Why I Left Christianity and Will Never Return

Why I Left Christianity and Will Never Return May 21, 2024

Leaving a faith tradition as deeply rooted and pervasive as Christianity is not a decision made lightly. For many, it is a process fraught with internal conflict, societal pressure, and the fear of eternal repercussions. My journey away from Christianity was long and arduous, involving deep introspection and extensive research. It began in earnest with deconstruction, followed by a foray into inclusionist/universalist theology, a segue to atheism, ultimately leading to where I am now – an “agnostic antitheist” (I’ll cover that more in a later blog post). Here, I outline the five main reasons that ultimately led to my departure and my resolution never to return: the biased canonization of scripture, the lack of historical evidence for biblical events, the absence of anthropological or archaeological evidence of Jesus, the failure to see Christ modeled in modern Christians, and the weaponization of faith for political gain.


  1. Canonization of Scripture Reflects the Biases of First- through Fourth-Century Men

The canonization of Christian scripture is a topic that often goes unexamined by many believers. However, understanding the process by which certain texts were deemed sacred while others were discarded reveals much about the biases and agendas of early church leaders.

The formation of the Christian biblical canon was not a straightforward divine revelation but a series of human decisions made over centuries. The criteria for including certain texts and excluding others were influenced by theological, political, and cultural biases. The Council of Nicaea in 325 AD and subsequent councils played pivotal roles in deciding which books would be included in the New Testament. The men who made these decisions were influenced by their own theological perspectives, cultural contexts, and political motivations.

For example, texts that supported orthodox views and centralized church authority were favored, while those that presented divergent theological ideas, such as the Gnostic Gospels, were excluded. This process was not about preserving an objective truth but rather about consolidating power and creating a unified doctrine that could be easily controlled and disseminated.

This realization was a significant factor in my decision to leave Christianity. If the foundation of my faith was built on the selective choices of early church leaders, how could I trust its integrity? The idea that my beliefs were shaped by the biases and agendas of men living centuries ago was profoundly unsettling.

  1. Lack of Historical Evidence of Biblical Events

The historical accuracy of biblical events has been a contentious issue among scholars for centuries. Many events described in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament, lack corroborating evidence from other historical sources.

Take the story of the Exodus, for example. According to the Bible, Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, and they wandered in the desert for 40 years before entering the Promised Land. Despite extensive archaeological research, there is no evidence to support the mass exodus of a large group of people from Egypt during the time period in question. Additionally, Egyptian records, which are typically detailed and meticulous, make no mention of such an event.

Similarly, the conquests of Joshua, which describe the Israelites taking over Canaan, lack archaeological support. Jericho, one of the key cities supposedly destroyed by Joshua, shows no signs of destruction during the period described in the Bible. These discrepancies between biblical narratives and historical evidence cast doubt on the reliability of the scriptures as historical documents.

For me, the lack of historical evidence for these foundational stories undermined the credibility of the Bible. If the events that were supposed to demonstrate God’s direct intervention in human history did not actually happen, then what did that say about the nature of the faith itself?


  1. No Anthropological or Archaeological Evidence of Jesus

The figure of Jesus Christ is central to Christianity, yet the historical evidence for his existence is surprisingly scant. While there are a few references to Jesus in historical texts outside the Bible, such as those by Tacitus and Josephus, these are brief and non-contemporaneous; considered by scholars to be second-hand accounts at best.

More importantly, there is a complete lack of archaeological evidence to support the existence of Jesus. No physical artifacts, inscriptions, or contemporaneous records have been found that confirm the life and activities of Jesus as described in the Gospels. This absence is striking, given the significant impact Jesus is said to have had during his lifetime.

The lack of tangible evidence made it difficult for me to reconcile the idea of a historical Jesus with the Jesus of faith. The narratives of his miraculous birth, life, death, and resurrection seemed more like mythological constructs than historical facts. This realization further eroded my belief in the divine nature of the scriptures and the faith built upon them.


  1. Failure to See Christ Modeled in Modern Christians

One of the core teachings of Christianity is to model one’s life after Jesus Christ. Christians are called to emulate his love, compassion, humility, and selflessness. However, in my experience, I often found a stark contrast between these ideals and the behavior of many self-proclaimed Christians.

I encountered numerous instances of hypocrisy, judgment, and intolerance within the Christian community. Many individuals who professed to follow Christ were quick to condemn others, often based on superficial or dogmatic criteria. Instead of embodying the unconditional love and acceptance that Jesus ostensibly preached, they seemed more focused on maintaining a facade of piety and righteousness.

This dissonance between the teachings of Christ and the actions of his followers was disheartening. It led me to question whether the transformative power of Christianity was as real and effective as it claimed to be. If the faith could not produce individuals who genuinely lived out its core principles, then what was its true value?


  1. Weaponization of Faith for Political Gain

The intersection of religion and politics has always been a complex and often troubling issue. In recent years, the weaponization of Christianity for political gain has become increasingly apparent. Political leaders and movements have frequently invoked Christian rhetoric and symbols to advance their agendas, often in ways that contradict the teachings of Jesus.

For example, the American political right has used Christianity to justify policies that marginalize and discriminate against minority groups, promote nationalism, and resist social progress. This exploitation of faith for power and control is antithetical to the message of love, justice, and compassion that Jesus preached.

Witnessing the ways in which Christianity was being manipulated for political purposes made it difficult for me to remain part of a faith that was so easily co-opted. It highlighted the susceptibility of religious beliefs to be twisted and used as tools of oppression and division rather than instruments of peace and unity.



My journey away from Christianity was not a sudden or impulsive decision but rather the result of years of reflection and investigation. The biased canonization of scripture, the lack of historical evidence for biblical events, the absence of archaeological evidence for Jesus, the failure of modern Christians to model Christ’s teachings, and the weaponization of faith for political gain all contributed to my departure.

Leaving a faith tradition is never easy, especially one as deeply ingrained as Christianity. However, I found that stepping away allowed me to pursue a path of inquiry, reason, and authenticity that felt more aligned with my values and understanding of the world. While I respect the right of others to find meaning and comfort in their faith, I have concluded that Christianity, as it currently exists, is not the path for me. Moreover, knowing what I know and having seen what I’ve seen, it would be impossible to return to what I left behind.

That’s my take – what do you think? Where do you lie on the faith spectrum? Does Christianity or any other religion work for you? Why? I’m sincerely interested in your comments!


Derrick Day is the author of Deconstructing Religion, and the host of The Forward Podcast.

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