REFUSING MY RELIGION | Indiegogo

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REFUSING MY RELIGION

Sometimes Finding Salvation Means Losing Your Faith

This story could only take place in America: What happens when preachers lose their faith and become atheist activists?

WHAT IS THIS DOCUMENTARY ABOUT?

Our feature-length documentary, REFUSING MY RELIGION, examines through intimate first-person accounts the experiences of clergy members who have left their careers in ministry, renounced religion, and gone on to become prominent figures in the secular movement. 

When ministers lose their faith and “come out” not only as nonbelievers but as atheist activists, this is a clear indication that our society is transforming right before our eyes.  We are making the definitive film about these unprecedented and rapid changes happening on the religious and cultural landscape of America. 

As the internet and access to information continue to shape our world, religion now finds itself in a place it has never been before. Daniel Dennett even says in our film, "This really is a tipping point for religion."

WHY IS THIS FILM IMPORTANT, AND WHY SHOULD YOU SUPPORT IT?

Education and awareness are integral to creating the policies and laws that foster a just and moral society.  If these matters are important to you, please contribute to this film.

We are at a tipping point.  The stronghold religion has had on our society is “all breaking down,” as Dennett recently told us in an interview.  The 2012 Pew Forum On Religion & Public Life's survey and statistics reveal that there is a never-seen-before momentum shifting away from traditional American religious institutions, both at the societal and individual levels.  The evidence proves that church attendance has significantly decreased in the past decade, particularly among young Americans. 

This is your opportunity to be active in closing the final chapter of America’s civil rights battle.  Helping us complete this film will raise awareness of the personal struggles and discrimination a number of atheists face in pursuing the truth of who they are.

Written By: Other Animal Films
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11 COMMENTS

  1. “Losing religion” always sounded strange to me. I understand losing hair or losing your virginity but religion didn’t seem like such a loss. I lost my cancer would be a silly way of putting it. Finding reason automatically assumes the loss of delusion.

    • I think it’s because religion has emotional, ethical, and pragmatic tugs on people, not merely intellectual ones. Emotional is that sense of awe and wonder they get while in a congregation performing rituals with their neighbours. Ethical is the “moral certainty” they get from associating with religion. And pragmatic is the sense that religion gives them something to do every day or every year.

      This is pretty much why religion is a deceiving nuisance. It takes superstitions and weds them to personal significance, so that debunking the ideas it holds is equivalent to having a go at the follower’s emotions, ethics, and daily living. The emotions are secular, the ethics either banal or spurious, and the daily living is simply a lifestyle choice, but religion keeps ahold of them through dishonest tactics.

      I agree with you that “finding reason” is the better phrase, and “finding humanism”, “finding science”, “finding philosophy” and “finding Enlightenment” are all potentially good phrases. Nearly everybody regards religion as a good thing, unfortunately, so expect such phrases to remain among a minority for a while yet.

      In reply to #1 by aquilacane:

      “Losing religion” always sounded strange to me. I understand losing hair or losing your virginity but religion didn’t seem like such a loss. I lost my cancer would be a silly way of putting it. Finding reason automatically assumes the loss of delusion.

      • Yes, religion does provide people with many of the things you mention below. Perhaps this is why we’re finding while making Refusing My Religion that the single thing people miss most, and what they are trying to recapture since leaving the church, is the sense of community they once had. The growing secular movement is full of people who have formerly been deeply involved with religion, and they play a valuable and integral role in this tide that cannot be stemmed. Even the Bible says, “There’s no zealot like a convert.”
        In reply to #3 by Zeuglodon:

        I think it’s because religion has emotional, ethical, and pragmatic tugs on people, not merely intellectual ones. Emotional is that sense of awe and wonder they get while in a congregation performing rituals with their neighbours. Ethical is the “moral certainty” they get from associating with religion. And pragmatic is the sense that religion gives them something to do every day or every year.

        This is pretty much why religion is a deceiving nuisance. It takes superstitions and weds them to personal significance, so that debunking the ideas it holds is equivalent to having a go at the follower’s emotions, ethics, and daily living. The emotions are secular, the ethics either banal or spurious, and the daily living is simply a lifestyle choice, but religion keeps ahold of them through dishonest tactics.

        I agree with you that “finding reason” is the better phrase, and “finding humanism”, “finding science”, “finding philosophy” and “finding Enlightenment” are all potentially good phrases. Nearly everybody regards religion as a good thing, unfortunately, so expect such phrases to remain among a minority for a while yet.

        In reply to #1 by aquilacane:

        “Losing religion” always sounded strange to me. I understand losing hair or losing your virginity but religion didn’t seem like such a loss. I lost my cancer would be a silly way of putting it. Finding reason automatically assumes the loss of delusion.

