Social Question

choreplay's avatar

Why do some people walk away from the Christian Faith?

Asked by choreplay (6297points) January 22nd, 2011

I have read profile again and again of jellies that grew up christian and left the faith. Those are the ones that I would like an answer from. The specific question is what was the breaking point?

I expect this to bring a lot of commentary on inconsistencies in the bible or behavior of christains. That may be your answer and if so, ok, but are there other reasons.

All readers, please refrain from debating. This question seeks to listen to this specific group with regard to this specific question. I plan on not writing another word in this thread so, now I turn the floor over.

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72 Answers

Judi's avatar

Because they see Christians act in Non Christlike ways, and doing mean and horrible things in Jesus name. They have a hard time separating Jesus from the hypocrisy of so many of his followers. It breaks my heart.

tranquilsea's avatar

I read the Bible twice and had many questions. Too many people were nervous that I would question any part of it. Then I read this guy’s thesis on the Pauline Conspiracy and concluded that in order to be true to Christ all Christians should join “Jews for Jesus” and call it a day.

I was out by that point.

What added to the feeling I needed to leave was the rampant judgment and hypocrisy I saw.

ETpro's avatar

I left because as I developed critical thinking skills I could see that the fundamental precepts of the creation message were deeply flawed. It made no more sense to believe the Juedo-Christian mythology than any of the other mythologies man has invented to explain away all the things he did not understand. The contradictions not only in textual content but in basic precepts contained in the Bible were a second reason. Misbehavior by individuals, I can set aside. That’s on them and not God. Misbehavior by God, breaking his own credo, that’s s problem.

Cruiser's avatar

For me it was more or less simply moving on to a less demanding role of affirming my faith in life and mankind. As I weighed the “specifications” of a Catholic faith against the backdrop of a rapidly growing landscape of other faiths and religions, I began to realize that my religious beliefs were not so black and white as I was taught to believe. I also found other religious and spiritual beliefs to be more compelling, truer and universal to the point I felt liberated in cutting the cord to any specific religious demand. I find God in all aspects of my life and my world around me and do not need to define it within one religion.

Wow! I like what I wrote! GA! GA too @ETpro!

iamthemob's avatar

I wasn’t raised particularly religious. But I was raised going to church with fair regularity – it wasn’t indoctrination in my case, simply community.

However, I stopped as soon as I was able. Ag a very young age, I knew that I was pretty much gay. I don’t know exactly what place Christ has in my spiritual or moral growth – but it is something that I am exploring on my own.

I think that the problem with Christianity is that it’s perceived that I have left the Christian faith. However, it is more accurate, far more, to say that I walked away from the Christian church. The fact that the two concepts are collapsed by many “people of faith” is why, I believe, so much of the good messages and potential of what, as far as I know, was the first religious movement that organized under a concept of real universal membership, is lost.

incendiary_dan's avatar

The simplistic answer to beat all simplistic answers: we don’t believe in it anymore. What else do you need?

For me, it most specifically has to do with my rejection at the singular nature of divinity (the monotheistic God), and the imposition of hierarchies of being onto the universe.

absalom's avatar

There was no ‘breaking point’. It was very slow, very gradual. I understood that I didn’t need religion. I understood that I’d been trying to make meaning, not discover it. I understood that my belief in a god was nominal, a social checkpoint beyond which normalcy and acceptance seemed to exist.

It was like passing the checkpoint and saying, ‘Is this it?’

In some ways my abandonment of the faith was also my abandonment of its proponents. Religion is still social.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

It really is as simple as this: I did not have it in me to believe it anymore. The whole thing is absurd, to me. I realised this at 13 years old, and over the years my skepticism has only grown. The truth of the matter is, that I find it shocking that anyone still believes. In my mind (of course I don’t say this with the intention of offending anyone) it isn’t unlike believing in Santa Claus. The whole story is full of holes and is so far fetched that I just find it ridiculous to actually believe that there is any chance that god(s) exists.
I do, however, find it believable that it made a lot of sense at the time, when science was not nearly as advanced. I think that the majority of believers are decent people, who do their best to live a good life – just like many, or most, non-believers. I don’t think it has much bearing, but if it gives someone comfort or peace of mind.. I’m perfectly fine with that. I, personally, just think it is silly.

That all sounds so ugly, but I can’t think of a more polite way to say that I think it’s nonsense.

