An on-going mystery all around us is the different way we reason and interpret events. How could it be two siblings who grew up together going to church could end up taking opposite paths in their spiritual lives?
In a recent issue of the Journal of Religion and Society there appears an article, “Explaining Deconversion from Christianity; A Study of Online Narratives” (Vol. 13, 2011). The authors dissected the on-line narratives of about 25 people who discussed their faith and the loss of it. What they found sheds at least a little light on why people lose their faith and what happens afterwards.
The authors took what people wrote about their dissatisfaction with their Christian experience and placed it in four catagories: intellectual, theological, God’s shortcomings and interactions with nonChristians. I can only touch on a few things.
Two thirds of the writers complained about intellectual and theological shortcomings. These included such issues as the dilemma of a cruel God who is also said to be loving.
About 40 percent were disappointed with the God figure. Why did God allow this or that to happen? This most common theme was about the God who is unjust.
Surprising to the authors was how few writers said they were influenced by nonChristians. This was surprising because it is commonly believed people in the faith are vulnerable to temptation.
The most common pattern was people accepting the faith as children and losing it as young adults. In time we may learn even more about how and why people find and lose their faith.