I have speculated before that a lot of clergy may be closet atheists and that over time more and more will emerge. This article says that, “A study by the Free University of Amsterdam found that one-in-six clergy in the PKN and six other smaller denominations was either agnostic or atheist.”
The pastor of a mainstream Protestant church in the Netherlands is one such clergyman. (See the interesting short interview with him in the link. The BBC interviewer sounds incredulous at what he is hearing.) The Rev. Klaas Hendrikse’s view on life after death is, “Make the most of life on earth, because it will probably be the only one you get”.
He does not view god exists as a supernatural being: “God is not a being at all… it’s a word for experience, or human experience.”
As for the life of Jesus, he thinks that it is “a mythological story about a man who may never have existed, even if it is a valuable source of wisdom about how to lead a good life” and “You don’t have to believe that Jesus was physically resurrected”.
It seems that some churches are beginning to recognize that many of their clergy simply don’t believe. Although Hendrikse has written a book Believing in a Non-Existent God that led traditionalist Christians to call for him to be removed from the church, “a special church meeting decided his views were too widely shared among church thinkers for him to be singled out.” (My italics)
The times they are a changing, alright.