Why I Left: Dallas's Story
What type of church did you attend at the time of your leaving?
Did you find a new church to attend?
Did you leave organized religion entirely?
Ultimately, the complex reasons I left Evangelicalism boiled down to ignorance, self-aggrandizement, and dogma that were so rampant then — and are out of control now, over 17 years later. I had to protect my family, especially after enduring more than a decade of spiritual abuse in several churches. What’s more, American Christians are far too political; I also firmly believe that the separation of church and state should be as sacrosanct as the rest of the Constitution.
What initially drove me away, and began my deconstruction, was that I started questioning the pastors’ teachings versus what I saw in the Bible. The only answer I ever got was, “That’s just what we believe.” The toxic environment included a rumor mill that persisted for years after we left. My own mother and sister never did attempt to understand my reasons, and attempted for many years to cajole me into going back.
My wife and I dealt with deconstruction in much the same way one deals with grief. We tried to go back to church several times, but always felt out of place. We’ve gone through anger, denial, depression, bargaining, you name it. In recent years, we’ve just accepted that we will probably never go back and if we do, it will be at a completely different kind of church. Oddly enough, my mother’s passing, just last summer, brought some much-needed closure.
I don’t really process the experience much any more, and figure that if I can show others that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, then my work is done. It’s all led me to believe that maybe the Deists are closer to objective “truth” if there is such a thing. If I am certain about anything, it is that a personal God simply does not exist and the Bible as we know it is far too unreliable to be “God’s Word.”
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