    • I’m one of the two filmmakers directing “Refusing My Religion.” We don’t use the term “losing,” REM already did that. These clergy and others are renouncing their respective religions/”delusions”, as you correctly put it. They are rejecting the basic tenets of Christianity and other religions, most of them after having carefully considered the many undeniable fallacies, countless contradictions, and sheer impossibilities found in the Bible and other books of so-called “divine inspiration.”
      In reply to #1 by aquilacane:

      “Losing religion” always sounded strange to me. I understand losing hair or losing your virginity but religion didn’t seem like such a loss. I lost my cancer would be a silly way of putting it. Finding reason automatically assumes the loss of delusion.

  2. Christians have for many years been telling me how intelligent their priests, ministers, bishops, etc. are and if Christianity wasn’t “true” then all those church leaders would know.

    Well, all those leaders are suddenly beginning to let followers know that they’ve been lied to all those years. What will followers do now? Believe the “REAL” truth or keep believing the “OLD” truth (um lies)?

    • In reply to #2 by ArloNo:

      Christians have for many years been telling me how intelligent their priests, ministers, bishops, etc. are and if Christianity wasn’t “true” then all those church leaders would know.

      Well, all those leaders are suddenly beginning to let followers know that they’ve been lied to all those years. What will followers do now? Believe the “REAL” truth or keep believing the “OLD” truth (um lies)?

      All followers of religions are victims of a pyramid selling scheme, and the priesthood are victims too although as they are further up the pyramid they have a means to get money from people further down.

      They have a choice, keep the pyramid going, from which they make a comfortable living, or admit that they have been conned too and are guilty of conning others.

      Most of the victims of course (including the priests) never realise they have spent their lives participating in the greatest self perpetuating con in history, far less understand the deceit they are committing against themselves or others

      • Dr. Darrell Ray, psycholgist, author, and founder of Recovering From Religion, told us in an interview for our documentary that “Religion is the most amazingly successful con game ever invented.” Nearly all of the former clergy we’ve interviewed for our film, Refusing My Religion, have told us they’d felt as if they were leading “a double life,” and they all said how difficult it was for them to continue ministering after they’ve rejected religion in favor of reason. Even one active pastor at an evangelical fundamentalist congregation in the South who’s been struggling with “coming out” for four years now talks painfully about his obligation to his family as the primary reason for his staying in as long as he has. However, he’s currently seeking other employment and plans to leave his post as soon as he can. This is never an easy situation for these people. And no one understands the moral and ethical implications better than they do.
        In reply to #5 by N_Ellis:

        In reply to #2 by ArloNo:

        Christians have for many years been telling me how intelligent their priests, ministers, bishops, etc. are and if Christianity wasn’t “true” then all those church leaders would know.

        Well, all those leaders are suddenly beginning to let followers know that they’ve been lied to all those years. What will followers do now? Believe the “REAL” truth or keep believing the “OLD” truth (um lies)?

        All followers of religions are victims of a pyramid selling scheme, and the priesthood are victims too although as they are further up the pyramid they have a means to get money from people further down.

        They have a choice, keep the pyramid going, from which they make a comfortable living, or admit that they have been conned too and are guilty of conning others.

        Most of the victims of course (including the priests) never realise they have spent their lives participating in the greatest self perpetuating con in history, far less understand the deceit they are committing against themselves or others

    • It’s a very clear indication that our society is transforming right in front of us when church leaders themselves are jumping ship. To answer your question : What are some followers doing?, I’ll tell you as one of the two filmmakers of Refusing My Religion that many of them are ostracizing their former pastors from their communities; some are threatening them with physical and sexual abuse, and even with death. Some are claiming that the ex-ministers were never believers in the first place; and some are saying the Devil got them, finally. But the more reasonable among the flocks are actually following their leaders into the freethought movement, as is the case with former Lutheran minister Mike Aus whose church disbanded after he “came out” a year ago and then he started Houston Oasis, a Sunday morning “service” for atheists and others who don’t buy into the dogma of religion. When we were there, we met six former members of Mike’s congregation who were among the 100 in attendance that day. Hallelujah.
      In reply to #2 by ArloNo:

      Christians have for many years been telling me how intelligent their priests, ministers, bishops, etc. are and if Christianity wasn’t “true” then all those church leaders would know.

      Well, all those leaders are suddenly beginning to let followers know that they’ve been lied to all those years. What will followers do now? Believe the “REAL” truth or keep believing the “OLD” truth (um lies)?

  3. It would be interesting to see a chart of the actual numbers leaving all xtian delusions.
    Seems to be a escalating problem for the church, the RCC in particular.
    But as a shock there seems a moratorium on disclosing the numbers of the ones who leave the church due to losing the fairy story.

