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An honest, heartfelt open letter from a couple, parents of five, who recently made the decision to leave the Christian church and wanted to let their friends and family know.

Many of you have been hearing things about us from various sources, and some of you have contacted us to express concern or to ask about what you’ve heard. To put it plainly and clearly, we have left the Christian church. We consider ourselves, in varying degrees at various times, agnostic, atheist, humanist, or like the great catch-all answer in a multiple choice survey, “Not Sure”.

This is not a sudden thing. It is not caused by a trauma or single event. We feel that this is the natural continuation of our spiritual journey of many years…

Our decision to leave the church and our faith was one that took years to reach, had hundreds of hours of research and discussion behind it, and was the single most difficult decision that we have ever made. It’s not a step we took lightly or quickly. Actually, I would call it a realization rather than a decision. Over time, we realized that we didn’t believe most of what we said we did by our use of the name Christian, and we didn’t support most of what we said we did through our association with the Christian church…

We have been avoiding this announcement for months. We knew it was coming, but kept trying to put it off. We know that having this in writing means we have crossed a line that will separate us from a large percentage of people that we consider friends. But we also know that we are happy. We know that we can teach our children what we believe without guilt or a feeling of duplicity. We can be true to our own thoughts and feelings. We know that we have made a decision that is right for us.

Please click through to read the full letter here. You’ll be glad you did.

(Hat tip to FB friend Deb Hill Frewin)

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Dale McGowan is the author of Parenting Beyond Belief, Raising Freethinkers, and Atheism for Dummies. He holds a BA in evolutionary anthropology and a PhD in music.