Sunday, November 10, 2013

Does This Describe You?

About five or six years ago, I read a book called,  If Grace Is True, by Jim Mulholland, a Quaker minister, and his friend, Phillip Gulley. I was impressed by Mulholland and Gulley's universalist leanings which were very evident in the book. I was fully exploring universalism at the time and the book spoke to me deeply.

My atheist friend, Andrew recently posted that Mulholland has left the faith completely, and gave a link to Mulholland's website called "Leaving Your Religion".  On the website, Mulholland offers a Questionnaire for folks who think they may be in the process of leaving their religion or suspect they might already have. Leaving your religion doesn't necessarily mean leaving God. Maybe it's just leaving your old version of God or a particular kind of theism.  I know that is very true in my case. I continue to explore the spiritual side of life even when it looks nothing like what I believed it to be for so many years. The following is the result of the questionnaire of one who probably is in the process of leaving:


You’ve been in a crisis of belief for months or even years.  You are probably not attending religious services often, or you are participating in the most progressive element of your religious tradition.  Yet neither of these choices has made you completely happy.

You no longer believe many of the key doctrines of your religious tradition.  You are increasingly uncomfortable with many of its rituals and practices.  You have tried to hold on to a core, but that core gets smaller and smaller.  Reading your tradition’s holy writings no longer helps since you have serious doubts about the reliability of those writings.  When you pray, you often wonder if anyone is listening.

You struggle with how to identify yourself.  You try to make a distinction between religion and spirituality and may call yourself a mystic or a spiritual seeker.  You may have read about or dipped your toes into other religious traditions.  You probably still believe in God, but your definition of God is quite different than that of your religious tradition and difficult for you to explain.  If truth be told, making sense of religion has become exhausting.

You have mixed feelings about your religious tradition.  It has been a powerful force in the past.  It is part of who you are.  But it isn’t working for you any longer and you can’t pretend any more.  You may feel sad and depressed about this crisis.  You probably feel a void and real loss.  You may even be angry at or hostile toward your religious tradition.  You may feel like you were duped.  Sadness and anger are normal responses.

For the first time in your life, you’re seriously considering leaving your religion.   You may find yourself envious of the non-religious people and curious what life would be like without religion.  You may be both frightened and excited about the prospect of living outside a religious community.  Regardless, you can feel yourself disconnecting from your religion.

Does this describe you? What's your opinion? I am interested in what my friends think of the result and the website


  1. I visited his website recently, but didn't take the quiz...yet.

    This sounds very much like what I've been going through, though.

    You may feel like you were duped Yes, that.

  2. Thanks for contributing Alice. I know exactly what you mean. You are not alone.

  3. It's not me now but it is me about 10 years ago. I stopped calling myself a Christian 9 1/2 years ago. Thanks for sharing that link. I sometimes read Andrew's blog but didn't notice this. Saw his comment on Jim's blog though. Did some reading there just now. Liked it. Added his blog to my blogroll.

  4. Thanks all for your feedback. The questionnaire is designed to promote discussion and allow some to consider the possibility of leaving - something I resisted for years. I realize much of what I'm writing is designed for the transition. The trick is how to reach those who would still find websites called "Leaving Your Religion" too frightening.

    1. Jim- Thanks for commenting here. I was impressed with your page. I dislike labels, but if I were to call to myself anything, it would be a non-theist. I haven't found any religion which I feel begins to express my own feelings. I am 68 years old and most of my old friends would not to able to call me a Christian for sure, since I haven't been to any church for services in over eight years. I still think there is a "force" that permeates the universe which I cannot even begin to understand or describe. I'm ok with that. And that is how I got from a conservative Southern Baptist for 59 years to where I am today. I don't see my journey of discovery ending any time soon.

  5. Sure, that's me. Always searching, ever learning, too. For me at least, life is a spiritual journey. I recognize others don't see it that way, and that's okay.

  6. Mullholland's book "if grace is true" was the first step on my journey out of religion. I'm not an atheist, but I can see why someone would come to that conclusion in their life. I'm planning on reading his latest book too.