Losing it : ex-Christians' stories about their lost faith

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Ranson, Layne E.
Christman, Jill, 1969-
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Thesis (B.?.)
Honors College
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Results released in 2009 from the American Religious Identification Survey showed that the number of U.S. citizens who identified as atheist or agnostic had nearly doubled in the past seven years, growing from 1.9 million in 2001 to 3.5 million in 2008. Even though most Americans still claim some form of Protestantism, churches are seeing a widespread decline in attendance; a survey performed by Lifeway Research, part of the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, showed that seventy percent of Protestants age18-30 drop out of church before age 23.

I am one of those Protestants that dropped church before my 23rd birthday - or rather, was, as I am now an atheist. The process of losing my faith is one of the most stressful, intense, and significant experiences I have ever had. My story is not a simple one, but I have heard Christian speakers at my former church and other places give simplistic reasons for why people leave the faith: they want to live "sinful" lives, they are just angry at God, et cetera. I don't think people who have left their faith deserve to have their experiences so watered down and trivialized, especially by individuals who have not had similar experiences - and as our nation is becoming increasingly secular, I think it is important that this phenomenon is recorded on an individual level, so that we may better understand the complex reasons behind why some can no longer believe. I put together three audio pieces, each around ten minutes long, combining my own narration and interviews from three individuals who renounced Christianity between the ages of 18 and 25 in a This American Life-esque style that tell the complicated, faceted, honest stories of how they lost their faith and who they are now.