Six Kinds of Ex-Christians

Over the past year I’ve had the opportunity to interview dozens of ex-Christians for my book, Generation Ex-Christian. No two people walk away from the faith for exactly the same reasons. However, I witnessed some patterns emerge. The following list introduces six different kinds of “leavers.” I’ve assigned them names based on the primary factors that led them away from the faith.

These groupings are not scientifically precise; they are tools meant to help us determine why people abandon the faith, and enable us to address their specific concerns. Factors that lead people away often serve as the barriers that prevent their return. As you read this list, think of young people you know who have walked away. Do any of these descriptions sound familiar?

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An Evening with Atheists

Christians love talking about atheists. Generally, however, we’re less excited about talking to them. 

Well, one night last winter I set out to change that, at least in my own life. I attended an atheist gathering in my neighborhood.

But first I had to go online and join their “meet-up” group.

I remember my hand freezing on my computer mouse, unable to click the “join us” invitation. For a moment the cursor hovered over the button. Did I really want to do this?

I had already interviewed dozens of atheists for the book project I was working on, but most of my interviews had been conducted over the phone or via email. Somehow the prospect of sitting face to face with them was more intimidating. I wasn’t afraid of an intellectual assault. Yes, there would be plenty of God-bashing in these meetings, but I wasn’t likely to hear anything new. Thanks to my peculiar habit of reading reams of atheist literature, I’d heard most of the arguments against Christianity before, and all from the movement’s most eloquent spokespeople.  
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