Thinking of
Leaving Christianity?

Are you thinking of leaving Christianity because of the mistakes of your church, your congregation, or because of the opposition of other people to your being someone with a faith and religion?

I left the Catholic church at the age of 17.

I continued to believe in God.

I left church because I felt what I considered to be an un-Godly guilt over the crucifixion.

Many years later, since the time when I have been physically healthy enough to do so, I went back to church. I now only miss Sunday worship if health prevents it.

I love church and feel that my connection with God is strengthened from my attendance. My decision to attend church is clear.

But you may be asking yourself, as I once was, "Shall I leave Christianity?"

The freedom to go to church –
overcoming the pressure of society

Leaving Christianity is an easy decision if you live in a society which is prejudiced against Christianity.

I would like all of us to feel the freedom to attend church whichever of the following categories we find ourselves within:
... as a believer
... as someone who wants to experiment with what church can give them
... as someone whose beliefs don't fit with the church but who finds benefits from spending time in a place which upholds the values of love, peace and service to others.

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With love, Katherine

This series of religious articles discusses some of the ways in which society is anti religious.

When you recognise the existence of anti religious pressure within society you are better placed to make your own decision about staying within or leaving Chrisitianity.

You are better able to swim against the tide of popular culture and make the decision to stay a Christian.

Of course you will have many other considerations specific to Christian beliefs. These are not addressed in these articles.

The Insidious Anti Religion Belief System of Our Society

I was outside religion for 17 years. I didn't consider I was anti religious though I had disagreements with the church.

However, there came a point where I realised with shock that the word God had started to sound laughable to me, and that the words Catholic and Jew had started to sound like insults.

Where was this religious prejudice coming from?

There is this idea that we choose between beliefs - to have a faith and religion or spirituality - or to have no beliefs.

But we always have beliefs.

It struck me that the belief system of our society is working insidiously all the time. And these beliefs of 'the world’s religion' can actually be more dangerous than religious beliefs.
Why do I say this?

Because the beliefs of the world are

  • Not defined
  • Unwritten and therefore hard to examine
  • Ever-shifting
  • Media-led
  • Unlikely to have a moral basis
  • Around us 24/7. If we are only exposed to a secular thought-system, then we are not being given a chance to choose.

In the fairly recent past, there was a lot of pressure from society to see yourself as a Christian. Whilst this pressure still exists in many countries the opposite is now true. For example, in my country of England and in the UK as a whole.

The ever present, ever shifting beliefs of society can subtly predispose us at this time towards leaving Christianity, or any other religion to which we belong.

It can be easier to remain a Christian when you do not see the decision as one of "belief versus non belief", but more correctly as one where you choose to expose yourself to Christian beliefs rather than only to society's beliefs.

The Media's Representation of Religion

The silence of the media on the importance of faith

The media is largely silent on the importance of spirituality and religion in people’s lives. An interview can be carried out with a star or celebrity without the question of faith ever being asked.

Yet, I am struck when I listen to interviews carried out on a religious program – Good Morning Sunday on BBC Radio 2 – how faith is often integral to the development of a person’s talent. Even when someone of no faith is asked a question about faith, the answers are often interesting.

Isn't it fascinating that a celebrity will be interviewed about their talent without the interviewer ever talking about their primary motivation? It is an extraordinary omission.

Media attacks on Christianity

At other times, there are more aggressive attacks on religion through the media, for example through comedians inviting an auditorium of hundreds of people to laugh at those who believe in God or attend church.

Through silence or attack on religious practice, there is a subtle pressure to avoid religion at this time. If you are Christian, you may experience this as a pressure to leave Christianity.

The News is bad news

In addition, because the News is bad news and because it is not "done" to express religious views generally, when we do hear about religion, it is often about the fundamentalists and about abuse within the church.

Although deeply upsetting, thankfully, these unfavourable religious media items are "news" because they are not the usual state of affairs.

In my experience, most religious people have peace at the centre of their teachings and at the centre of the way they live their life.

Ask yourself:

Is the media and its impact on the views of other people unfairly predisposing me towards leaving Christianity?

The Most Vocal Religious People

Those who are more vocally Christian are often those who hold the view that Christianity - or even their brand of Christianity - is the only path to God and that the Bible can only be taken literally.

These people can be very clear that these beliefs are what it means to be Christian.

I know many wonderful people who hold this belief. My faith has benefited a great deal from exposure to their faith. However, I find it frustrating that as a Christian I am assumed to hold these religious beliefs.

