Recently I left Christianity.
While I have had some amazingly positive experiences in my twenty some years in Christianity, including moments where I truly experienced the love of God, shared true heart-warming fellowship with other Christians, and even times where I saw the Kingdom of God and believed it was worth everything I am and have, these experiences have been the rare exception.
Most of my experiences with Christianity have been negative and have led me to this simple conclusion…
Christianity is a highly segregated (internally and externally, doctrinally, racially and socio-economically), hypocritical, biblically illiterate, highly secular, abusive religious system.
Many people have recognized this and have promptly discarded their faith along with their involvement with Christianity. If you google “why I left Christianity” you will see what I am talking about.
I am a bit of an oddity in that while I have left Christianity, I continue to be a theist. I did not condemn spirituality and theism categorically because of their alleged ties to Christianity. I am an oddity among oddities because I do not adhere to some nebulous spirituality. I believe in a God that exists in three persons, in the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ) and the Holy Spirit. It was following this God that led me out of Christianity and I hope to continue following where He leads me.
I know people who have been deeply hurt by Christianity will be tempted to think that my statement that I have left Christianity is a semantics game, that I am going to end my post with an invitation to church, or that I am covertly defending Christianity. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I know people who have deeply invested in the Christian religious system will be tempted to think that my statement that I have left Christianity is a semantics game, that I am really still a Christian, or conversely that I am covertly attacking faith in Jesus Christ. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Many months ago I began beating around the bush with my “Why do we (Christians) believe…” series. In these posts I have questioned long-held tenants of Christianity as well as some of common and widespread practices of Christians.
(Sidenote: The topics I have covered and are available on this blog are:
Why do we believe…
- … that the Holy Spirit is something to be feared or suspicious of?
- …such wonky things about Satan?
- …that God is not a threat?
- …church attendance is about getting our needs met?
- ….that the church should be run like any other secular organization?
- …that women cannot lead in the church?
- …that Christians are not sinners?
- …dating is only appropriate if we are considering marriage…and in the concept of “The One?”
- …that banning homosexual marriages strengthens or protects Christian marriages?
- …such problematic things about Christian discipline?
- …that the U.S.A. is a “Christian” nation?
The topics I am may cover in the future are….
Why do we believe…
- …local missions trips are effective?
- …that shallow positive responses are what God calls for in all circumstances?
- …that co-dependency is a Christian virtue?
- …that youth ministry will sufficiently disciple Christian youth?
- …that the local church exists to benefit Christians?
- …that there is no ethical dilemma with Christians serving in the military?
- …in complementarianism?
- …such horrible things about immigration?
- …that burnout in ministry is to be expected and that is okay?
Please send me a message if you want me to write on one of these, or something else, and I’ll try to make it more of a priority.)
However, these posts are more like addressing the symptoms rather than treating the disease. While these posts may have pointed to the existence of a problem; these posts have not addressed the root issues.
In a number of future posts I want to start calling out the disease and address the root issues in Christianity. I want to discuss several core aspects of Christianity that are fundamentally wrong:
- I want to discuss how Christians have misused and abused scripture, why this is wrong, why we have done so and suggest an alternative approach.
- I want to discuss how Christianity is highly secular, and suggest how this might be rectified.
- I want to discuss how, where actually present, Christian spirituality is often dysfunctional, self-destructive and/or abusive and suggest an alternative paradigm for understanding a relationship with Jesus Christ.
- I want to discuss how Christian communities are often so preoccupied with excluding and vilifying other people, including both non-Christians and other Christians, that they cannot bring people into a relationship with Jesus Christ or be the family God always intended.
These issues have been cancerous tumors poisoning the Body of Christ, at times for centuries.
I will outright say what Francis Chan alludes to and Mark Driscoll and Joshua Harris disagree with: Christianity, at least in the West, is beyond hope. Tweaking Christianity more is not the answer and I do not believe the solution can be found in reform or revival.
People who honestly desire to follow Jesus Christ need to start anew and dramatically re-think what it means to follow Jesus, what it means for us to gather together, and what we should and should not be doing in light of what we believe.
This is more than a semantics game for me.
In these posts, I realize that I am using terminology that means many things to many people.
