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Ask the Patriarch 121
Will you ordain an atheist?

from Todd

To open a discussion on this article, please use the contact page to provide your comments.

I am writing with a question which may seem a bit strange. Although I fully agree that we can neither prove or disprove, and thus cannot know, about the existence of a God, I am personally an avowed atheist. As this is the case, I feel I must ask whether or not I would be allowed to become ordained by your organization, as I do not want to take the chance of misrepresenting you.

Please contact me soon.

The Patriarch replies:

Todd:

I appreciate that you wish to be honest in submitting an application.

You say you are an avowed atheist. However, given the current common usage of the term atheist, it is possible to be both an atheist and an agnostic. Generally, if you are what is considered a strong atheist (which in my view is the classic atheist) then you absolutely deny the existence of a deity - and you are not an agnostic. If you are what is termed a weak atheist and just don't believe in a deity, then you might also be able to legitimately call yourself an agnostic.

We ask those who fill out an application to be ordained to be truthful, and we normally accept the applicant's self-judgement. If you apply to be ordained in the Apathetic Agnostic Church, you are asked if you understand and accept the Articles of Faith of The Universal Church Triumphant of the Apathetic Agnostic. If you apply to be ordained by the WCA, then you are simply asked if you are an agnostic. If you can honestly answer yes in either application (and only submit one of the two), then you will probably be successful in your application.

If on reflection you decide you do not qualify, you can always seek ordination through the Universal Life Church.