This is a book that will help those leaving their Faith and looking for personal rather than intellectual guidance. A philosophical treatise or deconstruction this is not, nor is it meant to be. For that I would recommend A.C Grayling from my limited reading. What it is good at doing is taking you through the various stages of de-conversion although it is clearly written for those who are pretty well on the road to no religion. Despite the title it is aimed at Christians, or should I say, those becoming ex Christians, although some of its advice would be equally suitable for those leaving other Faiths, especially those of the three major Western Monotheisms. It is also clearly written with an American audience in mind, since in Europe there is little of the obvious social stigma that attends those who abandon their Christian faith in the States. Therefore the passages that relate to those issues were less relevant here in Britain. This is a book that will bring comfort and a friendly voice to many that feel alone. As the author says, no one throws you a going away party when you feel you have to leave what for many has been a way of life and the way of understanding life for most of their years. The book is in three parts: 1) Leaving Home 2) Walking Away and 3) Moving Forward, with a short introduction asking the potential reader if they are truly ready to star leaving the security blanket of their religion. It is written clearly and concisely. I personally would have liked a little more intellectual meat, but as I said it is aimed at the experiential side of leaving religion ad for that it is very good. I also very much liked his use of metaphors to capture the flavour of moving away, especially the one about Faith being like a mountain that dominates your horizon even after you have been walking away for some time. If there is a little criticism it is that I would have liked rather more on some topics such as what to put in the place of such an all embracing relationship as one with God, even if you have ceased to believe. I personally found that particular issue came to a rather sudden end. Altogether though a friendly and helpful book for all on a religious exit who need a friend. James Mulholland definitely knows what he is talking about. If there is one message this book tells you it is to be patient and understanding of yourself. To leave any Faith that one has sincerely believed in, to be honest about leaving what has been your home and security takes guts and is all life redefining.
One person found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
This book helped me a lot. James Mulholland is writing from a Western Christian perspective so I don't think this would be *as* relevant to people leaving other religions, or doing so in very different cultures from his, but I think the themes of loss and rediscovery of self are quite broadly applicable. It's structured around the stages of grief, which makes a lot of sense considering that the target audience has lost something that's provided them with community and the framework for day-to-day life, and considering that leaving a faith community almost always involves losing at least some close friends and family members. It's not an academic book about atheism or a personal memoir, but rather an articulation of some of the things ex-believers often do, feel and experience at different stages in the process, and in that way it provides a great deal of comfort. I recognised my own behaviour in its descriptions, which helped me to start to come to terms with my feelings of loss, fear and anger at three decades that I felt I had wasted. I'm really glad I read it.
The book is gentle and non-pressurising. It does not lay down a set of rules or say that you should do something that you do not feel quite comfortable with. Compared with many religious texts it is caring and healing. I recommend it.
2 people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?