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Why I Left the Church

*The following piece was written by a member of the Her Campus at VCU staff and is not indicative of the views of Her Campus or Her Campus at VCU*

Sunday school, prayer groups, Wednesday night worship, church choir: This is what I was raised with. The culture I was surrounded by my entire life. I can still recite the Apostle’s Creed and I know all verses to “Amazing Grace” (including the “My Chains Are Gone” version). At the Christian high school I attended I was schooled in theology. Our senior year, we were prepared on how to handle the secular, “real” world we would all encounter during and after college, but my classical education also schooled me in logic and reasoning. I guess that was their mistake.

I can no longer consider myself a Christian or a member of the church. It feels like the reasons behind this choice are endless, but I believe they can all be encompassed in one thing: the hypocrisy of the church. Let me preface this by saying that in no way do I judge an individual if they are a Christian. I know many people who I love and respect that are Christians. I also understand the appeal and comfort of a faith that gives an explanation for the inexplicable. I however, cannot get past the hypocrisy and inconsistency in Christianity and the church.

How, in a religion that supposedly preaches endless love and acceptance, can love be a sin? Not only does the Bible itself condemn people for what they cannot change, for an act that harms no one, but the church itself judges these people so harshly. Christians constantly quote Matthew 7:3 which says, “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye,” yet immediately disregard that sentiment when it comes to homosexuals. There are individuals who instead say “hate the sin but love the sinner” and while I can appreciate their attempt at not judging others for what they believe to be a sin, this still demonizes love and segregates LGBTQ members of the church. And, in my experience, it is still used with a judgmental, “holier than thou” attitude. Despite the fact that pride as a sin is mentioned many more times than homosexuality, the Christian culture is fueled by pride and judgement. Churches in which the entire congregation agrees that homosexuality is not a sin are sadly few and far between. These churches also are simply ignoring the fact that the Bible itself, the core text of Christianity, does name homosexuality as a sin and that cannot be ignored.  

If the Bible in its entirety is to remain the core text of Christianity, progressive churches cannot ignore the fact that there are many frankly horrifying passages and laws. Homosexuals are condemned to hell. Women are treated like objects. People often try to justify this sexism by pointing out Jesus’s treatment of women, but ignore the fact that women are still told to be submissive and quiet, that they must serve their husbands and cannot take roles of leadership. God was often incredibly cruel and violent, putting good people through trials and difficulties to prove a point or show his power, as seen when He turned a woman to salt simply for mourning her family and friends left in a burning city that He destroyed. This simply cannot be ignored.

If God is all-powerful and loving, why is there so much sorrow in the world? If God loves all people, why does hell even exist, why won’t this omnipotent God create a world without pain and sorrow for the people he created and supposedly loves so much? Stephen Fry said it best in an interview in which he is asked what he would say if he could confront God, “Why did you do that to us?”

I can no longer reconcile my morals and beliefs with the Christian religion. The hypocrisy and cruelty that is in so much of the church is impossible for me to ignore. There is simply too much mistreatment of homosexuals, transgendered people, women and so many others. You cannot separate a religion from its people or its people from the religion, so I chose to simply separate myself from both. 

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