I know some Christians who are content in your faith and your faith communities will disagree with my estimation of Christianity. Please understand that if your experience of Christianity is very different from mine (for the better), I want you to do two things. First, praise God. You are one of the lucky few. Second, please read the rest of these posts with the understanding that when I say “Christianity,” I am signaling back to my definition of Christianity, not your experience.
However, if you identify with my experience a lot or you cannot reasonably resolve some of the fundamental tensions I am going to bring up in regards to Christianity, I invite you to consider re-examining your faith and how you understand Christianity. You may need to leave Christianity as well. If, at the end of the day, my definition of Christianity rings true for you, why wouldn’t you leave?
For those of you who have had a similar experience of Christianity and have left faith or faith in Jesus behind, I would ask that you read these posts as well. Feel free to share your experiences in comments or in an email.
However, if you identify with my experience a lot or you cannot explain some of the experiences of I have had of the love and power of Jesus Christ, I invite you to consider re-examining your stance on God and Jesus. It is possible to known, be loved by and follow Jesus and not have anything to do with Christianity.
My first post will begin with the Bible…
I can understand your decision and hope your life is full and you enjoy the rest of it from whatever you are searching for!
Mitch, I am seeking to know the power and love of Jesus more. I too hope I enjoy the rest of my life and it is full of Jesus.
I am definitely interested in what you have to say. even though I don’t consider myself *outside* of Christianity. Still, I might relate to some of your feelings and experiences of Christianity/”the church.” My husband and I recently left a church that I perceived to be VERY controlling, abusive, divisive, heartless/cold, rigid, exclusive, uncompassionate, and downright horrid. Of course, as I said, these are *my* perceptions and may not be objective… but I can tell you that I had never had such a horrible experience with church before that point. I’m so glad we’re gone.
I’m glad you and your husband left as well. While I think we should all strive to be humble with our experience and perception versus reality, it does not sound like this was an impulsive or rash decision on your part. Sometimes we just know in the Spirit when a church is sick and we need to get out. Hopefully you’ll find a lot to think and reflect about as I continue writing.
P.S. Nanaimo bars?
Yes, it was a VERY difficult decision made over a LONG period of time and many tears.
Nanaimo bars! We’re the party? They will be there!
I’m thinking we should have a Canada themed party and watch Canadian bacon with any resident Canadians.
Are you leaving Christianity or Evangelicalism?
It’s tempting to suggest that I am just leaving Evangelicalism, or am just *another* person who has finally left that stream of Christianity. While Evangelical Christians who think their understanding of faith = Christianity will certainly think I am no longer a Christian, I do not think this is the case. My critiques of Christianity go back farther and deeper than the Evangelical movement.
But I could just be prideful and think that I am special when in fact I am finally catching on to what people have already been recognizing for decades.
When I roll out the rest of my posts, you tell me.
My Friend Stu, and others, have remarked that a hallmark of Evangelicalism is the tendency to impose their version of Christianity on everyone else. So yes, you would be out of the fold of course then.
we are told so many lies by the media and people. One of these lies are about the religion i belong to islam which is the most misunderstood and lied against religion in the world yet the fastest growing by far.
This religion is founded on believing in One God, or Allah as He is called in arabic. The God of all the messengers and prophets from adam, Noah, Abraham, David, Solomon, Joseph, Moses, Zacharias, John the baptist, Jesus and finally Muhammad ( to mention a few) they were all sent to their people and was commanded by God to forward one message which is also the purpose of our creation: To testify that there is nothing worthy of worship except God alone. When the people didn’t believe in them they were given miracles and these miracles were challenging what the people was known to be advanced or exceptional in at that time for example Jesus could heal the blind and ressurect the dead and this was challening his people who were known to be exceptional in the field of medicine and Moses stick turned into a snake and he had many miracles that challenged his peoplewho were known to have mastered the art of magic. The final messenger Muhammad was sent not ony to a group of people but to the whole of mankind and therefore his miracle that he was given has to be there until now since he was the last and it still is. Because people will never believe until they have proof and that is only just to give them. His miracle is the book he was given the quran, which is the uncreated spoken word of God given to Muhammad as a revalation through the angel Gabriel who by the way brought all the scriptures to the prophets (i.e the original gospels to Jesus, not the one there is today which is corrupted and have many different versions, the torah to Moses etc..) by this quran God was challenging what the people of that time was best at which was the arabic language. It has many many many miracles like for instance by giving it to an ilitterate man and this is not the only miracle. It has never been changed not even a letter! And there are many scientific facts in it ( i.e the big bang theory, the forming of the feutus in the mothers womb, the mountains holding the earth together, many facts that human beings recently discovered in the 21st century with the help of advanced technology)and it is a guidance for those who believe.
