Reasons to Leave Christianity

Writing something like this has been swimming around in my mind for a couple years now. Although I try to stay away from pushing people towards one side of the fence or the other on matters of faith, I recently discovered a children’s ministry page detailing why kids should believe in the Christian deity. There’s a lot of material out there pushing people into the faith, on giving them reasons to stay in that faith even when they can’t keep it anymore. Only a few materials exist which push back against this, mostly written by people who never even believed in the first place.

Of course, a simple blog post can’t contain all of my thoughts on why people should not keep their Christian faith. My own reasons for leaving have filled up several long, boring posts. In fact, the vast number of topics that come to mind on this make it difficult for me to organize them. I can’t write effectively about all of this because I have no good way of ordering my thinking. One topic can easily relate to several others, which creates a rabbit’s warren of tunnels to sink one’s mind into.

Over the years, I think I still feel pushed to writing something about this because of conversations I’ve had with other people who left Christianity. Many of them have told me that they only stayed because of the empty promises – this was even after knowing them to be empty. Those same empty promises become a source of pain and suffering for long after leaving the faith. Worse, many still in the faith twist the proverbial knife for no other reason than their ignorance of how it hurts others. Just recently, I had to inform one Christian that trying to win back souls on my blog is the moral equivalent of selling booze at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.

It should have been obvious.

The list of reasons I give here is by no means exhaustive. Instead, it’s an outline of my thinking. I’m putting it out here because doing this helps me order my thinking a bit.

Reasons to Leave Christianity:

1. Its predictions aren’t reliable.

2. It began as a regular death cult.

3. Believing people are worthless can really hurt others.

4. It requires special exceptions for dealing with reality.

5. The comfort it offers is illusory.

6. Trusting the Bible means trusting ancient writers more than people alive today.

7. Leaving Christianity doesn’t make you hopeless; recovering from its promises does.

These are the ones I can think about off the top of my head.
There are plenty of others I’ll think of once I publish this. But it’s a start. If there’s anything crucial I’m missing, let me know in the comments.

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31 thoughts on “Reasons to Leave Christianity

    • The idea of an invisible friend is a matter of human psychology, a matter of science. For me all science is legitimate. But science and faith are on two different planes of human experience and are not congruent nor do they intersect. On the other hand, one of my favorite hymns is “What a Friend We have in Jesus”

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      • I’d be happy with, “What a Friend We Have In Carl”. 🙂
        You see, Carl, I think you are a wonderful man. Anything I have ever read of yours has reflected a genuine, caring, sensible, warm human being. I wish there were more people like you. Where you and I differ in philosophy, though is that it’s as far as I take your character assessment. For me, you are a good, kind man. It has nothing to do with an invisible entity. You just ARE. I think, however, that you’d give your invisible entity the credit and that’s where I think you’re mistaken. I think you’d be a nice guy without (a) god, too. 🙂

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      • Can you explain why you think science and faith are two different planes of human experience? Isn’t this just an excuse for not having to provide evidence of the existence of the divine? I mean if I can use science to explain why humans would have spiritual experiences or why humans would develop beliefs, then it would seem that faith is a subset of science, not a separate sort of experience. Science might not be able to tell you what you have faith in, no more than it can tell you what your favorite ice cream is, but it can tell you why you faith, and why you might enjoy ice cream.

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    • CARMEN :I appreciate your very kind and generous assessment of me. I try to live up to it.One way to express faith is to model Christian behavior in our daily routines. I hope examples of this in the lives of Christians may interest people. As in “Hmmm. Does he know something I don’t?” Yes I do give my invisible entity credit as I have accepted His invitation and opened myself to be imbued with the Holy Spirit. This can be achieved with convoluted theologies and denominational practices and rites.

