Why People Leave Christianity – Repost

Someone recently “liked” this post that I wrote back in 2011. Of course, I had forgotten what it was all about, so I took a quick look and discovered the information is as pertinent today as it was then.

I had very few visitors to my blog in those days so I decided to repost it for my “expanded” audience. 🙂

Enjoy!

I just read an excellent academic article from the Journal of Religion and Society  entitled “Explaining Deconversion from Christianity.” I was referred to it by another blog (ReligionandMore.wordpress.com).

Since I rejected the Christian faith several years ago, I was interested to know why others had followed the same pathway.

  • One ex-Fundamentalist said he left because of the ongoing battle within himself between faith and reason. Eventually, he said, reason could no longer be suppressed.
  • Numerous ex-Christians expressed concerns about the doctrine of hell. For them, eternal punishment simply did not fit with their conception of a loving God. One questioned why God would create the human race and then knowing we would sin against him, send us to spend eternity in burning and suffering. Others could not reconcile that God would send their loved ones to hell simply because they did not believe in Christianity.
  • Many had problems with the idea of God’s passivity with suffering, whether individually or globally (tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, etc.).
  • Some mentioned God’s active role in suffering, especially as described in the Old Testament.
  • The bible itself also played a role, both in relation to the many unbelievable stories (see my “Outrageous!” posting), as well as the fact that, scientifically, many of the described events could not have happened.
  • A large percentage of people, while believing in the existence of God, could not understand why he didn’t help them in their time of trouble. In other words, their prayers went unanswered. Some felt that God did not keep his promises (ask and you shall receive, follow me and I will bless you, bring your tithes and I will open the windows of heaven, etc.)
  • Many felt they had done their part – praying, waiting, being faithful – but God had failed them or let them down.
  • Not surprisingly, many left Christianity because of other Christians (hypocrisy, being judgmental). Plus they tired of “pat” phrases (e.g., “God works in mysterious ways,” “God will never put more on you than you can bear,” “It was God’s will”) whenever they faced some kind of crisis and needed moral support.
  • Church leaders also played a role because they could not provide satisfying answers to perplexing concerns. Instead, they would instruct the person to read the bible or pray about it.

According to the article, in nearly every instance the ex-Christians expressed no ambiguity. They made their decisions based in complete certainty and experienced no regrets.

Amen to that!

Here is the link to the original posting if you’d like to read the comments.

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56 thoughts on “Why People Leave Christianity – Repost

  1. A good one to re-post, Nan. This topic has come up on several blogs I read. Most of the time, theists refer to ‘hurt’ or ‘angry’ ex-Christians and ignore the fact that most people who deconvert do so after much study and reflection.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Hello Nan. I am grateful you did deconvert and did all the research you wrote in your book. You have been a grand resource. I learned a lot from your book, and I have learned even more from your posts and comments. Best wishes. Hugs

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is an interesting post nan. I have always struggled with how any religious person can fear their god but trust, love and revere him at the same time. These are obviously total opposites, such as hot and cold or black and white.

    A relationship does not last if one becomes fearful of the one they love, in fact it can become untrusting and hateful. Sadly, in reality on planet earth this relationship is a regular occurrence and is mentally abusive and often becoming physically abusive unless the relationship is quickly terminated.

    I think many of these religious people who claim they love their god have failed but play the game anyway in fear of their gods retribution and then there are the ones who devote much of their life in repetitious Bible studies, prayers and song etc. who eventually convince themselves they really do love their god and become just like any brainwashed conspiracist programmed to reject anything that may challenge their doctrine.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yep a contradiction in terms to love and fear God. When I studied at a Christian seminary they always argued that ‘fear’ really should be interpreted as ‘taking God seriously’.

      The passage in the first letter of John which said, ‘there is no fear in love’ just made me feel a substandard Christian at the time. Looking back I now realise that as a sort ‘glass half empty’ person I was always prone to worry given all the ‘warning’ passages in the Bible.

