A recent survey found that a surprisingly large number of clergy in the Church of England do not believe in a god or are doubtful.
There are about 19,500 licensed ministers in England’s established church whose supreme governor is Queen Elizabeth II.
Interpreted nationwide, the YouGov survey shows there are around 390 licensed ministers who do not believe in God and as many as 3,120 who are unsure about the existence or nature of God.
But what was particularly intriguing in the survey was that older clergy were more likely than the young to hold these unorthodox beliefs. While this goes against the general trend of younger people being more skeptical of religion than the older religion, we should not expect this to hold true for the clergy.
After all, people join the clergy because they are believers. I have suggested before that the more one learns about religion and the more one is confronted with the contradictions posed by the existence of suffering along with a loving god, the more likely disbelief is likely to creep in. And it is older clergy who have had to deal with this a lot and over time their faith can be worn down.
Interestingly, there has been a recent increase in the number of young people in England joining the priesthood in both the Church of England and the Catholic Church, a trend not seen in the US or the rest of Europe.