Leaving God

2017, Religion  -   90 Comments
7.22
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Ratings: 7.22/10 from 141 users.

The fastest growing religion in the United States seems to be no religion at all. A 2016 study conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute found that a quarter of the subjects surveyed claimed no religious affiliation, and this surprising figure increased substantially among the younger generation. Even members of the clergy are abandoning religion at a historic rate. What's behind this seismic shift in religious attitudes? Writer and director John Follis explores this issue through the prism of his own personal journey in his absorbing documentary Leaving God.

Follis' religious beliefs were programmed in him from an early age. As an adult, he continued to commit himself to serving his church, and he was particularly attracted to the sense of fellowship with other members of his congregation. But certain tenants of his religion began to pester him. He resented the feelings of guilt he experienced at the mere notion of lust. When his marriage began to crumble, he sought the counsel of his minister, who promptly admonished him from getting a divorce as it was against church doctrine. Yet that same minister would later go through two divorces of his own.

During the 90s, Follis embarked on crafting an ambitious marketing campaign for New York City's Marble Collegiate Church in an effort to revive its dwindling youth audience. The campaign proved a massive success. In spite of these efforts to promote his church and religion, he secretly harbored lingering doubts about the validity of his beliefs. These suspicions only deepened in the shadow of the falling Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. He contemplated the number of people throughout the centuries who had been slaughtered in the name of God. His faith was further compromised when reports of sexual molestation in the church started to spread like wildfire, when one high-profile religious leader after another was shamed by public scandal, and when he began to question the historical veracity of the scripture.

Leaving God is a modestly produced affair. But many viewers will empathize with the deeply personal testimony at its center, and it may also inspire thoughtful self-reflection and debate amongst those who remain firmly committed to their faith.

Directed by: John Follis

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90 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Meshach

    Troubles -
    main issues in the Christian's mind in the world today that is causing turmoil for fervent but naive believers

    short background:
    With Jesus' advent there was a lot of difference in his revelation of god from others. Judea was already under heavy Roman oppression and aggression and to the romans Judea was a very troublesome place. The festival of feasts that happened every year was a like reminder to jews and romans that god did it once in egypt in Moses times and the people expected him to do it again. A silent strong message to the Romans which increased tensions between both every year at that time.

    Jesus instead of fortifying people's faith by promising protection, said things like, friends do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot harm your soul but instead fear God.... - He was asking them not to fear even during bodily harm, of being murdered which is a contradiction of todays' octane fueled preaching for keeping you on high emotions always. Jesus always preached this way another example 'You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. Everyone will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. Stand firm, and you will win life.' what did he mean by 'but not a hair will perish' ? he was referring to eternal life.

    he was referring to eternal life-his only promise to all . not so with today's blessing preaching which is all about this life.
    with blessing preaching and church groups' whatsapp pictures of david defeating goliath and jerico walls coming down- its all about this life, thus picturising stuff neither Jesus nor the apostles offered to the people. This actually is infuriating naive people when help is not coming as if a promise was not kept. Then when reality of life strikes it is unthinkable betrayal.

    Jesus said in beautitudes "Blessed are you who weep; you will laugh"
    He was always referring to eternal life as an endpoint solution. Neither did he promise deliverence from the romans and enemies who hate them to this day nor did he promise deliverance from the religious leaders who were doing things that were really unbeareable for them.

    The reason why he preached good news to the poor ? they were burdened a lot yes, but He did not promise the poor riches he promised them eternal life; James gives a glimpse,"Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him? " He wants to give them eternal life as a solution, not hefty riches and consolations in this world.

    In fact, he said "But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation "

    what is eternal life ? Jesus was resurrected in an eternal spiritual body and his only sure promise to all the believers was to resurrect them the same way on the last day. They will have spiritual bodies. They will be sons and daughters and heirs along with him in a real sense with power and will inherit his kingdom (Luke 21 -he stood among disciples they thought he was a ghost cos the doors were locked. he said as Luke describes "touch me and see for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have"-a person with flesh and bones entering a locked door)
    this can be seen in almost all the epistles :

    "as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. "

    who, by the power that enables Him to subject all things to Himself, will transform our lowly bodies to be like His glorious body.

    It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

    The difference between a person who fairly believes in god and today's hardcore believer is that the former accepts one important fact- life is life. it has ups and downs. I knew such a person who during a huge loss said something like 'I know there is a god but life is life and I don't expect him to keep me away from every trouble'. The latter kind though believes that because they are so close to God he should protect them with a high level care compared to others. This is also because of above said charismatic prosperity preaching- feeding people with a large portion of that expectaion and when all that is lost they feel betrayed, the immature or hypocritical believers only add fuel to the fire the fallen leaders' attitude doesn't help needless to say. If there's any 1st step for today's hardcore believer - life is life. bitter truth - people in all places will step on you when you stumble with very few exceptions.

