Founder – Chief Change Optimist – Author – Host – Speaker – TV/Radio Personality – Mentor
Ariane de Bonvoisin - Founder and Chief Change Optimist

Read Ariane’s First30Days Column

Redbook magazine features monthly tips on different life change subjects.
Start Here

Sign up and receive my newsletter.

Full of inspiration and information to help change your life.

Recent Press

Ariane at the Oprah Conference This October

Ariane will be a keynote speaker at the Oprah conference in South Africa this October.

Ariane Talks about Getting Unstuck

Getting unstuck in life can depend equally on big and small changes.

Ariane’s Blog

A place to explore, embrace & make change happen

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Changing Religions

Yesterday, all of the major media organizations covered a new study on the religious affiliations of people in the United States done by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. The “U.S. Religious Landscape Survey,” reports that more than a quarter of the American adults (28%) have left the faith in which they were raised in favor of another religion or no religion at all.

I find this study fascinating for a number of reasons. For Americans to actively leave the religion in which they were raised requires a decision to make a change. It seems that we are putting some thought into the beliefs we were brought up with and noticing that, perhaps, they are not what we believe today as adults. Or perhaps the reason people aren’t necessarily committing to or choosing a religion is because they are disappointed by all of the religions.

Has religion failed many of us, regardless of which one we were raised in? And if this is the case, what has taken its place?
An interesting potential answer from the survey is that more than 16% of the respondents say they are unaffiliated to any religious organization. This may give us a clue that people are either searching outside of the boundaries of organized religion (5.8% are unaffiliated but religious), or they have given up on anything vaguely religious or spiritual (6.3% are secular unaffiliated). There are certainly an increasing number of people who are drawn to more spiritual content and discussions—more of the inner work, teachers and books that remind us who we are on the inside—instead of identifying with an outside religious figure. Can the two exist together? Absolutely.

I was raised Catholic, but was also exposed to many religions from growing up in six countries. I respect and have learned from each of them—none are superior and none have all of the answers. And I have also spent the last decade being more of a seeker of truth. I allow myself to be guided by the Divine, trusting myself and my intuition, listening as my Higher Self guides me to living more spiritually. I have met and interviewed dozens of people whose mission is more about living a more conscious life, than a religious life. Maybe that’s what this research is now highlighting.

Have you personally changed associating with the religion you were brought up in? Do you consider yourself more spiritual today?


The Christian writer Philip Yancey, a friend of mine, said “Gail Baker Anastasion has a unique and richly inspiring story which she tells in compelling fashion. I’ve long encouraged her to get this memoir written.” Years ago, Yancey’s then editor, John Sloan, now the editor in chief at Zondervan Publishing Company, praised an earlier version of my work.
At 87,000 words, A Congregation of One recounts my spiritual coming of age against the backdrop
of a loving, albeit quirky family--who cultivated their secular Judaism amidst South Carolina’s Bible Belt culture. The day I told my Dad that I had embraced Christianity, he said, “If you were younger, I could put you over my knee and spank you.” At thirty-seven, I had insulted my Jewish family and every generation preceding them. Remarkably, after thirty years of belief, I have assimilated Christian resolve with my personal identity and resumed a peripheral involvement in Jewish life.