Leaving God

2017 ,    »  -   32 Comments
335
6.98
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Ratings: 6.98/10 from 61 users.
Storyline

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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32 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Helen

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

  2. dick vartanian

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

  3. 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.

  4. Ron

    Just selling yourself again.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Roibeard

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

    Same as I did

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. Dennis Rojo

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

  12. GunnarInLA

    ...comments helped in deciding not to watch...those interested in this subject matter might want to google "sapolsky" and "youtube", you'll find stuff...religion truly is a burden (on mankind)...(...do people confuse the words "tenant" and "tenet"...?)

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Cdnski12

    Gods & Religions exist only between men's ears

  16. 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.”

  17. 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.

  18. 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!

  19. 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.

  20. Mike

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

  21. 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).

  22. 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.

  23. 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".

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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

  27. Phillip Veale

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

  28. 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

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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..

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