By Clint Davis
The Internet has long been a safe place for religious devotees to discuss the doubts that sometimes accompany their faith. Now, hundreds of pastors, ministers and church leaders have found one website to be a sanctuary when doubt turns into disbelief.
Since 2011, ClergyProject.org has offered a “safe haven” for active and former religious leaders “who do not hold supernatural beliefs,” according to the website. Its directors claim all users are screened to verify they fit the bill — and are then granted access to the site’s anonymous forums.
“Losing one’s religion can often mean losing one’s family, friends community and social network,” wrote user Seraphim, allegedly a former monk. “One often can’t open up to those closest to them for fear of misunderstanding, overreaction and outright rejection … I have found understanding, practical help, encouragement and moral support in this virtual community.”
The Clergy Project is endorsed by several organizations including American Atheists, Center for Inquiry and Recovering From Religion. The website’s operation is funded by The Richard Dawkins Foundation and the Freedom From Religion Foundation, along with online donations.