  2. Meshach

    I have experienced prophecies being fulfilled exactly - stuff that you don't hear 'other' people do. which means that there is a Holy Spirit, which means the concept about Jesus is true .
    The story in short:
    The apostles were sent to all over the world
    They spoke about resurrection The Lord confirmed this by doing the kind of miracles that no one else did - that's why they believed - they already had their gods, their little magics were already there. Horus story was already there when Luke did miracles in Egypt and set up its Church in the middle of a kingdom which had multiple gods. cos He did things none had done.

    When they believed God gave them all the holy Spirit and they all began to experience doing miracles. This was unheard of before.
    Giving them the holy Spirit was also a confirmation that they were sons.
    these miracles were so startling they all endured without giving up things what their master, Lord and brother endured (an egyptian for Judean Jesus!)

    Miracles do happen today and the Lord is still including new members into his family with startling miracles that I know for sure. Why it does not go to 'main stream media' kind of Public I do not know.

    If you'choose'the tap in your power theory how come you believed it ? Science doesn't prove it.
    it shouldn't be I believed it because I liked it - and I don't believe something I don't like

    Your hate for the fallen is right - but it is like saying I don't follow traffic rules because I've seen corrupt cops. is it logical? (who killed Jesus ? why ?)

    the atheist theorists note that they are really good at selling too ! (few on the other end could match their excellence at it) looks like something is at stake and they've gotten the better of you.

  3. Paul

    Forgot to mentioned the insightful symbolism of the three wise monkeys. It would make a desktop screen for all desktop and laptop computers owned by all religious institutions. Too bad I am unable to reproduce it with this comment so you just have to watch the documentary.

    1. Meshach

      I have experienced prophecies being fulfilled exactly - stuff that you don't hear 'other' people do. which means that there is a Holy Spirit, which means the concept about Jesus is true .
      The story in short:
      The apostles were sent to all over the world
      They spoke about resurrection The Lord confirmed this by doing the kind of miracles that no one else did - that's why they believed - they already had their gods, their little magics were already there. Horus story was already there when Luke did miracles in Egypt and set up its Church in the middle of a kingdom which had multiple gods. cos He did things none had done.

      When they believed God gave them all the holy Spirit and they all began to experience doing miracles. This was unheard of before.
      Giving them the holy Spirit was also a confirmation that they were sons.
      these miracles were so startling they all endured without giving up things what their master, Lord and brother endured (an egyptian for Judean Jesus!)

      Miracles do happen today and the Lord is still including new members into his family with startling miracles that I know for sure. Why it does not go to 'main stream media' kind of Public I do not know.

      If you'choose'the tap in your power theory how come you believed it ? Science doesn't prove it.
      it shouldn't be I believed it because I liked it - and I don't believe something I don't like

      Your hate for the fallen is right - but it is like saying I don't follow traffic rules because I've seen corrupt cops. is it logical? (who killed Jesus ? why ?)

      the atheist theorists note that they are really good at selling too ! (few on the other end could match their excellence at it) looks like something is at stake and they've gotten the better of you.

  4. Paul

    Correction to my previous post : . . .Also bear in mind that this “dogma” was shaped by culture and political incentives to benefit mostly the elite and not for reasons that benefit the “common good”. . .

  5. Paul

    At its core, belief in God originates from deep within the human psyche and not from external sources in particular religious institutions. An individual’s Faith is based on intrinsic values that were innate in mankind long before institutions dominated and controlled what the four main religions believe and enforce today.

    Therefore, when an individual states that he or she does not believe in God be sure to take into account that this person was influenced by years of dogma imposed on him or her from birth. Also bear in mind that this “dogma” was shaped by culture and political incentives to benefit mostly the elite and for reasons that benefit the “common good”. They had the means (military and self made laws) to maintain tyrannical governance over the weak, naive and illiterate population.

    When someone states that they no longer believe in God (as depicted and preached by their respective dogma) has finally seen the hidden agenda of institutions which have over time have abandoned “the truth the way and the light”.

    It is my informed guess that it will be the atheist who turns our attention to the “kingdom of God within us”.

    “Only this have I found: I have discovered that God made men upright, but they have sought out many schemes." Ecclesiastes 7:29

    1. Goofy Religions

      Utter nonsense. This "fairy tale" belief system only applies to Middle Easterners, not Europeans or any other groups. Jesus was Jew, after all. It's time to kick it to the myth pile where all the other gods and goddesses reside. The Jews were polytheistic like other peoples. The pathetic problem is that they (plus Christians and Muslims) still follow an ancient war god named Yahweh.

