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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78 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 3 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

  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!

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    • 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.

    Liked by 1 person

  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.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 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

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      • 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

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        • 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?

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        • 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

        • K. Q. Duane, any god based religion that makes you guilty of sinning as soon as you are born with the doctrine demanding you spend the rest of your life in servitude by repenting and worshiping a god to be rewarded by entry into heaven after you die and to avoid the threat of eternal hell in a fiery pit is nothing less than enslavement, or if you like oppression, suppression, bondage, vassalage, thraldom etc.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Who told you that? You are totally misinformed! Christianity does the exact REVERSE for its adherents. Through Christ’s TEACHINGS we learn to both love ourselves, which is reflected in the eyes of God, and love others, which is reflected in their eyes as well. When you are sincerely loved, you do not want to leave that aura of joy, and as a result, “following” the directives that provide you with that happiness becomes second-nature. There is NOTHING even remotely “slavish” in these efforts and sadly, you, or your parents, have deliberately denied to you that happiness God wants you to have here on earth. His directives are designed to give you a guidebook to AVOID the evils that inevitably ensnare the misguided. THOSE obstinate individuals who fail to take advantage of God’s hints to a happy life are the ones who are truly “enslaved” when they place their “faith” in another flawed human’s advice rather than Gods.

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        • It always amazes me how unhappy atheists are and how cynical, sarcastic, threatened and obstinate they become when confronted with the truth. Remember, obstinacy is the refuge of the weak. My experience has been that most aggressively, anti-God people have been the victims of terrible upbringings where they were either abused and/or betrayed by the very people who should have protected them from abuse. As a result, many blame God for their predicament, when in fact, God is NOT to blame, your abuser is to blame, and God is instead, your ONLY refuge. Your lives would less aggravating if you believed that, unlike your dysfunctional relations, and current “friends”, that God loves and values you. This is a much more joyous life route to follow than to continue down the misery-soaked path of irrational rejection of a God who wants nothing more than to love you.

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        • It always amazes me how unhappy atheists are … It always amazes me how Christians seem to think they possess psychology degrees (probably bestowed by their maker) and are able to gauge the happiness level of non-believers.

          KQ — If you stick around, I think you will find most of the people who visit this blog have been there, done that so you aren’t sharing anything they haven’t tried themselves … and have discovered the “joyous life route” WITHOUT any god(s) in their lives.

          One more thing … if you continue to “preach” and disparage non-believers, I will moderate your comments.

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        • “Moderate your comments”? Like a god? If that’s your only recourse, you are obviously unable to argue your positions successfully, and that just proves MY point. You are on the wrong tract. I will leave you to your hateful delusions. You bore me anyway. Ta Ta.

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        • You claim, “My experience has been that most aggressively, anti-God people have been the victims of terrible upbringings where they were either abused and/or betrayed by the very people who should have protected them from abuse.”

          I think this is the complete opposite, I bet more innocent children have been abused by religious nut job priests than atheists. Oh of course they were not real Christians, right?

          You also claim, “God is NOT to blame, your abuser is to blame, and God is instead, your ONLY refuge.”

          I thought God controlled everything, but this idiot you call God cannot control his own priests so he would be the last refuge any abuse victim would want. Oh of course God moves in mysterious ways, right?

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        • Keep in mind, sklyjd, that all those nasty priests had to do was ask for forgiveness. You know, something like “Shit god, sorry about that. . .I fucked up. You know, like YOU did when you created that horrible mess of people when you first started? Then you had to go and drown everyone, remember??” And (their) god replied, “You just had to remind me of that, didn’t you?. I guess when you put it that way you leave me with no choice. . .allright. ..you are forgiven, my son. . .now get away from those little children. . .you’re number 900 this week!”
          😦

          Liked by 1 person

        • Very true Carmen. It is interesting that George Pell the Popes senior finance man has come back to Australia to face charges of child abuse.

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        • I posted that story for KQ on another thread, sklyjd. She paid no attention to it at all. If there really is a hell, I hope the bastard roasts in it. However, since there probably isn’t, we can all hope that he meets his ‘makers’ in jail. I’m sure they’ll be gentle with him.

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        • You are woefully misinformed! Despite the ravings and ranting of an outrageously anti-Christian MSM, the percentage of deviant priests doesn’t compare to the percentage of deviant people in the general population! Yet, I don’t hear anyone defaming or calling for the destruction of the institution of the FAMILY as most abuse occurs under it framework! Children are MUCH more likely to be abused by their mother’s atheist boyfriend than by a priest! All that reasonable people want is for the deviants to be PUNISHED, whether the child was abused by a priest, coach, teacher, step dad, nanny, nephew, neighbor or a total stranger!! Throwing out the baby-with-the-bath-water, of droning on and on about the structure in which the abuse occurred is absurd. Just because a coach abused a child in the gymnasium doesn’t mean we should shut down or destroy all GYMS! To response in any other way is s sign of abject IGNORANCE and immaturity and only makes matters WORSE, not better.
          Next! Who the heck told you that God controls everything?! Haven’t you ever heard of “free will” in your echo chamber? You need to get out more. 😂 God may keep the universe spinning but He has left His greatest, and most intelligent, creature to determine its own future. He has given humanity all the instructions it needs (through the Holy Scripture) in order to pass through our time on earth in relative safety. After that, we’re on our own! There is nothing “mysterious” about this process and only self-loathing individuals would fail to avail themselves of this “get out of jail free” card.

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        • Thought you were done, KQ. Well, you are now. Your last comment is most definitely your last. You are no longer welcome on this blog.

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        • Check out her blog — Are you kidding me? No way, no how! I REFUSE to subject myself to the pure, unadulterated crap people like KQ dish out. All she (and others like her) want to do is preach, preach, preach … along with telling you how terribly WRONG you are, how BLIND you are, how CORRUPTED you are for not believing in their Loving Savior. (You know, the one they’re supposed to emulate … )

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        • If you think I’m “preaching”, you’re listening with a tin ear. Interestingly though, I find that you know a lot more about Christ and His teachings than you want to let on. That’s very sad.

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    • 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

  10. This article is on why to leave one religion but some of the response reference God. I can see where one would want to leave a religion based on the reasons given but I don’t see how this article prompts someone to disbelieve in God. The two are not connected.

    Like

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