KC Star: New support group Recovering Religionists helps people who leave the church

The Star:

The idea for the group came from Darrel Ray, an organizational psychologist and author of “The God Virus: How Religion Infects Our Lives and Culture.” He was raised in a fundamentalist Christian church and attended seminary. But by the time he graduated, he had abandoned the notion of becoming a minister.

He was a member of the Quaker church for two years and then a Presbyterian Church for 10 years, where he taught Sunday school.

“We lived in Leavenworth. It’s a small community, and a lot of social activities revolved around church,” he said. “And I was a businessman, and there were good connections in church.”

But by the time he was 40, he was divorced, his children were grown and he’d become an atheist.

“I had seen over the years how hard it was for me to get out of religion and maintain proper social relationships with other people,” he said.

In his family are ministers and people deeply involved in religion and missionary work.

“It is almost easier to come out of the closet as gay than as an atheist, especially in the Midwest,” he said. “My hope for RR is that when people are ready to leave religion they have a group for support.”

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