  6. Robert Gorlee

    `Yeah do it in the road, like the animals. Baphomet will love it.

  7. Grace

    I am not surprised of a great falling away, in fact it is recorded in the Bible that these things will come to pass. You can say you don't believe in the God of Abraham, not Allah, but you will ultimately be judged by the creator of the heaven and earth. Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the fourth man in the fire, the promised Messiah.

    2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 King James Version (KJV)
    2 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

    2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

    3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

    1. Goofy Religions

      Utter nonsense. This "fairy tale" belief system only applies to Middle Easterners, not Europeans or any other groups. Jesus was Jew, after all. It's time to kick it to the myth pile where all the other gods and goddesses reside. The Jews were polytheistic like other peoples. The pathetic problem is that they (plus Christians and Muslims) still follow an ancient war god named Yahweh.

  8. paul caden

    Paul from Canada. This well made movie is a true revelation and it certainly mirrors my experience, having been raised as a staunch Irish Catholic who almost got suckered into a seminary and the priesthood just before puberty which was part of the RC game plan. This would have totally ruined my life and I shudder at the thought of having to face no sexuality for the rest of my life and the requisite consequences! No wonder so many priests became pedophiles, had secret sexual relationships with cleaning ladies etc because they had to lie in order to keep their jobs.

  9. Tim from Canada

    Very watchable. Very informative. Very good.

    What we really need is a whole team of Ph.D-level researchers and other academics to do a *scientific* study of religion before we make too many decisions that will have lasting but *still unpredicatable* results. We need to get to a place where we CAN predict instead of (quite possibly) finding out that our species actually requires religion in order to have any stability - and finding it out the unintelligent hard way.

    1. paul caden

      Read up on sociobiology and neurotheology and other scientific studies from the past 25 years and you will no longer have to ask questions about whether religion is necessary for morality and a good life.

  10. John Follis

    Ramen!!!

  11. Justin

    As a disciple of Jesus Christ let me just say how delighted I am that you, unlike most church people, have been honest and have left off all religion. Very well done.

    Actually, your problem is not that you believe or don't believe, but quite simply you, like most people, have been just religious, and have never met or experienced Him who is your owner. That means you just do not have faith therefore, as His speaking to you is what authors faith in the first place.

    I commend you, and suggest you leave aside all ideas of your own on the subject, and enjoy your life. There is no point campaigning on the subject of atheism etc., as if there is no God in your experience why waste you time.......

    Science offers you a great religion. You have no reason to be, and utter annihilation without hope, justice, or appeal just the moment you die. Enjoy what you have.

    Your problem, is not irreligion. It is simply that, like most people, you are not one of God's people to begin with. He did not make you. He does not love those who are not His, who do not know Him.

    God bless you with a long and a happy life.

    1. Wesley L Mahan

      There are so many baseless assumptions in your frail comment, I don't know where to begin to begin. I was a disciple of Jesus, and loved Him more than life itself. I got a degree from Bible college, and then went to be a missionary in Europe. I was a born-again, spirit-filled evangelical Christian for 46 years. THIS: You have NO RIGHT or BASIS for judging whether someone else was a Christian or not, even if you DID know a person intimately.

      I gave up my faith, Christianity, at the age of 60, after examining closely all the evidence, and virtually everything I held believed in so firmly for 46 years. And yet you are going to say the same thing about me, that I wasn't really saved or born-again. Hey Justin, it's called the "No True Scotsman" fallacy.

      I've heard drivel like yours for a decade now, and it's just as absurd now as it was the first time I heard it. And my life is fuller and more rewarding now than it ever was when I was a Christian. You need to learn to quit judging people, and implying that people who lose their faith are liars and never were believers.

    2. paul caden

      Religion is no doubt false indoctrination and harmful for mankind but there can be a spirit in our brains. The fact that there have been 2800, or so, disparate deities throughout recorded history, proves 2 things: 1 all religions are wrongfully proselytizing their "true and only god". 2 There is a place for meditation or "god" in our brains. This latter fact is proven by MRI scans of the brain showing increased blood flow in the frontal lobes and language areas while religious pray and get into their trance. Clinical tests have proven that people living chaotic lives, who are addicted, suffered losses of jobs, loved ones, are out of control etc, are proven to turn to symbols, gods, soothsayers or whatever to make sense of life as they have problems in the TPJ region of the brain. Great video on this, w Morgan Freeman;
      Through the wormhole season 3 episode 10, "Did We Invent God"?

    3. Saxdo

      You sound really mean.

  12. Albert

    It is not surprising that one would not find the divine in an organization whose emphasis is on fostering human relationships or another whose emphasis is on building the organization.

