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Former Christians Reveal What Caused Them To Become Atheist

Even in the modern era, the Christian faith still plays a massive role in many people's lives by offering people a support network in their community and a sense of inner fulfillment; and, the institution of the church is still a thriving, money-making machine, so it's not going to be going away any time soon.

Whether you follow an organized religion or not, it can be fascinating to understand what it is that makes other people have such passionate belief in these institutions. However, one person sought to find out what it is that turns people away from these belief systems, by asking, "Christians turned atheists, what made you lose your faith?"

So, here are a collection of interesting, and thought-provoking reasons as to why some people lost their faith.

Stigmatizing Suicide

Unsplash | Ian Espinosa

"Going to Catholic school did it for me. They were teaching us things that contradicted what they had taught the year before and you couldn't really ask questions. If you did, the theology teacher would yell about that's what faith is for, don't question the bible.

"What really really made me disgusted was that the teachers were adamant that suicide sends your soul straight to hell because you took the life of one of god's creatures. A schoolmate had a father who took his life and the way they handled it was horrible and basically made mental health issues a nothing burger." — Paramisamigos

This person went on to write that three months after the above incident, their own brother took their own life and the teachers showed up to the visitation.

The Institution Of The Church

"The Church did it for me. When I started to understand that it was a business. For-profit and for power and for influence. When it started to become political. The final straw was when I started to see how much hypocrisy there is, by way of prejudice, and hate." — Kalipygia

A lot of people agreed with this idea, with people highlighting that the institution of the church has always been steeped in hypocrisy and generally shady doings.

A person's own individual sense of spirituality can be a much more rewarding and freeing expression of their connection with a "God" figure.

A Jefferson Quote

Instagram | da_vis_travel

"This quote from Jefferson:

"'Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear.'" — SocialShrunk

It is more than natural to question the existence of God, and why would a supposedly loving God damn you to Hell for thinking with the brain he gave you?

Demonizing Those With Disabilities

Instagram | iranhmk

"When a deacon told me that disability was an abomination of God and the disabled were a burden to us all and a mistake." — ireaditdoyou

Nobody is a mistake, and for a person to try and cover their clearly morally bankrupt and disgusting personal and political views with faux-religious justification is foul.

Reading Into Other Religious Origin Stories

Instagram | a.akendra

"Taking a mythology class in college and realizing all the different religions had similar origin stories of how earth and man were created and evolved, but the details differed based on the environment the people lived in and how far along they were technologically. Anything science couldn't explain was the will of a higher power.

"Not saying higher powers COULDN'T exist, just realized people are killing each other because theirs is the 'right God', but the people don't realize that for all intents and purposes, they are all following the similar lessons/stories." — cindylouwhovian

This person went on to claim that they feel there is a distinction between the idea of religion and its organized structure. This notion of spirituality is nothing new, and hints towards the wonderful idea that you can have your belief in a higher power, but not be beholden to a body that believes that the only way for you to show that belief is by giving money.

Religion Felt Like A Mental Illness

Unsplash | Camila Quintero Franco

"Yeah, I remember realizing that my OCD and Catholicism felt the same. God was supposed to help me, but all he did was give me more things to fear guilty about and more rituals to perform and obsess over. The more I learned to love myself and forgive myself for things that my OCD told me were wrong, the more I realized that prayer had done nothing for me except make me feel bad about myself. I also remember a certain point when I stopped feeling bad about all my sins.

"I also remember going to confession and realizing I had already forgiven myself for all the things I had done wrong. It felt odd that self-forgiveness was antithetical to Catholicism. If I had forgiven myself, why was I telling a priest I felt bad about these things I had done?" — drinkallthecoffee


Instagram | desmond_bannon_and_sons

"Having my wife die suddenly at 47 of a heart attack." — ccrawsh

Seeing those we love die, in particular, if they are far too young, can be an event that rocks a lot of people's faith. These sorts of tragic events lead to the age-old question, "If God is supposed to be loving, then how come he lets such bad things happen?"