      I am just glad I am out of it now and can at last see that the evidence overwhelmingly points to it all being a human invention.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Gee Nan, thinking back to when I had called myself a Christian (prior to February 2015) I could have identified with each of those and I would have thrown a more in besides:
    – simple errors and inconsistencies in the Bible;
    – that Christians looked very much the same as non Christians, whereas if they were filled with ‘the Spirit of God’ then the difference should be stark;
    – That Christian history looked very much like one would expect a human organisation to evolve and nothing like one would expect a ‘God’ inspired organisation to develop.

    When I called myself Christian I spent much time contemplating Hell (especially after my grandfather who was an avowed atheist died), I could never accept it as being just, let alone merciful and just.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. When the moment came to actually think about the religion i was born into, it lasted all of about five minutes under the light of careful scrutiny. Of course, being attacked (and nearly killed) by a rather irate kangaroo literally an hour after my first holy communion had already left me somewhat suspicious of this thing the adults were doing.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Very illuminating. For me, it was quite different. I was born and raised in a Catholic family. I attended parochial school and was an alter boy. I did everything that was expected of me; however, at no time did I actually believe all that crap. By adolescence, I left for good without even a second thought.

    Liked by 2 people

    • “. . . However, at no time did I actually believe all that crap.” That line is almost the same word-for-word statement that our 38-yr-old daughter said to me last year when we were discussing the religion she’d grown up with (United Church of Canada). She told me that all the times she went to Sunday School/Church she used to think, “This is so stupid !” She came up with a valid excuse for not attending Sunday School when she was 13 – she got a job at the local Zoo. I don’t think she’s been back since.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Hi Nan. I was reading your post with interest. I did have one quick question about a comment you made to someone in the original 2011 article.

    You said: “God is so much more than the entity presented in the bible. May you someday discover this truth in your own heart and life.”

    Does this mean that you believe in some intelligent designer or type of theism? Just curious. Thanks!

    Like

    • Of course I could say “read my book” because I spell out the answer there. 😉 However, short of that, l’ll just say I believe in what I call a “Universal Presence.” And to be absolutely clear … this does not stand for any kind of “god.”

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for sharing this. It is certainly a challenge for the church to not descend to pat, shallow answers or living. Christians need to dig deep to live out a well thought out faith.

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    • Hi Don,

      Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. I hope you will find other posts that intrigue you and you’ll join in on the discussion.

      Like

  9. Christianity is not religion where we set rules and doctrine. It is set to help you discover and seek God. Know his principles. How he functions, what he except of you.Dont be a Christian the wrong way . You are created to live on earth and acknowledge him. Everything you have belongs to God. For all things I taken from the earth including your body.

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    • Inspiration you do realize this is slavery? Willing slavery, but slavery none the less. Do you so easily give up what you are and can be to a being not verified to exist? Would a deity worth following demand slavery as the price of its friendship? Be well. Hugs

      Like

      • Thansk Scott but slavery in all its form is ignorance of a thing. Set yourself free with God’s knowledge. If you know about medicals and less of drawing is that slavery. Scottie I am doing great very great AND GOD know loves you.FIND A YOUR TIME TO SEEK AND RELATE WITH ME. THE TIME IS NOW.

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        • That dear makes less sense than your first comment. Slavery is just what you described no matter if you love being a slave or hate it. You make me sad to think you are so unwilling to think for yourself, to evaluate what you have as a person. I am not talking about negating faith here, you can have faith and still respect yourself as a human being with rights and dignity. Hugs

          Like

        • If so please answer the question I asked you in the first comment to you. Would a deity worth following demand slavery as the price of its friendship? Hugs

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        • Sorry but the very words from your comment says you think it otherwise. You wrote “You are created to live on earth and acknowledge him. Everything you have belongs to God.”. That is slavery. You say you are a thinker? Why would a god demanding slavery be worth friendship? IF he wants what is best and good for you, he wouldn’t want a slave follower. He wouldn’t make demands but show himself completely and fully with no cost. Not really what your “god” does. Hugs

          Liked by 1 person

        • God as we call him in ouR human languages made everything on earth and Everything you have is taken from the earth including your body. Take a sample of sand place it on your body or take a leaf Check the lines on it compare it with the lines on your body.

