In order to understand why some people leave religion, we need to understand why people join and stay in the first place. Religion provides different things for different people, including community, moral, and intellectual guidance. The broad stereotyping of OTD people that sometimes happens isn’t helpful or accurate. It is a complex phenomenon with no surefire solutions, and so the first step is understanding.
1. Leaving, Entering, and the Religious Journey: What can religious people learn from why people leave religion?
2. Understanding OTD: Why do people choose to leave religious life?
3. OTD and the Family: How can we best engage with those that left?
This was one of the first books written about the phenomenon of people leaving the Jewish community. It’s a bit dated and spends too much time on the emotional component and not enough on the intellectual issue that causes many to leave. It is still an important read, if anything as a presentation of many communal perceptions and some of the important enduring sensitivities.