If the Catholic bishops, their conservative Protestant allies, and other right-wing fundamentalists had the sole objective of decimating religious belief, they couldn’t be doing a better job of it.
Testimonials at sites like ExChristian.net show that people leave religion for a number of reasons, many of which religious leaders have very little control over. Sometimes, for example, people take one too many science classes. Sometimes they find their faith shattered by the suffering in the world – either because of a devastating injury or loss in their own lives or because they experience the realities of another person’s pain in a new way. Sometimes a believer gets intrigued by archaeology or symbology or the study of religion itself. Sometimes a believer simply picks up a copy of the Bible or the Koran and discovers faith-shaking contradictions or immoralities there.
But if you read ExChristian testimonials you will notice that quite often church leaders or members do things that either trigger the deconversion process or help it along. They may turn a doubter into a skeptic or a quiet skeptic into an outspoken anti-theist, or as one former Christian calls himself, a “devangelist.”
Here are some top ways Christians push people out the church door or shove secret skeptics out of the closet. Looking at the list, you can’t help but wonder if the Catholic bishops, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann and their fundamentalist allies are working for the devil.