  13. Larry

    Great documentary, exactly how I feel.

  14. Tim

    What a charming and honest little doco.

  15. alexey y noshchenko

    A Bible has only once answer for all our problems: It is a god sent you challenges to test you faith! What horrible lie, it is scam of all centuries

  16. Richard C Condon

    Great video. One tiny error - it says that Isaac was told by God to kill his son. It was Abraham that was told to kill his Isaac.

    1. Danny Campbell

      Good catch - I was going to post the same correction and saw you already did.

    2. Thomas

      Ha, I was thinking he said he studied so hard in Catholic school so he must have been absent that day LOL

  17. CH2517Joan

    This portraits the journey of many a believer to atheism. It does mine. Thank you for making this film, and the honesty and integrity.
    I've been crying a lot because of the loneliness I still feel at times. I hope to find a place to connect again.

  18. Matt

    The glimpse of "Heaven" that some of us has seen is just our brains releasing DMT in mass amounts, which will bring forward your deepest sub-consciences' thoughts.
    which is, in most of us, a god of some sort.
    i am not a believer of any god, but I have experienced this and it immediately helped me rest assured that there is no god.

  19. Chantal Gaultier

    A religious system is not what the Creator intended. Churchianity is the bastardization of a spiritual walk and relationship with the Father through Christ and the Holy Spirit. He proves Himself to the ones who are serious and not just playing religious games. Time is short to choose because very hard times are coming soon. If you don't know what I'm talking about, please see the 'conspiracy' section in this video collection in order to further educate yourself. :-)

    1. Rob Conway

      This implies that all nonbelievers weren't 'serious' when seeking god. How is it you are able to read minds?

    2. Joseph Anthony

      You mention "Christianity" as a bastardization of a spiritual walk and a relationship with the Father through "Christ" in the same sentence. Do you not see the contradiction in that?

    3. Wesley L Mahan

      Your faith in Jesus, Chantal, is religion, no matter how you want to spin it or make up your own definition. Look in any dictionary - Websters, Oxford, Cambridge, etc, and the definition of religion is "belief in a deity". Do you believe in a deity? If so, you are religious. Period.

  20. Sarah Hervey

    This story is also mine.
    I like to joke about how my teenage rebellion was GOING to church haha. Growing up, my mom was a manager for Planned Parenthood and my father was a professor of Political Science and Philosophy... I was always taught to value education and to fight for social justice and equality. My childhood was very lucky.
    My father passed away in my adolescence and my family moved to Iowa and long story short I somehow found myself involved with church friends & like he says in this film - I’m talking, laying hands on people in prayer for healing-speaking in tongues-hands in the air worship- type of church community. I joke about it being a “teenage rebellion” bc the fights I had with my mother were due to her worry over my saying things like people were healed.
    *fast forward past my analysis of why I think I ended up there to me leaving*

    This documentary was SO much my story too. I left the beliefs in the Bible, god, and the church (in that order). And hearing stories similar to mine are always good to hear & have someone to relate to about it, because it is not too easy to find other non-believers who once identified as a Christian (veryyyy much so). Grateful I came across it!

  21. Ru Desrosiers

    Nice video. Well done. Thanks for posting. I became an atheist in the Fall of 2012. Atheism is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I am done with the tribal concept of a Deity or deities for ever and ever. I would like to act out my journey out of Christianity in a documentary. Atheism brings me joy and a lasting peace of mind.

    1. Joseph Anthony

      Your peace of mind is not "lasting." It ends when you die. Since there is no God, this life is all you get.

  22. Simeon

    @Richard
    "Of course not. Meaning is what you definite it to be..."

    ok... it is... But I was thinking about 'objective meaning' or, perhaps better word is, ‘purpose’ of the universe and all of existence... Not just psychological, subjective meaning - without we couldn't even get out of the bed in the morning. So, I was talking about meaning or purpose that will not perish forever... and this universe, in this state as we see it today, will cease to exist... but that is not the end...

    @corynski
    “Yes, truth is you've been lied to since birth by parents, clergy and teachers......”

    Not for me... I was born into communist family and society. Nobody around me have spoke about God or something religious. At least not in a good way. It was completely “atheistic” community, so to speak... In orthodoxy, knowing God is empirical... everything else may be delusional. But that is not communicable, so I will not going to try explain that...

    “...but until someone can explain to me why an omniscient, omnipotent god would create a world where every living organism must eat another living organism.... just to stay alive himself..... I'll call that fiction...”

