I have been volunteering for some time for a great project called, Recovering from Religion (RfR).
Among other activities, RfR staffs a telephone hotline for people experiencing doubts or conflicts with religion in their lives. People need resources to mitigate the harm that can be caused when their own natural thought processes bring them into conflict with religious ideas they once held, well, sacred. They may experience a lot of self-doubt and feelings of guilt, and they may also be in emotional or even physical danger from others who don’t share their doubts, at least not to the same extent.
Teresa MacBain, the Director of the Hotline Project, is a former Methodist pastor and the first female member of the Clergy Project to publicly ‘come out’ as a nonbeliever. Working with her, we are trying to create a future where people are not judged by what they believe, but are safe to be their true self without fear of persecution, hatred, or rejection.
Nobody calling the hotline gets “recruited” to leave behind religion. It’s all about making sure people are safe, and giving them resources to deal with their current state and with whatever direction they may decide is right for them. Their religious community will only help them move in one direction: back into the fold. If that’s what they need, fine. But for everyone else, 1-84-I-DOUBT-IT.
If you or someone you know needs this kind of help, or if you think you can offer this kind of help, check it out.