Faith is an important part of life. Faith in oneself, in people and in God gives you hope that we're not all alone and that we're more capable than we initially give ourselves credit for. For many people the main source of faith is housed in the church.
And for some faith has been hijacked by predators and those who only know how to espouse judgement. This has led to a lot of issues with communities and their connections to religion.
Redditor u/everyone-hates-me wanted the freed to open up and discuss, asking... Formerly religious people, what was your breaking point?
Fahrenheit 451 anyone?Giphy
I was a Christian, but my church got to the point where they were banning tons of media (secular music, the news, certain books, wanted censoring chips in TVs, parental controls on the computer for adults) and then they started telling us that we needed to abandon/leave our secular friends and family (even Christians of different denominations) and only be friends with the members of the church/youth group.
At the same time they were saying that we were in the final years before the rapture/return of Christ and it would be best if we didn't go to college or have kids, due to the hardships it would bring. The youth pastor proceeded to have children and the regular pastor sent his grandchildren to college that year.
The red flags turned crimson. TitanicBead
No Pizza? No church!
I churched so hard in high school. So much so that in college I got invited to a dinner with my college Catholic priest. At dinner I said, "I love pizza!" He said, "You can only love God and people."
I mean I was already upset with broad, seemingly meaningless rituals, but that was the boiling point.
My dad (not a priest, just very religious when he feels like it) did the same thing. We couldn't say "girls rule" because only God the king can rule. It wasn't just dumb, it was objectively false. realhorrorsh0w
You are enough!Giphy
Striving so hard to be as good of a person as I could be but still being told I'd go to hell for certain aspects of myself or beliefs I held. Yet watching others carelessly do rotten things to others and going to confess their sins and feeling like they had the right to continue to be bad people or to act holier than thou. Finally realizing I didn't need a religion to be a decent human being or all the guilt that was put on me. faux--username
I got God.
I was raised Christian, but late in high school, I couldn't get it out of my head that good people I knew and friends I had that weren't Christian were supposedly going to hell. Be that Muslim friends, Jewish, agnostic, atheist, non-religious, etc. I had pretty much the gamut of religious beliefs among my friends, and I just found it hard to believe these people would be punished for how they were raised.
I'm not anti-religious. Religion is very cultural, and I think it's messed up to bag on people's culture. But someone's religion usually boils down to where they were raised and by whom they were raised. And I can't accept that people are judged based on these qualifications, in any religion.
For a while, I reconciled this by saying that being a Christian wasn't necessarily about announcing you're a Christian, and that accepting Jesus can also mean living a life like Jesus even if you're not consciously doing that, or not doing that in the name of God. But that's not what the Bible says, and it's not what the church believes, so I've moved away from that.
Now I'm kinda a universalist, agnostic or something. I don't really care if there is an afterlife or a God. If there is, then the God will reward those who were good people in this life, regardless of religion. If that God doesn't do that, I'm not particularly interested in worshiping him or his afterlife. Stinduh
I was raised by guilt. I finally got to the point where I refused to feel guilty for every little thing I did. cdplater
I can get that. The bible actually sets you up to fail. It's impossible to be sinless. You just have to have a church that goes, "well. We're sinners. It's a good thing Jesus loves us all the same." lucak98
I was already questioning pretty heavily, but for whatever reason one of my friends comparing Santa to God was the breaking point. He said "When we talk about Santa as an all knowing being who rewards good behavior and punishes bad its a ridiculous fairy tale, but when we talk about God in that context we're just supposed to believe it blindly." Frotodile
God isn't perfect...
I was told that God would help you. If you prayed to God he would give you strength. He would help bad things become fixed etc...
I lost my religion when, at 7 years old, after years of praying and fully believing God would help, I still had to watch my alcoholic father beat my alcoholic mother up almost nightly. It was one night while I was picking glass shards out of her hair that I realized that if there were a God he didn't care enough to make things change... and honesty the idea of a cruel, uncaring God scared me more than the alternative so I decided to believe instead that there was no God.
Things are finally better now after years and years of pain and suffering in my family... and it still wasn't God who fixed it.tinylottie
But the Bible...
It was years and years of asking questions that apparently didn't have answers besides "...but the Bible says", but specifically the final straw was praying that my sick and dying grandfather would pass quickly and painlessly, instead of the three weeks he spent after that vomiting up his own stomach bile and starving because he couldn't eat before the cancer took him.
I never asked for anything remotely self serving or personal because I always thought that was wrong, but this one instance I begged and pleaded for help, not even for me but for my dying grandfather, and instead it was almost like someone playing 'corrupt-a-wish' on a message board.
It wasn't even a matter of believing or not believing, I just didn't and couldn't pray anymore after that. I was almost afraid to ask for anything else. DMan304
Now that's not Christian behavior!Giphy
A pastor called my mother a whore. AgentDaleBCooper
In the baptist church I grew up in, I remember the adults nearly gasping when a woman member came wearing gasp JEANS. She had brought breakfast out to her husband who was working in the fields combining corn that morning, and went straight to church from the field. It was a wet year and harvest was getting late, they could only combine when the ground was frozen so many farmers were combining all night. They ended up having a meeting between the pastor, deacons, and the husband.
Looking back this infuriates me on so many levels. The guy was working on Sunday, but nothing was said about that. His wife could have skipped church all together but elected to come. So the man in the house can bend some rules and skip church, but for his wife to go out of her way when very busy to even make it to church, just in the wrong clothes was enough to have a meeting with the husband about how his wife should appear. It just makes my blood boil.yeah_sure_youbetcha
Worry about your own self Sir!
