Margaret Johnston is not a professional theologian or pastor, but she contributes fresh insight in her new book, Faith Beyond Belief: Stories of Good People who Left Their Church Behind.
Faith Beyond Belief tells the story of post-religious America through a collection of short autobiographies and sensitive analysis. The 10-featured biographies tell diverse stories bound by a common theme: individuals breaking with their religious organization in favor of a spirituality that is more autonomous. In some cases the split is acrimonious and leads to a series of life changes because the separation from the congregation equals a total divorce from an entire community. In other cases, life-long agnosticism grows into atheism after a series of negative religious experiences.
But across the board, the subjects are happier, healthier, and more spiritually fulfilled after they take their faith into their own hands. Margaret Johnston excels at both respecting the individual stories and teasing out common threads. In doing so, she tells the story of all of us who are dissatisfied with our religious organizations. By the end, the reader is inspired to take their own first step into the mystery of spirituality, with a sense of freedom and courage.
Faith Beyond Belief is well worth the price if you have dreamed of leaving your church, mosque, or religious community; if you are disappointed with your religious organization; or if you have unresolved questions about God.