"It's Okay To Go" is a project documenting those that decided to leave organized religion and the challenges they faced after making that decision. IOTG subjects share their stories via writing, video, photos and--the soon to launch podcast--It's Okay To Go Radio. Subjects are free to submit their stories anonymously, and those that choose to share visually are framed within a stained glass window inspired by the religious organization/denomination they chose to leave.
Stained Glass is a prominent form of artistic expression in most major religions and the overlay of the faint image of the stained glass over our current portrait allows for a unique perspective of ourselves as a sort of new icon. We live in the truth of the knowledge of who we are and we can only be who we are outside the walls of our past ideologies.
At it's core, It's Okay to Go is an artistic project that aims to help others connect, question and explore their past and current beliefs. The project was created by artist Hayley Karl, who is a former member of the Evangelical Christian Church. As Hayley discovered more about herself and Evangelical Christianity, she realized organized religion was not the place where she thrived or found her spirituality. But, when Hayley made the decision to leave, she realized separating oneself from religion is extremely difficult.
For many, deciding to leave organized religion--especially if they were raised with that religion--often leads to guilt, anxiety and a mountain of heavy questions. Am I doing the right thing for me? Who am I without this religion or church? What will happen to my relationships with my friends, family and community? Those who have left organized religion form a vast and diverse community, each with a unique story and yet bound by a similar emotional journey and one belief we all share; it's okay to go.
Important Note: Living in the United States provides vast advantages to those longing to leave religion. While the transition out of most religious ideologies is socially difficult, outside of the U.S. it is literally life threatening. It is IOTG's hope that by giving a voice to those fighting to be themselves despite congestive/destructive ideologies, perhaps we can help transcend the fear that these ideologies create. IOTG subjects stand on the other side of that fear and look forward to hearing from others that wish to share their stories.