March 28, 2024

How Human Attitudes Form Versus How We Think They Form I am a researcher whose primary concern is Conversion (meaning how people transition into a religion) and Deconversion (meaning how people transition away from religious practice and belief). As such, it is within my interest to study how humans form attitudes, come to conclusions, and change their minds. Since at least the time when Aristotle began to write his philosophical works, it has more or less been assumed that humans form attitudes based... Read more

January 12, 2024

Atheism: A Relatively New Phenomenon The specter of atheism has always hovered at the edge of Western culture to a degree, since prior to the Middle Ages. Even during ancient Biblical times, when every culture the world over was deeply committed to some religion or another, the Psalmist allows for the fact that some people might put forth the proposal that no God exists when he says, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” (Psalm 14:1) During... Read more

December 11, 2023

The History of Religious Research While religious movement (people entering religious communities, switching religious communities, or leaving religious communities) has always been present, it tends to be a difficult topic to research given that religious movement has the tendency to be slow, sporadic, and unpredictable. Meaning that a researcher would have to sit about in any given church lobby for years to get enough samples for research. As a result, when studying the topic of religious movement in the past,... Read more

December 6, 2023

The book The Surprising Rebirth of Belief in God by Justin Brierley is hot off the presses (relatively speaking), and the premise suggested by the title runs wildly counter to the prevailing view of religious trends in the world. By all available data, religious involvement appears to be on the downswing worldwide rather than increasing. But one does not judge a book by its cover – or in this case, its title. Before attacking Brierley’s case, it is worth the... Read more

December 1, 2023

A subject I have addressed in previous articles is the concept of “Religious Trauma,” also called “Spiritual Abuse,” or “Church Hurt.” However, in those previous articles, I had not done any investigation into the formal academic literature on the subject. This was in part because I had not yet gotten to the point in my deconversion research that I was ready to tackle a tangential topic*. But it was also in part because there was practically no peer-reviewed research on... Read more

November 24, 2023

Jim Wallace likes to brag that, for roughly half a century now, if you called the Torrance Police Department in California, and asked for Wallace, a member of his family would be there to pick up the phone. This is because, before Wallace ever entered the police force, his father had been a career officer, and now that Wallace is retired, his own son has entered the force. Like many police officers, Wallace’s father developed a world-weary cynicism about life... Read more

November 14, 2023

The Teenage Exodus It is an established fact that the teenage years are a time when many life changes are liable to occur. Early in conversion research, scholars noted that most religious conversions appeared to happen while the convert was an adolescent, and the same is true with deconversions. The mass exodus happening in churches around the world is largely happening with people in their adolescent years. Surprisingly, however, very little of the early work on deconversion aimed its lens... Read more

November 3, 2023

Dr. Daniel Fincke has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on ethics. Daniel was born and raised on Long Island in a nominally Catholic home, although his father was personally agnostic. Daniel’s Journey to Belief When Daniel was five, his parents sent his brother – 8 years his senior – to an evangelical church camp. It was at this camp that Daniel’s brother became deeply convicted, got... Read more

October 23, 2023

In a previous article, I reviewed Paul C. Vitz’s book Faith of the Fatherless which proposes that a contributing factor to atheism is the relationship one has with one’s father or father figure. The thesis being that an absent father or a poor relationship with one’s father increases the likelihood that one will take an atheistic stance on life. However, tucked away in the back of Vitz’s book, almost as an aside, is a novel proposition of another contributing factor... Read more

October 16, 2023

Of Fathers and God Author, speaker, and former counselor Debbie W. Wilson writes about an experience she had in her counseling course: “During the course, each of us took an inventory on how we viewed our heavenly Father in a variety of issues. I zipped through the list checking the appropriate columns. “Later, we filled out the same inventory, this time as it related to our earthly fathers. I whizzed down the columns until my pattern arrested me. I flipped... Read more

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