The Universe

September 25, 2013 2 min to read

The Top Reason Why People Leave the Christian Faith: Science?

Category : Apologetics, Life-Ecstatic (Faith)

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A very interesting post at Reddit provides some unexpected insight. The user, CynicalMe, decided to run an informal survey around the popular social site in relevant areas (subreddits) and asked two questions:

  • If you left the Christian faith, what was your greatest reason for doing so?
  • What do you consider to be the greatest obstacle to belief in the Christian God?

What was the outcome? Most said that the problem was “Christian teachings that conflict with findings of modern science”.

That suprised me. Really? Science? I would have thought that superficial teachings or acts of violence in the Bible would be bigger factors. But Science?

Yes, this is an informal survey (2020 users took part) and something for the kind of community that frequents Reddit – arguably, geeks, mostly – is worth considering.

The original poster makes some interesting points. Here’s a quote:

“What I have found to be particularly interesting is the massive disconnect between popular Christian perceptions of the obstacles to belief and what atheists actually have to say about this matter for themselves.

“Of particular interest is the large number of Christians (30%) who think this has to do with superficial teaching and not taking the bible seriously enough, compared to a mere 2.5% of non-Christians who at one point left Christianity giving this as their greatest reason for leaving and 1.7% of those who were never Christians stating this as their greatest obstacle.”

Here are the results (see the original post for more):

Of those who left Christianity


Reasons for leaving the faith

Response Total Percent
Christian teachings that conflict with findings of modern science 763 54.34%
Superficial Christians who don’t practice what they preach 87 6.20%
Acts of violence attributed to God in the bible 63 4.49%
An increase in superficial teaching and decrease in taking the Bible seriously 35 2.49%
I did not leave the Christian faith 3 0.21%
The mission and message of church was too vague 12 0.85%
Other 441 31.41%
Total 1404 100.00%

Greatest obstacle to belief in the Christian God

Response Total Percent
Christian teachings that conflict with findings of modern science 586 41.74%
Non-falsifiable claims 406 28.92%
Acts of violence attributed to God in the bible 61 4.34%
An increase in superficial teaching and decrease in taking the Bible seriously 42 2.99%
The mission and message of church was too vague 11 0.78%
Other 298 21.23%
Total 1404 100.00%

Of those who were never Christians


Greatest obstacle to belief in the Christian God

Response Total Percent
Christian teachings that conflict with findings of modern science 208 39.25%
Non-falsifiable claims 156 29.43%
Acts of violence attributed to God in the bible 14 2.64%
An increase in superficial teaching and decrease in taking the Bible seriously 9 1.70%
The mission and message of church was too vague 4 0.75%
Other 139 26.23%
Total 530 100.00%

Of those who were Christians


Greatest obstacle to belief in the Christian God

Response Total Percent
Christian teachings that conflict with findings of modern science 12 13.95%
Non-falsifiable claims 4 4.65%
Acts of violence attributed to God in the bible 12 13.95%
An increase in superficial teaching and decrease in taking the Bible seriously 26 30.23%
The mission and message of church was too vague 4 4.65%
Other 28 32.56%
Total 86 100.00%

About Ryan Peter


Ryan Peter is a writer, journalist and ghostwriter from Johannesburg, South Africa. He writes fantasy, sci-fi, inspirational fiction, and on faith. Ryan is also part of the New Covenant Ministries International (NCMI) translocal team.

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Comments (8)

  • avatar image
    Replydisqus_rQDvjekRQa September 26, 2013

    My reason was because 'intelligent design' allows for to much pain in this world for people who do not deserve it so i cannot believe in a 'loving figure'. Nice write up Ryan. Tjaart

  • avatar image
    ReplyRyan Peter September 26, 2013

    That one I can understand. It's a lifelong search, in my experience, to understand suffering in the context of faith and I'm still searching. Thanks for that Tjaart - you're not the only one! :)

    • avatar image
      Replydisqus_rQDvjekRQa September 26, 2013

      Ryan you give Christians a good name bud have a good day

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  • avatar image
    Replyrat February 20, 2014

    Faith is trusting God eventhough you do not understand Him. And we must admit that we cannot understand everything. I do not think you would be happy if your son always asks for reasons and insists on understanding you before he believes what you tell him. It must be very frustrating to have a son who cannot trust his parents. (Unless his parents usually tell lies).