I am exploring the mystery of why people leave faith for my upcoming book, and am also doing some great research by reading the following:
- Walking Away from Faith: Unraveling the Mystery of Belief and Unbelief
- Quitting Church: Why the Faithful are Fleeing and What to Do about It
- unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity… and Why It Matters
- They Like Jesus but Not the Church: Insights from Emerging Generations
However, in response to a pretty good atheist podcast at Reasonable Doubts (Explicit), I was asked to consider this question: “When a Christian becomes an ‘apostate,’ (unbeliever), how do Christians explain it?”
Interestingly, the very last possible reason we would list is the FIRST one that most atheists might choose. Are we being honest with our evaluation, or just re-inforcing our belief that they are wrong? Are they re-inforcing their doubt by telling themselves that they are being rational, or do they consider the other non-rational factors that contribute to such decisions? My list of reasons follows.
How do Christians explain apostasy?
- You were never a believer in the first place.
- You made an emotional decision based on hurts in your family or church.
- You had a superficial or weak faith that was not based on intellect and heart – either it was all emotion, or all cold memorization of facts.
- You never had a chance to honestly question your faith, and will come back.
- You reasoned that faith was unreasonable.