Every person comes to moments when they question what they believe. For me, I was born into a fundamentalist Christian home, came to doubt that worldview, and after lots of soul searching and learning, became a non-believer. Other people I know go through doubt and come out to be even stronger Christians. Similar evolutions happen for people in other faiths or people who have no faith joining a religion, etc.

Have any studies been done on what kinds of circumstances, personalities, etc. are involved when people change from one faith to another or between faith and non-faith?

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    I know of one non-scientific study. More of a Biblical study, and an observation of how evangelical Churches are presenting the Gospel today, and why it's a failure. You can download the MP# or watch the video here: livingwaters.com/learn/hellsbestkeptsecret.htm (I have no affiliation with Ray Comfort or Living Waters ministries. Just sharing) Even if you don't listen to the whole thing, at least get through the "two people are seated on a plane" illustration. – David Stratton Apr 23 '12 at 18:17
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    I like to believe that no matter how my "beliefs" change, I still worship the same God. I just get to know him a little better. Sometimes I am wrong and learn why my older beliefs were better. However I have never doubted his existence, power, or grace. – user1054 Apr 23 '12 at 18:24
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    This doesn't seem very Christianity-specific. In its current form it's probably better on Philosophy.SE or Cognitive Sciences – Thomas Shields Apr 23 '12 at 18:49
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    Not a study (so not really an answer), but anecdotally the most common answers to that I see in faith-to-non-faith are "I never believed - I was just raised in a Christian family", "I grew out of it, along with Santa and fairies", and "I never believed, but I can't tell anyone without causing problems so I still go to Church" (more common than you might think) – Marc Gravell Apr 23 '12 at 19:38
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    Yes, if you wanted to do a study you'd find it has to do with the reason for belief to begin with. Those who 'go along with the crowd' or believe for a negative reason - such as to go against a person or society - are those most likely to lose faith in times of doubt rather than redouble it. The parable of the sower is the quintessential 'study' on this one. – user304 Apr 23 '12 at 20:35

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