Thinking About Losing Your Religion? This New Hotline Can Help You

If you are like thousands of other Americans, you are questioning your religion. A recent study shows that 20% of Americans consider themselves atheists. When you add people who don’t attend church — — or never have done — and skeptics, that number rises to 38% of what researcher David Kinnaman calls the “churchless.”

If you are thinking about joining this growing demographic, you may need to talk to someone about it; someone who has been where you are. That’s where Recovering From Religion, a non-profit group based in Kansas City, MO, comes in. Their website lays it out:

If you are one of the many people reconsidering the role of religion in your life, or one of the many more negatively affected by religion, Recovering From Religion (RR) may be the right spot for you. We welcome everyone from doubting theist to ardent atheist, and our goal is to give you the support you need with the respect you deserve. Welcome, we are honored to be a part of your journey, and we’re glad you’re here!

Now, RR has expanded their presence beyond the Internet, starting The Hotline Project. It took them two years to get the project up and running with a volunteer team. Their premise is that people might have a crisis of faith “between 3:00 and 5:00 in the morning,” so RR has made it possible to talk to someone at any time, day or night. The number is easy to remember: 184-I-DOUBT-IT. Real time support is an important resource:

The hotline offers a unique avenue for callers to share and explore their thoughts, feelings, and perspectives while providing them with immediate, anonymous, confidential, and compassionate support combined with relevant resource referrals.

The Hotline Project has a motto: “When faith is on the line, so are we.” It took them two years to raise the money — about $50,000 — and staff the phones. The staff numbers 80 now, but is expected to rise to 100 soon. These volunteers must undergo 10 hours of training, which includes learning not to argue or try to convert callers one way or the other. Neutrality is paramount.

Sarah Morehead is the executive director of Recovering From Religion. She explains why The Hotline Project is so important:

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“When people are reconsidering the role religion plays in their lives, they risk losing their families, their spouses, their jobs. These people are isolated, excluded, shunned. It rocks these people to the bottom of their hearts. It is heartbreaking. We want to give people a safe place where they can call and get their questions answered and get some resources.”

Recovering From Religion, like any recovery project, hosts local meetings. These groups meet monthly, worldwide and are free to attend. Anyone exploring leaving their religious life behind is welcome.

As more and more people reconsider the role of religion in their lives, and more conclude that dropping it entirely is what they want to do, groups like Recovering From Religion will be helpful for making that transition. Like anything that has become an ingrained part of one’s life, religion can be hard to release yourself from. Groups like this, who don’t try to push you one way or the other, will be “a friend along the way.”

H/T: Religion News Service |Photo By T. Steelman