Being Aware Of The Things They Don't Agree With

Instagram | onamissiontolove

"I'm Roman Catholic, I try and keep an open mind about other religions and don't think other religions aren't real, but I just can't stand when they say all other religions are fake. And then, religion truly sometimes will have some effect on political opinion. I feel like that homosexuals shouldn't be ostracised, I'm not saying all Catholics think homosexuals are wrong, but it's pretty f*cked up when it's full-on hate.

"As well as the pedophilia going on in the catholic church, kids being molested? Doesn't seem very nice. I think there may be something higher out there, but it's pretty f**ked up in some ways the Catholic religion. Also, ( not looking for a political debate, don't downvote me. ) the Catholic church doesn't promote women's rights, I'm all for babies, I love them, but It's a women's body, and sometimes it can threaten the mothers life or the baby will be born into poverty, which it can go through suffering." — canadian_bacon93

It's good to be aware of and challenge the things that you don't agree with in your religion.

Religion Simply Didn't Make Them Feel Happy

Instagram | eveliina_ajatuksia

"I was in a hard time for me and I started praying, attending Catholic activities and doing lots of other things like these. I wasn't feeling better. Years after I gave up doing these things and started taking care of me by myself and now I'm happy. So the faith gradually went away. I'm not fully an atheist tho, I may be an agnostic but I'm not sure." — Reyonouru

If your faith isn't providing you with the sense of self-fulfillment and inner happiness that so many religious figures claim that it should, then you should look elsewhere to find what truly enriches your soul.

Realising The Evidence Against It

Instagram | doctor.jake

"Was heavily indoctrinated with young-earth creationism as a child. Stopped believing in the literal truth of the Bible in college when confronted with extensive evidence to the contrary. Was still very religious, with faith in the moral truth of the Bible. Got engaged to a conservative Christian in medical school, it ended badly.

"Realized after the fact that Christianity did nothing to prevent the emotional abuse I had suffered by the hands of my mother growing up and my ex as an adult. In fact, faith actively facilitated it in many ways. Hence, not a reliable source of moral truth, too subject to personal interpretation. Put faith on hold. A year later, realized I was happier not going to church." — kdawg0707

Thinking About Others

Instagram |

"I just started thinking 'How did I happen to be born in the right religion' and 'The believers of other religions feel the same way I do when praying'. Also I happened to read about cargo cults, then I thought to my self 'Wouldn't some people on a desert want to feel special? Wouldn't they want to be the chosen people of God?'.

"Also I realized that they are basically forcing you to believe something with no evidence or else you will suffer for the rest of eternity and that was pretty much when I stopped believing. The funny thing is that I still attended Sunday school when I was slowly turning away from religion. After reading online about other people's experiences I'm very glad everyone was Ok with me changing my belief and we're still hanging out." — steve012983

It is good that the people you were friends with before were able to see that people can have different beliefs and still be friends.

Not Allowing People To Hang Out With People Outside Of The Church

Instagram | sdimbour

"Every time I would tell anyone in the church about my suicidal thoughts and anxiety I would always hear 'just keep praying on it, God will rescue you soon'. This in addition to being taught not to hang out with 'non-believers' too much made me question everything. If a belief system won't let you hang out with those outside of said belief because they may sway you otherwise, it's very likely not a solid belief. My family still has no idea that I went to therapy last year or that I've lost my faith. I've stopped believing in something that's supposed to make me happy and I'm the happiest I've been in years." — Programmer-Boi

Not being allowed to hang out with people outside of your religion is where religions start to sound a little more like a cult.

Money Money Money

Instagram | pradaandprozac

"When I realized churches are just tax-exempt, time-wasting, money-sucking buildings where you pay for people to judge and disapprove of you" — jslegacy85

A lot of people go to church to find a community of caring people. However, it does beg the question as to why the church continues to exploit that community spirit for monetary gain — all while being tax-exempt.

