Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Sociologist, Bradley Wright, has recently published an article on 'de-conversion' - in other words, reasons for why people leave the Christian faith.
This is the abstract. The full article, which appeared in the Journal of Religion and Society, can be found online here.
"This article examines the written narratives from fifty former Christians. In these narratives, drawn from an online community of deconverts, the writers described their experiences with and explanations for leaving the Christian faith. Several themes emerged as to why they left, including: intellectual and theological concerns, a feeling that God had failed them, and various frustrations with Christians. The writers gave little mention to non-Christians as pulling them out of the faith. These narratives emphasized external, rather than internal, attributions for the deconversion. They also identified primarily “push” rather than “pull” factors as the cause of deconversion. While some narratives outlined the costs and benefits of deconversion, others told of seeking moral rightness regardless of the cost."
The reasons boiled down to intellectual and theological concerns, God's failures, interactions with other Christians, and interactions with non-Christians. (Interestingly enough, this last group seems to be the least influential.) Some of this may be already well-known, but it's good to have it available in a relatively succinct form.