By Shayna Brazier
My heart leapt a little when I read the title to a recent news article that said that “none” was the fastest growing religion in the US. I believe I felt so excited about it because it was validation that I was not alone in the journey away from religion. It is one of life’s basic needs to feel like we belong.
I left a fundamental religion about a year ago and the resources for myself have been vast. I found plenty of podcast to listen to other people’s stories. I found social media groups to vent my frustrations to. I found books and blogs to help me figure out how to assimilate into “normal” society. I even found a guide to alcohol for people trying for the first time well into adulthood.
What I didn’t find was resources for my children. I found resources for how I could help my children, but not much for them. In fact I couldn’t find a single children’s book about leaving religion. My kids were going through the same faith transition as I was, but with far less support.
The transition was different however. I found that most of the adults in the religious world would make sly or passive aggressive remarks to my children that thankfully would glide over their heads most of the time. It was the still believing children that hurt the most. Even innocuous questions about why my kids weren’t going to church anymore, made them feel like outsiders. There was one night in particular where my daughter was upset and couldn’t understand how we went from “it’s all true and we must obey” to “it’s not true and things aren’t as they seemed.” After some back and forth about religion, science, family and everything in between, she finally blurted out “I am the only one going through this.”
This broke my heart. So I did what felt like the rational thing and I opened up my computer to the subreddits about all the apostates from different religions. I showed her that there were hundreds of thousands of people going through this. She also caught a glimpse of some of the ugliness of reddit which was probably not that wise.
I walked away from that determined to do something about it. So I set out to write a book for children who are leaving religion. It was a tall order in that it had to be good enough to engage children, strong enough to show them that it is a valid choice to leave religion, and careful enough to not incite any foul feelings towards believers.
Kids are resilient and mine are really doing great. Sometimes they just need something they can hold that reminds them that they are not alone in the transition away from faith.
If you would like to help out, I’m started a kickstarter campaign. Click here. Thank you!