Frankie's avatar

My family was not very religious at all, but right before I started high school we moved to a new state, and my sister and I got involved in a Presbyterian church through a girl on her cross country team. I enjoyed it at first – it was a way to make friends and be involved in our new community, and as I had never been a church-goer before, I was learning things and found a lot of comfort in it. As the years went on, though, things started to unravel a bit. I never was quite able to reconcile my doubts about religion, no matter how hard I tried, and as I grew older and more analytical and reasoned, the blind “faith like a child” mantra became harder for me to follow. Additionally, I am quite politically liberal, and while some Presbyterian churches can be on the liberal side, ours was not one of them. The other high school kids in the youth group were very conservative, and a few were extremely judgemental. My breaking point was when, at bible study one night, one of the girls (knowing full well that I was strongly pro-choice) looked straight at me and said to the others in the group, “I don’t believe you can be a true Christian if you aren’t pro-life.” That judgmental, exclusionary, holier-than-thou statement, along with the doubts I had to begin with, marked the end of it for me. I’m not an atheist, or even agnostic, but you will never catch me saying I’m a Christian – I refuse to be associated, in any way, with people like that girl.

iamthemob's avatar


Of course, your disbelief requires that (1) church doctrine is actually the Christian faith, and if not, at lease (2) there is a comprehensive, definable and clear definition of the Christian faith that is as easily identifiable and accepted by all as accurate as there is of Santa Clause.

I don’t really think you can draw a picture of “the Christian Faith” and ask someone what it is…and get a good answer. Meanwhile…drawing Santa Clause…;-)

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@iamthemob I knew you were going to do that. :)

iamthemob's avatar

you know how I feel about the “Santa Clause/Christianity/God” issue. ;-)

Ron_C's avatar

I was born and raised Catholic. We went to Catholic schools, were married in a Catholic church, our children were baptized Catholic, and our first priority (as a military family) was to find a new Catholic church when we were transferred.

I started questioning my religion when we had our interviews with the priests when we were getting married. The old priest said that birth control was absolutely forbidden. The younger priest said that we should follow our conscience.

Later, I had to go to religious classes before the priest would baptize my youngest child. Those classes were actually bible studies. Anyone that is raised catholic knows that bible study was usually left to the professionals. In effect, I spent 26 years as a catholic and never read the bible except for the passages that were noted in Sunday sermons.

I got thrown out of the class for asking too many questions (they agreed to baptize my daughter if I stopped going to the classes) and the classed aroused my curiosity about the bible so I bought a Catholic and King James version and read them both.

The more I read, the less I believed. The more I understood about Christianity the more I understood that there is very little rational thinking behind it. Religion is mostly irrational belief and the ability to reject the truth in favor of belief imposed by doctrine.

The total effect was that I walked away from any form of religion and we raised our children to accept reason and reject unsupported belief. They have done well as a result and we have Sundays free to do important things with our families.

I firmly believe that the only way to maintain true freedom is to be free from religion..

thorninmud's avatar

I reached a point in my early twenties when I realized that my faith was being sustained only by virtue of immense effort on my part. I understood that I didn’t believe based on the merits of the beliefs, but because so much (in fact, all) of my social network depended on it.

For years I had stifled all of my questioning, knowing where it would likely lead. I wasn’t mature enough, I guess, to face the prospect of alienating family and friends, not to mention the abandonment of a worldview that I had held all my life. It would have been a stepping out into the void; that was terrifying, so I kept trying hard to convince myself that I believed it.

Until I didn’t. I remember the exact moment when I simply let it go. Without me struggling to hang onto all that belief, it just vanished. It was a vertiginous experience, but not as terrifying as I had imagined. The social consequences were as profound as I knew they would be, but I discovered the thrill of feeling for the very first time that I could give free rein to all those decades of pent-up questioning. It flooded out, and that felt like a great liberation.

That was my experience. But I don’t presume that what was necessary for me is universally applicable. I have no interest in talking anyone out of their faith. I do strongly feel, though, that faith must allow for deep questioning. If it can’t stand up to that, something’s wrong.

filmfann's avatar

I am a Christian, and I will be the first to say that a lot of Christians are dicks.
A lot more just creep me out.
I will say that many Christians are good people, serving their Lord in the way they feel they should.
We aren’t all hypocrites. We are all closet perverts. We aren’t all Bible thumpers screaming hate at anyone who is gay, atheist or Muslim.
I understand why people leave the church. Even Christ threw a fit when he saw some of the things that go on in there.

mrlaconic's avatar

I was “saved” when I was 10 years old and from that point I started going to youth groups and eventually my mom put me into Christian schools. January of my 9th grade year my mom who was a christian died of cancer. I started to walk away at that point not because I was mad at god for taking my mom.. but because everyone in that room when she she died said that they “felt my moms spirit touch her” or that they “saw her flying off into heaven with angels”....everyone except me… and you would think that if it was some master plan for god to take my mom that i would have seen or felt something….

