11 class. One of the priests shocked me to my core by telling us that by the time were in our mid 20’s, 25% of us would no longer be practising catholics. I remember looking around suspiciously, not dreaming I would be in that number…

Years later I realised that 25% was the figure to which the church admitted. That it was/is likely that actual figure is fart higher. Almost certainly is today, as priests are obliged to look after several parishes. I suspect the reasons are a combination of far fewer worshippers and a serious reduction in the number of blokes becoming priest.

I also think the child sex abuse scandal has caused many thousands of Catholics all over the world to seriously examine their faith.

I suspect it’s not just priests and other clergy who have come to realise it’s all humbug. That organised religion is the greatest confidence trick ever perpetrated on the human race.

Finally: I can rarely tell if a normal person is an atheist in casual conversation. Here it’s considered rude to ask people about their religious beliefs unless the are family or close friends. Chances of picking an atheist priest are even more remote. However, I must admit to having wondered about that slimy George Pell.


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The brits used to let the first born son inherit the stately pile, the second son went into the military the third into the clergy, the rest into the Foreign Service (administering the colonies and the like) The really bad apples (homosexuals, socialists, gamblers, alcoholics, were sent to grow rubber in Malaysia or Sheep Farm in Australia.

The chances of the 3rd son actually being religious were slim to none. A comfortable “living” (i.e wealthy parish) was the goal.These poseurs filled the ranks of the Anglican church for several generations, and supplied the Archbishops of Canterbury for many successions. It was a cosy arrangement for gentry and government alike.

I am of the opinion that some evangelists ignore their inner voice, drowned out by greed for the massive income they can generate.

And as practiced by Muslims, the goal justifies the means. Being dishonest if you believe it ultimately serves their god.

So what if I run a con, I get more believers who enter god’s fold and oh yea, I make a lot of money.

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Personally I can’t imagine anything more likely to dismantle faith and belief than a lifetime spent meticulously studying religion. The more closely its claims are examined, the more vapid the whole superstition appears.


Not to mention how many bishops from the C of E are “parachuted” into the House of Lords, as a shoe in at the end of their tenure.

They’d have to screw the pooch in some spectacular fucking fashion to destroy their chance of getting that perk.


Wouldn’t shock me if at least one of them did, “screw the pooch”

Or at least some animal or child, anything that is rightly considered taboo.


I think of all the types of religion and christianity, the C of E is probably one of the most innocuous tbh.

Not all clergy spend their life in closed orders, such as say The Trappist monks.

A great many worked as parish priests. I have always had pression that very little studying of any kind was done once they left the seminary.

The blokes who taught me were brothers. (like a male nun) Their work was teaching. They took a vow of poverty so were paid nothing. This was a private school and fees were paid by parents.

A life time of teaching boys would be enough to destroy anyone. IMO that kind of work also attracted paedophiles.

What’s the bet the church still does not screen applicants for holy orders?

There is actually an anecdote about this in my country.

So an archaeologist in Israel discovers Jesus’ remains and immediately phones the pope. “Father, you won’t believe me but I actually found him!”
“Found whom?”
“Jesus, we did DNA tests and everything, it’s 100% that it’s him”
“Oh no…so you are telling me that he actually existed?

So the joke is about how the Vatican has always acted in its own interests and almost never what the Bible had actually commanded to do. There are so many historical accounts of popes holding massive drunken orgies, and doing weird things in general such as suing a corpse (no bs, this once happened). I personally don’t find it that funny, but I thought it would fit well here

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It’s a good question. I don’t think most religious leaders are secretly atheists, but I think they’re more in it for the money than they are for… the faith I guess, for the beliefs and practices. I think many believe because getting into roles of religious power is usually not the easiest thing to do. You have to attend seminary or university (or some religious equivalent), sell yourself to a church, and that’s only after you attach yourself to one for long enough to get recommended or appointed.

If you didn’t believe at all, you probably wouldn’t go through the process of becoming a leader. I guess that’s the point I’m trying to make.

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It’s my opinion that all clergyman are liars. Just because you believe something doesn’t mean it’s true. And it’s not.

But do they know they’re telling untruths? It would be hard for many of them to know god doesn’t exist, for instance. There’s no good evidence of gods, but that means people, leaders included, can’t know if they’re real either.

Well, I suspect most if not all of the priests and clergy I’ve known have been true believers. With one notable exception, none were what I would call mendacious.

BUT I remember that disgusting old hag Teresa of Calcutta went through a crisis of faith .

I read that Billy Graham lost his faith and was in fact faking it in the last years of his life

I went to a catholic boys school. With the exception of the school principal, every one of my teachers left the order within a decade of my leaving school.(about 8 blokes) Honestly don’t know if that was caused by mid life crises or loss of faith.

I feel the same way. Most of the ones I’ve known profess their faith weekly if not daily, and those professions appeared sincere. They sounded like they meant it, I guess I mean. Does that mean they did? No, they could’ve been faking. But I would have to know more about them personally to make that judgment. Just because someone benefits off a job doesn’t mean they don’t believe in it.

Yeah, you can never know that about anyone, about anything. Instead, I ty to use Occam’s razor whenever I can. The simplest correct explanation is usually that the person is telling the truth. All human beings lie, it’s just a matter of degree.

In my opinion, going though life distrusting everyone creates a bitter and cynical person. IMO such people are every bit as naive as the most hopeless romantic.

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I agree with you. I think most religious leaders are probably sincere in their worship. Doesn’t mean they don’t doubt, but they’re not dastardly conmen. Televangelists, well… they’re a different breed, and I don’t know about some of them. I’m thinking of the people who pretend to know things about the audience by having shills interview them before the service, and then radio them information through an ear piece (this was documented a few years back but the details escape me).


I think it was Seneca who said “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful”. I learned this quote from Aron Ra.

Even if the people at the top of the food chain DO believe, it’s clear that they really don’t care one way or the other, as long as the bottom line is paying all the bills and leaving plenty left over for all the luxuries they could ever desire.


Always, always ALWAYS useful to those in control.

It astounds me that those who believe all sorts of conspiraturd (can find the hidden “truths”) haven’t aimed their sights on the largest turd consumed by society (en-masse) - even they (the shit-consumers) understand the usefulness of control over others within their sad existence.

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