    There are a very few mentions of the phenomenon on teh web, .but what there are seem somewhat clouded because only certain aspects of the reasons for quitting are mentioned, like RCC priests getting married for example, they get a great deal of opprobrium and are regarded as untrustworthy, but even so after a few years they can slip quietly back into the fold if they wish.
    Few are refused…and those that are tend to have been embroiled in scandalous situations or who left under such a circumstance.

    Guess who lets them back in and guess who made it easier…yep ‘Benny baby’ when head honcho of the doctrine of the faith, yep the inquisition gets pragmatic…who would have thought?
    Anyway they have the say so when an ex-priest reapplies.
    For some that are deemed not mentally fit, or are to…controversial… there seems to be an ex-curia gang recently formed that are used as a ‘dad’s army’ kind of idea, they are not reinstated wholly and have nowhere near the rights of full priests or anywhere near the power they had when they were originally priests.
    But they seem to be a class of ecclesiastical that are termed ‘rent a priest!’

    Thing is I can find no definitive numbers on those that find themselves functionally atheist or losing their faith, that aspect is seemingly ignored in the stats…as if they did not really want to admit it happens!

    Spin I smell…and then some because the shape and smoke and mirror gambits were all on catholic apologetic pages, maybe someone has advanced google fu…mine was at the limit and failed to find any conclusive numbers of those that go for born-again atheism ;-)

    Numbers for the protestant leavers…even more fragmentary and again reflecting the more scattered cult make up, again not so many mentions of those leaving due to atheistic view points!

    I think it has become the elephant in their room…and no one is openly admitting that the delusion is fading in potency, cos if numbers of the ordained come to their senses and in ever increasing numbers, which seems to be the way of things, then that bodes no good news for the legions in the congregations that have doubts but are kept on the straight and narrow by peer and authority in their church.
    If the authority is wavering they really are in deep doo doo!

    One can almost conclude that they are happy to say folk leave, but not because they find atheism more in tune with reality.

    • Yes, overall church attendance and religion’s sway over society are both clearly in decline. The 2012 Pew Forum study showed as much with the rise of the “Nones.” http://www.pewforum.org/Unaffiliated/nones-on-the-rise.aspx. And The Clergy Project, an online safe haven for preachers who’ve lost their faith, went online in 2011 with 52 original members; today it has over 430. http://clergyproject.org/. Daniel Dennett said to us in an interview for our film, Refusing My Religion, that “A lot of pastors are in this fix. How many, what percentage? Nobody knows.”
      In reply to #4 by Jon Snow:

      It would be interesting to see a chart of the actual numbers leaving all xtian delusions.
      Seems to be a escalating problem for the church, the RCC in particular.
      But as a shock there seems a moratorium on disclosing the numbers of the ones who leave the church due to losing the fairy story.

      There are a very few mentions of the phenomenon on teh web, .but what there are seem somewhat clouded because only certain aspects of the reasons for quitting are mentioned, like RCC priests getting married for example, they get a great deal of opprobrium and are regarded as untrustworthy, but even so after a few years they can slip quietly back into the fold if they wish.
      Few are refused…and those that are tend to have been embroiled in scandalous situations or who left under such a circumstance.

      Guess who lets them back in and guess who made it easier…yep ‘Benny baby’ when head honcho of the doctrine of the faith, yep the inquisition gets pragmatic…who would have thought?
      Anyway they have the say so when an ex-priest reapplies.
      For some that are deemed not mentally fit, or are to…controversial… there seems to be an ex-curia gang recently formed that are used as a ‘dad’s army’ kind of idea, they are not reinstated wholly and have nowhere near the rights of full priests or anywhere near the power they had when they were originally priests.
      But they seem to be a class of ecclesiastical that are termed ‘rent a priest!’

      Thing is I can find no definitive numbers on those that find themselves functionally atheist or losing their faith, that aspect is seemingly ignored in the stats…as if they did not really want to admit it happens!

      Spin I smell…and then some because the shape and smoke and mirror gambits were all on catholic apologetic pages, maybe someone has advanced google fu…mine was at the limit and failed to find any conclusive numbers of those that go for born-again atheism ;-)

      Numbers for the protestant leavers…even more fragmentary and again reflecting the more scattered cult make up, again not so many mentions of those leaving due to atheistic view points!

      I think it has become the elephant in their room…and no one is openly admitting that the delusion is fading in potency, cos if numbers of the ordained come to their senses and in ever increasing numbers, which seems to be the way of things, then that bodes no good news for the legions in the congregations that have doubts but are kept on the straight and narrow by peer and authority in their church.
      If the authority is wavering they really are in deep doo doo!

      One can almost conclude that they are happy to say folk leave, but not because they find atheism more in tune with reality.

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