I kept going to church because my friends at the time were going and I wanted to hang out and feel connected. Then as we all got older… I seemed to be the only one who was sincere about going to church and worshiping god. One of my friends who was the pastors son would get drunk and smoke weed on a saturday night and then get up and go to church the next day and worship in the church band…. wow.

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crisw's avatar

I was an animal-obsessed child, and I realized that all those animals fitting on the Ark didn’t make any sense.

As I grew older, the main issue that troubled me was the problem of evil, especially as it applied to animals. I could see no theological reason why animals should be allowed to suffer when there was no redemption and no heaven for them.

Sometime in high school, I read Bertrand Russell’s Why I am Not a Christian, which had a big impact on me.

As I studied the issue, I realized that Christianity was a myth, just like any other myth. Some myths hold valuable lessons, but none of them are true.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

There were two real reasons I officially left when I was 7, and then hearing more and more as I got older never made me want to reconsider.
One, the kids next door were born-agains. I was raised Anglican/Presbyterian. All I ever did to be Christian was get baptized – and in my denomination, that’s all you had to do. However, the kids next door would constantly harass me (whilst we were playing Barbies and collecting rocks and generally being kids): Was I a Christian? Had I accepted Jesus into my heart? No, had I really accepted Jesus into my heart? At 7, you just figure that being a Christian means that you won’t listen to anyone and will harass them non-stop no matter what.
Two, I got a Bible when I was 7 from my church (they hand them out one a year to all the second-graders). I got a few pages into Genesis on the ride home, and just couldn’t believe that they were trying to say that this fairy tale crap was what happened. I just couldn’t buy it. I got home, threw the Bible in the back of my closet, and decided “screw ‘em” (but, in 7 year-old terms, obviously).

iphigeneia's avatar

I just stopped believing in Jesus as the son of God. I still live my life by some of the lessons that I was taught—I believe in turning the other cheek, being a servant to others, doing good deeds privately, being loving and respectful and peaceful—but I don’t do it to get into Heaven.

I noticed that Christianity and the Bible can be interpreted in so many different ways. It’s ridiculous. There was nothing inside me that guided me towards God, and if you have to force yourself to believe in something, you don’t really believe in it.

poisonedantidote's avatar

Now that most people have answered, I’ll put a word or two in. I am an atheist, and I have always been an atheist. So, why am I even answering this when it is for christians who walked away? well, even if you have been an atheist all your life, at some point you will be introduced to religion, and religion always trys to sign you up, and you will have to make the decision to walk away or go with it. I have made said decision, so you could say I have walked away from it.

I live in spain, where there is no separation of church and state. I was introduced to religion in school age 6, and while I can’t remember exactly, I remember I started doubting everything either on the first day, or second, or maybe third. The claims they where making, and the explanations they gave for things just simply did not ring true.

I was only a child, I did not know about the big bang, or evolution, or anything. I knew about cartoons and chocolate, yet as soon as I heard the claims, they sounded highly suspect.

Maybe my religion teacher was real bad, I can’t even remember what he looked like. I just remember us all sitting in a circle, with him telling us about the bible. I remember little jokes he made, saying things like “he put his foot in it”, when talking about the eating from the tree of knowledge. Just something about it, never sounded true.

So, basically, what im getting at, for me, and maybe for others too, they where just repelled by it the more they found out. Maybe some people just accept it until they are old enough to doubt.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I left because I’m gay, and the vast majority of Christians think I’m dying and going to an imaginary place of fire for all of eternity. These same Christians also think that a loving father-like god is sending me to this eternal damnation.

That doesn’t sound loving or father-like to me. I have children, and I wouldn’t want to lock any of them in the basement of a burning building ever.

Christianity is a product of its time and environment. It has purely pagan origins. It is not new and not that interesting.

CaptainHarley's avatar

What the hell is wrong with this picture? Christians are called to LOVE everyone in God’s name. I suggest that those of you calling yourselves christians knock off all the name-calling, all the antagonism, and all the extraneous issues you seem to get so excited about, and start exercising your FAITH and GRACE. Grace was extended to you, now go and do likewise!

