Pentecostal Christianity is rife with social disruptions and discontinuations. This has previously been a concern of group level research, but individual level is also important, although often overlooked due the expansive nature of Pentecostalism. This chapter discusses a study of leaving Finnish Pentecostalism, and offers practical considerations. A closer examination of individual exit stories is offered from a theoretical perspective of discrepancy theories. With varied individual experiences, informants share a sense of imbalance between their personal life and Pentecostal tradition, resulting in alienation and disruption. Various factors (for example social support, group size) influenced on how leavers prevailed the experience.
Handbook of Leaving Religion introduces a neglected field of research with the aim to outline previous and contemporary research, and suggest how the topic of leaving religion should be studied in the future. The handbook consists of three sections: 1) Major debates about leaving religion; 2) Case studies and empirical insights; and 3) Theoretical and methodological approaches. Section one provides the reader with an introduction to key terms, historical developments, major controversies and significant cases. Section two includes case studies that illustrate various processes of leaving religion from different perspectives, and each chapter provides new empirical insights. Section three discusses, presents and encourages new approaches to the study of leaving religion.
As this handbook sets out to explore, the question of leaving a religious tradition is a common question and a potential problem within all religious traditions in both past and present. To draw up a line between insiders and outsiders and to argue that one’s interpretation of the religious tradition is right and that one’s opponents are wrong (for example by calling the other group heretics, or apostates) is therefore a general pattern that is found in all social formations that make use of a religious vocabulary. The handbook on leaving religion consists of three sections covering: (1) Major debates about leaving religion; (2) Case studies and empirical insights; and, finally, (3) Theoretical and methodological approaches.
This chapter will examine the history and theological debates of leaving Christianity and Christian faith. Throughout the history of Christianity, debates on who is a Christian, heretic, and an apostate have shaped the identity of Christians, and the power of Churches and rulers. After the Reformation and the Enlightenment, the ideas of secularism and liberalism, combined with recent developments of individualism (and) linked with various events, such as ethical debates on sexuality and gender, have resulted in a decline in Christianity in Western World. However, Churches and theologians disagree on whether to consider a leaver to be an apostate irrevocably, or should salvation persevere.