BuzzFeed recently asked their community to share all the many reasons that the heathen BuzzFeeders stopped believing in god, and oh boy, did they deliver. Most of the top reasons have to do with experiencing or witnessing terrible things and not being able to reconcile that with believing in the existence of a supposedly benevolent deity. Others had more positive reasons, such as finding better paths to spirituality than trusting in one single god.
Whatever their reason, hopefully they’re better off without being forced to pretend to have faith in something they don’t actually believe in.
There’s no wrong reason to stop believing in something that doesn’t work for you, but here are the 20 best responses from the BuzzFeed community:
- The Exorcism – User “dazedgal” confessed: “I first experienced depression when I was 13. It tore me to pieces. My grades were shit and I became a recluse. My family thought I was possessed by demons, so they called a priest over to exorcise me and that was the last day I believed in a God. No true God would make me suffer through that in deepest of despairs.”
- Homophobia – User “harrypotterlove13” writes: “When I came out to my grandmother, the first thing she brought up was religion. She said that she’d accept me, but she was worried about me going to hell because I wouldn’t be accepted in the eyes of God. I don’t want to believe in something that doesn’t believe in me.”
- Christian atrocities – User “brooklyknight11” explained: “After learning of all the persecution and atrocities that had been committed in the name of Christianity, I came to the conclusion that the world would be a better place without religion.”
- Greedy priests – User “doodoo1988” said: “When my grandmother passed away, my grandfather asked the priest to say a prayer to help her get to heaven safely. The priest then held his hand out to receive money for doing so. After that, I didn’t believe anymore.”
- Seeing stars – User “amandat435704e99” responded: “I was sent to Israel for six weeks when I was 16. At one point, we camped out in the Negev Desert. For the first time in my life, I saw the Milky Way with zero light pollution. I knew right then and there that some man-made deity wasn’t my way. I felt more connected with the universe than I ever had before.”
- The horror of Alzheimer’s – User “lisaw40564b88c” remembered: “I never doubted God, until my grandma was diagnosed with vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s when she was about 60. When she died, my mom said she would be singing with the angels, but I couldn’t understand why a loving God would have taken her voice away in the first place.”
- The Bible – User “kelseyb11” wrote: “When I was 14, I tried to read the Bible in its entirely and could barely make it through the first few chapters of Genesis without wondering why God sounded and acted so selfish.”
- Other believers – User “georgeryanr” opined: “While at the funeral for a friend who had died from suicide, my mother held my hand and said, ‘He’s going to burn in hell for this.’ That was the day I decided I couldn’t believe in a religion that produces such hateful people.”
- Education: User “jennya433dd49b5” typed: “I started to doubt the existence of God when I learned in high school that the Bible is entirely written by humans and not by some divine creator. Then in college I learned about other religions and came to accept that religion is a man-made concept.”
- Healthy rebellion – User “josephinegerke1” reminisced: “When I was younger, my dad told me all about Islam, but when I turned 14, I realized I was being forced into the religion. Everyone I knew always asked me if i was Muslim, and while I didn’t want to let them down, I didn’t want to be pushed into believing things that have no proof of being true.”
- Getting sick of anxiety – User “erinleat” tells it: “I realized that, for my whole life, I had only ‘believed’ out of fear of getting in trouble or going to hell. It didn’t seem like a great belief system to have. So with the help of two amazing boyfriends, who were non-religious, I was able to separate from the church.”
- Oncology – User “l448f9f91c” reasoned: “I stopped believing when I began to work in oncology and end-of-life care. My faith was pretty rock solid up until then. Over the years, I’ve seen too many lovely people experience hideous pain and die before their time.”
- Diversity – User “stephanier4608d931a” offered: “It happened when I backpacked through Southeast Asia. I refused to believe all the people I met would be condemned to hell for having a different faith.”
- Cheating – User “therollster” admits: “I got married and took the vows we had for each other as a serious covenant with God. She had a child from her previous marriage, and four years into our marriage, she cheated on me with the child’s father. I told her about the pact we made to each other and to God, but it didn’t matter to her. I gave my life to God and the church, but he wasn’t able to save my marriage.”
- Ostracization – User “heatherskittlest” declared: “I went to church on my own for years, until I started dating a boy who didn’t go to church himself. I was completely ostracized by my entire youth group. I couldn’t believe people who preached love would do such a thing, and I stopped going.”
- Infertility – User “isadear” managed: “I felt like I was put on this earth to be a mother and was told I have unexplained infertility. That was a hard pill to swallow.”
- No fun – User “tkayeg” scribbled: “It happened when I was 13. My family belongs to the Christian Reformed Church, and some of them are extremely religious. I was constantly told I was going to hell for the smallest things, like playing with a Magic 8 ball or reading Harry Potter.”
- No answers – User “jessih405a2947e” informed: “After graduating from junior college, I fell into a huge state of depression. I prayed a ton for a sign or something to let me know I wasn’t alone, but it fell on deaf ears. I managed to eventually crawl out of the pit of despair and start to feel more like me. The silence from a supposed merciful and loving God just made me lose my faith.”
- Bad rules – User “kaitlynmarie7413” reflected: “I was a kid, and I watched my parents stay in a marriage that was completely rotted from the inside. Knowing that God thought it appropriate to keep two people like that together forced me to stop believing entirely.”
- Lack of evidence – User “ragatty01” stated: “I was raised in a strict Catholic family. When I was 18, I came to reject religion. I needed empirical evidence, and there simply was none.”
Regardless of what commenters might think, these are all perfectly valid reasons for the individuals who gave them to stop believing in a faith that failed them or simply didn’t make sense. Good for them.