Going Against Medication

Instagram | naomi_chronicillnesswarrior

"My friend is married to a devote Catholic and he's against meds too. She suffers really badly from anxiety and her wanting, needing, medication is a source of trouble between them. She considers taking them behind his back but is afraid that would create even more strife if he found out.

"And I keep asking her, so if you become diabetic you can't take insulin? Bc to me, mental health is the same concept. Your body can't regulate hormones. You need outside help. And, honestly, I don't think a loving God would condemn a person for trying to prevent suicide or murder just bc a church told you drugs are bad." — not_mr_hunnybunny

I do not believe that this is actually a catholic teaching, so this is more likely the husband's own personal religious belief.

Loving Thy Neighbor


"I was 13 or so, asked my folks why God would keep the wonderful little old Jewish lady next door out of heaven, even though she believed everything about him except for the Jesus part and was nicer than a lot of the grumpy jerks at Church.

"They had no answer. Why X person gets to go to Confession and get into heaven instead of sweet old Evey stumped them. They immediately stopped making me go to church with them, my brothers followed soon after and not even my parents lasted much more than a year or two after that (they'll call themselves Catholic till their dying days tho lol)" — aintscurrdscars

It is nice that this person's family didn't forcefully impose their beliefs on their child. Your beliefs should be just that, yours, and having them imposed on you takes away that core idea.

Church And State

James Barr | Unsplash

"Two years ago on Mother's Day, in the lead-up to the 2016 election, I attended mass with my family and saw in the bulletin a rather lengthy piece from the diocese about supporting the candidates who align with church doctrine. It spelled out quite frankly that marriage equality, stem cell research and abortion were all INHERENTLY EVIL and those who supported them in any way were embracing that INHERENT EVIL.

"Now, I've always known the church's politics were much more conservative than my own, but I'd never really explored what that meant to me. But as I sat there reading that bulletin, on Mother's Day, sitting beside my gay 17-year-old son and knowing he might read it too, I suddenly felt sick. Hateful. Complicit." — delphine1041

It makes me feel sick also when I see morally-bankrupt religious figures using their undeserved weight to sway political opinion. This sort of thing happens a lot, and religious figures should be ashamed of themselves for this practice.

Subjugation Of Women

Instagram | st.marysoratory_wausau

"My mother is very religious and, while we have our disagreements, she's a good Christian [...] When I was 16, the man in charge of my Sunday school group was INCREDIBLY boring. I hated going. I figured that, if I had to go to this thing, I at least wanted to feel like I was learning something, so I asked my mom if she'd teach the Sunday school. She was thrilled that I wanted that, so she asked if she could.

"They said no. She was a woman. Some of the 14 to 16-year-old boys in that class were church members (you can join around 14) and therefore considered 'men.' Women can't teach men, only children." — snowlover324

Any institution that discriminates against someone because of their gender should be treated with skepticism.

The Existence Of Suffering

Instagram | s_e_z_a_a_

"I thought about it and I couldn't fathom an 'all-powerful God' allowing such terrible things to happen in the world." — JGills17

As mentioned previously, this is a common argument used against the existence of God and frequently comes up in debate. Religious figures devote a lot of time to working out counters to this argument, with one of the main being that God will not rob us of free will, which discounts all so-called man-made suffering.

Original Sin

Instagram | greaterpurpose4god.vd

"The fact that newborn babies are born with sins. When I gave birth I looked at my baby so innocent and pure and called bs on that." — liveby95

Reading The Bible


"Then it was gradual. First I did not believe that the god in the Bible was good and created my own personal god. Then I realized that I was making up a god and started to question if everyone else was doing the same. That's when I started questioning, but felt guilty about it and had conversations with god-like 'You cannot be angry that I am questioning. If you wanted me to believe you shouldn't have left all of these gaps and contradictions.' Eventually, I became an atheist." — reddit_yin

The contradictions, along with the general lack of substantial evidence for most things written in the Bible were among the first things that led me to leave my own faith far behind. Oh, and the rampant fear-mongering, greed, and hate speech that I saw a lot of religious figures displaying in my community were the cherry on the cake.