I came across a fascinating article the other day in a most unexpected place – BaptistNews.com – where the author decided to actually ask people why they decided to deconstruct their faith.
Be sure to read the entire article. It’s great.
But there was one thing that really jumped out at me in that article that inspired me to write this post.
In the article, they asked people who had deconstructed their Christian faith and left the church what they gained by leaving and the results were beyond fascinating.
Not surprising, mind you. But entirely fascinating. I suppose because the data confirmed my own experiences so vividly and because it resonated so much with what everyone in my Square 1 course and community says about their experiences after deconstruction.
With that in mind, here are the Top 10 Reasons To Deconstruct Your Faith [based on the feedback in the informal survey conducted by the good folks at BaptistNews.com].
#1 Freedom – Yes. That’s right. The #1 thing people in this survey said they experienced after deconstructing was freedom. That alone should make you stop and think. If leaving the Church creates this wonderful sense of freedom, then what’s going on inside the church that makes everyone feel like they don’t have any freedom. Maybe it’s control? Maybe it’s coercion? Maybe it’s manipulation by religious leaders? Or, maybe it’s all three of those things. That’s my guess.
#2 Love and Acceptance of Others – By deconstructing their faith, the people in this survey reported the second best thing they experienced as more love and acceptance of other people who don’t believe or think or look like them. Imagine that! So, perhaps being part of a Christian church meant feeling as if they weren’t truly free to just love and accept people for who they were for simply being another human being made in the image of God and living on this planet.
#3 Removal of Guilt and Shame – If you’d like to escape the constant oppression of guilt and shame in your life, maybe deconstruction is right for you! It’s certainly the experience of those who have walked away from Evangelical Christianity.
#4 Ambiguity and Openness to Curiosity – Would you like to be more curious? Less fearful of the unknown? Maybe you’d be interested in learning more about science, or other faiths, or cultures? Try deconstruction! It can help you open your mind and your heart to the world outside your Christian bubble. Mystery is better than certainty!
#5 Self-Acceptance and Love – If you’re finding it hard to love yourself, or believe good things about yourself, or maybe you doubt whether or not you’re worthy of love from God or others, maybe deconstruction can help! Turns out leaving an institution that preaches Worm Theology leads to more self-acceptance and greater love for others. Try it!
#6 Self-Determination – Becoming aware of the fact that everything you’re searching for – God, Love, Joy, Truth and Meaning – are not external to you, out there somewhere like some treasure that has to be located and captured, but has always been inside of you leads to more self-confidence and greater reliance on one’s own inner potential for good.
#7 Intellectual Integrity – Leaving your religion seems to help many people discover the freedom to admit that talking snakes and prophetic donkeys are stupid, and that it’s impossible to fit every species of animal on this planet in a boat that isn’t the size of the planet itself. Discover your own ability to think critically and use your brain without fear. It’s awesome!
#8 Joy and Peace – Yes, imagine that. Joy and Peace are NOT found inside the Christian framework but OUTSIDE the Christian framework.
#9 LGBTQ+ Affirmation – Learning to face the reality that some humans are born straight and others are born gay, lesbian, queer, intersex, trans and a range of modalities in between is something everyone should experience in their lifetime. You owe it to yourself to wake up and smell reality along with the rest of us.
#10 No Fear of the Afterlife – Leaving the Christian bubble means you get to finally escape the constant threat of an eternal torment in hell and embrace the reality of a God who looks like Jesus, forgives everyone and wants all of us to love one another as God has loved us. There’s nothing better!
The rest of the list is posted in the graphic below which I borrowed from the actual article linked above. Be sure to check that out later.
But, I just couldn’t resist emphasizing this fascinating report from a survey on BaptistNews.com that confirmed what the deconstructed community already knows: It’s better out here than in there.
If you’re deconstructing, you don’t have to go through it alone. I created Square 1 about 4 years ago to help people find a thriving and welcoming community of people who understand the pain and the joy of deconstruction. Our goal is to help everyone find their own unique path into reconstruction – which looks different for all of us.
Our next round begins Monday, April 10th and our first live Zoom session begins Saturday, April 15th at 11a Mountain Time [and continues every Saturday after that for the next 12 weeks].
You can hold your place and register for 75% off today>
I hope to see you at Square 1.
Keith Giles is the best-selling author of the Jesus Un series. He has appeared on CNN, USA Today, BuzzFeed, and John Fugelsang’s “Tell Me Everything.” His latest book, SOLA MYSTERIUM: Celebrating the Beautiful Uncertainty of Everything is available now on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.