Running Away from Religion
By Rev. Lindsay Babich
The chart showing the results of the Pew Study has a couple of places where ADL might be placed. "Metaphysical Family" under "Other Christian" is one and the "Other Faiths" group that includes sub-categories, many of which match the wide variety of ADL ministers.
I am always interested in this social movement, the ebbing and flowing of religious practice. Now, perhaps more than ever, I am concerned that certain religions believe they should have legal sway over the beliefs of others. When I think about our small, unique spiritual community I am reminded that many of my mentees over the years have adopted ADL for different reasons. Some for very practical motives and some for a deep need to redefine religion in their life. That loop took me to a primary question for all ADL ministers: "Were you running away from religion or toward something more emotionally, mentally, physically or spiritually satisfying?"
Personally, I originally joined for a practical need. My training with ADL expanded my engagement with all things spiritual. I had long rejected the dogma and control of highly organized religious organizations and the hypocrisy so often exhibited by leaders and their followers. I had experience with psychedelics which showed me that "other world" experiences were not just for the holy men. I also felt that my being was valuable and that so many belief systems negated my personal value on many levels: patriarchy, hierarchy, gender, social status and more. What I knew in my SOUL was that it was NOT right to use religious doctrine to diminish people. Reviewing that context to answer my question, I can report that I was/am both running away from religion and toward spirituality.
In the 1970's at the inception of ADL, the trend was nascent. With the exodus in full-throttle now, our ADL-ness is critically important as an example of an inclusive and encompassing, creative spiritual home. ADL membership and adoption of the tenet "Love Is All There Is" does NOT require anyone to reject or denounce their previous beliefs. Running Away is not required. Toward inclusivity, toward oneness, toward love, and respect for all life is ADL’s GIFT.
Let's all envision our ADL family as an infinitely diverse group of spiritual seekers with open arms welcoming new members to our Love mission. While our numbers may be small, our impact is not. We are not pushing a rock uphill. We are holding on to the golden tether of a heart-filled balloon traveling throughout the Divine Universe sprinkling our Love Dust as we go. Fly ADL! Fly! ♥️
Read the Pew Study here: “Religious Landscape Study” Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C. (2007, 2014, 2023)