Those of you who left your beliefs because someone who calls themselves “christian” offended you in some way are just as wrong! You are called to worship God and not christians, so-called or otherwise. Take Christ for your example and then extend his love to those who need it most.

filmfann's avatar

@CaptainHarley I am a Christian, and I think that is a terrific answer.

which surprises me, cause you’re normally a complete fuck-tard

CaptainHarley's avatar


That’s ok, bro! I love you too! : D

Oh! And BTW… I left the faith twice. Once because I was young and dumb and chaffed under the legalism of my step-mother. And once again later in life because the church ( small “c” ) we were attending left ME first ( long story ). I came back because I saw christianity as having at least one really great answer to the problems we face as a species.

crisw's avatar


There seem to be two camps here. One group left Christianity due to the actions of its followers. The other group (which includes me) left due to problems with the religion itself- logical issues, ethical issues, or others.

For the latter group, the actions of Christian followers, whether for good for bad, aren’t really a motivation either to accept or to leave the religion. While those who left due to personal conflict may “return to the fold” if they are presented with a kinder, gentler Christianity, the latter group will not.

CaptainHarley's avatar


Each individual has to make this sort of decision on their own. I would never presume to tell people what they should or should not believe. Just keep in mind that “love… is not easily offended.” : )

crisw's avatar


Not really trying to debate- just pointing out the very real difference between the two groups.

coffeenut's avatar

Because Christianity is the funniest joke I’ve ever heard.
They are selective on what they believe.
They don’t practice what they preach.
The “Holy Bible” is one of the worst books ever created.
The “life Rules” constantly contradict the list (basically it’s a “sin” to be alive)
The Christian God is a Psycho.
And so on, and so on, and so on…

CaptainHarley's avatar


Kindly allow me to present to you the Cynic Of The Year Award. You have won this award because you have constructed an impervious barrier against the truth. We now present you with this ten-foot high trophy and a year’s supply of indigestion.

coffeenut's avatar

@CaptainHarley lol, ...please enlighten me on this “truth” you speak of…

CaptainHarley's avatar

Oh, you’re already aware of it. You just can’t see it for what it is.

coffeenut's avatar

oh, ok…I thought you meant real truth…not faith.

augustlan's avatar

I left more than once. Background info: We were a church going family (Disciples of Christ – basically, plain old Christians) until I was four and our minister retired. The new one was kind of a jerk, and my family didn’t like him so we just quit going. I was still a Christian, though.

In about 6th grade, I became good friends with a girl from a seriously religious family. Like, go to church 3 times a week religious. In the course of hanging out with her, I ended up going to some youth group bible study classes. I found it interesting, so I grabbed my family’s bible, and read the thing cover to cover. Aside from the inconsistencies (which obviously made no sense – I just chose to read it as literature), the first thing to jump out at me was that there was no need for a church. You could worship God all by yourself, on a park bench if you liked. So, I deduced that while there may be a god, religion itself is completely man-made. I became a non-religious agnostic.

At 13, I spent several weeks with a very religious branch of my family in Missouri. As youngsters will do, I got swept up in the church atmosphere there. They were Baptists, and there was a lot of gospel singing going on… it was fun! I decided to become “born again”. Got baptized in front of the congregation, the whole deal. As soon as I was back home, that feeling left me immediately. It was almost like it happened to someone else. Back to agnostic.

When I learned about many of the other mythologies in junior high, I had a pretty big “Aha moment”. Same stories, different players… over and over. Also, learning more about other religions, and that every one of them believes they are the ‘right’ one. Those two things pretty much put the nail in the coffin of Christianity for me.

Over the years, I’ve wavered back and forth on belief in a god, but it has never been the Christian one (or any other religion’s depiction) again. These days, I’m officially an agnostic with atheist leanings.

talljasperman's avatar

I wanted something better…

YARNLADY's avatar

It turns out that in order to receive the Love of Christ in your heart you have to have “faith” and I don’t have it.

Jeruba's avatar

This long-ago thread contains a number of interesting answers to the same question, notably Zuma’s.

I think my response may have been my first post on fluther. It was made the day I joined, at any rate, and drew a welcome message from @augustlan (thanks again, Auggie).

El_Cadejo's avatar

I never really believed. I was raised catholic and went to church every week until 8th grade in ccd So I got baptized communion and conformation. Growing up I was a very inquizitive child. In class I always asked a lot of questions, questions that were ultimately answered with “just because” or “well this part its metaphorical.”

As I got older I questioned more and more. By the time I hit 8th grade I came to the real conclusion that I really dont believe in god at all and never really did, much more than I did santa. At this point I didnt want to go to CCD any more but my mom made me so I could get conformation so I could get married in a catholic church someday, though I knew then as I do now, that will never happen.

