Critics of religion say that religion is outdated, harmful to individuals, and society at large. Others view religion as anti-science. Still others have expressed reservations about many religions' views toward women and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
There are many other reasons of course, but these are several examples of religious practices that have contributed to many peoples' decision to leave religion altogether.
People shared their stories with us after Redditor ItchyPage asked the online community:
"What ruined religion for you?"
"I confronted my youth group..."
"So many things but the final straw for me was my church asking a homeless man to leave and not come back. He would sit and listen to the sermons never bothered anyone and always sat in the very back. I confronted my youth group leader and she defended the preacher."
I hear stuff like this all the time and it’s so infuriating.
"Learning that the Catholic Church..."
"Learning that the Catholic Church ran womens homes where they kidnapped babies, sold the ones that didn't die and used their mothers as forced labour."
Ireland has a very sordid history where the Catholic Church is concerned.
"And then I get there."
"A couple of friends of mine "invited" me to a summer camp when I was in middle school. The first warning sign I noticed was the packing list included a Bible, but I brushed it off because the camp brochure had horseback riding, water slides, and a bunch of stuff that seemed cool."
"And then I get there. And one of the first things we had to do was line up and "deposit" our money in a camp account. Why? So during our twice daily church services we could write "donation" slips that would take money out of our account and "give" to the camp."
"You get the idea. It was full on, 100%, a super conservatice religious Christian summer camp that just happened to have fun stuff in between the ridiculous religious nonsense."
Fun stuff like "bands" coming in to sing religious smash hits like "My Daddy Aint a Monkey". No. I'm not lying. That was the name of the song."
"Thank God I was there with another guy who my "friends" convinced to attend camp with us. I eventually confronted them about their lie and they admitted that had done it because they knew I wasn't a believer and did it to "save me.""
"I told them that I didn't care what their reasons were, if they were my friends they wouldn't have lied. And if they believed so strongly about it, would they really lie, etc."
"Left camp bewildered and more than a little betrayed. As the years went on and I continued to see the complete lack of integrity and regard for honesty amongst religious people, I was still disappointed, but not surprised."
Sadly, there are other, similar camps around the country.
"Even as a young teenager..."
"Being raised in a Mormon (LDS) church and forced to attend every boring meeting and gathering for 18 years."
"Even as a young teenager I somehow saw through the coercion tactics. Giving me assignments because “god wanted me to do it” when really it was the old white men that saw I didn’t want to be there and thought giving me an assignment would help."
"Or, at “testimony meetings” every month. You’re supposed to speak from your heart about your belief to the congregation. Toddlers would be forced to go up and their mothers would whisper in their ear what to say and they would repeat it. I thought this was insane because obviously they’re not speaking their own words."
"I could go on..."
This is the same religion that believed in the Salamander Letter, sooo...
"How agonizingly long..."
"How agonizingly long and tedious Mass was as a Roman Catholic kid. Stand up - sing. Sit down. Then kneel. Then stand again. Sing again. Sit down. Stand up. Kneel and pray. Then 30 minutes of droning from the robed guy at the front. Then stand up and sing. Sit down. Stand up. WTF please make this end."
I know myself. I would have been so bored. Can't stand it.
"When I was 12..."
"When I was 12 my father pulled me aside and said "Son, you are old enough to decide about religion. I wanted to give you a chance to experience religion. If you want to keep going to Church, you can, but its also Ok if you don't want to go anymore."
"I said "OK I don't want to go anymore."
"My father said "Ok, me too."
"And that was that."
Your dad seemed like an amazing guy. Props to him.
"Really toxic people..."
"Really toxic people at my church growing up. Seeing people only go to church to make connections and gossip rather than actually worship and do good for others."
I knew so many people growing up who called themselves Christian but didn't actually read let alone follow the Bible.
"Seeing how people use religion..."
"Seeing how people use religion as an excuse to be crappy people around the world. So many people just bend their interpretation of a religion to fit what ever they want."
If I have to boil my experience down to a simple concept it's this. There's much more nuance but overall you're using a book that will give you a passage to justify whatever you want to do.
Ask your friends about their experiences with religion. You might hear some stories that will surprise you.
Have some stories of your own? Feel free to tell us more in the comments below!
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On Thursday leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced a surprising decision to reverse a controversial policy that condemned same-sex marriage and limited baptisms for the children of LGBTQ parents.
There was considerable backlash in 2015 when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced a new policy barring children living with LGBTQ parents from being baptized and declaring members of the church in same-sex marriages as apostates subject to excommunication.
After four years though leaders of the Mormon church announced in a press release Thursday the surprising decision to reverse that policy in an effort "to show more understanding, compassion and love..."
President @OaksDallinH outlined a new policy for children of #LGBT couples and for those in same-sex marriages. He… https://t.co/5t3Yqqz1dB— The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (@The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) 1554390017
Previously children living with LGBTQ parents were limited from participating in naming and baptismal ceremonies which typically occur in the church at the age of 8. Those still wishing to be baptized were able to do so once they turned 18.
Following the policy reversal children of same-sex couples are once again allowed to be baptized, providing that they have their parents permission and that parents understand children will be taught and expected to follow church teachings.
While the changes are a softening of policy towards LGBTQ members church doctrine still considers same-sex marriage a significant sin.
"Previously, our handbook characterized same-gender marriage by a member as apostasy," Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the church leadership, wrote in the Thursday release.
"While we still consider such a marriage to be a serious transgression, it will not be treated as apostasy for purposes of Church discipline."
For LDS members apostasy can be a serious punishment. Apostates, those who have turned away from church teachings, are frequently shunned and cut off from communicating with other members of the church, including family. For many LGBTQ members this meant the 2015 policy had devastating consequences.
Leaders now hope the policy's reversal will help change that.
"The very positive policies announced this morning should help affected families," Oaks wrote.
"In addition, our members' efforts to show more understanding, compassion and love should increase respect and understanding among all people of goodwill. We want to reduce the hate and contention so common today."
The announcement was good news for many who were glad to hear the church would be reversing the policy.
@ChurchNewsroom @OaksDallinH Terrific, positive change. So sad this policy (then revelation?!) happened in the first place.— Alan K Ormsby (@Alan K Ormsby) 1554399647
@ChurchNewsroom @OaksDallinH This is something that is so good to hear, and needed, especially in light of the barb… https://t.co/gZyHeCUVWE— A.E. (@A.E.) 1554410228
@ChurchNewsroom @OaksDallinH This is such a wonderful step in the right direction. It’s the right thing to do. Wonderful news.— MissMaximillian (@MissMaximillian) 1554450907
@NYDailyNews Wow! Damn good job Mormons. Bravo— 🌹shhhhhhhh💤🐁 (@🌹shhhhhhhh💤🐁) 1554432255
Though others were reluctant to pat the church on the back for doing the bare minimum to respect LGBTQ members.
@NYDailyNews How modern of them. Welcome to the human race and the 20th century.— Robert Rempfert (@Robert Rempfert) 1554443459
@NYDailyNews Its 2019 this should have happened sooner but baby steps I guess— Menosparadox (@Menosparadox) 1554409571
And though it may be a step in the right direction for the church for those most affected by the 2015 policy the reversal seems too little too late.
@ChurchNewsroom @OaksDallinH So that poor girl who came out in front of her congregation and was shouted down and c… https://t.co/SI5V5mq8tb— Just Normal Rusty Now. (@Just Normal Rusty Now.) 1554450732
@ChurchNewsroom @OaksDallinH You owe the entire LGBTQ community an apology.— Matthew Gottula 🏳️🌈 (@Matthew Gottula 🏳️🌈) 1554399013