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Why Are People Leaving Christianity?  [message #78505] Tue, 28 March 2023 22:22 Go to previous message
Bensiamin is currently offline  Bensiamin

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Registered: July 2019
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Last December a gay Christian writer named Brandon Flanery, published an article on the Baptist Global News site about why people are leaving Christianity. This wasn't just some opinion piece. Rather, it was based on good research and a well thought out and constructed survey. He reached out through varying social media platforms and received 1,200 responses.

We can fairly assume that the majority of respondents was under 40... maybe under 30.

Be that as it may, the survey asked several questions of people who had left Christianity behind, including:
  • What initiated the change (the first instance where things began to shift)?
  • What was the final reason you made the change (the straw that broke the camel's back)?
  • What does your current existential framework offer you that your previous one did not?

The results of his research are genuinely fascinating and should provide a wake-up call to the Christian church, because this is not limited to conservative Christianity.
Here are the top reasons people gave for abandoning Christianity:

Reason 1
Flanery's research revealed that the number one reason people walk away from Christianity is the church's behavior and attitudes toward the LGBTQ+ community. One in four respondents listed this as their final reason for abandoning Christianity.

Reason 2
The second-most common reason that people gave for walking away from Christianity was "The behavior of believers."

Reason 3
The third most common response in Flanery's research was the uncomfortable relationship that seems to exist between church and politics.

Reason 4
The fourth most common response in the research were issues with church leadership.

The Rest of the Reasons
Rounding out the top ten most common reasons people gave for leaving Christianity were: things not making sense on an intellectual level, the church's handling of mental health issues, a desire for independence, the treatment of women in the church, problems with the Bible, and the church's disinterest in civil rights and social justice.


It should be striking (and encouraging!) to readers of this Forum how high anti-LGBTQ behavior and intolerance rated in these responses!

There have been many recent surveys on people departing Christianity, most noting the growth in Nones. However, this is the first I've seen that did a very deep dive on the drivers and motivators, and they are telling.

The other dimension that's telling is the breadth of denominations represented. This is not mainly disaffected Evangelicals as most would expect. Consider this data:


As I said above, reading Brandon's entire article is well worth it, and its written in a very accessible style. He also has a book coming out and does a lot of writing around faith and sexuality. If you want to check him out, go to BrandonFlanery.com.

In this article he also explores a few more important dimensions about making a decision to leave one's faith and what the consequences and challenges are. However, to get into those would make for too long a post for this Forum.

You can link to the article here.

[Updated on: Thu, 30 March 2023 14:45]

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