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  1. I don’t see any validity in any of these. Assertion #2 strikes me as an especially bizarre conclusion. The promise of the Resurrection is life. Satan (evil) is the Angel of Death. You will not find a single book on 1st and 2nd early Christianity that characterizes the faith as a death cult.The Romans and pagans suggested such as they thought Christians practiced human sacrifices and drank the blood of the victims. Is this why you say the faith started as a death cult ? Now these 7 might seem reasonable to an individual that has been demoralized by particular experiences but people of faith see only truth in all of these. Rejecting/leaving Christianity ? What is objectionable about living in peace and charity and kindness for others ? Now a disgust with certain denominations I can understand as well as the hypocrisy of alleged men of God and general people professing to be Christians. I have 2 degrees in religious studies but I have given all the books away and my Christianity comes down to just two things : never be the source of anyone’s misfortune and never pass an opportunity to perform a charitable act if within your ability to do so. I think this satisfies the Lord’s covenant and merits His embrace. Why would anyone reject or discard these two very basic ideas of Christianity ? The history of the Roman Church certainly contains many horrors over the centuries and these I cannot defend but I conclude that such men, such directions and such hypocrisy condemn the men and churches not Christianity. The terrible things championed by the Roman Church proves to me that the whole shebang was not of Christ, not of His Church and not of his blessing. I am a member of the reformed churches Reformation (Presbyterian) and have no association with the Roman Church or its history. In 2016 I gave myself a writing assignment. I wrote a page a day sometimes 3, sometimes only a half page and sometimes skipped a week here and there. It took 11 months. I hand wrote the entire New Testament and did not find a single verse or idea or process that would validate these 7 assertions. I learned more through this effort than from 30 post grad credit hours. Believing in ancient writings as ignoring contemporary people is not a valid assertion as the message of faith is the same as it was 2,000 years ago. Don’t we incorporate the 10 laws that Moses presented ? Ancient writings ? Shall we ignore the birthright of America, The Constitution as it it an ancient writing ? Isn’t it alive today ?Is Jefferson and Thomas Paine irrelevant today ? Don’t people of today ascribe to it albeit some questionable political paths and doctrines ? The comfort illusory ? Not for me. Jesus promised “Obey my commandments and preach my Gospel and have no fear for I will be with you even till the end of the age.” That is very comforting to me and not the least bit illusory.It is a promise with a full warranty. Jesus did not start a religion. Paul did. Jesus “offers” (present tense) a way of life. It is an invitation and self validating. I sign off now as I must finish another of my cartoons, read a few more pages historical fiction on Knights Templar (I am a Mason) and then take my “grandpa nap”. Regards…
    .

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    • Hey Carl,

      At the outset, I’d like to point out that the “Christianity” I’m referring to is probably something you would not agree with. I’m referring to the collective history, teachings, and ideas put forward by more fundamentalist and evangelical circles here in the U.S. (and anything like it elsewhere). This means that more liberal interpretations of the term might not apply.

      That out of the way, let me address some specific points you made:
      (1) “The Romans and pagans suggested such as they thought Christians practiced human sacrifices and drank the blood of the victims. Is this why you say the faith started as a death cult[]?”

      The reason why I suggest Christianity started as a death cult (and might even still be one, if I’m being completely candid) is because of how death cult is defined. Christianity – the kind I am most familiar with – teaches a lot about death, dying, what happens after death, the death of its founder, and an apocalypse of death to death itself. More liberal Christians might not focus on this as much, but the New Testament shows how the faith spoke mostly about defeating death.

      (2) “What is objectionable about living in peace and charity and kindness for others[]?”

      If Christianity was just this tenet, I’d find nothing objectionable about it at all. However, we both know this isn’t the only thing that gets preached in pulpits around the world. To the extent that someone might just limit Christianity to a humanistic mantra, I don’t object at all. But this doesn’t really happen, and it’s not an aberrant teaching either.

      (3)”Believing in ancient writings as ignoring contemporary people is not a valid assertion as the message of faith is the same as it was 2,000 years ago. ”

      This and your other examples about American law are misplaced. What I’m getting at here is the idea that ancient people talking about shepherding the world’s animals onto a boat is somehow more believable than theories regarding evolution. While my point is gratuitously expressed, it is no less valid.

