REFUSING MY RELIGION
Sometimes Finding Salvation Means Losing Your Faith
This story could only happen in America. What happens when preachers lose their faith and become atheist activists?
WHAT IS THIS DOCUMENTARY ABOUT?
Our feature-length documentary, REFUSING MY RELIGION, examines through intimate first-person accounts the experiences of clergy members who have left their careers in ministry, renounced religion, and gone on to become prominent figures in the secular movement.
When ministers lose their faith and “come out” not only as non-believers but as atheist activists, this is a clear indication that our society is transforming right before our eyes. We are making the definitive film about the unprecedented and rapid changes to the religious and cultural landscape of America.
As the internet and access to information continue to shape our world, religion now finds itself in a place it has never been before.
The Clergy Project is an online "safe haven" for former or active ministers, priests, rabbis, imams, etc. who have “moved beyond faith”. The website went public in March of 2011 with 52 original members; since then it has increased to 425.
The Clergy Project grew indirectly out of the 2010 Tufts University study “Preachers Who Are Not Believers” conducted by Daniel Dennett and Linda LaScola. In 2011 The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science provided funding to help launch TCP. Some of TCP’s founders include Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, clinical research consultant Linda LaScola, Clergy Project Executive Director Catherine Dunphy, and Executive Director of the RDFRS Dr. R. Elisabeth Cornwell.
WHY IS THIS FILM IMPORTANT, AND WHY SHOULD YOU SUPPORT IT?
Education and awareness are integral to creating the policies and laws that foster a just and moral society. If these matters are important to you, please contribute to this film.
We are at a tipping point. The stronghold religion has had on our society is “all breaking down,” as Daniel Dennett recently told us in an on-camera interview. The latest Pew Forum On Religion & Public Life survey and statistics reveal that there is a never-seen-before momentum shifting away from traditional American religious institutions, both at the societal and individual levels. The evidence proves that church attendance has significantly decreased in the past decade, particularly among young Americans.
In our exploration of the subject matter, we have gained a greater understanding of the diverse and complex nature if religion in America. We have been moved and inspired by the efforts of those creating dialogue with and building bridges toward the secular movement. We can see the energy of what could evolve into what we hope is a more tolerant and compassionate community. This is something we think the world should know about.
HOW WILL WE USE YOUR DONATION?
As you know, making a film of this magnitude is expensive and time-consuming. Your donation will enable us to complete it. The funds will be used for production, post-production, licensing fees, marketing, and distribution.
Through your pledge, we will donate five per cent of the proceeds from this campaign directly to The Clergy Project.
You can also support this project by following our progress online and telling everyone you know. Please feel free to share the following link to this IndieGoGo page.
WHAT HAVE WE ACCOMPLISHED IN OUR EFFORTS TO MAKE THIS FILM?
For the past year and a half, we have managed to travel the country in order to interview former ministers and essentially all of the pre-eminent figures in the secular movement including Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker, Susan Jacoby, president of American Atheists David Silverman, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation Dan Barker, Harvard’s Humanist Chaplain Greg Epstein, Director of Strategy and Policy for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science Sean Faircloth, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America Edwina Rogers, Recovering From Religion founder, psychologist and author Dr. Darrel Ray, philanthropist and activist Todd Steifel, and numerous others at the grassroots level.
We also went to great length to represent the diverse spectrum that comprises religion in America. To date we have conducted interviews with Conservative political commentator, author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, Senior Professor of Philosophy at the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary Dr. Bruce Little, America magazine’s culture editor and Roman Catholic priest Father James Martin, president of the Catholic League Bill Donohue, and Born-Again radio host and religious activist Steve Noble, just to name some of the prominent figures of the religious establishment in our country.
This is not only a ground-breaking film for secularism, but for anyone who is interested in or concerned with where the future of religion is trending.
Michael Dorian and Marc Levine are documentary filmmakers. Their work has appeared on The Documentary Channel, Bravo, MTV, WallStreetJournal.com, BBC.com, and ABCNews.com, among others.