The really sad thing in my last year in CCD was that I realized I knew a lot more about the religion at the time than those in my class that supposedly believed in it. And since I was in my lovely teenage years I was being rebellious so I would just constantly ask my teacher questions from the bible that didnt make sense logically.

Once I got conformation that was the end of the christian faiths influence on my life. Ive been in a church maybe 3 times in the past 7 years for funerals.

Ultimately, for me, the downfall of my faith was my inquisitive nature. Always needing an answer and needing evidence to support such claims. Christianity could not offer this to me, so I left it behind.

El_Cadejo's avatar



and evidently you cant love your life or even this world…..

kevbo's avatar

Ironically, I lost my (Catholic) faith while a student at Notre Dame. I couldn’t abide all the rules and doctrine and felt it disingenuous to adopt the pose of a “cafeteria” Catholic. So, I decided to stop being Catholic.

Picking another religion seemed rather arbitrary, especially since Catholics are (or were) taught they’re the only legitimate faith.

I’m not athiest, however. I believe a spiritual plane exists and that religions generally draw from this truth.

mammal's avatar

because the Christian faith has been hijacked by right wing America, for reasons i am growing weary of repeating, The right wing Christian church has made a virtue out of the most hateful behavioral attitudes, they are a dysfunctional bunch of sexually frustrated psychopaths, it’s like some sordid uber-uber being, decided to up the ante and make Nietzsche’s worst nightmare come to life.

We now have the anti-anti Christ to contend with, behold the anti-anti Christ, that’s what the Right wing Christian church is today, it is a no holds barred anti-anti Christian front.

mammal's avatar

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster.

Friedrich Nietzsche

For me there are some ground rules for any religious institutions, maybe not ground rules but guidelines, i’m not so much interested in the cosmology as the capacity for that institution to operate as a space where the negativity caused by the friction of human interaction finds a means to dissipate, where hostility can be safely discharged. i certainly do not expect it to fulfill the complete opposite function.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@YARNLADY that was succinct, but so accurate.

CaptainHarley's avatar


“Faith is a gift of God, lest any man should boast.”

wundayatta's avatar

This is a great question, @Season_of_Fall. I love the stories it has opened the door for.

I have been reluctant to answer this question because I never left the Christian church. I never got in it in the first place. Nor did I get into any other kind of Church or Religion.

And yet… My grandparents on my father’s side were Northern Baptists. On my mothers side, people were Jews (a fact I didn’t know until I was 20). My parents, on their own, didn’t attend any kind of religious ritual, as far as I know. However, when we would visit my grandparents, which we did many Sundays from the time I was 8 until my Grandfather passed away when I was 13, we would often go to their church. My grandparents had been founding members of the church and my grandfather, an actuary, was treasurer of the church.

When we were younger, they sent us down to the kiddie place, but after a while, I was made to sit in the pews for the service, which was always tedious and boring, and I don’t think I heard a word of it. The only part that was even remotely nice was the organ music and the singing. I was so glad to get home afterwards so we could play ringolevio under the enormous spreading oak in my grandparents back yard.

A neighbor girl once asked me and my brother and sister what church we went to and when we told her we didn’t go, she told us we should. So we asked our parents why we didn’t go to church. I don’t remember what they said, but they said we could try out a church if we wanted to. We tried. That lasted three weeks at most. Just as boring as ever.

So no more religious attempts for years.

When I was sixteen, I was going to school in England for a year, where my father was on sabbatical. Since the C of E is the official church of the country, there was morning service every day for the boys. Once again, I tuned out as soon as it started.

In English class, we were studying the existentialists. I had been thinking about the meaning of life and whether there was a God or not, and various issues we take up at that age. After reading the existentialists, who were mostly atheists except for Kierkegaard, I think, I realized that I was an atheist, too, and in my term paper, that was what I said in my conclusion.

My teacher’s comment was that I was too young to decide that, and oh, you have the best grade in the class, which I was always proud of, and mystified by because I was the only American in the class full of English boys who should have known more about English, it seemed to me, than an American.

Christianity never made much sense to me, and never spoke to me, so it wasn’t hard to pull away. It held no cultural significance in any personal way, although it was always everywhere in a public way. I once had to take a class in the Bible as Literature—the year after I came back from England, and because I hadn’t had a chance to preregister, all the good classes were gone.