      Additionally, the difference between the Constitution and the Bible is that the Constitution doesn’t make metaphysical claims about reality. The closest it gets is describing some broad philosophical underpinnings on the nature of government and power. That’s it.

      To be quite clear, my point is not that old writings are inherently to be dismissed out of hand. Rather, it is that they should not be accepted in their entirety without any question. To equate the reasoning and ideas of our founders with biblical precepts is to profane the former and misrepresent the latter.

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    • Caril, regarding Christianity being a death cult, and besides Sirius very good points, since the Hammer of the Arians (Bishop Hilary of Poitiers) predicted the mass liquidation of all earthly species in 365 CE your religion has produced a continuous supply of socially derelict luminaries who’ve longed for nothing short of the total and complete annihilation of our home world.

      Just a decade after Bishop Hilary’s fatalistic proclamation, Martin of Tours pronounced that the heavenly holocaust was at hand (375 CE). For the trireme of morose hopelessness embodied in Hippolytus of Rome, Sextus Julius Africanus and Saint Irenaeus it was 500 CE when the Christian god was going to obliterate everything from toddlers to tiaras. For the Spanish monk, Beatus of Liébana, it was the 6th of April 793. Pope Sylvester II and Cardinal John of Toledo named 1186 as the year the Christian god was going commit its radiant genocide. Joachim of Fiore fingered 1260, then 1290, and finally 1335. 1284 was the date for the glorious massacre according to Pope Innocent III, 1378 for Arnaldus de Villa Nova, the 20th of February 1524 for Johannes Stöffler (later revised up to 1528), and the 27th of May 1528 for the Anabaptist, Hans Hut, who apart from getting his prediction of the end of the world horribly wrong holds the rather unusual distinction of being perhaps the only person in history to be executed a day after in fact dying. The mathematician and monk, Michael Stifel, was quite specific saying 500 million innocent men, women and children, together with millions of equally innocent species would be willfully put to death at precisely 8am on the 19th October 1533. For Jan Matthys it was 1534, 1555 for Pierre d’Ailly, 1585 for Michael Servetus, and 1600 when Martin Luther hoped the earth would be destroyed in a cataclysmic blast of resplendent carnage. 1794 was the year the Methodist, Charles Wesley, was certain god was going to wreak heavenly havoc on all creatures. His brother, John, fingered 1836, but for the Jehovah Witnesses 1914 was the year they were positively convinced the world would be put to the saintly torch. When it didn’t, they simply dusted themselves off, pulled up their socks, and went on to name 1915, then 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975, and finally 1994 as sequentially erroneous dates for their Christian god to commit its rapturous mass murder. The Baptist minister, William Miller, was sure our world would be blissfully annihilated on the 21st of March 1843; a date amended on the 22nd of March to the 18th of April, only to be revised again on the 19th to the 22nd of October 1844, which came and went without as much as a godly sneeze. The Methodist, Joanna Southcott, was certain her Christian god would annihilate everything on the 19th of October 1814, and Joseph Smith got his prediction of the end of the world fabulously wrong when 1891 passed to 1892 and children were still playing under the sun. For Jim Jones it was 1967. Herbert W. Armstrong of the Worldwide Church of God wanted it all to end in 1936, then 1943, and finally 1975. Leland Jensen thought 1980, Pastor Chuck Smith named 1981, and television evangelist, Pat Robertson, was no doubt left scratching his head when his god failed to blow our home planet and everything on it to smithereens in 1982. Tara Centers was so confident the Christian god was poised to extinguish all life that she took out full page ads in newspapers on the 24th and 25th of April 1982 announcing that “The Christ is Now Here!” Edgar C. Whisenant got it wrong in 1988 but did sell 5 million copies of his book 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988. He revised the date to 1989, then 1993, and finally 1994, but didn’t sell as many books the second, third, and fourth times around. 1993 was the date for our planet’s dazzling demise according to the Disciples of Christ, David Berg, and after getting it wrong in 1988 and then again in 1999 the World Mission Society Church of God was certain 2012 was in fact the year their god was going to end it all. For the Christian radio broadcaster, Harold Camping, it was 6am on the 21st of May 2011 (a date later updated to the 21st of October), for Ronald Weinland of the Church of God it was May 27th 2012, June 30th for José Luis de Jesús of the Growing In Grace International Ministry (Inc.), and for Warren Jeffs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints it was the 23rdof December 2012 (a date amended a few days later to the 31st of December) for when the Middle Eastern Christian god was going to commence its enchanted bloodbath and extinguish all terrestrial life. And most recently, on the 8th October, 2015, evangelical Christian radio host Chris McCann got his date for the end of the world, 7 October, 2015, wrong… Just like everyone else.