    God has not created such a world... Death is parasite on the Gods creation... Everything is in fallen state, and it is because of man. Also it is temporary... Everything after “big-beng” is product or effect of man’s misused free will... Spacetime and everything else was not like this, when God created world... If God was to create universe and intelligent beings without free will than it would be just mindless robots... But God is Love... And He believe in us... He puts His trust in us... Natural world (animals, plants... even planets and suns...) suffers in death because of us (see: Romans 8; 20-22)...

    I recommend book by John S. Romanides, “The Ancestral Sin”, to anyone who want to see what is the difference in understanding of the sin, world, salvation, etc. between Eastern Orthodoxy and western Christianities... so, Corynski, if you really seeking some answers, try and read this book...

    sorry if my english is not correct...

    best regards!

  23. corynski

    Yes, truth is you've been lied to since birth by parents, clergy and teachers...... men create gods and goddesses..... thousands of them..... every culture creates its own gods, and that's why they don't teach anthropology to children either. They taught me that Christopher Columbus discovered America too, another lie. Of course we would all like a god in the sky, but until someone can explain to me why an omniscient, omnipotent god would create a world where every living organism must eat another living organism.... just to stay alive himself..... I'll call that fiction. Mythology is the correct term we should be using......

  24. Sonny corbi

    Organized religion worships segregated “god” - true but I don’t see my first comment posted? Was it rejected?

  25. Sonny corbi

    Organized religion worships segregated “gods”

  26. Richard

    Morgan Freeman: "When did I say I was a man of god?"

    Interviewer: "You're not a man of god?"

    Freeman: "No (laughing)"

    That clip was the best part of the documentary! LOL

  27. Richard

    @Simeon

    The universe just IS. What meaning you apply to it is your own.

  28. Richard

    @Simeon "… Existence of everything is not meaningless. Your life is not meaningless…"

    Of course not. Meaning is what you definite it to be. Nothing that exists naturally has meaning as an attribute. Meaning is an attribute of the one contemplating it.

  29. Richard

    @bobby "Voltaire said 'if God is good and God is all powerful, whence comes evil ???'

    Evil comes from men who do not folllow God. He does not force us to follow Him.
    There will always be evil but woe to the man who from who evil comes
    Is that not evident, Voltaire?"

    If your god is good and all powerful he should eliminate evil. If he doesn't it is because he is either bad or not all powerful. Or both. Is that not evident, bobby?

  30. Richard

    @Fintan "The minister in the bible discusion meeting asked a reasonable question of him if one considers that the bible maybe more about truths then facts. I guess the narrator could'nt really see the distinction."

    Truth is that which is in accordance with fact or reality. Truth is fact. One requires the other.

  31. Simeon

    I have always wondered, as an Eastern Orthodox Christian, how can anybody believe in man made versions of "christianity" or "god", which are all kinds of western versions of Christianity. There is only one Truth, and He is Lord Jesus Christ. Truth is Being! Eastern Orthodoxy is not religion. It is Apostolic, continuous, tradition of relationship with living God Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Eastern Orthodoxy is infinitely different of all kinds of western christianities, as well of all other religions, because it is reveled by God, and not made by man (ie. Pope or some protestant reformers)... Check it out, and return to the roots. Existence of everything is not meaningless. Your life is not meaningless. Do not be deceived by ancient liar and deceiver. God bless you!

  32. bobby

    Voltaire said "if God is good and God is all powerful, whence comes evil ???"

    Evil comes from men who do not folllow God. He does not force us to follow Him.
    There will always be evil but woe to the man who from who evil comes
    Is that not evident, Voltaire?

  33. Will

    I just heard you on the Phil Ferguson Show. I'm glad because this was great.

    Reading through the comments really helps one to see the harm religion causes.

    Your closing was fabulous.

  34. Dean Kirkwood

    Not a flashy production which gives it more credence in my opinion. Great music and video clips intermixed. John did a great job of selling god for his agency and a better job of selling skepticism with this documentary.

  35. Fintan

    Some would call that inner power we can tap into..God, without all the biblical stories and judgements.

  36. Fintan

    The minister in the bible discusion meeting asked a reasonable question of him if one considers that the bible maybe more about truths then facts. I guess the narrator could'nt really see the distinction.

  37. Fintan

    Same old tierd arguments! Nothing new or challenging in this.

  38. Maji

    I left Islam 2 years ago and I don't believe in any religion .
    But if I announce that, I will be killed.

  39. Ron

    Very mixed up fellow probably should have told the priest that he did not want to be confirmed because he didn't understand what it was empowering him to do. I think the issues of nones is more than this movie succeeded in which was about one man journey so many are returning to Christ and they are doing it by focusing on answers like Catholic answers.com.

  40. Roberta

    Love this film because it combines great info relating to the current shifting trend in America (away from church, religion and god) with a captivating personal story. Also really entertaining, fast-moving and humorous. 10 Stars!

