When you just can’t go on
Are you feeling like the christian faith you once believed is coming apart? Then this page is for you.
Do you feel that God or the church has failed you, and you’re not sure if you can trust them again? Your life and your faith can be renewed, and help is available if you need it.
Do you feel like you can’t question your faith in your church, or if you do, you are either misunderstood, or not given an answer? Then hopefully this page can help you.
Some times we just need to sweep the floor clear and start afresh. Build our beliefs from the ground up.
I have found that there are reasonable answers to most of the questions we can ask about christian faith. Answers that don’t require us to ignore science or evidence. Answers that may take us to a different place to where we once were.
I don’t believe we need to feel any sense of apprehension about all this. Rather we can feel excited to be on a new journey of discovery.
This page and the links at the bottom will hopefully give you a start.
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,
- gender or life issues that the churches don’t seem to address well,
- doctrines they now find unbelievable,
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.
The term deconstruction means “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. (It can mean something different for academics – see note.)
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, or
- we observe or (worse) experience and suffer from bad behaviour or abuse from a christian leader, and their hypocrisy undermines our confidence that Jesus is true and God cares.
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, and safe relationships within a loving christian community. 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, how a persdon may be affected personally by questioning their faith, 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. Below are pages on both the personal and the belief aspects of deconstruction.
Read more about faith deconstruction
Personal – how you might feel
Don’t be afraid to question
Questioning the faith you have grown up with can be a scary time. But it can be a postive and life-changing experience.
Deconstructing your faith without losing it
Faith in God can be one of the deepest experiences of being human. So if we lose faith it can hit us hard. We may feel like we are deserting God, or our family. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Leaving a religion of fear
Christian belief can be presented in a way that evokes fear, but the New Testament emphasises love more. For some people, faith reconstruction includes leaving a religion of fear.
Three stories of faith deconstruction. Two people reconstructed their faith on a new foundation, one became an atheist.
When christianity leads to trauma
Some people experience religion as oppressive and traumatic. Some leave, all suffer, but there is help and ways forward. And lessons for us all.
Issues and facts
Build back better
Have you had to give up a lot of your old christian beliefs? But what next? How do we build a new understanding? What beliefs do we end up with?
Impossible things for many christians to believe any longer
There are things that some christians can’t believe any more. Should they?
Reconstructing how we see the Bible
What do you do when your faith in the Bible is rocked by difficulties and anomalies you find there?
Understand the Bible, save your faith
What do you do when you believe in Jesus but cannot believe some parts of the Old Testament? Some ideas.
How to read the Old Testament
How does a twenty-first century christian cope with reading the Old Testament, with all its brutality and difficult to believe stories? There is a way!!
- 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.
Note on the academic idea of 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.
I think this academic meaning is less relevant to what most christians experience and what I am discussing here.
Photo: Getthepicture on MorgueFile