Sunday, June 01, 2008

BOOKS: Leaving the faith …

I’m currently reading Tanya Levin’s People In Glass Houses: An Insider’s Story Of A Life In & Out Of Hillsong.

I must admit that I am reading it with a grain of salt. Ex-members of faiths aren’t often the best sources of information on the beliefs and practices of the faith they left behind. I’ve written about this phenomenon in an article for on neo-Conservative ex-Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Magaan and Islamist ex-Jew Maryam Jameelah (formerly Margaret Marcus).

Unlike these two writers, Tanya Levin seems to give her old congregation a relatively fair hearing. She acknowledges that she did gain a lot from her old faith, and that much of her disillusionment was caused by factors outside any involvement with the church.

Levin doesn’t engage in wholesale attacks on Christianity as a whole, nor does she call for the human rights of Christians to be curtailed (unlike Ayaan Hirsi Magaan). However, she does expose some of the peculiar spiritual and emotional pathologies that can play havoc with young minds drenched in what Levin labels “Christian fundamentalism”.

Levin recently appeared at the Sydney Writers’ Festival. The book is written in a sassy style and makes a great read. A review of the book can be found here. You can also read what Tanya Levin says about Hillsong's Mercy Ministries project here.

Words © 2008 Irfan Yusuf

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