Why did you leave religion?

6 Jan 2011

The fine site Debunking Christianity has a simple poll asking what issues led you to deconvert. Here are the choices (and current responses):

  1. The Problem of Suffering  219 (30%)
  2. Science Based Reasoning  440 (62%)
  3. The Problem of Religious Diversity  231 (32%)
  4. The Far-Fetched Nature of Miracles  220 (31%)
  5. The Barbaric God of the Bible  241 (33%)
  6. The Misogynist Nature of the Bible  162 (22%)
  7. Racism and Slavery in the Bible  153 (21%)
  8. Philosophical Problems With God Concepts  304 (42%)
  9. Doubts About the Existence of Jesus  119 (16%)
  10. Biblical Archaeology  134 (18%)
  11. The General Unreliability of the Bible  311 (43%)
  12. Jesus Did Not Come Back as Promised  75 (10%)
  13. Sinners go to Hell  173 (24%)
  14. Pedophile Priests & Huckster Preachers  99 (13%)
  15. Never Believed n the First Place  107 (15%)
  16. Other

My first thought was that the choices are awfully Christianity-centric – but then again, given the name of the site, that makes sense!

It is too bad that it's not a multiple-choice poll, as I expect many people will have left for combined reasons. (EDIT: Looks like it is multiple choice after all, or was switched to such partway through, per mention of a poll revision.) Still, I went ahead and cast my lot, though I had to think a bit; my ideal response isn't there. My deconversion wasn't so much a matter of finding specific problems arguing against religion or doctrine, per most of the above; rather, the biggest push came from the simple realization that I didn't see positive reasons arguing for religion and doctrine. 

In short, "lack of evidence" would be my ideal response. I ended up going with #2 (Science Based Reasoning) as the closest to that. Good enough.

How about you? Go cast your stone – and if you like, leave a message here telling why you decamped. 


Greetings from a german reader, here my little deconversion story:

I had doubts since I was a small boy. In primary school, everything we were teached made sense. Except religious class. Mathematics was logical. Geography was interesting. Art was fun. But religion was arbitrary, strange, irrational, emotional (the bad kind of emotional), sometimes deeply disturbing, and my questions were never answered satisfactorily.

Nevertheless, I prayed and went regularly to church, mainly because all the adults told me "With God, you always have a good friend at your side. God answers all prayers! You must have faith, Faith is the most important thing!"

It was around 12 years of age. I kneeled in our local church, praying to 'God'. Then suddenly I had a kind of revelation. A completely overwhelming, nearly undescribable feeling. But it was not "Glory Glory Hallelujah!". Quite the contrary. It was a very sobering experience. I felt the whole onslaught of reality. The revelation I got was: "God is a fairy-tale. He does not exist. I have been told complete nonsense. I am sitting here in a lone, cold church and am making a fool out of myself". I finally realized what I already knew for a long time: That I never believed in the whole nonsense in the first place.

I stood up, shook my head, and left church, never to look back again. And I started to have my own life, not the life that other people wanted from me.

I retrospective, this event was one of the most important events in my life. It was a huge step in growing up and becoming a critical-thinking adult, with a mind free from religious imprisonment.

defaithed's picture

Thank you for the story! It sounds as if your experience at that young age was that of praying as you'd been taught... and suddenly realizing that you were praying to nothing. Nobody on the receiving end, by all appearances.

I know the feeling, even if it took me a few more years than you to realize it!

(And you're right that some people will claim, literally, that "God answers all prayers". Which I more and more find an absolutely despicable claim, as every day people pray in disasters and sickbeds and foxholes and receive no "answer" whatsoever. Hey believers, at least change that to "God answers some prayers". I may not believe that either, but at least it's not immediately, grotesquely wrong!)


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