Islam literary means to submit to the will of God and a muslim means one who submits to the will of God.
Here is a short chapter in he quran that describes God;
In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Say: He is Allah, the One and Only! Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not nor is He begotten. And there is none like unto Him.
Having a personal relationship with God without any intermediaries between you and God. In islam you have a direct connection with God anytime you want you can ask Him for anything and in prayer you are talking t Him directly and when you read the quran He is talking to you through His words.
“And behold Allah will say: “O Jesus the son of Mary Did you say to men, Worship me and my mother as gods besides Allah He will say-“Glory to you I could never say what I had no right (to say’)” (Soorah Al-Maa’idah-5:116)
“And your Lord says:”Call on Me and I will answer your(prayer).”(Soorsh Mu’min 40:60)
“You alone do we worship and from you alone do we seek help”.
If you are more interested in knowing who the Creator and God Almighty isthen please read this beautiful summary;
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) described the greatness of Allaah in the most beautiful way:
“He is controlling the affairs of all the kingdoms. He commands and prohibits, creates and gives provision, and gives death and gives life. He raises and lowers peoples status, alternates night and day, gives days (good and not so good) to men by turns, and causes nations to rise and fall, so that one nation vanishes and another emerges. His command and decree are carried out throughout the heavens and on earth, above it and below it, in the oceans and in the air. He has knowledge of all things and knows the number of all things. He hears all voices, and does not mistake one for another; He hears them all, in all the different languages and with all their varied requests and pleas. No voice distracts Him from hearing another, He does not confuse their requests, and He never tires of hearing the pleas of those in need. He sees all that is visible, even the walk of a black ant across a solid rock in the darkest night.
The unseen is visible to Him, and secrets are known to Him Whosoever is in the heavens and on earth begs of Him (its needs from Him). Every day He has a matter to bring forth (such as giving honour to some, disgrace to some, life to some, death to some, etc.)! [al-Rahmaan 55:29 interpretation of the meaning]. He forgives sins, eases worries, relieves distress, helps the defeated person back on his feet, makes the poor rich, guides the one who is astray and confused, fulfils the needs of the desperate, feeds the hungry, clothes the naked, conceals faults, and calms fears. He raises the status of some and lowers the status of others Even if all the inhabitants of heaven and earth, the first and the last of them, mankind and jinn alike, were to be as pious as the most pious among them, this would not increase His sovereignty in the slightest; if they all, the first and the last of them, mankind and jinn alike, were to be as rebellious as the most rebellious among them, this would not decrease His sovereignty in the slightest. If everything in heaven and on earth, the first and the last of them, mankind and jinn, living and dead, animate and inanimate, were to stand in one place and ask of Him, and He were to give them everything that they asked for, thiswould not decrease what He has by even an atoms weight.
He is the First, before Whom there is nothing, and the Last, after Whom there is nothing, may He be blessed and exalted. He is the Most deserving of being remembered, the Most deserving of being worshipped, the Most deserving of being thanked. He is the Most Compassionate of kings, the Most Generous of those who are asked He is the King Who has no partner or associate, the One who has no rival, the Self-Sufficient Master, Who has no son, the Most High, and there is none like unto Him. Everything will perish save His face [al-Qasas 28:88 interpretation of the meaning], and everything will vanish except His sovereignty He will not be obeyed except by His permission, and He will not be disobeyed except with His knowledge. He is obeyed, so He shows His appreciation, and He is disobeyed, so he forgives. Every punishment on His part is justice, and every blessing from Him is a favour. He is the closest of witnesses and the nearest of protectors. He seizes people by their forelocks, records their deeds and decrees the appointed time for all things. Hearts conceal nothing from Him, for secrets are known to Him. His gift is a word and His punishment is a word: Verily, His Command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it, Be! and it is. [Yaa-Seen 36:82 interpretation of the meaning]. (Adapted from al-Waabil al-Sayib, p. 125)”
Please write back and tell me what you think or if you have any comments or questions feel free to ask! Take care 🙂
Thank you for posting this.what about the parts of quran that talk about war i.e jihad?Is it it true that quran teaches that when you kill in the name of Allah you will be rewarded with virgins in heaven?Kindly e-mail me the answer
I know what you mean. So much of modern Christianity is just a watered down version of what Constantine instituted. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, google Constantine.