I didn’t even think much of the Bible as literature. I still don’t get it. Not that I try. Not that I ever will try. If I’m going to read fiction these days, I’m going to read science fiction.

Blackberry's avatar

—I hate when I miss the good questions -.—-

Some people also just realize religion as a whole is kind of unnecessary. It has nothing to do with christianity per se.

Ron_C's avatar

@CaptainHarley ”“love… is not easily offended.” thats a great quote. It is possible that if my church taught that instead of constant guilt, I may have stayed.

ETpro's avatar

I stumbled across a YouTube video, Putting Faith in its Place today that summarizes perfectly what I meant in my original answer when I said that critical thinking skills led me to reject the God hypothesis in favor of the null hypothesis. I hope those of you who have to defend your atheistic views against attack from aggressive, proselytizing Christians will enjoy it. I hope as well that any reading this thread who are aggressive, proselytizing Christians will watch this and give it serious thought. It doesn’t ask anyone to give up their faith, just their aggressive, bullying apporach to pushing that faith on others.

SavoirFaire's avatar

“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
—John 13:35

“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today are Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle.”
—Brennan Manning

In the end, people walk away from the Christian faith because they stop believing. But I take it the question is interested in what leads to the loss of faith. There are multiple paths, of course, but a common one is certainly the behavior of other Christians. Popular etymology has the word “religion” coming from an old word meaning “to bind fast.” The historical origins of the word aside, however, it is central to being a religion that there exists a community of believers. The key word here is “community.”

When Christians act in ways that are against Christianity, a spell is broken. People begin to question what they are doing throwing their lot in with such people. When the bad behavior spreads to religious leaders, people lose their authority figures and come to realize they’ve been believing simply because they were told to do so. This revelation causes them to look into it for themselves. At this point, the critical thinking skills noted by @ETpro come into play. They begin to question, which is rather threatening—even if not quite antithetical—to faith.

When it is realized that there is nothing but faith supporting the choice of one religion over another, another spell is broken. It is then seen that the need for religion—the “God-shaped hole” in our hearts—is an artificial creation. The holes in our hearts were carved out by those who wished to control us. At that point, one may start to feel used. Religion may come to be seen as a violence imposed generation upon generation like an abused son who becomes an abusive father—an unwitting participation in an ancient scheme.

This is a bit of an exaggeration, of course, but it is part of the process of severing oneself from the collective. Thus one may become hostile to religion and the religious, and that hostility may extend even to those who weren’t among the set of hypocrites who caused the original questioning and loss of faith. This is an unfortunate stage in the development of a free person, but one that few manage to avoid completely. Indeed, some seem to get stuck in it forever. An honest and mature thinker, however, comes to see that one must leave such feelings behind and engage people as individuals again.

As already noted, this is not the only path. It was not, for instance, my path (though it was the path of many of my friends). As has happened to me several times in other areas of thought, I came to reject Christianity in the midst of attempts to defend it. Still, my purpose here is to note that the common path outlined above is, in fact, a legitimate one. Religion makes promises—sometimes explicitly, sometimes not—about what faith brings to the individual. So when we see people held up as icons of the faith who noticeably fail to exhibit admirable traits, it is a genuine blow to the dogma one has been asked to accept. If we are to know Christians by their love, but see only hate, then the bounties of Christianity are dubious indeed.

CaptainHarley's avatar


Here’s the entire passage [ Kinda puts it all in perspective. ]::

<< 1 Corinthians 13 >>
New International Version


1. If I speak in the tonguesa of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

4. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10. but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

ETpro's avatar

@CaptainHarley I may no longer be a believing Christian, but I believe wholeheartedly in that statement of the power and importance of love. It’s one of my favorite pieces of biblical text.

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

I grew up going to a christian church, though I’ve spent time in baptist and presbyterian churches. I got confused in youth group about certain things and I didn’t feel that it made a lot of sense to me. I understood the basic tennants of the religion and felt sufficient with that.

CaptainHarley's avatar


That is also one of my favorites. It has long been my contention that love is the most potent force in the universe. It’s gentle but persistent. It’s like a trickle of water that eventually wears away the hardest of granite. THIS is the center of christianity. Almost all else is either nice to have, or outright dross! It is the emphasis on things other than love which leads people astray.

Summum's avatar

Very good question and for one of the first times has not gone into a huge mess of point vs. point. Well at least not yet. I will give some of the reasons that I changed how I perceived God and what took place. Many of you have fought me tooth and nail and want references to everything I claim. My claims come from personal experience which many will not accept. Anyway I will try with my less than adequate ability to express myself.

