I write this preface in the wake of horrific
terrorist attacks, having written the book and
its introduction before. It occurred to me that
some readers might wonder, How can this
author be so critical of organized religion,
even while thousands of people gather to it? He
must have written the book before the world
But the world has
not changed. The attacks are more evidence of a
chronic condition. I wrote the book during the
chronic condition. I did, however, re-read the
manuscript in light of this latest evidence––and
I didn’t change anything. In fact, the book is
now more relevant than ever.
In my introduction,
I write that people are leaving religious
institutions en masse. Now, it is true, some are
returning to church. This movement should not be
seen as a sudden endorsement of organized
religion or church creeds, but of God. It’s God
that people want. This is good; it is evidence
of a collective, spiritual longing. But it’s bad
in another way because it shows how people
instinctively associate God with organized
religion and church buildings.
can offer hugs and handshakes, but it can’t
answer the big questions––and that’s what people
have these days. Any real answers, if the system
even attempts them, are sabotaged by disturbing
contradictions. These contradictions become
obvious any time truth (or honest questioning)
invades the stronghold of tradition.
I predict that, as
the hammer blows of life continue to fall and
the questions become deeper and bolder, the
people who returned to church will remember why
they left, and those who started going for the
first time will ask, This is it?
For the honest
seeker, the longing for God will stand against
the waves of change, while the reliance on the
organized structure will wane. The institution
will invite new and more gnawing suspicions.
Then will come the inevitable question: Is it
possible to quit church without quitting God?
As human beings, we
want assurance. We want spiritual assurance for
ourselves, for our families, for the world.
This, the nominal church cannot give, for out of
one side of its mouth comes grace, out of the
You are about to
taste something completely different.
My introduction remains true, if
not in letter, then in spirit.
Copyright 2002-2006 by Martin Zender. All