I was brought up an interfaith Catholic Christian, with the belief that there are many paths to God.

I was never asked to take the Bible literally.

Move to Top of page

Are you thinking of leaving Christianity because your beliefs do not fit neatly with those of your church?

Are you thinking of leaving Christianity because you see God in your friends who are atheists, Jewish or Muslim?

If you answered yes to the above questions, leaving Christianity may not be necessary.
You may find yourself more at home within a different Christian denomination -one that allows more room for a variety of beliefs.
Or you may find that your own congregation can accept you complete with your different beliefs.

We may dream of finding a church whose beliefs exactly match our own, a church where our  beliefs fit neatly with those of other people, but it is healthy that there is a range of beliefs among those who meet together to worship God.

Our knowledge that we are One in God does not depend on having exactly the same beliefs.

Leaving Christianity because you have suffered in the name of religious teachings

I have great sympathy with those leaving Christianity because they have encountered abuse or spiritual teachings that have been unhelpful.

If you have encountered abuse, it may be too painful for you to stay.

Teachings have enormous power over us when received before the age of seven when our ability to question is more limited. We may believe at this time that we HAVE to follow certain religious beliefs to retain the approval of our parent. If so, it can be hard for us to question these beliefs, even in later life.

Moreover, teachings which contain deep metaphysical truths may actually be harmful if taken as a guide for behaviour at an early age. As a child, the author M Scott Peck heard the story of Abraham being asked to kill his son. He was terrified that God would ask his parents to kill him. Later in life, he found great wisdom in this religious story.

Are you thinking of leaving Christianity because you received false teachings at a young age?

Is it true these beliefs were false or were you taught them in a climate of fear or obligation? A belief system which has been mis-used may still have much to offer.

If you were given false beliefs, can you attend church and still believe what you now believe? Do you feel free to accept your own interpretation of scriptures, or does the congregation pressure you to do otherwise?

No longer leaving Christianity.

Losing my prejudice against priests

When I was housebound with severe CFS/ME, I started making my peace with Christianity. Eventually, I asked a priest to visit me in my home. This meant I was meeting priests one-to-one.

I was surprised to note that – whether I agreed or disagreed with their views - the priests were all people who genuinely attempted to live according to their belief systems, and were not afraid to be different from society at large.

These are two qualities I much admire.

In the past, parents used to sometimes select a child to be sent off for the clergy. Such children had no vocation and were often understandably resentful.

Thankfully those days have passed.It may be different in other countries, but in the UK, a priest is more likely to be an individualist and an independent thinker.

Good things about church

I was also deeply touched by looking at Church notices and seeing

  • Prayers for the hungry
  • Prayers for peace
  • Collections for worldwide causes
  • A weekly commitment to feeding the homeless in the community
  • Activities for the elderly members of the congregation

My surprise revealed that upon leaving Christianity I had forgotten its benefits and its beauty.

As I received more and more strength and guidance from Bible scriptures and the prayers of others, I set aside my religious prejudice.

My spiritual journey moved me towards reconciling with Christianity – the religion of my youth.

(I am also a student of A Course In Miracles.)

My life is richer for being a Christian and for not limiting myself purely to the beliefs of my current culture.

In my view, religion is neutral. It can be used for harm. It can be used for good.

Religion is here to stay, so let us support it in living up to its spiritual principles and serving the good of the world.

Finally, if you still believe in God but are considering leaving Christianity, don't forget to pray about your decision.

Dear God,

I am not sure that church is the best place for me to find you.

I want to experience your Love and your Strength.

Please guide me.

Thank you.


Seeing God guiding you in your decision.

With the Love we are,


Katherine T Owen, webmaster,
Author of Be Loved, Beloved (Kindle)

Other religious articles relevant to Thinking of Leaving Christianity?:

Move to learn more of Katherine T Owen's spiritual journey and practical spiritual beliefs.

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Be Loved

15 Spiritual Love Poems
God Love Self Love

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For 14 years, Katherine T Owen was severely disabled with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, unable to walk, with little speech, and with inadequate care.

Katherine's small beautiful collection of poems take the reader with her as she journeys to know both self love and
God's love.

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"One thing that struck me was the stripping of ego in the work. Most of us have a comfy ego façade, but weakness and disease tore Katherine’s away. The poems in Be Loved Beloved come from the heart."

Dana Taylor, Author of Ever-Flowing Streams: Tapping into Healing Energy

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