Why Do People Leave The Church Building But Not God?

Done with Religion
3 min readMar 2, 2024

By Mike Edwards

I wrote here why people possibly deconvert though at one time having faith in God. Many Christian leaders imply those leaving the institutional church are leaving God. DONES are often deconverting from religion not God! One does not have to be involved in a regular Christian community to be a God-follower. I wrote here why I left the religious institution not God. There are many advantages to being a part of a group of people who seek to encourage one another about God. But many of us had to leave the building!

What are some emotional reasons people leave the building?

Packard has done much of the research. Many leave the building due to observed lack of responsible stewardship. 60% of the budget went toward the 90-minute show without serving better those outside the building. Many leave because being preached at doesn’t allow meaningful dialogue. Being so damn certain all the time is hardly relational, especially when even scholars disagree what the Bible says about issues impacting the lives of so many people. Many felt the lack of grace. People weren’t looking to excuse their moral failures, but why can’t we focus less on sexual behaviors and more on the poor, homeless, etc. Who is perfect! People leave for many reasons including abuse by leadership.

People leave for the same intellectual reason others leave the faith all-together

A major factor in leaving the building or God all together is because of views claimed about God. God according to the Bible supposedly condemns gays, burns unbelievers in the afterlife, and thinks women can fulfill the same roles as men though just as gifted. The truth is biblical scholars who have a deep respect for Scriptures don’t agree what the Bible says about gays, women, hell, and other moral issues. See here. See here. See here. It is only intuitive that a Creator loves the ways their creations ought to love one another. Biblical interpretations that don’t match how you and most know you ought to love your neighbor may be amiss.

Another major intellectual reason is due to certain explanations given for the presence of evil and suffering in our world despite there being a God. It is understandable why many can’t believe in a supposedly, all-powerful God who standbys while one is being raped, tortured, murdered, abused, etc. What kind of parent or God stands by and not intervene when they could prevent such suffering? Maybe a perfect, loving God can’t be controlling just as they can’t be manipulative. Maybe God can’t intervene single-handedly without human help. See Thomas Oord. The alternative is that God can always stop your suffering and doesn’t, or that God arbitrarily stops other’s sufferings sometimes but not yours. I doubt it!

Going forward

In the Bible “Church” was not a building or a place attended once a week. Jesus referred to His followers as being the Church and to encourage and care for one another. The Bible doesn’t tell the Church to go to church. Jesus said “Where two or more are gathered in His name” God would be present. Jesus did not specify where they must gather, what they must do or how they must do it. Simply find environments to encourage and be encouraged to radically love as Jesus did. Personally, in the church if I opened my mouth about disagreements about leadership’s views of what a loving God is like, I felt I was being divisive and pulling others down. I am comfortable disagreeing, but I am not looking to force my views on others. Our relationship with God isn’t about an institution or day of the week. It’s a daily, hourly relationship.

Why Do People Leave The Church Building But Not God?

Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. He couldn’t find enough people to discuss God openly so he started blogging years ago. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like He can be contacted by email at: medwar2@gmail.com

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Done with Religion

Done with religion does not mean done with God, but done with religious traditions. We post articles weekly about living for God outside the walls of religion.