Deconstructing Our Faith, Is It a Bad Thing?
I have heard a lot about Christians and former Christians deconstructing their faith, so I thought I would write a bit about this. I’m going to be deconstructing the faith – the good, the bad, and the ugly about deconstructing the faith.
I have heard of a few ministers walking away from their ministry when they started “deconstructing’ their faith, and I have heard of some Christians walk away from religion entirely.
On one hand, I think it is a good idea to “deconstruct” our faith, but on the other hand, I think that “deconstructing our faith” is just a fancy term we give when we get angry with God or the organization of the church or even other Christians.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I have done a bit of deconstructing myself. Deconstructing the faith is when we take a real hard look at what we believe, what we have been taught by our church, and pull it apart for examination. For many people, it is an excuse when they have become angry with some aspect of the church, so they can say that Christianity is a religion controlled by people or something to the such which gives them a “justifiable” reason to leave the faith.
Honestly, I think that is a very weak and immature way of thinking when someone gets angry and goes out of their way to find a reason to justify their anger.
But let’s go back to that other hand where it is a good thing to deconstruct one’s faith. I’ll start by saying that it is a good idea if you’re doing it with pure motives. If you’re doing it to really think about what you believe, then I think it is an excellent idea because it allows us to take a look at those ideologies that we are taught in our churches. And let’s be real, there are so many churches with the same “distinctions” that have crazy different beliefs. For example, there are Baptists, Lutherans, Church of Christ, etcetera, and each organization has specific…tenets of the faith…let’s call them. Within these organizations, the affiliated churches often believe differently than the organization. But to take it further, just because the name “Baptist” or the such is on the sign doesn’t necessarily mean it is affiliated with the other “Baptist” groups. The name might be the same, but the belief structures are entirely different, so you really have to look at what they say they believe.
With all that said, I’ll talk for a bit about my own deconstructing. Well, at least, parts of my faith and it has happened several times. One of the first times that I did this was when I was in the military. I wanted to prove the truth of the Bible through non-Christian bias. Basically, I went to the library and investigated the biblical flood through nothing but “secular” books.
Now, I’m not going to get into a lot of detail about the “two of every kind of animal,” but I will say that Noah didn’t take every single species of dog. There was one pair of dogs, which all dogs came from the Great Dane to the Chihuahua. The same goes with all the animals he brought. It is rather fascinating to study this concept….and it is all in that phylum classification stuff we learned in jr. high.
Anywhoo, I discovered a great many things during that brief period of study. I deconstructed what I believe about the flood in the Bible first by researching history, cultures, etc. After that, I looked at the Pangea theory of our continents, which is pretty much that all the landmasses we know today used to be one giant one until they split apart, and then they drifted to where they are now.
In short, through all my study (researching historical & geological resources, biblical timeline compared to the historical timeline, and demography), I decided that my original idea of a worldwide flood happening in 40 days was an incorrect interpretation of scripture…if you account for the evidence that nature gives in historical or scientific arenas.
I concluded that the actual flood lasted closer to 700ish years, but not exactly all in one place. Let me explain. The ice age lasted about 700ish years, after which surviving man created settlements which later became known as the Roman people (according to legend 753 B. C.) who had settlements since 1,000 B. C.
After the flood/ice age, people groups settled and eventually developed into the first civilizations, the Roman empire to be one of those first civilizations. A civilization is basically a group of people who connect other groups of people to create a government system and the such rather than just a bunch of tribal people with their own structures. They have infrastructure systems in place for such tasks as growing their civilizations.
Because of this newly found knowledge, I decided that my initial understanding of scripture was interpreted incorrectly. Instead of the whole world being flooded within 40 days, it was simply the land Noah lived around. As the flood/ice age continued, more and more of the world flooded due to the great storm spreading and or moving. This storm wasn’t just rain but all kinds of tectonic upheavals that unleashed underground water reservoirs. The continent broke apart and started to drift. Eventually, stranding people groups and animals on separate landmasses (by the way, fossils of the same animals are found in multiple continents, supporting the idea that these landmasses were once connected) as the ice began to melt and traveling became harder and further.
