Novelist Anne Rice’s surprise post last week on Facebook — she announced she had quit Christianity “in the name of Christ” because she’d seen too much hypocrisy — brought cheers and smug smiles from critics of institutional faith, and criticism and soul-searching among believers. But there’s something more at play here than one of America’s most famous Catholics — Rice re-embraced the faith of her youth in 1998 and published a memoir just two years ago, “Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession” — walking away from the church. Rice is merely one of millions of Americans who have opted out of organized religion in recent years, making the unaffiliated category of faith the fastest-growing “religion” in America, according to a 2008 study by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

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