I was raised to be the Good Christian Girl. My family went to church every week (sometimes more), celebrated all the religious holidays, gave me Christian-themed books and movies, and taught me to love Jesus with all my heart. For quite a long time, faith was important to me. I tried to make that fact apparent in the way I lived my life.
So, then, how could I lose the faith? How could I abandon the one thing that had created the foundation of my childhood? I suppose it was more of a gradual process that began around the age of 13, the age at which I started to form my own, contrasting opinions rather than simply regurgitating what adults were telling me. Things stopped adding up, and I found that I couldn’t blindly accept Biblical doctrine anymore. However, I held onto my deteriorating faith through high school and went through several periods of drawing close to God and then feeling far away again.
It was the changes that came after I graduated high school that have really seemed to put the nail in the faith coffin for me. A combination of my own contemplation and other people’s living witness of Christianity is what made having a faith impossible for me.
Why am I leaving Christianity, you ask?
Because its answers aren't good enough for me.
The Biblical doctrine and the responses people gave to defend it stopped making sense. Can God build a rock he can’t lift? Why do bad things happen to good people? How does a loving God who supposedly never gives up on his children have the heart to send them to hell for eternity--isn’t there a major contradiction there? The common answer to all of these questions always seemed to be, “We just can’t understand it with our mortal minds.” That’s an easy-out answer, and it stopped being enough for me. I refuse to put a foreclosure on my mental curiosity because I’m just a little human who can’t grasp the heavenly ways.
Because I don't have the time or energy for it.
I’m a full-time college student with a thriving social life and a variety of things that demand my mental attention. When I have 75 pages of textbook reading, I’m not going to read the Bible instead. When I have to force myself to keep my attention span through lectures all week, I’m not going to spend my precious Sunday evening sitting through a church service that doesn’t speak to me. Wrestling with questions of faith is mentally exhausting, and I need to save that energy for my academics.
Because it hurts to be shamed for who I am.
This is arguably my most painful and personal reason for leaving Christianity. I’ve had several spiritual figures call me a slut and a whore, and nothing anyone has said to me has driven me further from the faith than that. I want nothing to do with a religion that labels women with such hurtful, lasting insults. The clothes I wear, my manner of speech, my future aspirations, and my political ideology have all been attacked by the church. The criticism made me feel as though the Body of Christ (as Christians call it) would be better off without me.
Because I'm tired of the blatant ignorance and hypocrisy within Christian circles.
It always bothered me how quick so many Christians were to reject well-accepted science in favor of unsupported Bible stories. I grew weary of the general attitude of drinking the Kool-aid and refusing to question even the most outlandish Biblical claims. I became tired of Christians believing in love but then adopting lifestyles of hatred.
Because I can no longer defend it.
My personal values that I know to be true simply don’t align with the Bible (for example, I don’t believe it’s wrong to be gay or to have sex before marriage). There’s so much in the Bible that just doesn’t make sense no matter how far you twist it, and I started feeling like a hypocrite cherry-picking what to believe in, and not even being sure of that which I did choose. As the days passed by, I heard more convincing arguments against my faith than for it. It’s easier for me to defend the uncertainty of God than his existence at this point.
I will never look down upon those who choose lives of Christianity as long as they go about it respectfully. Some of my best friends and the kindest people I’ve ever met are believers. I’m happy it works for them. It just doesn’t seem to work out for me anymore.
Am I completely shutting myself off to ever becoming a Christian again? Certainly not. I’m trying to stay open to all my options. The very basis of my leaving the faith is because I can’t be certain of anything at all, not even my uncertainty. As of now, however, there seem to be irreconcilable differences between me and the faith, and I don’t understand how they could possibly change. It would take seeing the face of God himself for me to believe again. You never know.