I'm agnostic but I stopped going to church once my pastor berated me for doing teenager things like getting a haircut and piercing my ears. He told me that that's what witches did when mourning their lost loved ones and handed me a conveniently provided information packet. He also had some hypocritical stuff to say during the bible study so I'm glad I never had to go again. Religion never really clicked with me but he was what made me hate christianity the most.tangledlettuce
No reading between the lines...
For me, it was seeing people misinterpret their own religious texts. Terrorists are prime examples of it. Also seeing how irrational people were being, following a religion. Riots, public parades, blockades... All for a god that others don't even believe in. Keeping the property and financial losses aside, this is probably why religious leaders are so successful. A mini government, in which their subjects have complete trust in. Manipulate them at your convenience, and get the work done
Ps: Maybe I'm not formerly religious. I used to go to gatherings because I was forced to, and couldn't understand anything. lestrenched
Bless you Father...Giphy
My grandmother asked our local priest for a blessing for my (low-functioning) autistic brother, to which the priest replied:
"I'll bless him with a brick." nicrotex
Did this really happen? Please tell me this s**thead never walked the earth. FrikkinLazer
SO many books...
I read 300 books
Note: Any books will do. Just read a bunch of them. Get some outside perspective and some conflicting points of view. Done. woodentraveler
Well yeah, because if someone only reads one book, it's pretty easy to guess what book it is. Hugo_5t1gl1tz
The church has no real room for actual discussion outside of cliche answers. AdouMusou
Eyes Wide Unshut!
I was a Jehovah's Witness. I took a break and left for a few years. When I attempted to come back the time off really opened my eyes at the control they try to exert over every aspect of your life. That's when I opened my mind that they weren't the one and true religion. Then it became obvious the horrible things they are guilty of. Then became disheartened with all religion since they all use guilt, shame, and fear to control their members for money and power. Then I realized the bible is utterly ridiculous and that if I were to believe the bible, that God is a total a**hole. Elbiotcho
Praying for many months and begging for things to get better while also getting bullied way more and finally falling into depression. I guess the anger made me start questioning everything, and religion is pretty easy to break with logic. Szarra
When I realized that God has never faith-healed an amputee, in any religion. AnticipatingLunch
Watching my primary guardian die of cancer over 4 years of my late child early teen life and constantly being told that it was God's plan that she was dying a slow and painful death while also being killed by her chemotherapy. If it was God's plan to kill the closest thing I have to a parent when I was 14, then I would rather burn in his hell than live in his heaven.animekid117
Not to be too cliché, but science and logic just won out over "big sky man get mad." SarahIsTrans
Yeah, me too. I wasn't raised religious. When I started thinking about religion it confused me that people would take it seriously and believe it was all true. It was all much too fairy tale for me. I tried my best to understand it and understand faith but it just would not compute. I think some people just have faith and others do not. I am comfortable not having faith and wouldn't change a thing about myself. starlit_moon
I was raised Christian. I believed the Bible and I believed in miracles and I really absolutely believed. But I was a bit of an optimist, so while I believed non Christians went to hell I figured God loves everyone, he'll give them time to find him.
Then I got a phone call that my non Christian friend died. And I knelt on the floor and I prayed, in tongues even. And I prayed that if Jesus could bring Lazarus back to life he could give my friend another chance. That I would die in her place, I'd go to heaven so surely it would be better that way. And I knelt and I sobbed and I prayed to die for hours. And I was so sure, I mean God loved her right, this was the perfect answer?
Shockingly enough my friend did not magically come back to life. I didn't lose my faith all in one go. I tried to find justifications but I just couldn't anymore. So now I just love my friends as much as I can while I'm alive and if I go to hell when I die at least I'll be in good company. Bunny36
Nothing left to give...
In Christianity, you're expected to "give up" a lot: money, time, whatever. However, I don't have the will or the energy to give any of my time to my faith. I'm a senior in high school and these past few years have been utter crap. I don't do anything except go to school, study, and do my extracurriculars. I'm also applying to colleges, which is a whole other ball game. I'm so very very tired and I know it's only going to get harder from here. Still, I'm already drained. I don't have time for myself. I haven't seen some of my friends so far this school year, because we're all busy and we can't meet up. I now have sciatica because all I do is sit and stare at homework for hours on end. Sometimes, I can't get out of my damn bed. And for God's sake, I'm a 17-year-old girl who doesn't know how to drive or even apply makeup, because I don't have time to learn these skills. That being said, if I had a little bit of free time to myself on a Sunday morning, I most certainly would NOT go to Church- voluntarily of course. I'm expected to go and sit through the same lengthy liturgy, which bores me to tears. Why should I give up what little to no time I have left for myself for others? I don't want to sound selfish or bratty, but I'm damn frustrated. I've become a recluse because of my studies, and if I'm expected to give up even more, then I want out. sweet_autumn_goat
The Rainbow Bridge outta here!Giphy
Oof, I have a lot of feelings about religion.
I was Christian until I was 16 years old. I had gone to Christian schools, went to church camps, etc. The bible didn't make a ton of sense, but I reasoned that it was all parables and metaphors.
And then my cat died, and now I was a shy, quiet girl and this cat was my very best friend, and he died. I was crying to a church counselor that at least my cat would be there waiting for me in heaven. And they told me no, that wasn't true, animals don't have souls. They're essentially meat robots put on earth for humans to do with as they wish, and they don't matter, that the rainbow bridge is fake.
That was literally the very last straw, and I was done. No way you can share your life with an animal and love it, and believe that if you can believe every other weird, horrible thing in that book.
As I've aged, my dislike for religion has only grown. I truly cannot stand how women and marginalized groups are treated across many different religions. It disgusts me, and I do not trust people who have found faith later in life. I understand being brainwashed as a child, it happened to me. I do not understand embracing those beliefs as an adult.onequestionisall