The upper echelons of the Church of England (I choose this particular branch of christianity because it is the one with which I am most familiar) appear always to be populated with men of some intelligence and learning (allbeit somewhat restricted in scope) and because the Church is established they often occupy positions of some power and influence.
How do they justify these positions, the lives they have chosen or, if simply drifted into, justify continuing along the same path? In short, how do they manage to live with themselves?
I was mildy indoctrinated with religious beliefs as a child and can remember making some childish efforts to embrace them. I rationalised that Jesus probably did live, was probably a pretty good guy, and consequently, that Christianity was a 'good thing', something one could pay lip service to. By the time I was in my teens however I had come to suspect that the whole Bible was a motley collection of myths and superstitions; and that prayer, collective worship and religious ritual was pretty meaningless and only of value in any beneficial effect it had for the individual participant.
Do religious leaders simply shut such thoughts from their minds? Or have they, by a process they never seem to reveal, rationalised them out of existence? Are men (and women) of learning and intelligence happy and fulfilled wearing funny hats and bejewelled robes and drawing pictures in the air? Or have they simply settled for the pragmatic argument that they are serving the emotional needs of the gullible, believing public; and the question of whether their activities are of any significance at all to the deity they claim to represent, can be put aside?