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        • Dear that is so much scientific garbage that who ever told you that should be slapped for human malpractice. I was about to ask on your last response why I should take your silliness seriously, and I just got my answer. strange how that worked, I got an answer to something I did not even post yet and I did not even use a pretend god to do it. Remarkable. Nan, is it too early in the new religion to ask for donations, or does that go on the amount of Gullible.. (Opps sorry be nice Scottie…) followers I have yet. 🙂 hugs

          Liked by 3 people

        • Scottie is wide awake, as are most of the followers and readers of my blog. It is you that has taken the sleeping pill of Christianity and is living in a dream-state. But if it makes you happy, go for it. Just don’t try to convert anyone else (especially on this blog) because your efforts will be wasted.

          Liked by 1 person

        • “Scientists searching for a ‘God spot’ in the brain have found three areas that control religious belief. A study of 40 participants, including Christians, Muslims, Jews and Buddhists, showed the same areas lit up when they were asked to ponder religious and moral problems.”

          This paragraph is from a UK news website, and this is where the studies lay when explaining religious belief. As humans, we may have evolved to look towards gods as an explanation of life as we had no modern science, however the truth is we are just an over emotional bunch of organic molecules. Some more than others as you have shown by your comments.

          Liked by 2 people

        • From research I did for my book …

          Humans feel a need for the numinous due to the fear of the unknown, particularly as it relates to their mortality. By depending on some magical unseen force, they are able to face an uncertain world and, for some, look forward to a paradisal afterlife.

          BTW, the existence of a “god gene” (also known as the “faith gene”) is hypothetical, not in any way a proven fact.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Your are a spirit that lives in the body with a soul. The brain is just a bundle of matter. The brain controls the activities of the body.your spirit lives in your to thrive in the physical world. Mark the sentence your body . You own the body. You are more than the body. When you think who does the thinking?

          Like

        • The spirit is a term used to determine a person’s strength of mind for what they may endure during any event. The spirit or soul phrase for something non-physical beyond reality is a religiously inspired belief without evidence of existence.

          You ask: “When you think who does the thinking?” It most definitely is a part of the brain. The brain is your spirit and your god, it is an organ more complex than any computer and controls not only your body but all your emotions, memories, thoughts, beliefs and actions, therefore when you die evidence suggests you and your spirit will be part of the Earth for eternity.

          Do some research on the web sites or You Tube to understand what scientists know about the brain and you cannot fail to be amazed unless of course you are a science denier or a conspiracist.

          Liked by 1 person

        • sklyjd — not sure I totally agree with your statement, The brain is your spirit and your god. The brain is not either. It is an organ of the body, like the heart, liver, kidneys, etc. … albeit the brain is much more complex than any other organ.

          When the brain dies, the body dies. There is no “spirit” that becomes part of the earth. Perhaps you are thinking of “energy,” which is the makeup of everything on the earth, including us, and which never dies. To believers, the “spirit” has religious connotations and is firmly attached to the idea of their god.

          Liked by 1 person

        • What I was attempting to say Nan, was that the gods and spirits that people believe in are inside their own brain. It is a personal god that is manifested within their own head and when we die we are absorbed by the Earth either as worm food or burnt ashes. I understand after reading my comment again that it could construe me as being a bit of track.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Inspiration, you write: Christianity is not religion where we set rules and doctrine. Perhaps the essence of Christianity is as you describe, but as practiced today it is most definitely a religion of rules and doctrine. Witness the Catholic Church for a supreme example, but it is not the only denomination by far.

      Liked by 3 people

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