Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Leaving Your Religion

So in a previous post, I explored the concept of a Christian Humanist particularly ideas regarding non-realism and other associated concepts such as eternity etc. Well I recently discovered that Bart Campolo has become a secular humanist and given up on his Christian faith. See www.bartcampolo.org
One of the podcasts features on the site involved a discussion between Bart and a man called James Mulholland. James runs a website called www.LeavingYourReligion.com and published a book with the same title. I was fascinated by the discussion between Bart and James who both shared a Christian past but who now both inhabit very different places. Following is some commentary on the book.
The book has very helpful questionnaires to complete which help further reflection. It opens with one titled 'should you leave your religion?' Your score is then used to indicate whether you should read the book, or what parts would be most beneficial. Another helpful tool on page 21 is a 'religious loss inventory'. Interesting here you discern between nostalgia and genuine loss. The list of things you deny on page 30 was also very good. I ticked most! Strikingly, the final denial read, 'you confess to believing in God even though you've rejected nearly every common definition or description of God'. On page 39 it stated 'anger often masks sadness'. In the context of faith, I do find myself getting angry. Interesting. James suggests there is a process of Refining, then expanding and then redefining. Theses all resonate with my experience. He provides a list on page 88 which details some of the redefining. In losing your faith, the book encourages you to live in the new non-religious identity, discarding all artefacts related to the previous religious way of life such as books and embracing new ways to live as a non-religious person. James talks about walking away from the shadow of the mountain.
I resonated with so much of this book and it tugged on my heart strings, but just as I could not fully accept the Christian Humanist position (a rejection of eternal life), I could not fully embrace a denial of the existence of something divine and yet again, eternal life.
My next quest is therefore to read a book about spiritual experiences (https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1539007324/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pd_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=1AIZ7Q12HCYEM&coliid=I3REZJ2THOW5RH) and seek to reconcile my spiritual experiences with an ever increasing non-realist/humanist stance.

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