Illustration by Leen

The Real Reasons I Left “The Only Right” Church

As I sketched this image at the dining room table, the early Minnesota winter evening light fading quickly, my 5 year old son (chewing his chicken nuggets) glanced over and asked what I was drawing.

Here are a few of my biggest reasons for leaving the fundamentalist church I was raised in.

I hope this helps others in some way.

Fear Marketing

I’ve always felt wary of people that try to make me do things based on stories that provoke fear. In my opinion, organized religion stems from, was born from fear of the unknown. Fear of not having an answer to the mystery of life. Companies and organizations do this, sometimes, for advertising or awareness campaigns.

Control via Guilt and Shame

I’ve also always disliked that the storyline of most Christian religions (or mine, anyway) was that we were born as sinful humans that needed to be cleansed, and that the only way was to believe a thing or believe a certain way.

Judgment & Hypocrisy

The church states that everything is forgiven if you just believe that Jesus died for your sins. I went with that. Especially after getting divorced and feeling like an outcast. I knew in my heart, at least, that I was ok. Even if people were somewhat wary of my choice. I knew there was no way to live my life in that marriage.

Cognitive Dissonance

Since I can remember, I’ve felt like the way I was raised wasn’t right.

Finding Peace in Uncertainty

I hid my associations with religion pretty well throughout most of my life, and when I finally realized that I had the choice to let go of those beliefs I could rest in the peace of what life actually is: Uncertainty.

”With us but never ‘of’ us.”

This phrase is one that a lot of people who attend the church use to comfort themselves when someone decides to leave the church.

“Maybe this is it! I might get to die!”

There have been several periods of my life when I was hoping that I would die.

Rediscovering My Peace

Life is hard, no doubt. Having something simple to depend on helps. It turns out, though, that it can simply be yourself.

Building Real Community

A real test of love is to leave a tight-knit religious community and see who still talks to you. I always thought I was a pretty well-liked person in that community, but it turns out it was conditional.

There isn’t “one right way.”

Taking myself out of the judgment seat of the fundamentalist church has given me an enlivened sense of spirituality.

Agnostic. Cancer survivor. Divorce survivor. Proud single mom. Freelance designer + illustrator. Stubborn optimist. Finding my new path.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store