      All told, in the last fifty-six generations (1,700 years) there have been more than three-hundred prominent captains of Christianity who have announced with excited yips of childlike anticipation that their god was about to lay waste to all life on earth. In this generation alone there have been over forty major public incidents where socially-reckless, apocalypse-hungry Christian leaders have proclaimed that their god was here and it was time to die… and when the captains speak easily persuadable, astoundingly gullible congregants regretfully listen. Today a staggering 41% of US citizens (130,000,000 adults) believe that their Middle Eastern god will commence its mass extinction of all creatures in their lifetime. It’s a ghastly figure but it is a number reflected in the multi-billion dollar Christian apocalypse industry that has in just the last twenty years produced 29 End Times films (with such grand titles as “Tribulation” and “Judgement”), 60 documentaries (like “Racing to the End Times”), and some 1,120+ grotesquely warped End Times books, of which the Left Behind series has alone sold over 40 million copies.

      Add into this mix literally thousands of Christian End Times websites (like Ark Haven), thousands of blogs (like Christian Survival, The End-Times Christian Spiritual Survival Page and End-Time Preparation), and scores of geographically-specific Christian-only Survivalists groups and what we have is the largest and (somewhat antithetically, albeit hilariously) longest-lasting Death Cult in the history of humanity.

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      • . . . And a nice guy like you, Carl, can’t understand why Christianity’s called a death cult? One of your first sentences in response to SB was this – “The promise of the Resurrection is life.” Does that mean life after death , Carl? THAT, to me, is a bizarre idea. THIS is the life we get. If you want to dedicate this life – your life – to the two worthy ambitions you mentioned, that’s wonderful. And good. But you don’t need an invisible friend for that.

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      • Agree all these predictions about the end of times are quite silly and the end of times book sales are exploding because people are insecure about the future and want to have some idea to be ready which indeed in itself is silly too. They are gullible and certainly ignorant. Never heard it put that way “Christian apocalypse industry”. I agree that it is a racket and a fraudulent perspective on Christian end of times theology. Desperate people often subscribe to this foolishness you describe and I do agree it is foolishness. However, such does not tarnish the Gospel. Paul repeatedly posits the warning that there will be false prophets and charlatans that will misrepresent the faith exactly in the way you describe.

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    • Carl, I agree that one should “never be the source of anyone’s misfortune and never pass an opportunity to perform a charitable act if within your ability to do so,” but where I disagree is assigning these actions to Christianity. They are (or should be) basic human attributes.

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    • The Old Testament is a very accurate history of the Jewish people and their experience with God. It is valuable even from a secular pure historical document, archaeology and social anthropology. I dismiss of course silly Adam and Eve and such as mythology as all ancient cultures had “beginning of things ” literature. A belief in the Old Testament records does not support the notion that the earth is a mere 6,000 years old. Jewish scholars agree that the universe is billions of years old, accept evolutionary theory and scientific proofs about the universe. They see Genesis accounts as the beginning of a history of the Jewish people and their covenant with God not a scientific tenet. Yes fundamentalist and primitive Christians have distorted the truth with their unrealistic assertions. Once again their foolish understandings and the realities of the universe in no way disprove or reduce the majesty of Christ’s Gospel.

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      • The Old Testament is a very accurate history of the Jewish people and their experience with God

        No, it’s not. The Patriarchal age has been entirely assigned to fiction many, many decades ago.

