This chapter examines the experiences of individuals who, for one reason or another, gave up their formal affiliation and had their names deleted from the membership rolls of the church or synagogue. The profiles in this chapter show us the complexity of the disaffiliateds' motivations: (1) their resistance to organized religion; (2) their continuing acceptance of alternatives; and (3) their ongoing search for significance and meaning in life. These are people whose relationship with the institution of religion failed. They could not reconcile financial, personal, developmental, or sociopolitical issues with the institution. Still, they have religious feelings, and they are struggling with religious concepts. In the process of searching for what works for them, they have developed personal religions. This is not relativism but individualism, the attempt of each to create his or her own religion. To recapture the dropout, the church and synagogue are thus
challenged to compete with life interests, alternative sources of spirituality and meaning, and the individualistic belief that a life of faith is possible without religious community.