Breaking up with Organised Religion 

Weekly church, regular confession, fasting at lent, praying for forgiveness and generally trying to be a good person dominated my religious life from when I was old enough to understand it until organised religion and I broke up when I was 35. The break-up wasn’t long and drawn out; in fact it was short, fast and relatively painless for me.

If you had asked me when I was in the thick of my regular organised religious practices if I would let it go, I wouldn’t have believed you, as I have always known there was God and I was taught throughout my childhood that God equated to religion and church. 

GOD = RELIGION AND CHURCH

It just seemed normal to me that, if I understood there was a God, this automatically meant I needed to belong to a religion as it gave me a sense of a belonging to something where everyone was on the same page; and without attending church, I could not consider myself religious. Interestingly during this period, I often felt not good enough, seeking God’s forgiveness or praying to him to make life better. My sense of God and religion was always approached as something outside of myself that I needed to have in order to be considered a good person, and to confirm to others that I cared about people and life, so although I didn’t agree with every aspect of it, religion was something I felt I needed.

As it turned out, it was my care for people that was at the root of my sudden and unexpected break-up with religion as I’d known it to be. In the early nineties, the media was reporting on the religious clergy who had been involved with the church’s long history of paedophilia and how chosen and trusted religious leaders had covered it up. This shocked me to the core but at the same time, I was willing to be open to hearing what the head of my church had to say about it, hoping they would admit their error or show that the media was engaging in the usual sensationalism.

The final straw came while attending my usual weekly church service. I heard a sermon from my clergy, who was also a solicitor, stating the importance of people who may have experienced paedophilia, to not go to the police, but to keep it in the confines of the church for the church to manage. This was the very position that the media were reporting had resulted in such wide scale, epidemic abuse of children across generations and classes.

From that moment, I knew I could no longer be part of something that was willing to be so dishonest as to continue to hide the truth of the systematic abuse of children, fostered through a stance of silent neglect that left many, many lives broken. So after 35 years I left the church with no regret. It did take me some time to recover from all the teachings I had so blindly aligned to, so much so I used to say I was recovering from organised religion, but I am delighted to report I have recovered and I have actually found my true religion.

From my deep, inner knowing that there was God and from what I was reminded of via the Ageless Wisdom presented by Universal Medicine, I discovered that the love of God was already within me and all I needed to do to live my true religion was to:

  • Know this deep, inner knowing as truth
  • Choose to re-connect to this truth
  • Live in a way that confirmed it – by making self-loving choices
  • Share the love I now felt from within, with everyone I connected to – not by preaching or knocking on doors, but by being myself.

GOD = THE ALL

Living in this way – that is, re-connected to the love within me – has completely changed my life.  And like many break-ups that happen in life, my break-up with organised religion had the best silver lining in that it allowed me space to find True Religion, – The Way of The Livingness, – that mirrors how I feel inside, with no promises or dodgy aspects, but an invitation to unfold myself from within via ritual, rhythm and people, without a church, clergy or rule book in sight.

By Sharon Gavioli, Brisbane, Registered Nurse, Adult Educator, Counsellor, Age 56

Further Reading:
What hurts – Religion Itself, or the Bastardisation of Religion? 
What is true religion?
Organised Religion versus True Religion

501 thoughts on “Breaking up with Organised Religion 

  1. To leave any organisation such as a religious organisation is painless because we are so numb to the truth because of the lies, and when we start to feel the hurts that is because of our separation from God and because we are understanding this we are deepening our relationship to God as we are re-connecting to God.

    1. I would imagine it is easy to leave a religious organisation when confronted with this when attending church: totally abhorrent, ‘I heard a sermon from my clergy, who was also a solicitor, stating the importance of people who may have experienced paedophilia, to not go to the police, but to keep it in the confines of the church for the church to manage.’ We all know how the church manage this, move the paedophile somewhere else to start all over again!

  2. Perhaps we could call such religions that prey on children sexually or involve themselves in violence or other unloving behaviours “disorganised religions” – the truth is they are not religious at all.

  3. Breaking up with the Catholic Church at the age of 15 felt great. I had observed from a very young age that what the Church actually said and did was completely contrary to the teachings of Jesus… for me the hypocracy stank.

  4. Hiding the truth of the abuse of children in any organisation is absolutely abominable as it perpetuates the cycle of abuse all the more.

    1. Totally, the abuse just continues ‘something that was willing to be so dishonest as to continue to hide the truth of the systematic abuse of children, fostered through a stance of silent neglect that left many, many lives broken.’