        That being said, the bible post exile is a wonderful historical source.

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    • I think that’s a better reason for not getting involved in it in the first place. Sadly, I became aware of the borrowing that the Pentateuch did from Babylonian influences, and it didn’t encourage me to leave the faith. It was something staring me in the face, but I still didn’t make the mental leap.

      It seems like such a small thing to make the connection that the Bible is just one culture’s mythology that’s been promoted through the years, but in practice it’s more difficult than it ought to be. I wish I could explain why, because it would greatly help illustrate to those within the faith how their beliefs can poison their reasoning.

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  2. Carmen. I am not sure about life after death or life everlasting. It is the promise of Jesus. I’m 68 and ill so will find our sooner than most ! I wish I could get back to you on that. But if indeed “this life is all we got” is true, I care to live in in the Light of Christ’s teachings.The is not out of fear or wrath of an alleged angry god but merely the common sense to immerse myself in love and charity.

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    • That’s the same common sense that tells me there’s no such thing as (holy) ghosts. You have decided to immerse yourself in love and charity because you are a good man; another thing that common sense tells me. 🙂
      Oh, and I’m not that far behind you in years. I think this life is fine – after all, it’s all we’ll ever know. All the more reason to live it with dignity, kindness and love, which is why we have a conscience. 🙂

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  3. SIRIUS Yes I do not agree with the stuff you describe in first paragraph. Death cult -Well the matter of death has preoccupied all people in all ages and cultures, not merely Christianity, wouldn’t you agree?In the Roman Church and Russian and Greek Orthodox the crucified Christ stature reigns the front of the church. In Protestant churches our cross is empty as well celebrate the risen Christ. This does not mean to diminish the suffering Christ. Jesus is the Angel of Life. Satan is the Angel of Death. I see the risen Christ as good conquering evil. I am a heretic in that I do not adhere to idea of resurrected body but only of the Spirit and our souls. Yes the Constitution is not the Bible. The idea of inalienable rights are God given and yes that is expressed in the Declaration of Independence not the Constitution. But the presence of the spirit of a Judaeo-Christian influence does thread through the Constitution as it defines democracy, justice and equality. On the other hand I believe in the separATION OF CHURCH AND STATE TO THE POINT THAT ELECTED OFFICIALS NEED BE SWORN ON ON A COPY OF THE cONSTITUTION NOT THE bIBLE. (damn shift key – I’m not rewriting). Yes, agree that tenets and propositions of Christianity should not be automatically be accepted on faith alone. That is the tyranny of the roman Church. In Protestantism we believe that a faith unexamined is vapid. Discernment is encouraged and not seen as rebellious. In my own case it has created disagreement with some points of doctrine but generally nurtured my surrender to the wonderful liberation of the Gospel as reasonable and spiritual and really quite simple.

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  4. As a matter of personal integrity I will share that I have not lived in the Light of the Holy Spirit. I was quite a notorious “player” on the streets of Miami for decades. I am now clean and sober 15 years, 5 months through the healing power of the Lord.

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    • Good for you, Carl. I would argue that YOU did that. You, the person who decided to make a change and used every ounce of willpower, passion and fortitude to make that change in your own life. It must have been difficult – for many, it’s insurmountable – and you deserve loads of credit. You, Carl. Not an invisible, unidentifiable force. You did it and you should feel very good about it. Conjuring up a (holy) ghost to pin the credit on is selling yourself short, in my opinion. YOU have my utmost admiration.

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      • There seems a reason for my recovery. A purpose not planned by me. It coincided with my parents moving in with me in 2002. Mother passed 2012 but 94 year old father still with we and healthy with all his wits. But I have no brothers or sisters and I am his sole caretaker. Presently my drug addict daughter abandoned her kids and I have supported the foster family(whom I have known since the parents were children)with about 40% or my retiree income.I also support my son who has a very low income. I am the pillars for all. Was it planned that I became available ? All would crumble without me. I did not straighten up because I knew these challenges would present. Does not seem coincidence. It gave me purpose I did not initiate.

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