  41. Fel

    Why do you have to be part of a religion to believe in God ? lol this narrative is just as ridiculous as the person who made it... Don't blame God for your failed marriage..

    1. Jessica

      What a non-sense brainwashed comment. Nowhere in that video did he blame god for his failed marriage. His marriage didn't work because they were incompatible! They thought they their marriage was sanctioned by god because the met in church and was married BY the church. They even tried to stick it out and make it work BECAUSE of their beliefs! Wow, the crap people will hear when they want to validate their idiotic beliefs.

  42. Dorethea

    Hilarious and interesting. Loved this. I do have a religion of Buddhism, but they teach the power is within each person, not outside or in the sky. The "Buddha is within." And we believed in life on other planets over 2000 years ago.

  43. kelly Brenna

    The review of this film is spot on. This is an "absorbing" film where "viewers will empathize with the personal testimony at its center" which may "inspire thoughtful self-reflection." I also appreciate how well-researched and informative it is citing multiple respected sources such as the recent study by the Public Religion Research Institute.
    Well done, thought-provoking, and surprisingly entertaining.

  44. Julian

    Not very good, unfortunately. Almost the entirety of the film is spent about the creator's personal and rather uninteresting journey as a christian. The introduction makes it seem as though there will be some insight as to why less and less Americans are practicing religion. None of that here, sad to say.

  45. lurlene Thompson

    This is not about christianity.This is about catholicism .The head of christianity is Jesus christ .The head of catholic is Mary two different and separate religion and GodThey are not the same There is GOD .HE IS

    1. Joseph Anthony

      The founder of the Catholic Church is Jesus Christ (Matt 16: "Upon this rock I will build my Church"). Jesus built a Church. What Church do you think He founded? Where on earth do you get the idea that the head of the Catholic Church is Mary.

  46. Phillip Veale

    Did God sell you out or did you sell out God.

  47. Joel Marrero

    There is a difference between what a particular religion teaches and what the Bible ACTUALLY TEACHES. The film presents some fallacies as evidence that Jesus is a myth. For example, the bible never specifies a date for Jesus's birthday. Therefore, December 25th is a pagan date for Jesus's birthday. Something to blame on mainstream Christianity tachings but not bible teachings. I love Bill Maher and Sam Harris too, but their arguments against religion are many times not based on what the Bible actually teaches. Mainstream Christianity is in facts founded on many pagan beliefs

  48. mistakesweremade

    I thought this was a good description of one person's spiritual journey. He does not denigrate his former church or treat its current members without respect, he just talks about what he was thinking when he went from a person of faith to a person without. If you don't know anyone who has gone through this process, I think it would be useful, especially if you don't want to hear your own religion put down while watching it. I think it works best if you approach it with an open mind, and try not to see it as an attack on your own religion. If we disagree, we are free to make our own video explaining how we came to our own conclusions -- although I don't really think there is a massive misunderstanding about why Christians might be Christian, at least not in this country.

  49. Minh Duong

    Azad wrote, "Can a MAN be the ultimate creator of this universe?"

    If by "Universe" you mean "God and Religion", then I reckon the answer is yes. Anthropologically, sociologically, philosophically and Historically.

  50. Alkhalsa

    Allah says in the Quran :

    He it is who enables you to travel on land and sea. And [behold what happens] when you go to sea in ships: [they go to sea in ships,] and they sail on in them in a favourable wind, and they rejoice thereat until there comes upon them a tempest, and waves surge towards them from all sides, so that they believe themselves to be encompassed [by death; and then] they call unto God, [at that moment] sincere in their faith in Him alone, "If Thou wilt but save us from this, we shall most certainly be among the grateful!"

    i.e even though you think you don't believe in God, when you are faced in catastrophe where you know that know one can save you, neither your parents or friends . At that moment you will surely turn in to God and say " oh god save me from this".

  51. Oliver Koslik

    Religion is rebranding itself. It's losing the theistic belief system. However, in order to save itself, constituency and "face", its retaining similar core principles of social cohesiveness. What I mean by that is that, the ideals held behind "keeping the faith in th holy spirit" are a heuristic type of in-group; thought, behaviour and communication (ie: the holy ghost). With the exception of indoctrinating belief in omnipotent power, there will still be the inherent fallacies and distortions that come with maintaining any philosophy that isn't 100% salient.

    Is it a failed brand? Yes, as anyone who does believe in things said (keeping faith in the holy spirit), now essentially needs to deny it (lie). Strictly because of the fact that such belief is wrought with potential for corruption, manipulation and unaccountable information.

  52. FredFlintstone

    This documentary is mildly interesting but is little more than a diatribe against organized religion. He didn't leave God, he left church.