  5. Thank you Sharon, and if we could explore one of the cycles of life that religion has also turned its back on, by understanding the ritual and ceremony around funerals. What is the use of a funeral? Does it not tie us to be held in self judgement and thus to also judge others! To see who turns up at our funeral, so we have a desire to hang around and then see how they feel about us, or is it about letting others get all emotional and teary because of the many reinterpretations? Ether way it is much simpler to reinvent the wheel and celebrate the life of people as they get close to passing, or even as they get older and see life for the true values it has. This is a level of appreciation that can exist for us and our families as we deepen our understanding of our religious ways as is presented in The Way of The Livingness.

  6. Religion is a big topic worldwide and many appear not to practice what they preach. To hide paedophilia in any religions as far as I’m concerned is endorsing it.

    I feel a religion that presents the truth is a true religion, it is that simple.

  7. I really get how an organised religion may offer a (false) sense of security by control and not care. Our insecurity comes from us not connecting with who we are, and that can never be satisfied by anyone or anything no matter what they may preach or promise.

  8. “Live in a way that confirmed it – by making self-loving choices” I love this point and it gives such a simple way forward in being religious because we simply have to live that we are divine, in other words treat ourselves and our body with the utmost love, respect, care and attention as we would do before with the God seemingly outside of ourselves.

  9. It’s interesting that for most, some sort of outward proof that we are attending the religious order is required… church, monastery, synagogue etc. Yet what if all that was required was a daily living connection to God that can be so ordinary… a simple conversation with Him in the evening, a connection with him on a walk, when we are talking with friends? Anywhere and everywhere – that is what Omnipresent means.

  10. When you know God, and you look around at who openly talks about God, organised religion is the only obvious thing on offer. Yet when I look at what they present, compared to feeling I know of God, there is a huge gap. What we have in organised religions is a man-made version that suits all the things like judgment, right and wrong, and inequality that we are yet to let go of in humanity.

    1. Organised religion is so far from the truth of what true religion is, organised religion has no equality, ‘My sense of God and religion was always approached as something outside of myself that I needed to have in order to be considered a good person, and to confirm to others that I cared about people and life’.

  11. ‘…,True Religion, – The Way of The Livingness, – that mirrors how I feel inside, with no promises or dodgy aspects, but an invitation to unfold myself from within via ritual, rhythm and people, without a church, clergy or rule book in sight.’ A religion I love to be a part of, to live from knowing I have the responsibility to be the light that I am, the best I can and inspire others to shine their light equally so.

    1. Beautifully simple, re-connecting to the love within me and from there, ‘I have the responsibility to be the light that I am, the best I can and inspire others to shine their light equally so.’

  12. Yes it has been a great realisation that it is not the name that defines if an organization is religious but the living way of the organisation that defines this. So when an organisation deals with paedophilia like the church does and literally lets the abuse continue this is no religion at all but organised abuse.

  13. The way the paedophilia has been handled by the church would be more than enough reason for me to break up with organised religion too. Religion is about love, not covering tracks. It should also represent absolute truth and integrity.

  14. Religion for me has been an obligation growing up in the Hindu religion, and for a long time I had no impulse to go to the temple, and no choice but to go when I was growing up. I used to find it awkward when attending. What happened at home was not what was being preached in our temple and vice a versa.

    I stopped attending many years ago as it was not my religion, and I know one of my parents is unhappy that I don’t attend the temple, thinking I attended a church instead, and won’t accept that I attended neither of them.

    My true religion is unfolding since attending, or listening to the Ageless Wisdom presented by Universal Medicine and I know that I am a God and everything I need to know resides within my body, temporarily covered with beliefs and impositions that don’t belong to me.

  15. It amazes me that even after all the crimes the Catholic church have committed and been complicit in, millions of people worldwide don’t question it, they turn a blind eye and continue to attend church as if nothing has happened.

    1. It is totally crazy, people bury their heads in the sand as if nothing terrible has happened, and continues to happen; surely that is being complicit with the crime.

  16. “I was taught throughout my childhood that God equated to religion and church.” This begs the question of how much else in ‘organised education’, either through school or our parents, is based on a bastardisation of the truth?

  17. It is not breaking with organized religion. It is breaking with religion organized upon false foundations. Breaking with a way to organize religion that is simply not true.

  18. What a liberating feeling it must have been to have finally “discovered that the love of God was already within me”; I know that it was for me. In fact, it made so much sense of how I used to feel but couldn’t put into words. No big fancy church needed, no clergy serving to be the middle man between you and God and no need to listen to words that in the main serve to distract us from the truth. Breaking up with all this is definitely has the power to change the way you live.

  19. “like many break-ups that happen in life, my break-up with organised religion had the best silver lining in that it allowed me space to find True Religion, – The Way of The Livingness,” Reconnecting to religion with The Way of The Livingness is pure gold.

  20. We need not go anywhere to know God for His ever-presence is in us, in who we are, and the house of God is none other than our bodies, the greatest temple that is accessible to us every moment of every day through our every breath. And so, the way we live can be a living prayer that is guided by our Soulful light. This is true religion lived.

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