Posts tagged ‘beliefs’
Kieran Bennett recently completed his series on why Christians de-convert. To answer this question, he considered 94 of the 117 de-conversion stories he read on one of the largest archives of de-conversion stories on the internet.
Here is what he found:
- Dissatisfaction with the answers to simple questions proffered by the religion was the most common reason cited for de-conversion amongst the sample (14.89%).
- The realisation that religious dogma contradicted observable reality was
the second mostan equally common reason for de-conversion cited within the sample (also at 14.89%).
- 12.76% of the de-converted Christians in the sample spoke about realising the contradictions within the dogma itself.
- For 10.63% of people in the sample, reading the bible was significant in ending their faith.
- Only 8.51% of people in the sample attributed their de-conversion to the hypocrisy of the church.
- In another 8.51% of the de-conversion stories, people tried to speak to god and they now credit god’s lack of an answer for their de-conversion
- And finally, stumbling across the realisation that many religions were just like theirs caused deep doubts for 8.5% of the sample he read…
There’s an interesting discussion taking place on one of our threads relating to whether or not “de-converts” were ever really ever converted in the first place.
… if people were asking questions and not finding their own answers through bible studies and research, how could they have “de-converted”? What did they de-convert from? Uncertainty? Looks to me like they didn’t convert in the first place. I’ve read a few dozen “de-conversion” stories and I have yet to read one where they remembered to include their initial “conversion experience”. - Jim Jordon
In my first installment of the series “Why do Christians de-convert?”, Why d-C? (1) Answer the damn question Mr. Priest!, I discused the fact that dissatisfaction with the answers to simple questions proffered by the religion was the most common reason cited for de-conversion amongst the sample of the 117 de-conversion stories I read.
But it’s not just questions about dinosaurs, or the world outside the religious paradigm that can provoke doubt. Many de-converted Christians spoke about realising the contradictions within the dogma itself. De-conversion stories that spoke of a realisation that the religious dogma was internally incoherent amounts to 12.76% of the sample. The most common cause of these doubts appeared to be when the religious dogma contradicted “religious” values (the reason for using scare quotes here will become apparent later).
This example shows conflict between a child’s own belief they have done nothing wrong (sin requires wrongful action), and the idea of original sin:
“When a boy 10 years old in Catholic school Priest pointed at the Cross and said “You put him there. He died for your sins,” I did not accept that statement. I was not old enough to have sinned!”…
We have spent a considerable time on this blog, addressing Biblical myths. HeIsSailing wrote on several myths of the Bible including the Leviathan, the creation story, the tower of Babel, and the origins of languages. I compiled an entry on the Exodus. Richard recently wrote on the Apocalypse. However, I believe one of the greatest myths of the Bible is the existence of the creature we call the devil.
On his personal blog, Gary has a post entitled The Grand Myth of Lucifer in which he describes in detail what the Bible says, or what most evangelicals believe the Bible says, about this mythical creature. In the post, he describes the origins of Lucifer, the part he played in the fall of Adam and Eve, the crucifixion of Jesus, and what he knows of his own destiny.
Even as a Christian, I began to have my doubts in the existence of the devil. I struggled with the story of Job in which Job was a pawn in a great cosmic battle between God and the devil. If God was the great omnipotent being and the devil was simply a fallen angel, why did it seem as if they were somehow on equal terms? What was the devil doing in heaven approaching God?…
Often enough, Christians pop in to the de-conversion blog and proceed to enlighten us as to the “real reason” why we left the faith. Sometimes, we shoot down their reasons, thus inconveniencing them with the need to come up with others. So we de-cons have compiled a list from which one can simply select.
We hope this will save wear and tear (on the brain) and time (running to the pastor to hear what to think next) for intellectually indolent, but judgmentally industrious christians (using the lower-case ‘c’ for lower case minds).
So without further ado, we hereby present:
Convenient categories into which Christians can shoehorn or pigeonhole ex-Christians:
1. You’re looking for an excuse not to believe.
2. You’re being manipulated by Satan.
3. You’re indulging your desire to live hedonistically.
4. You want instant gratification.
5. You’re not thinking about the future/afterlife.
6. You never had a true personal relationship with Jesus.
7. You never experienced/received the Holy Spirit.
8. You were “religious” but not born again. (OR, in better church jargon) You had a “said faith, not a real faith.”
9. Your decision is based on other Christians’ behavior, not on Jesus’ teachings.
10. You were hurt by your pastor/other Christians…
To early humans, the sun rose from its hollow in the ground, passed over their head, before submerging in the other direction into the earth. The wind and rain randomly gathered then passed. Flowers and vegetables magically emerged from the soil every spring bringing with it nurturing life and sustenance. All of this was tempered by the random terror of earthquakes, volcanoes and hurricanes.
Not only were there unknown unknowns like nuclear physics, but there were lots of known unknowns such as basic anatomy, circulation and respiratory functions. In fact, the ins and outs of animal and human reproduction, the miracle of life itself, was a great mystery.
A few years ago, I read a book by the anthropologist Pascal Boyer entitled ‘Religion Explained.’ I don’t think it would be too much of a hyperbole to say that this was a turning point in my life. My intent on reading the book was to learn more how ‘other’ religions emerged. However, as a result of reading this book, the can of worms which was probably open before I started, spilled out all over the floor…