Guardian readers explain why they’re no longer Christians

December 4, 2022 • 1:30 pm

I doubt that many readers went to church today, but they will find good company in this Guardian article, inspired by the recent census showing that fewer than half of people in England and Wales are Christian. Secularism is on the rise (note, though: so is Islam in the UK), and the paper found four people willing to explain why they gave up their Christianity.

Click to read the heartening tales of deep-sixing superstition:

I’ll summarize the four people who spoke publicly (last names not given); their quotes are indented, and my take is flush left.

Diana, 44, a retail worker from Yorkshire:

“Losing my faith was a process of gradual disengagement,” she says. “At some point, I didn’t think that I, as a woman, was made to submit to a man. But the final straw was watching my father die of cancer and trying to do so without pain relief as it was ‘God’s will’, while waiting to be healed. I finally admitted to myself that I didn’t believe in a supernatural being, and couldn’t pretend any more.”

Horrible deaths of the innocent are really a God-killer. As I always say, theodicy is the Achilles heel of faith.

James, a programme manager from Birmingham:

“I was raised as a Christian: church every Sunday, C of E [Church of England] school, taught to say grace before dinner.

“At some point in my late teens the stuff that provided comfort, such as the idea of an omnipotent, omniscient god, suddenly started to feel more like a fairytale you tell kids to help them sleep, and posed questions. And then I thought: ‘If God knows exactly what I’m going to do, and lets it happen, then I no longer have a free will’,” the 44-year-old says.

Well, James, I have some bad news for you. . . . .

Pauline, 54, retired and lives in Bristol:

“I probably stopped calling myself a Christian in my 30s. I was brought up as a strict Roman Catholic with Irish parents. We always went to church on Sunday, and for most of my childhood it was a ritual that was nice and comforting,” she says.

But as she got older she began to have doubts. “I felt that if God made everyone in his image, then why were people who were gay so hated by the church? It felt as if they were saying: ‘Jesus loves everybody but only if they’re like us’. The church was peddling a form of hate, and it didn’t sit right with me.

“All of the hell and damnation stuff as well, plus the amount of money the Catholic church has, it led me to be totally disillusioned by the whole thing.”

Not surprising. I’m amazed that there are people who can think but also remain Catholic (e.g., Andrew Sullivan).

Stephen Hunsaker, raised as a Mormon:

“I had been very devout my entire life, but when lockdown happened and I just stepped back, that made me realise there was so much that I no longer identified with. I felt like I had to justify it at every turn and it was bringing me an immense amount of guilt and hurt,” Hunsaker says, explaining that he also felt alienated by some Christians’ treatment of minorities and LGBTQ+ people. “Religion is meant to help you be a better person, but I felt like it was holding me back.”

Hunsaker says leaving his faith was the hardest decision he ever made. “I was very fearful that my relationship with my family and friends would be affected – my world was so wrapped up in it. [But] it went better than I thought.

“Guilt is an incredibly powerful emotion,” he says. “But as I lived without religion and found other people in solidarity it allowed for me to figure out who I am. I feel a lot more at peace.”

He’s a gutsy guy, as Mormons who leave the church are virtual apostates, and are often shunned, though he apparently wasn’t.

I admire all these people: they are true “freethinkers.”  Imagine no religion!  And imagine the Guardian publishing the “confessions” of four atheists—I wouldn’t expect that even in a Leftist paper.

h/t: Nicole

13 thoughts on “Guardian readers explain why they’re no longer Christians

  1. I stopped being a Christian long ago, and converted to Frisbeeterianism. We believe that when you die, your soul goes up on the roof, and you can’t get it down.

  2. I don’t remember if I ever actually believed in God, but I do know that I rejected it completely when I was around eight in the 1960’s and the Gemini astronauts didn’t encounter Heaven. I guess I was born an empiricist! Even though not puncturing Heaven wasn’t a good reason to deny the existence of God—after all, maybe the Gemini capsules didn’t fly high enough—I never saw any reason since to believe such nonsense.

  3. Pursuant to the useless Guardian’s obsession with LBBT anything, the answers lean heavily in that direction. I don’t think the church’s disapproval of homosexuality is the Main reason for most people leaving the nonsense of the church. For gay people probably, but for the other 97% of the population, other reasons are responsible.

    The Guardian is a garbage rag written for aging, neurotic British female alcoholics and their science section is NEARLY as bad as their medicine coverage. “But their foreign affairs is OK” ???
    Nup. Read Israel/Palestine there – almost as bad as Al Manar (Hizballah TV in Lebanon).

    1. I used to comment in the Guardian and you could have a good debate e.g. about Brexit or the troubles of political parties. You got a better grasp of the issues if you considered other’s viewpoints.

      But then the comments became infested with people than not only couldn’t debate they wouldn’t debate preferring to denigrate the person rather than their competing ideas. The moderators became more and more restrictive and for some important topics no comments were allowed at all. So I cancelled my registration.

  4. Having been raised as an old-school Mormon of the fundie/survivalist stripe, my transition to atheism/humanism/naturalism/freeyourmindandyourasswillfollowism was and is a long and winding road ~ essentially the exact opposite of this site’s host’s (is that proper grammar? to quote my favorite writer… Yes. But I digest.). As the kids probably don’t say, I won’t yeet y’all with the deets, but suffice it that by age 14 I was a solid “7” on the Dawkins scale (rounding up from 6.999). I can honestly say I tried, read everything, prayed like crazy (tautology of the day), asked the hard questions, did my own research, etc etc ad nauseam…. haven’t heard a new argument for gods or indeed anything of a spiritual or supernatural nature (oxymoron of the day) in many years, and in retrospect have never heard a good one. The ongoing (my own mother would say eternal) repercussions of my rejection of LDS and all other theologies are non-trivial.

    1. Unlike most churches today, Mormonism still keeps hold of a believer’s lifestyle, with activities, committees, group studies, and charity work scattered throughout the week in hopes that it will be hard to separate the life you live from the doctrine you follow.

      On the other hand, Mormonism is one of the more obviously wrong religions. Best of luck dealing with the repercussions. I hope it works out.

      1. Thanks! I’m doing fine, just a bit estranged from much of my family. Happily all of my siblings are some shade of freethinker… mum went 0-4 in that regard (yes, only 4 kids, a poor showing by LDS standards… I have a friend who is the eldest of 21, and an aunt and uncle with 16).

        Christianity is absurd enough on its own, then along comes a literal convicted conman, serial philanderer, vile racist/misogynist/homophobic weirdo with a whole EXTRA helping of bullshit… peepstones in a tophat, urim and thummim, buried golden plates, phony translations of made-up languages, God told me to marry the neighbor’s 14-year-old daughter, on and on. Absolutely blows my mind that millions of people, including many friends and family members of mine, on the whole decent intelligent folks, believe this rubbish. Easily as silly and cultish as Scientology, in fact I’ve long thought old Hubbard was inspired in part by Smith.

  5. I think I still mainly thank the Internet and the Web for enabling so much sharing of genuine skepticism and reason, across so many areas and ages, in a way that had never previously been possible through human history.

    1. Absolutely. Miracles do not occur, but the internet comes close. Frankly I’m amazed that religion is still such a THING. If I’d been around in 1859 I’d’ve seen the publication of Darwin’s theory as god’s death knell, and yet here we are.

      1. Money is the ventilator keeping the brain-dead body of religion alive. Here in the USA we could take religion off the ventilator by rescinding its tax-exempt status.

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