I could no longer believe Christianity for no good reason when I found there were no good reasons for believing it. That is why I say I left Christianity for intellectual reasons. However, I left fundamentalism for moral reasons.
My morals and values were contradicted by some of the teachings of fundamentalist Christianity.
I value truth. Fundamentalism values faith, which means that believing what you are told is seen as superior to finding out what is true.
Compassion is a large part of my moral compass which leads me to value other things like equality, no harm, fairness, protection and the value of life. Fundamentalism says it believes in compassion, but compassion is to be sacrificed in the name of obedience. Obedience to authority is a higher value in fundy religions. Anything that disrupts the hierarchy is to be punished before compassion is allowed. That means people cannot be valued equally as part of their moral framework no matter how much they say otherwise.
Fundamentalists are compassionate. I was a fundy, I was compassionate. I was most compassionate to people I didn’t view as enemy. If a person was part of my group or seen as vulnerable I was allowed to show all compassionate I wanted. If the person was seen as a threat, that fear often overrode my ability to be truly compassionate. I could pity them, sure, but trying to empathize and understand was called weakness.
We were told ‘compassion’ and ‘love’ sometimes looked like abuse. It could be the most loving thing to beat an uncompliant child so they would grow up to be compliant and docile. It could be the most compassionate thing to wipe out an entire nation. It was more loving to tell LGBTI youth they would go to hell if they didn’t behave hetero- or asexually, to hell with their mental health or love of their life. Compassion and love were twisted and made subservient to obedience to law or the fundy god’s morality of punishment.
Those values, truth and compassion, lead me out of fundamentalism. It hurt me to see how women and queer people were treated, how people in other cultures were treated, how the environment was treated and how it was justified as righteous and moral. Abuse was called love if it promoted the hierarchy. Lies were called truth for the same reason. That is because the fear of authority is the moral compass of the fundamentalist ideology.
I didn’t leave because I wanted to sin. I left because I was too moral and too honest to stay in a world that values obedience over love and blind trust over truth.
I’m not perfect. This isn’t a black and white transition. I grew up in a sexist, homophobic, racist world and all of those fears exist in the broader society as well. Compassion and value for truth do exist in fundamentalist circles, but they are constantly beat down by other harmful values. There are liberal Christians still going to my old church who follow their own moral compass despite being told obedience and fear is superior.
As non-fundys, we (secular or religious) humanists really do have a higher morality to offer and that is the truth.