I have had real and in-depth conversation with hundreds of people that have walked away from the church and the faith. There are many common themes. Here are a few.
- The group they initially came into the faith within or the church they joined after conversion was theologically unstable or only palpably Christian; generally liberal theology, religious emotionalism or signs and wonders or end of the world movements.
- Were never intellectually cultivated during their formative period, or were intellectually cultivated by philosophically, scientifically or theologically spurious resources. If the eventual implication of one’s present belief is that the Bible is not true, the thoughtful person will arrive at that conclusion eventually.
- Got into a mean church with angry people looking for someone to hit.
- Never really read or studied the Bible. Even if they read it, by their own admission, never really understood it, and might have assumed there wasn’t any clear message to understand.
- Never developed a real prayer and worship life.
- Their relationship with God was merely abstract or theoretical.
- Their relationship with God was completely dependant upon other people like friends, parents, or a marriage.
- Deep trauma in childhood was never dealt with and religion was used to surround or deflect from serious emotional suffering, but the gospel was merely of use in this regard as a pragmatic regulation of internal struggles.
- The relationship with the church was mainly to compensate for weaknesses in the stability of the family or to reduce intramarital conflict.
- There religious life was mainly found in being a member of the right group or holding to a set of special or uncommon beliefs that granted one a special status.
- Made moral decisions irreconcilable with the Christian Life so that the psychological conflict between the life lived and the faith professed was too great to bear.
- The spiritual life was destroyed by indulgence in drugs or alcohol.
- The church or religious leaders that one followed could not answer their intellectual, moral or spiritual concerns.
- Moral and spiritual failures of the clergy or church leadership ruins their pastoral image of God.
- Moral failures of one’s father, mother or primary source of care or spiritual nurture compromises the view of God as Father.
- The ethics of the Bible as thought to be irreconcilable with one’s personal ethics.
- The scientifically measurable claims of the Bible are thought to be irreconcilable with the co temporary findings of the sciences.
- Unable to overcome a general feeling of depression or anxiety.
- Just didn’t work for me.
- Married someone or began a relationship with someone that did not approve of or support their faith.
One thought on “Why people walk away from the faith, the reasons they give.”
The simplified and true reason people lose faith in Christ is found in the parable of the sower. Only those who come to Christ because of the love of God and new spiritual life by Christ will be able to withstand the forces of unbelief. God reveals his love to everyone but not many find it precious but rather an extension of this world. They do not realize how precious it is and that it did not come from themselves or from the world. Some do not give it a second thought. But to those who find it precious, they will cling to it and magnify it and with patience learn that true love is from God and that it comes to them through the work of his beloved son.