This entry is a recap of Valerie Tarico’s Freethought Festival 2012 presentation as observed by me as an audience member. Shitty writing or misinterpretation of the presenter’s material is completely my fault. If you think I got something wrong, please let me know in the comments or feel free to email me at bio_dork(at)hotmail(dot)com.
Valerie Tarico is a psychologist, author and ex-evangelical. Her talk, Recovering from Religion, addressed some of the challenges that people face when they are attempting to reconcile their loss of faith or lack of belief, especially in an environment where it is more advantageous for them to retain their faith.
She showed us how religion sets up booby traps for those who question church teachings. Common ideas that are ingrained into religious lessons: Doubt is from the devil, questioning is sinful. She mentioned that some groups think of books that discuss doubt, leaving religion and religious criticism as “spiritual pornography”. Valerie commented that she had thought she would be making more money as a writer of pornography.
A slide from Valerie’s presentation
She did a nice job of explaining the process that one might go through while deconverting and attempting to extricate oneself from religion. She briefly mentioned the grieving process, and throughout the presentation gave resources that might be useful for people in this situation – exchristian.net, recoveringfromreligion.org, losingmyreligion.com She focused on how she was working to help bridge the gap between belief and non-belief, and presented this one possible way that people who are leaving religion might go about doing that.