I lost 4 children in a 14 year period and fathered 9. There were several reasons for this but with each child I would drop to my knees and pray that they would survive and be whole. I was first married at 17 and lost a son within the first year of the marriage. He was premature and his lungs were not strong enough to survive. A year later my wife was pregnant again and I lost another son about 6½ months into the pregnancy because his lungs were not developed enough either. They both lived for several days. With each time this occurred I was deep in my spiritual side of life trying to find answers. I then had a full term son. Next came a girl who was full term but the cord was wrapped around her throat and she was blue when she came out. The nurse put her on a table and gave us her condolences. As I was grieving the third loss in my life, she began to breath and the doctor gave her attention and she lived. Shortly after came another little girl who was born early and her lungs were not strong enough to survive. By now I hope you see how emotionally I was involved in my spiritual side of life looking for answers. To make a long story shorter the last son I lost had a brain aneurism and he died in my arms at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. When he was brought there he had been full term came home was doing well and all of a sudden his organs began shutting down. When we got out of the helicopter they did a brain scan and found the aneurism. It was too late to save him though machines were keeping him alive. I was left alone on a decision to stop his meds so that he could pass away. I asked family, clergy, friends and anyone what should I do but there was not one person willing to share that decision with me, not even my wife at the time. I went into a room and cried for hours and plead with God for an answer. I finally got on my feet and asked to hold him. They gave him to me all hooked up on machines and I told them to stop a drug that kept his heart beating. His heart slowed and I held him for 17 long hours while he passed on. A nurse kept coming over and kept saying he was gone but I knew he wasn’t yet and when he finally went he opened his eyes looked me straight in the eye, smiled, his little hand squeezed my finger and I watched the breath of life leave him.

This caused such huge emotional uprisings inside me and I questioned life itself. Over the next few years I was not to smart about life and I had a problem and passed away myself. While I was gone I experienced some very unusual things and were taught many other things and again to shorten it I was asked to return to my body and that my life was about to completely change. I woke up lying in bed and my current wife was above me and yelling to try and get my attention. Since then my soul has sought so many answers and I was given those answers. God is a being not unlike ourselves and we are evolving into what he is now. He is a higher being and only helps mankind on a limited basis. Universal law governs this world and there is nothing that can change that. I find that God cannot change the outcome of the Universal Law as he is bound as well as we are. So when people claim that God saved them or that God must have been watching it is not so. Those children that I lost except the last one would have survived had they been born in today’s technology. So my belief in the Christian world remains but with a higher knowledge that explains Christ and Gods part in it all. I find nothing anywhere that conflicts with religion and science if you understand the principles of Universal Law. NOTHING

CaptainHarley's avatar


Your and my beliefs are not that far apart. : )

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Summum This question specifies no debate, so you’re free to just assert whatever you want. The fact that everything you say is false is irrelevant here. It’s just a question about how things came about according to you.

Summum's avatar

@SavoirFaire Thanks you are such a great example of a kind person and being. I appreciate your explanning the question to me so that I could totally understand it. Thanks again.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Summum You are very welcome. I could tell from your opening sentences that you were worried someone might be so brash as to actually question you, so I figured it was worth calming your fears. No one will be so rude here as to suggest that maybe we don’t have to accept things as true just because you say they are.

Summum's avatar

@SavoirFaire and I would not have it any other way or should I say Universal Law won’t have it any other way. Just stay true to the person you are even if you do feel a bit threatened by others experiences.

CaptainHarley's avatar

What a very… unusual conversation.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Summum Not threatened at all, @Summum. Indeed, it’s hard to be threatened by something that you keep refusing to share with me even when I ask for ways to have similar experiences. Thus why I’m not the one being defensive and opening my comments with reasons why people shouldn’t disagree with me. But I’m glad you don’t mind.

iamthemob's avatar

The problem with a claim of absolute authority in any way is that it ends the pursuit of knowledge. The complexity of life in general belies any universal script that humans can understand. The best we can hope for is principles we can apply in a case-by-case basis, and see if our actions really support those principles.

I’m not going to say I don’t believe, @Summum, that you’ve been shown some form of a Universal Law. However, I believe that if it is universal, it must be unequivocally communicatable. It should be capable of clear expression. That’s why I have trouble, personally, when you talk about this because it all seems very unclear.

Summum's avatar

@SavoirFaire Not at all. I’m giving some of the reasons for my experience above here. Why is it you don’t choose to see that? I have tried to talk with you but all you keep saying is you have done that? Why you have not had the same experiences is not something I can tell you that is entirely up to you. I’m not in control of your life experience nor am I trying to be I can only state my own but for some reason you have to keep commenting on mine? Why is that?

