TOPIC

Leaving a Religion



The choice to leave one’s religion is highly personal, but the consequences are often social, profoundly disrupting a person's sense of community and belonging. While some of us feel welcomed and supported by those in our lives to find our own spiritual and religious path, some of us can experience anything from unsupportive disinterest to active hostility. Whether through pressure from immediate family members, close community, or larger societal expectations, the decision to drop expected religious practices and beliefs—or adopt new ones—can instigate anything from withdrawal of emotional, social, and financial support to verbal abuse, physical violence, and even execution. When leaving a particularly strict or self-contained religious community, navigating life in a new culture can leave us even more at sea. Finding the strength to align our lives with our values under such circumstances can be exhausting, and discovering a community of solidarity can be a lifeline as we make our way forward.

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Millennials Are Leaving Organized Religion. Here's Where Some Are Finding Community

The American religious landscape has changed dramatically over the past several decades.

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A Secular Age

What does it mean to say that we live in a secular age? Almost everyone would agree that we—in the West, at least—largely do. And clearly the place of religion in our societies has changed profoundly in the last few centuries.

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The Health Effects of Leaving Religion

This loss of faith in God went beyond his separation from Mormonism, leading to months of depression, anxiety over the prospect of no afterlife, and suicidal thoughts. He’s better now, but for a while there were days when he wouldn’t even leave his bed.

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FindCenterI came to the conclusion long ago that all religions were true and that also that all had some error in them.

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05:21

Recovering from Religion - You Are Not Alone

Recovering from Religion community members and volunteers discuss the highs and lows of walking away from their faith and discovering a new way to live as well as the role Recovering from Religion played in their journey.

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Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith

Barbara Brown Taylor, once hailed as one of America’s most effective and beloved preachers, eloquently tells the moving and delightful story of her search to find an authentic way of being Christian—even when it meant giving up her pulpit.

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Spirituality, Not Just Religion, May Be Declining

Should we be worried that young adults will lose purpose, meaning and morality?

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02:52

As Hispanic Americans Leave Catholicism, Church Looks to Pope for Guidance

Nearly one-third of American Catholics are Hispanic, according to a new Pew Research Center study. But the report says Hispanics are also leaving the faith at a high rate. In 2010, 67 percent of Hispanic Americans identified as Catholic, but in 2013 that figure dropped to 55 percent.

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Escaping Utopia: Growing Up in a Cult, Getting Out, and Starting Over

We think of cults as bizarre, inexplicable or otherworldly places that only strange people inhabit, but cults and other abusive and high-demand groups (and relationships) are actually quite commonplace.

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The Challenge of Leaving Religion and Becoming Secular

This chapter explores the personal change from “religious” to “secular” and reasons why that change is such a significant paradigm shift for some people. We will look at the lingering effects of religious indoctrination and the healing from trauma that it can require.

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Setting Limits and Boundaries