I also left Christianity. I am more into Messianism or the Hebrew Roots Movement. I got tired of the contradictions the modern church had with the Bible, and I was tired of being treated like garbage whenever I’d call people out on it.
I try not to be too preachy, though. In a country where the Bible is legal, in our language, and free, I say “let them read.” Luke 16 goes into more detail on this sentiment. Read it–it’s great to quote back to anyone who says “Christians” HAVE TO “evangelize.” Shalom. 🙂
Hey thanks for stopping by and droppnig off yoru comments. I’m sure we would have a lot to talk about over coffee. Have a great day and sorry I got back to this late.
Hi! How can one have a personal relationship with Jesus? I’ve grown up in a quite religious setting, and have had quite some experiences of a love never found otherwhere else in this world, and I think Jesus is the answer. Now I feel so EMPTY, heartless. Was I ever His sheep? If I was, I have wandered far away from the shepheerd, but is the wandering away proof in itself that I never was His sheep? It is confusing. He found me some weeks ago again and that day I was led to read the bible verse about that Jesus is looking for the lost. He asked me if I was willing to follow Him and I remember my heart said no. Why? Later I said yes and experienced to walk in the light. Is that yes enough, does it count? But then I am depending on myself? And everything with salvation is of grace they say? I sinned and have fallen away afterwards it seems. I do need someone to take the wheel and I think with my mind that that is Jesus, either I can believe it or not with my heart any longer. I think I want to say yes or am willing that I would say yes. Obviously, my heart is evil and can’t say yes to Him by its nature, I can’t change myself because I am in nature evil I suppose. It doesn’t depend on me this whole salvation, but it is a gift. The love to say yes to love is also a gift? So do I still have a choice? I am loveless it seems. I cry out for Jesus but nothing happens. He can find me if He wants me. I am afraid He doesn’t want me. How can I be saved if God don’t want me? It seems that He doesn’t, because if I was His sheep I suppose He would find me and keep me by His power alone, and never let me go or let me become so wicked as I am. I would have loved Him by obeying Him and He would have caused me obeying Him? Free will? I am not so sure about that, wouldn’t that being taking the honour for salvation in own hands? It is all predestined anyways? I find life so meaningless with this :S
After 24 years of experiencing hardships, hurt and rejection on the road of Christianity, I do not think it is wrong to throw the towel in and walk away. Knowing the Word of God made me see what Christians today actually are, and now I understand why Christians will never unite. They have no idea whatsoever what the truth is all about, and are self-righteous fools pretending to be something they are not, and can never be. As a poor man, I can see that the poor have no place or voice in Christianity. Christianity is no longer a calling, it has become a money making gambling house for the rich and the bitch. It is the most confusing and divided religion of all religions, that even the devil and his demons are more united than what the Christians are. It was because of Pastors that I lost everything, yes even my family, and all I was told by these demonic Pastors, that I must forgive and forget. What a circus Christianity has become, the clowns are the Preachers and the ring master is the devil, with the audience being fools caught in a cage of falsehood. In a way the Bible may be true, but Christianity today is the biggest lie that has ever existed in this world. What good are the Christians doing today? They preach and teach, and when they are faced with the truth, with tails between their legs they run and hide. The fact is, they are the thieves, the liars and the murderes, and this I can prove.
Over the past few years I have come to reject Christianity and all other religions. However, I am still a theist. When I rejected Christianity, I also rejected the god associated with it, even though Christianity has shaped a huge part of my perception of God. How is it that you still believe in the Trinity of a religion that you have left behind? How do you develope an understanding of God with no religious plaform? How do you Jesus and the Holy Spirit are the truth, and not a fabrication deceitful religion?