Summum's avatar

@iamthemob everything I have ever stated is there and available to all mankind. It has been found by millions it is and had been talked about since man has existed on this planet. I should state Modern Man. I’m in no way trying to convince anyone what I have experienced is true I can only give an answer to a question based on my experience and knowledge as you all do. If it differs from you so be it that is not my fault. I understand what you mean when you talk about having something concrete to examine but there is nothing concrete about the spiritual life. In a three dimensional world we have the physical which we can put a measure too and can test out and study but we are more than just a physical body.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Summum You gave your own reasons, not reasons anyone else can share. I’ve not said there’s anything wrong with that. Indeed, I was being completely sincere when I noted your defensiveness was unnecessary. I had no intention of arguing against your initial post here, and I still have no intention of doing so, because that is not the point of this thread. We were asked to say why we’ve rejected Christianity, and you gave your own response to that question (despite the fact that you claim not to reject Christianity—so your initial post might technically be off-topic).

The problem we’ve had on other threads—and which you’ve decided to drag into this thread preemptively—is that you’ve claimed that the experiences you’ve had are attainable by others, but refuse to say how others could get them. Or when you do, you discount the attempts of others to verify your claims when it turns out those attempts actually falsify your claims. You surely don’t expect me to believe things on your assurances alone in the absence of any kind of evidence… right?

wundayatta's avatar

Just speaking for myself, I find this little imbroglio between @Summum and @SavoirFaire to be off-putting. I was enjoying this question as long as people were telling stories and leaving it to each of us silently to interpret the stories for ourselves.

I ask you guys to please take this discussion somewhere else. Please.

iamthemob's avatar


Going off of what @SavoirFaire said – it seems that your knowledge is inapplicable to the conflicts that are important in terms of discrimination, oppression, etc. in our social and cultural interactions in the physical world.

Otherwise, there must be a way to translate the Universal Law in a way that can tell us “it’s right to persecute homosexuals” or “it’s fine to commit genocide of the Jews” or “it’s necessary to revere the Pope.” If that is not possible, then your personal knowledge of Universal Law is of no relevance to people leaving the Christian faith as the reasons are based on the rhetoric and ideology as it relates to laws of behavior in the real world.

iamthemob's avatar


With all do respect, and I’m sure this is going to sound more douchey than I intend – asking others to modify their behavior so the thread continues in a manner you enjoy is totally inappropriate. We are all equally privileged in the Social section, and if you don’t like the way the thread is going, ignore the sections that you find unenjoyable.

Summum's avatar

@SavoirFaire again you attempt to tell me I am in some way asking you to believe or except anything? Where is that from? I have never discounted any attempts by anyone in their quest for knowledge. What evidence can you give that others attempts at anything falsifys anything at all I claim? I do not understand your fetus with me and what makes you so threatened by me. I know human nature and everytime I make a comment you have to make a comment in response to what I say. Please take your insecurities elsewhere and enjoy life instead of finding fault in anothers knowledge. I humbly ask for the patience of those in the thread and appologize for me acknowledging an attempt to discredit my statements. I will let this suffice and will not respond here again. If anyone has a question or wants to talk IM me. Thanks

absalom's avatar


I GA’d you for your use of imbroglio. Damn…

iamthemob's avatar

@Summum – I feel like @SavoirFaire is asking for clarity, that’s really all. I can’t understand what it is that you say you know…it’s all fairly vague.

What is it that you know…please…let us know…

Spreader's avatar

What you want out of life, because your associates affect not only what you are doing now but also your prospects for the future. Whether you will “become wise” or will “fare badly” depends on your choice of companions. The inspired proverb makes this point when it says: “He that is walking with wise persons will become wise, but he that is having dealings with the stupid ones will fare badly.” (Prov. 13:20) The need to be very selective in choosing companions, then, is obvious, is it not? True Christian who know what they want out of life. know that current world events mean that this present system of things with its hypocritical false religion, greedy commercialism and corrupt politics shortly now will be destroyed. So they wisely are building with a view to life in God’s righteous new order. They know that an eternity of tomorrows comes from remembering their Creator today, and, with a hope based on the promises of God, who cannot lie, they want to live a purposeful, happy life without end right here on this beautiful earth. Do you, too, want to embrace such a solid hope? Then respond to these words found in the Bible Deut. 30:19, 20.

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