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Jun 24 2013

Secular Hotline Needs Volunteers

Recovering From Religion announced recently that it was raising money for a new hotline, to be staff 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to take calls from people who are questioning their faith. They raised the money necessary way ahead of schedule and now are looking for volunteers to answer calls. Here’s the press release they sent out Wednesday night:

June 20, 2013 — A toll-free, 24-hour secular hotline, designed to assist people as they question their faith or deal with the problems associated with leaving religious belief is one step closer to reality. Well ahead of their June 30th deadline and a little over two weeks after starting their fundraising efforts, Recovering from Religion, the organization behind The Hotline Project, has raised the $30,000 necessary to get the project started.

“We are very grateful to the outpouring of support we’ve received for the Hotline Project,” says Sarah Morehead, Executive Director of Recovering from Religion. “Our next challenge is to recruit and train enough volunteers to make 24-hour, 7-days per week support possible.”

The Hotline will provide trained volunteers to answer a 24-hour, toll-free hotline and provide real time, caller-specific support to each person who calls. Callers will be connected with national, regional, and local resources – a secular support network they can utilize, as they question their faith.

“Coming out” as a nonbeliever – or even a doubter – can often be extremely difficult,” according to Morehead. “In addition to their existential worries, budding nonbelievers run the risk of alienating family and friends, and in some communities they risk their jobs and more. Recovering From Religion provides a transitional safety net as they seek out the vast and welcoming secular community that exists across America.”

The idea for the hotline sprang up after hundreds of calls and emails came in to the Recovering from Religion phone line from people questioning their faith and needing to talk to someone. The Hotline Project will fill this need for a permanent, anonymous place to talk to an unbiased, trained volunteer.

The hotline’s volunteer counselors will be trained to not engage in religious debate, Morehead said. Instead, they will try to give callers practical, action-oriented solutions and link them with resources available in their local communities. Anyone interested in volunteering with or supporting the Hotline Project should visit the volunteer section of www.recoveringfromreligion.org to submit an application.

Recovering From Religion (RR) is an international organization that provides support to those who have experienced the negative impact of religion in their lives, as they explore their own personal journey away from faith. RR was founded in 2009 by Dr. Darrel Ray, and is led by Executive Director Sarah Morehead.

If you’re interested, email Sarah Morehead.

4 comments

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  1. 1
    anubisprime

    Well I have no idea if this is just the head of steam built up over time and unable to escape over the years, which when the hotline engages will diminish in a deluge to a trickle, or if the general social balance in this attitude has finally tipped and the outpouring of requested help or counselling will be sustained and indeed increase.

    I really think the latter case is the relevant one.
    This has been a long time in coming as secularism and in part atheism has become the philosophy that dared not be mentioned for so very long…centuries in fact, more folks will come to realize they are not alone, or just ‘damaged’ !

    I wish RFR all the very best of success…I am sure it will not be wasted effort.

  2. 2
    =8)-DX

    @anubisprime
    I think you’ll see a bit of both – many people might rush to the hotline initially, but as with gay teens coming out, each year you’ll have another 30% of the relevant demographic coming out as atheists or facing problems of being atheists in a religious-dominated country. When it’ll start to trickle down is when the numbers of out atheists in the US are so large that it stops being an issue.

    I can’t think of anyone who would need a hotline like that in my atheist/nonbeliever-majority country, and some small number of them would just contact generic youth/abuse/domestic violence/family advice hotlines. These hotlines are completely secular here apart from some excplicitly religious ones maintained directly or indirectly by religious organisations.

  3. 3
    Pierce R. Butler

    Anybody want to start a betting pool on how many of the calls received are from “faith-sharers” – and how long until the first (phone equivalent of a) DDOS attack?

    Mysterious ways!

  4. 4
    anubisprime

    Pierce R. Butler @ 3

    Oh absolutely no doubt they will try for sure…it will no doubt be what jeebus wants!

    Initiatives like this must scare the bejabbers out of the theist camp…their worst nightmare is happening…folk have a way out from under!

    That has never been an option before, since like over 2000 yrs, they thought they had boxed the ‘doubters’ in and by so doing silenced them quite comprehensively.

    Seems they have a very serious leak in their ark now, panic will be rife and hatred unbridled.

    They will try all sorts from legal to propaganda to active terrorism to cyber attack and disruption…in other words they sense the ‘other’ side is winning the age old battle.

    They will not be best pleased…guaranteed!

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