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March 4

February 11, 2023

We recently asked Black members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us the reason they left Christianity. Here are their insightful replies:

Warning: This post contains mentions of sexual abuse.

1."First, I never wanted to go to church, it was something my mom made us do. Second, homophobia. The last time I went to a church it was a lovely and inspirational sermon until the pastor started disparaging gays for absolutely no reason. Even at my grandfather's funeral, the pastor there managed to blame gays for the state of the world. Just random unnecessary hate."

—justchillman

2."When I was younger, the pastor at the family church was allegedly involved in a scandal with a child and no one would do anything because he was a 'man of God.' I was instantly turned off of organized religion after finding out. That was the catalyst and the more I grew up and did some soul-searching, the more I realized I could not believe in a God that would protect a monster over a child (amongst other things as well)."

—sdhendrix182

3."I stopped believing because my ancestors were forced to convert to what their masters believed. Plus, we pray so much and are some of the hardest believers, yet our lot in life remains the same generation after generation. I didn't understand why we were suffering so much even though we went to church and prayed so much. So, I stopped believing, stop praying and start doing and became very successful."

—Anonymous

4."The amount of gossiping that went on in my church was astounding to me, even as a child. I always felt I had to be perfect or else I would give everyone else even more to talk crap about. The irony of the 'judge not lest ye be judged' Christians being the judgiest people I ever met was lost on them, but it made me really evaluate if I actually believed or if it was just putting on a show so I could fit in. I found out it was the latter."

—afinallullaby

5."I was raised Catholic but as I got older, I questioned the church and its teachings more and more. A lot of it started to not make sense. When I discovered that I was nonbinary and pansexual, the church responded by forcing conversion therapy on me rather than accepting me. A God that supposedly loves everyone is not going to force that sort of hell on anyone."

—Anonymous

6."I am a 60-year-old heterosexual African male and was increasingly bothered by the comments and jokes about gay people from the pulpit. I was a devoted and tithing member of a non-denomination mega church. My childhood years were spent every Sunday in a southern Baptist church. But I began to feel more and more uncomfortable with rhetoric that was justifying why gay lifestyles were 'unacceptable.' In short, I asked myself is this what Jesus would say or do with anyone or any group? My answer was no. This caused me to have enough doubt to question a number of teachings and stories in the bible that I was now able to look at with open eyes." "I began to research the origins of religion and came to understand it is all about a belief, not facts. I then asked a basic question is there any area in my life where I operate on belief and not fact? With that in mind, I had to get honest and admit, I have no concrete data or facts that clearly show me there is a God. The idea of attributing what we don't understand to a God is no longer acceptable to me."

—Anonymous

7."I grew up in church with pastors on both sides of my family. It's overwhelming as a child to be told all the things you can't do because it's a sin and you'll go to hell. Don't get me started on the teachings about relationships and sex. I wasn't allowed to date until I was 17 and once I turned 17, I was suddenly supposed to be okay with openly dating without feeling conviction. Religion played a huge part in me not dating or having significant relationships until my mid-20s and even then it still felt wrong." "Additionally, end-time prophesy teachings (the rapture) were genuinely traumatizing. I was under constant fear that the rapture would happen and I would be left behind for some unknown sin I committed. I now have a child of my own and I REFUSE to put any sort of religious teachings in her head and I've told my parents that I will decide what's appropriate for her until she's old enough to make her own decision about religion."

—Anonymous

8."At a very young age, I was forced to attend church. It felt like a cult. I was cognizant of the so-called church body I convened with. All I did was look and listen. Attending church continued until I was in my early teenage years. After all that I have experienced and been through I made a conscious decision that I did NOT want to be in the same place with any of those people which I will never do."

—Anonymous

9."I didn’t grow up in church or a religious household, I was just told God exists, sin exists, and went to a few summer bible schools. As an adult, I wanted to grow my faith. The more I started reading, researching, and contemplating, I called bullcrap. It took about three years of combing through Christianity, Black Hebrew Israelites, and belief in God with no attached religious text before I settled on atheism. Honestly, I never felt more at peace or free."

—Anonymous

10."As I got older, a lot of things in the bible just didn't add up (no mention of dinosaurs, no one could give an exact timeline of the events in the bible, the fact that the whole origins of the bible itself are a matter of debate). Not to mention that Christianity was used to keep slaves in check. I definitely have been persecuted for my stance, but I will never go back to any religion."

—Anonymous

11."I did research on the history of the church and became very knowledgeable on all its past. Once I understood the roots of the faith, it became impossible for me to logically subscribe to it."

—Anonymous

12."I grew up in a Baptist church in a religious extended family. My belief in some higher power diminished because of multiple reasons. Multiple friends of mine died in the same year and I just can't fathom how a higher power allows so much grief and hurt (at a personal level as well as across all of society). Mass shootings, violence, homelessness, assault, and so many heinous acts get explained away by free will, but why let people suffer if an all-powerful being could make it better? Modern Christianity is so far from the teaching of the bible. Looking at the mega-churches and the pastor and their lavish lifestyles, they're businesses."

—Anonymous

13."I was raised in the church and the older I get, the more it seems to me how religion is used just to control the less fortunate."

—Anonymous

14."I would say that actually reading the bible for myself without someone else's interpretation led me out of Christianity. Once I read it fully, I saw how humans created a God in their image depending on their circumstances and state of mind. While Christians will believe their God is going to save us from ourselves, the work of being better stewards of the Earth and each other falls on us. We must evolve into better humans."

—Anonymous

15.And "I was baptized at 12 and literally a year later I started to question my faith. So I read the bible in full. So many questions that many refuse to logically answer besides the usual 'Have faith.' I have not found anyone that can explain to me why God needed to kill all the animals except for the only two of own their kind on Noah’s ark when it was the humans who sinned. So many inconsistencies and not to mention man has touched the bible. What better way to control people than saying promises of heaven or being condemned to hell? I consider myself an agnostic atheist."

—Anonymous 15

Stories By Black People About The Turning Point That Made Them Leave Christianity (yahoo.com)

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