1. Churches seem over-protective.
2. Teens’ and twentysomethings’ experience of Christianity is shallow.
3. Churches come across as antagonistic to science.
4. Young Christians’ church experiences related to sexuality are often simplistic, judgmental.
5. They wrestle with the exclusive nature of Christianity.
6. The church feels unfriendly to those who doubt.
I left the church because I didn’t see God in it. This was before I became an atheist. Turns out it’s difficult to find a god anywhere else when there are none, but that’s another story. In my experience, the above list is correct.
1. They are over-protective! They have lists of music and movies not to watch. Not “watch with a critical eye of how certain ideas can cause harm to others”. Simply “don’t watch these ever or you’ll make God sad”.
2. This wasn’t the case for me. Young people I knew were given respect, even with their lack of experience.
3. I think this was the hardest one for me to reconcile as a Christian. I grew up with a hunger and thirst for science. If the Christian god created everything, and science thus serves his will, how can the pursuit of science be a bad thing? If anything, Christians should be pouring more money into science, not less.
4. This was the second hardest one. Sex is between a married man and woman, and even thinking about anything else is a sin. Except I’m having sex. And I’m bisexual. Now what? Christianity has no answer except “don’t”, and that’s practically not an answer at all.
5. God loves me, but he’s sending you to hell! As a Christian, this didn’t make any sense to me. I figured I’d eventually understand as I learned more about the Bible. And I did. Turns out most of the modern myth of hell is just that: a modern myth. Why Christians continue to willfully read the doctrine of eternal damnation into the Bible is beyond me. I believed in a god who was much better than the one Christians preached, and now I don’t believe in a god or a hell at all.
6. The hopeless pity and confusion on the faces of Christians I knew when they found out I was an atheist told me all I needed to know. They didn’t respect me; they only respected the parts of me which conformed to the church.