What this page is about
Many christians these days are deconstructing their faith. Some are ending up giving up belief, others are finding a new way to see christians faith, others remain bewildered.
This page begins a group of pages examining this phenomenon, considering its causes, whether it is a good or a bad thing, and how those going through this process may come out on the other side with a good outcome. (There are links at the bottom.)
If you are on a journey to review or reconstruct your christian faith, welcome! I hope you find something helpful here.
A crisis of faith?
Christianity is growing in other parts of the world but declining in the once-christian western world. That’s the bare statistics, but of course it is more than just statistics – it is people just like you and I who are losing faith or rejecting the faith they were raised in.
There are many reasons why a person who once identified as christian may question or reject that belief, for example loss of confidence in the Bible, the evil in the world and God’s apparent unwillingness to change this, the arguments of atheists, the bad behaviour of christians and churches, materialism, doctrines they now find unbelievable, etc.
These problems lead to doubts, and doubts lead to a review, and sometimes rejection, of beliefs they once didn’t question. This process is sometimes termed deconstruction.
Philosopher Jacques Derrida suggested that language conveys meaning inadequately, and so needs to be “deconstructed” or analysed to determine its true significance. The concept has been applied to christian faith, with the thought that religious belief and religious texts are human constructs that can or should be deconstructed to find what has value.
If you didn’t understand much of that paragraph, don’t worry. Because when most people (apart from academics) use the term deconstruction, they mean something different and simpler: “the systematic pulling apart of the belief system you were raised in” to determine what is still believable in the light of everything else you know.
Typically, faith deconstruction occurs when doubts and questions are not answered by our christian teachers (whether ministers, authors or podcasters) and we start to wonder if we have uncovered a fatal flaw in our christian belief.
Those who give up their belief easily, happily and willingly have probably not deconstructed, but simply demolished. Deconstruction is more of a process of investigating, considering and grappling with concepts and truths until we find an answer that is satisfying.
Deconversion vs reconstruction
Deconstruction can be a path that eventually leads out of belief into agnosticism or even atheism, but it can also be a path to reconstruction of a new faith that is built on a solid foundation of evidence and well-researched truth. Thus some people see faith deconstruction as a slippery slope to atheism, but others see it more positively.
Deconstruction and reconstruction have been positive processes in my life and christian faith. I often say “doubt can be the gateway to new understandings”, for that has been my experience. My faith is much richer and more solidly based than it once was.
Deconstruction and reconstruction on this website
This page is the gateway to a discussion of many issues related to faith deconstruction and reconstruction, such as reasons to reconsider our christian belief, how to go about it, the many issues deconstruction may raise and how they may be resolved, and what a reconstructed faith may look like.
My experience and ideas will probably not be the same as yours, but if you are on a journey to review or reconstruct your christian faith, welcome! I hope you find something helpful here.
Read more about faith deconstruction
- Deconstruction stories
- Impossible things for many christians to believe any longer
- Reconstructing how we see the Bible
- Deconstruction. Encyclopaedia Britannica
- Why I won’t be mourning Derrida. Johann Harri in The Independent.
- Faith Deconstruction: What It Is and How It Works. End of God blog.
- How to Deconstruct Your Faith Without Losing It. Relevant magazine.
Photo: Getthepicture on MorgueFile