I tell people the ice age was the flood, and I use a pebble as an example to explain how the Bible can be correct, but also the science as well.
If you throw a pebble into a pond, you will see ripples. Let’s take the ripples as the timeline of Noah’s flood. The first ripple is the flood itself spanning the earth over a few hundred years. The second ripple is Noah’s offspring repopulating the earth. If you wanted to add more ripples in, you could say the third ripple is the population growth of humankind into civilizations. The fourth ripple is the expanse of these civilizations and so on and so on.
None of this happened within one or two or even three lifetimes, but over hundreds of years…. though if you believe the biblical account of how long people lived during Noah’s time, then it was just a few lifetimes. Anywhoo, you get the point.
So, that was my first deconstruction experience, and I didn’t even know I was deconstructing my faith. I’ll tell one more, and then I will move on.
Another deconstruction that I went through was about the scripture that talks about God caring for the birds and the lilies so he will provide all our needs. If you are a believer, then you are probably at least somewhat familiar with that verse. Anywhoo, I had always taken it to mean (and been taught) that God loves his creation that isn’t us enough to provide for them, then he will provide our needs too. Well, experience has taught me otherwise….at least…my interpretation of what the “needs” are.
I had several good business months and so went full time with no job, just focusing on my business, believing I was stepping out on faith. I truly believe God has called me to be a full-time fiction writer, and that is why I “stepped out on faith,” but not so sure it was what God wanted me to do at that moment in time.
Anywhoo, after those really good months, I had a few bad months…then THE BIG RONA hit…and we all know how that worked out for many small businesses. Needless to say, I had several months that I couldn’t pay all my bills.
I just kept thinking during those months…especially the months before Rona…that if I were stepping out on faith to do what He wanted, then he would provide for me like he said, but he wasn’t providing the money to pay my bills.
I really had to sit down and ask myself what I really believed. Did I believe the Bible was truly the word of God or not? If it was, then something wasn’t adding up. It couldn’t be wrong, so I had to be wrong! I eventually came to the conclusion that, just like the flood, maybe my interpretation has been wrong. After all, so many Christians don’t get their needs met, right? I mean, there are thousands all over the world and throughout time that this passage is false for.
During that deconstruction, I reconstructed my belief that maybe that passage is talking strictly about spiritual needs. Not even physical needs…I mean…none of the apostles were protected or had all their needs met in scripture. Maybe it is talking about if we are repented believers who follow Jesus, then worrying about tomorrow is a waste of time because He has our spiritual needs covered, and if they are covered (salvation and eternal redemption with him), then the physical stuff isn’t a big deal.
So, to this day, I regularly evaluate what I believe and why I believe it. I ask myself if I believe it because I have been taught it all my life in church, or do I believe it because I have studied it and made my decision about it based on what I have looked into?
Deconstructing one’s faith is healthy. It allows real faith to become a reality rather than a faith that we were always taught. Sometimes that “real faith” may not look the same as the faith we have always been taught.
When we question what the church says and study for ourselves the truth of it…as long as it is in search of REAL TRUTH and not a means to find an excuse to “walk away” then it is a wonderful and great tool to use to further one’s faith journey.
Why not simply “walk away” from your faith if you want to…nobody is saying that you must have a reason. Just stop believing. Don’t search for an excuse to justify using scripture. Just leave.
Why not simply study the scriptures…and not just the holy scriptures of the Bible to discover a genuine faith that is grounded and solid.
Why not study other religions and true science. Research, study, investigate…. with an open mind…. with a mindset of truth-seeking rather than fact-finding twisted for our own purposes.
Now, I know that some Christians might hate this idea because to them not taking the scripture at its word is near blasphemy, but I believe that science and the truth of the gospel support each other (like my belief in the flood).
I skipped over a lot of what I wanted to say in this post so it wouldn’t be ten pages long, so you might see a part two to this post pretty soon. We shall see.