    PS: Depending on my mood, I am somewhere between an Atheist (no God) and a Deist (God exists but doesn't meddle).

  53. Mike

    Man will fail you God will not.Dont leave God and Jesus...

    1. matthew

      sorry about your IQ

  54. Eunice Ann Carr

    The saddest film I've ever watched. John you never "left God" because you never found Him or knew Him to start with. All your dreadful "church' experiences made sure that you never "encountered" Him either. As for all the 'intellectuals" you consulted and quote from, they just cemented any chance you may have had to do so. Jesus said "If you seek me you will find me"...you sought Him from "Churches" that would make Him puke, and intellectuals that "confessing themselves to be wise, become fools instead".
    Your search was in many places and other peoples opinions. He never said you would find Him there. Your "rock " would be a good place to start, just you,and an open sincere heart. I wish you well.

  55. drew

    i went to catholic schools from 1st grade to 12th grade and i understand the frustrations of catholics but that does not mean GOD does not exist! the roman catholic church is and has been corrupt from the start but that does not mean GOD does not exist! i understand the frustrations of a world in chaos but that does not mean GOD does not exist! i have heard different poll numbers and i don't believe atheism is that popular! polls are skewed and bias depending on who takes the poll! the world did not and can not create itself! i will say i did not like catholic school either but i got a pretty good education!

    1. Joseph Anthonly

      If the Catholic Church is corrupt from the start, the what Church was Jesus talking about when He said, "Upon this rock I will build my Church"? What Church is that, exactly. Also please explain how this "corrupt" Church is the largest charitable organization in the world.

    2. paul caden

      Religion was inevitable. Humans are curious, it's a function of our oversized neo cortex. Intelligent designers don't like it but the unalienable facts are indisputable. Evolution has placed our species (at least for now) in pole position. We have the ability to 'go figure'. The superstitious crap which satisfied our need for explanations before we knew better belong in the trash. Thankfully we have, and continue to dump the rubbish. Gone or going, witchcraft, astrology, magic, slavery, homophobia, to name a few. Next, religiosity, raciscm, patriotism, (yes I did say patriotism). Problem, at least for homo sapiens, evolution does not stop.

  56. Kitty

    Voltaire said, "if God is good and God is all powerful, whence comes evil?" No one can deny this is a great question that no religious person will consider, much less have a logical answer.

  57. Angel

    Shouldn’t ‘Leaving God’ instead be renamed ‘Leaving Religion?’

    God is not religion. Truth is not religion. Religion is simply a means of finding God and Truth.

    Religious instruction is progressive. The simple first before the more advanced and involved explanations.

    But there is a Truth that everyone can find towards the end of one’s seeking.

    From: The Message made plain

    “04 To bring the people forward, the wise men of old had formulated only the simplest possible explanations and teachings. They were all that the people could understand, then. During those early times, people were told to accept God’s divine instruction given through prophets and priests without question. Moreover, they were compelled to blindly follow the teachings of the church under the threat of excommunication or the pains of hell. There were good and valid reasons behind this injunction.

    05 Certainly, little children should not be allowed to play with matches because they might burn the house down. For much the same reason, the higher knowledge was not revealed to the common people.

    06 They being morally deficient, any such advantage over others would have been misused and utilized mainly for selfish interests, resulting in harm to others as well as to themselves. Further, being intellectually inferior, they would find extreme difficulty in trying to understand advanced concepts. Such elevated ideas would serve only to confuse them all the more. First, they must be thoroughly grounded in the basics in much the same way that we must be fully conversant with simple arithmetic before we can begin to study higher mathematics. Based on these considerations, it was deemed to the people’s best advantage that, in the meanwhile, they should rather concentrate their time and efforts on matters which were better suited to their particular stage of development.

    07 For their own good, therefore, the higher teachings were withheld from those who were not ready for them. However, to a very few deserving students, the higher truths were taught in secret. In the East, the Masters taught their disciples and initiates in the temples of higher learning. Christ, himself, taught most of the people in parables but spoke plainly to those few who were ready for more advanced instruction (1, 2).
    08 Today, however, the times have greatly changed. Now, modern man is considered sufficiently evolved to begin to understand. In fact, thinking men and women everywhere find the old teachings to be sorely inadequate, even unreasonable and illogical, running counter to the dictates of their ordinary common sense. To them, the old explanations can no longer suffice. And their dissatisfaction gives rise to a compelling desire to search for deeper meaning and explanations to the mysteries of life.

    09 Clearly, today, the reasons for withholding the teachings no longer apply. And, in preparation for the coming Age of Enlightenment, the knowledge is to be disseminated to all the people. Still, as always, understanding can come only as a result of continuous strivings.

