Raised Evangelical: Adult Children Reflect

In the Raised Evangelical project, young adults who were raised in evangelical and fundamentalist families but have since left those faith traditions have come together to answer questions about their upbringing and about leaving the beliefs of their childhood behind. These young adults come from an array of backgrounds (no two evangelical or fundamentalist families or churches are identical) and have today arrived at a variety of perspectives (while all will have left evangelicalism/fundamentalism, their beliefs today range from progressive Christian to atheist).

The Raised Evangelical project is in survey format, with participants answering a series of questions on nine different topics, including gender, politics, and education.

If you would like to participate in this project, click here.

Angie’s Story

I am Angie, a 24-year-old recent college graduate who is married. When I was around 5 years old my mom and dad became involved in the Church of God denomination; they became more and more involved as I grew up and my father served as youth pastor to our church during my teen years. My parents were “Pentecostal holiness,” which is part of the fundamentalist movement with a focus on “old-fashioned values” and gender standards from an older time. I grew away from my parents’ beliefs in college and am now an atheist.

Deird’s Story

I grew up in Australia, going to a Baptist church. We listened to Christian music, read James Dobson, wore WWJD bracelets, and were very focused on “having a personal relationship with Jesus” – although we never really got round to defining what that meant.These days, I’m still a Christian – but my beliefs are much less conservative, much more inclusive, and much less immersed in “Christian culture”. I go to an Anglican church, and disagree with about a quarter of what they say.

Isaac’s Story

My name is Isaac. I am a nineteen-year-old male living in the buckle of the Bible belt. I grew up in various states but was exposed to the same culture and beliefs regardless of where I went. My family practiced a mix of extreme and mild Christianity which often contradicted itself, and more often than not meant our actions did not reflect our beliefs, or at least the beliefs we accepted in church. I am a “recovering Christian”, and have only recently been able to leave religion entirely.  I am an atheist and a bisexual, but not out (as either one) to anyone yet.

Jenn’s Story

My name is Jenn. My parents converted from Baptist to Evangelical not long after I was born. I was very dedicated to my faith and intended to become a missionary when I grew up. While in college I met a man who was not Christian and eventually we got engaged. From there I questioned my beliefs and followed the path that I find many Evangelicals do when they leave the faith, from Fundamentalist to not believing the Bible is inerrant to believing in God, but not necessarily salvation to spirituality to agnosticism to atheism.

Joy’s Story

My name is Joy; I am a 42-year-old wife and working mother of 2. I was raised in an evangelical home that was fairly well-integrated into mainstream culture. My mother is a conservative evangelical and my father is a progressive evangelical (think Jim Wallis). I grew up to question some of the foundational evangelical tenets I was taught due to personal experiences and academic explorations. I still identify as a Christian, but a liberal/progressive one. Which means sometimes I am a little bit agnostic and other times I feel fairly traditionally mainline Christian.

Julie’s Story

Hi, my name is Julie. I’m twenty years old. I was brought up with a mixture of evangelical and fundamentalist beliefs. I am the middle child in a family of ten kids, though we were not Quiverfull, my dad just wanted a large family. I was a Christian until I was eighteen and then I drifted towards agnosticism. I am now an atheist.

Kacy’s Story

I was raised an Evangelical Baptist in the “Bible Belt.” The church we attended was affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. It was a mega-Church and the culture can be described as Evangelical. In high school and college I went through a questioning and discovery period, eventually becoming Conservative Catholic towards the end of my senior year of college. As a young adult my questioning continued, and although I still consider myself Catholic, faith I no longer hold orthodox beliefs or participate in the Church sacraments.

Lina’s Story

I’m Lina, and I’m everywhere I thought I wouldn’t be. I grew up as a homeschooled pastor’s daughter, firmly on the side of the religious right, and am now vastly more liberal and married to a girl, V. College is really where things changed for me; I went to a conservative Christian school, and by the time I graduated, I couldn’t give a shit about God. I’m currently a nanny for almost 4 year old twins, and trying to support V as she completes her Master’s and we start a photography business.

Matthias’ Story

I am a 23 year old male currently residing in the “bible belt”. I grew up in a conservative Christian family and church in Colorado and experienced a falling away during and shortly after college. I currently consider myself somewhat of a progressive Christian or “spiritual refugee”. I try to make the focus of my religious practice on loving others. I am bi, but currently not out.

Rebekka’s Story

My name is Rebekka, I’m in my mid-twenties, and from Denmark. I grew up in an evangelical family, started questioning Christianity at 15. Islam gave an answer to many of my issues with Christianity, so I converted to Islam at 21. After 1½ years as Muslim new issues arose. I continued to question my beliefs in an attempt to get closer to the omniscient all-loving God I had been taught about, but the more I searched the more everything fell apart. Over the following year I went through a brief period of Unitarian Universalism, agnosticism, and today I identify as an atheist.

Shannon’s Story

I grew up believing in Christianity like I believed the sky was blue and 2+2 equals 4. I remember asking Jesus into my heart when I was three or four years old, and I was in evangelical schools from preschool through 12th grade. After college, I finally admitted to myself that I didn’t really believe Christianity anymore and started secretly thinking of myself as agnostic. Over the past six months or so, I’ve become somewhat comfortable with the label “atheist” as well.

Veronica’s Story

My name is Veronica. I’m currently 35 years old. I was raised by my parents as an Evangelical Christian, and took part in church life all my youth. Today I define myself as a Secular Humanist, which I have for the past 4-5 years. Before that I considered myself an agnostic. My transition from Christian to agnostic took place between 10 and 5 years ago. It was somewhat gradual. I have not identified as religious for the past 7 years at least.

Click here to participate in this project yourself.