Someone told me that the reason I won't leave Christianity is because I was indoctrinated into it and that it is purely psychological why I'm hanging on? Thoughts?

I have often wondered if this is the case, especially since I deal with so many doubts.

You can hear everything under the sun from various “someones” you meet. Is this someone trying to talk you into something else?

it’s less about what someone said and more about could it be possible that I’m hanging on to Christianity because it’s just the faith that I grew up with

And the atheist does not hang on to his psychological indoctrination?


I too feel I couldn’t force myself to leave over much. Luckily 1) I genuinely believe what I believe and have good reasons to. 2) I converted from protestantism so I have this sense I’ve found the truth from not truth. 3) If Catholicism is true not being able to leave is actually a huge grace not issue.

1 Like

That could be said of any ideology. Couldn’t it be that you just value what you believe, so much so that doubt isn’t a good enough reason for you to leave?


Yes. It’s not just possible, but it’s probable.

Even so, some people move around from faith to faith, from faith to no faith and back again, and everything in between.

People also have a greater probability of living in the region where they were raised, and have family. People often have the same occupation that their parents did. So all this is not necessarily surprising.

It is just as possible that they’re indoctrinated into not considering that Christianity just might be true.

I don’t know anyone who has done anything that really challenged them who has never experienced doubts about whether they’re doing the right thing. I suppose they’re out there; I haven’t met them.


You know, you can always find out for yourself.
There are all sorts of books out there that explain what the Church believes and why.
That’s what I did. I was raised Catholic, but then I made it my own.


There’s more to the religion than believing the scientific claims of it. As an atheist, I still need ceremony and awe and transcendent beauty. We use ceremony to work through our heightened emotional states as a way to release and work through these mindsets. That’s why we kiss photos, talk to gravestones, punch the ground out of frustration, and scream at the night sky. We need a release. Also, we need ceremony for social rights of passage into new positions within our hierarchy so as to get everyone one board with acknowledging our new roles and responsibilities of our advancement. That’s why we have birthdays, christenings, etc. Ceremonies are a great way of public acknowledgement of people that are to be part of our tribe and their roles in our tribe. The more people we can convince ourselves are apart of our tribe, then the more we will care for them. This is born out by how we care for our immediate family members over starving children in the inner cities and rural south. Church is a great way of creating a larger extended family for us.
You can be religious and be an atheist &/or agnostic. Jewish community does this all the time. Mother Teresa was this according to her private diary, I believe.

Pope St John Paul said in the book Crossing the Threshold of Hope that some people don’t believe or don’t want to believe because of the way God chose to reveal Himself.

My faith is based on the way I was raised but I find that I believe because of the way God chose to reveal Himself.

if my faith was based on something like The Book of Mormon or the Koran, I think I would be less likely to be convinced, from a book that one person or a group of people put together even a couple hundred years ago.

Unless your faith/religion is causing you negative issues in your life, what does it matter?

We all live as adults in ways that stem back to things in which we were “indoctrinated”. I don’t know that it is a bad thing, unless your quality of life and spiritual fulfilment is being compromised.

I really don’t think I would bother responding to that remark.

Is his ‘accusation’ true? If not, tell him that he has no right to ascribe motives to or reason for your actions, and that it is indecent of him to do so.

You are “hanging on” because your Heavenly Father is “hanging on” to you.

Some, maybe many. A lot of us used to be Christians who grew up attending church. I didn’t even know what an atheist was when I stopped believing.

1 Like

A little outside the box, please allow me to tell you why I stick with it, no matter the doubts, the nagging irritants, and the questionable conduct of many. I stick with it because it’s fun. I love Christianity, especially the Catholic version of it. Seriously, where can one go and find a longer, richer history, an entirely calming and fulfilling liturgy, and an endless source of study material to wade through. It’s fun plain and simple. I don’t care about the indoctrinating ideas that I was raised with. And I’ve been through the “hanging on” part. I remain a Christian because being Christian is a blast.


There are a lot of someones that come into our lives. Some of them should be ignored.

Faith is a wonderful gift, don’t take it for granted. For an atheist who doesn’t understand it, their confusion makes them critical of your devotion.

I was an atheist who converted many years ago, I am so grateful as I have such peace. Something I never had as an atheist.

Most atheists understand just fine and they are usually not confused at all. They just disagree. This is why I suggested, earlier, that no response is required to an athiest who suggests another person follows their religion of choice due to indoctrination. Of course one is indoctrinated if they choose to follow a religion. It is a silly thing to say to someone if you are trying to convince them they should ditch their faith.

1 Like

Well when I was an atheist I was confused because I saw no possibility to have faith except through self-deception. It was confusing to me that people would insist on belief.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit