Kenyans Reveal What Made Them Leave The Church

April 11, 2024

Around the world, religion in on a decline. The same is happening in Kenya, although numbers are hard to come by.

You may be deceived by the numerous makeshift churches popping up everywhere, but many of them are just about empty, while others are shutting down everyday.

The big, mainstream churches in Kenya still pull off a decent crowd, but there is no denying the falling numbers.

The vast majority of Kenyans still identify as Christian, but many stopped practicing a long time ago, sometimes going years without stepping foot in a church, except for social occasions like weddings and funerals.

From the 2019 census, only 1.6% of Kenyans identified as ‘Nones’, meaning Atheists or Agnostics. However, because of societal stigma, this number could be much higher.

A recent conversation on the r/Kenya Subreddit caught my eyes. Kenyans were asked to give reasons as to why they dropped out of the church. Here are some of the replies.

I officially stopped being a Christian in 2019. This was 7 years after I dropped out church.

I was a very staunch Christian in my childhood (primary and high school). In fact, I was nicknamed “Pastor” by my classmates. I won’t go into the details of how I ‘backslid’, but I initially didn’t intend to stop being a Christian for good.

While in campus, I didn’t hold back on the pleasures of the world (drugs, sex, etc). Afterwards,(maybe when maturity started kicking in), I found myself yearning for a spiritual path.

Interestingly, I tried seeking solace from the church, but couldn’t find the kind of fulfilment I was looking for. I delved into research, which exposed me to a lot of information on traditional Chinese and Indian ‘religions’.

Recognizing how these nations have maintained their practices and beliefs (despite colonization), I came to appreciate the culture and traditions of my ancestors. Surprisingly, I have come to realize that many of my age mates (aged 25-35) have adopted a similar path. And everyone has a similar sort of spiritual awakening.

Placing myself fully into one religion has been a challenge. I am 33% Christian, 33% Buddhist and 33% New Age. All religions have something that you can take and improve your living. I find it difficult living as if one size fits all.

Since the church became a political and business scene. It was during church elections and the leaders were fighting literally throwing chairs and books to one another just for a post in the church

I left the church for a bit too, because of many issues- church hurt, peer pressure from others outside church, made money so I was independent etc. But then I got back to church in my early thirties. What was different this time was choosing a bible based church that preaches the true gospel. Also, this time I chose to go to church to heal, but also to serve others. That was the difference maker for me and really what has kept my strong. Faith and service. I’ve found when I serve and take eyes out of my own needs for a few hours, I feel closer to God and his word. But that’s my experience, maybe different for others. Hope you find peace
Religion is a racket and a snare . I stopped being religious all together. I seek spirituality but not based on any religious literature namely Bible, Quran, bhagavad gita, vedas etc .

Because I became agnostic and also don’t believe in the white man’s religion at all. Furthermore, I felt like god from the bible must be a pretty unstable narcissist, and if I’m going to be saved to be with him forever, I don’t want it.

Heh, the list is long. I went to Christian boarding schools in primary and high schools. The nuns abused kids with zero conscience or repercussions. After growing up, noticed priests change bible verses into messages that only benefited them. People being told to tithe when they can barely feed themselves. While priests drive the latest Subaru outback. Beggars lining up outside church and being chased away. My mother making my sibling and I feel like she loved the priests more- she washed their clothing with the washing machine while we’re not allowed to use it. Abused wives being told by priests to go back to their abusive husbands. Being made to feel guilty for a sin we’re born with but never committed or consented to. Unspoken superiority over other belief systems. Religion being used as a means to be selfish ands avoid personal accountability from bad character and decisions.

Anyway, although my sibling still believes in it, I love them regardless because I love my sibling for who they are and not what they believe in.

I stopped believing when I read about Kim Jong Un and couldn’t differentiate his qualities with those of the Biblical God I once believed in.

I liked reading as a kid and after listening to bible stories for years and reading the kids bible I was sure that the actual bible would be more amazing. So at 12 I started with the gospels and they were really interesting so I decided to read the entire thing and boy oh boy I couldn’t believe how horrific the story was. For the most part god was basically a bully and as I grew older the narrative made less and less sense. Then I discovered the Internet and with that came the realization that a vast majority of the Bible has no historical backing.

After that many realisations no priest or pastor could convince me to waste my Sunday listening to him lie to a bunch of people eager to buy the lie.

I outgrew church. Too many pending questions that if I asked, I was told I’m nearing blasphemy.

I’ve realized that any yearning I had for church was because I needed some thing greater than me to be my reason to live. However, in church I just got even more confused and brainwashed.

Quite literally, if I didn’t start delving into esoteric spirituality and what it actually means to live in the example of Christ, the trauma in my life completely dulled any reason for my physical experience. So I decided to do inner work and seek out knowledge. It’s a daily practice and I’m much happier.

Propaganda – thievery – a lot of bullocks. This was in 2009 – my life has been great ever since, almost as if church was that one ex who hold you back.

Tried finding my strength in the church and eventually realized that what is taught is another person’s interpretation, it can be skewed to fit the narrative they want so I just ventured out on my own and faith dwindled away together with the guilt eventually.

For the most part, churches are all about business. Also contrary to the teachings, modern churches favour the well off members and the poor are neglected and/or used.

I just have a personal relationship with my God and ancestors. Church is business

You made such a great point, other cultures despite colonialism have stayed rooted in their native spiritual practices. Which is the exact reason I left the church, there’s such a Heard mentality that comes with being in the church/christianity. Not to mention the hypocrisy, greed and judgement. Also the most hostile group of in comparison to other religions…the list goes on. I get so disappointed when I see Africans completely dismiss old practices and chalk it down to witchcraft. Those said “witches” are our ancestors who had to give up their spiritual practices that aged back who knows how long in order to appease the yt man. And that’s never sat right with me.

Held hostage until everyone paid a tithe for the church’s roof that needed fixing. They were accepting everything (cash, cheques, credit cards, online transfers). They would of probably accepted bitcoins if someone offered. There was no set amount as long as you gave something. But they made regular members feel bad if it was not as much as expected. Some paid more than they could afford to not be judged. As it was my first time at that church, I paid 2$ to not be bothered. That specific church never saw me again. I’ve gone to other churches for family and friends events (christenings, weddings, funerals, etc.) but not for church services.

Bullshit annnouncments


Didn’t want to commit to a religion

Too much limitations

Monotony gets boring

Agnosticism is what thrived in me most….i love life in the middle and my whole being from preferences to wants and needs and picks are rather not ordinary 😃

I’m still agnostic though and it’s fun spontaneous and fucking crazy with what my brain can create ugh😭

Wondered why if he knew me before I was born and everything I was going to do in life, why am I going to hell for living a life he planned?

When I realised every one is going to the other religions hell

Selective teaching of the bible. And ofcourse the answer to serious questions is that God cannot be questioned

I stopped being religious after realizing that the only reason I followed my particular religion was because I just happened to have been born in a location where my particular religion is the most prevalent. If I had been born in another location eg. The Middle East, I might have been brought up with a different set of beliefs. There was no basis for saying that my particular set of beliefs is the right one and everyone else is wrong. People with a different set of beliefs believe with as much fervour, if not more, in whatever doctrine their culture teaches.

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