Freethought of the Day

Would you like to start your day on a freethought note? Freethought of the Day is a daily freethought calendar brought to you courtesy of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, highlighting birthdates, quotes, and other historic tidbits.

As a member, to receive Freethought of the Day in your email inbox, contact us here. To become an FFRF member, click here. To learn more about FFRF, request information here.

There are 1 entries for this date: Carter Warden
Carter Warden

Carter Warden

On this date in 1963, Carter Warden was born in Melbourne, Florida. A pastor for 25 years for conservative Protestant congregations, he co-founded the Clergy Project in 2011, was one of its first forum moderators and is now openly atheist. Using the pseudonym “Adam Mann,” he was one of the five interviewees in the Tufts University study by Daniel Dennett and Linda LaScola published in 2010 as “Preachers Who Are Not Believers” in the journal Evolutionary Psychology.

While still in ministry he was interviewed in 2010 with his identity veiled on "ABC World News Tonight," where he said, "In that point where I realized I was losing my faith yet I still feared for my own salvation, I asked God to take my life before I lost my faith." Later on after a lot of books, movies, classes and conversations, his thinking had changed: "Instead of deepening my once precious faith, my intense study left me no choice but to abandon it. I did not lose my faith, as though it was something that regrettably slipped away, rather I chose to discard it because it no longer made sense."

Not until FFRF's 2016 national convention would he "come out" publicly. (Speech video is here and a transcript is here.) He told the audience, "My true voice has been suppressed and silenced and, as a result, I have been living a life of secrecy, duplicity and hypocrisy. But that stops today." Eight years of Adam Mann were enough. 

Warden's early religious upbringing in east Tennessee was United Methodist. As a young adult he transitioned to the Christian Church/Church of Christ. After earning an associate's degree and marrying his high school sweetheart, he worked as an automotive technician for several years. He then graduated from Milligan College in Tennessee with a major in bible and a minor in sociology. He was ordained in 1988 and graduated from the Emmanuel School of Religion (now Emmanuel Christian Seminary) in 1998.

As of this writing in 2019, he works as a university administrator in student affairs and is a member of the Secular Student Alliance's speakers bureau. His story is featured in a play in development by playwright Marin Gazzaniga titled “Adam Mann (Not His Real Name)." It's based on interviews from the book Caught in the Pulpit by Dennett and LaScola. It's discussed here by Dennett.

Warden has recorded several secular songs, including "Freedom From Religion" (listen or download here), with all proceeds going to the Clergy Project. An avid scuba diver, he has been married 36 years and has two grown children.

"I learned that I am not alone. I learned that reason and science are the best tools for people to discover truth, freedom, happiness and purpose for this life. I learned that goodness and morality do not come from a god. Goodness, morality, happiness, compassion, love, selfless sacrifice and the desire to make this world a better place can be found within each of us as we accept our role as one of the most privileged species on Earth."

—Warden, on what he's learned from the secular community, FFRF national convention speech (Oct. 7, 2016)

Compiled by Bill Dunn

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

FFRF is a non-profit, educational organization. All dues and donations are deductible for income-tax purposes.

FFRF has received a 4 star rating from Charity Navigator

FFRF is a member of the Secular Coalition for America

FFRF privacy statement