Esbensen has found acceptance among fellow Unitarians, where humanists are a known quantity. But people from other faiths, when they learn she's an atheist, are often "a little puzzled and concerned." Most tragically, when she became a minister she lost her best friend, who felt this was not an appropriate role for a nonbeliever.There are people on both sides of the God line who are arrogant and who are kind and gentle. I think it's best not to stereotype.
"That is so arrogant," clucks Esbensen. "There can be a lot of arrogance attached to people who believe in God."
As for whether atheists can be good ministers, I'm sure they can. The question is: Should they admit they are atheists? Surely, there must be many, many religious leaders who, in their hearts, are atheists.