    10 In preparation for our life on earth, we choose to undergo many years of rigorous studies in order to attain to some degree of worldly success. We spend long, hard years of sweat and tears, passing through every phase, from grade school and, hopefully, on to the more advanced degree courses just so that we may have a better life with better opportunities that are not available to the less educated among us. And yet, when it relates to spiritual matters, far too many leave everything to chance, and they insist falsely that these matters cannot be learned.

    11 To all the questions of life, the answers can be found.”

  58. Cdnski12

    Gods & Religions exist only between men's ears

  59. Greg

    I think a better question to ask instead of - Is there a God? - is this: Is there consciousness other than one's own consciousness which interacts with one's mind?

    My experience says there is. If all my thoughts have there origins strictly within my own mind then I am often a genius and i sometimes can even foretell the future - to my own amazement - without any rhyme or reason I am aware of.

  60. Keith Sauerwald

    Re; "Last viewer's" comment. This person mentions "proper education". This is something that "Last viewer" never had. There are so many cumulative errors in that persons comment that I wonder why it was accepted for publication. Eg......docu (document)....and him (and himself).....In now days (Now a days).....Sure know that 2 or 4 thousands years ago (would surely know that 2 or 4 thousand years ago)..... Homosapien...... (Homosapiens).....Most of this specie (species). Last viewer needs more education him / herself.....especially in English comprehension of our language.

  61. Dennis Rojo

    Good Documentary. Enjoyed it. Believe what he says is true. Sorry folks, there is no tooth fairy.

  62. Azad

    It's sad yet true, the question is not finding God and or losing God, or graduating from Family traditions, the real Question that should be asking is there a God and what are is the concept/precept of God. I think the bigger issue here is people equating Jesus as God and to be honest, this is the real question. Can a MAN be the ultimate creator of this universe?
    My Concept of God is that which is uncreated, that which is transcendent, that which is everlasting and this God is uniquely one, all powerful, all wise.
    the reason people are leaving Christianity, it's because we've anthropomorphized God!
    Learn the concept of God from an Islamic perspective. that is more coherent and comprehensible! I am not talking about the religion, yet. just the concept of God!

  63. Janna

    I'm sorry the churches let you down. They are run by people...that's all God has to work with. He will not intervene with anyone's agency. We lived before and there is a life after this one. Some of us have seen glimpses of it. Hang in there, it's worth it.

    1. paul caden

      Religious indoctrination boils down to mankind's fear of death and the afterlife or the lack thereof. We are sooo afraid of just dying that we will worship, pray, bow, pay huge sums to hustlers of the Sun, Moon, stars, prophets, shamans, thieves, medicine men, astrologists, etc just to feel good and hope for an afterlife. This is why Emporer Constantine took an insignificant group of persecuted peasants and made them the biggest religion in the world, by force, so he could obtain "eternal salvation" for himself. Not to say that religious practice is not beneficial to those suffering so much they would believe in worm deities if it could get them sober, out from torment etc. But for those like me who were force fed medieval inspired catholicism from birth, it is truly liberating to face life as a free thinker. I got back my morality, kindness, drive and had a successful career in business and married for 41 yrs w 2 kids have a great family. Try liberating your mind from your forced indoctrination :)

  64. Roibeard

    He didn't left God. He left Church/Christianity

    Same as I did

  65. Last viewer

    Within itself, this docu served the author in a tiff between his ex-customer and him.
    In now days, everyone having access to proper education sure know that 2 or 4 thousands years ago, Homosapien needed to be educated in social and legal affairs.
    And the homosapien' Elite created his own God to his expectations.
    - AND... Most of this specie still need more education.

  66. Frank

    As suggested by "User1" this could have been a good promotional documentary on atheism. However, it was very poorly done, and rather unconvincing. There should have been far more commentary by people who have left religion and their reasons for doing so.
    Agnostics might also have benefited as many are not quite sure whether there is a God or not. The few added words by famous people who don't believe in God was not enough.

  67. Kitty

    There was no climatic question ending because there is none. Being content not having 'all the answers', not living in lies and and not being afraid of the unknown is the most satisfying way to live.

  68. Ron

    Just selling yourself again.

  69. User1

    I didn't give this too good of a score cause this was more about some guy's journey than on the subject. Too bad cause it was a good subject to explore.

    Fortunately I was never into religion. My conclusion from the very beginning was that out of the over 4000 religions, where did they evolve from? Man. The whole thing with god and heaven and all that came from man. End of story.

  70. dick vartanian

    Voltaire said "if God is good and God is all powerful, whence comes evil ???"

  71. Helen

    This documentary is so far the most excellent that I've ever watched.