When I left my faith I didn’t immediately start raping and murdering and punching babies in the face… as I suspected I would when I was an Evangelical.
Sure, I started drinking more (well, anything is greater than zero), but significant parts of my Christian life remained: My priority of human connection/community, the belief that it’s a moral obligation to look after the poor and the alien… I still raise above all kindness, thankfulness, self-sacrifice…
Hence the term: Deconstruction. It means taking apart your faith, discarding the parts that don’t work, and repositioning the ones that still do.
I started this blog “postchristianity.net” as one of my ways of defining my own deconstruction, here is my story…
How I came to love Jesus
As a teenager, I had a few strong desires: 1. My compulsion to do good was already strong; I needed an outlet for morality, 2. I badly wanted community and acceptance, and 3. I wanted to find stability for my mental health.
I found all three at a local Evangelical Free youth group. I dedicated my life to Jesus in an emotional camp experience at age 16.
I maintained this belief/idealism through college, but the inconsistencies in the theology led me to dwell on unanswered questions: Why is the church so fractured and disunified? If God is so powerful, why is it bleeding members? Why are there incredibly moral, selfless people who have no connection with Christ? Conversely how can professed Christians be so horrible, racist and selfish?…
My belief in God’s power was eroding, and in order for me to justify my faith, I started espousing ridiculous compromises like whenever something good happens we must attribute it to God; and all bad things, including natural disasters, must be human sin.
No matter how much I stripped away, I still believed that God had the power to sustain a loving marriage between two Christians. So I brought God into my first marriage, and apparently he didn’t have the power to save that. After five years of marriage my ex cheated on me, and after I tried to get her back she left me.
God is Weak
This led me to the conclusion that I didn’t serve a powerful god. He can’t fight cancer, famine, or poverty among his followers, and he can’t even maintain a marriage between two believers. I’d rather worship no god than a weak and absent one.
The divorce cut me to my core, and the simultaneous divorce from my church sent me into a tailspin of despair. I found solace in new adventures: solo international travel.
The World Opening My Eyes
Over the course of 18 months I visited about 30 countries, alone. Seeing the world was an excellent way to fill the voids left by my ex and the church.
I noticed how post-Christian countries tended to be doing the best on Earth: Which countries are the most democratic? Have the most rights for women and LGBT? Access to healthcare? Access to education? Countries like Denmark, Sweden, Finland… All countries with a Christian past and a secular present.
My travel abroad convinced me that there is one single force that is the most powerful agent hampering our progress as a species: Human corruption. And I found that religion is not a salve to this corruption, rather a tool that the corrupt use to control the masses.
The MAGA Heresy
When it comes to God/religion, most regular people will say “I believe in something, but I don’t like organized religion.” I was at the opposite: I completely rejected the existence of a spiritual being of any kind, but I was fond of my time in the church; I still valued its role in bettering society.
Any qualms I had about turning on the church changed dramatically with the election of the 45th president, mainly via the vote of Evangelicals like the ones I worshipped with.
After four years of a person, who is obviously not Christian, using his power to corrupt Christian values like sexual purity, kindness, and helping the poor… I was appalled that the church did so little to contradict this so-called “MAGA Heresy”.
What it confirmed for me was that this is the ugly buried core of American Evangelicalism: White people are superior, that the rich deserve favoritism before the poor, women are objects…
This amounted to a betrayal from the Evangelical Church that cut me as deeply as the betrayal from my ex-wife.
The MAGA heresy brought me to conclude that the American Church is a profoundly dangerous, threat to democracy and equality. World travel brought me to the conclusion that a secular, democratic nation, evolved from Christian morality, is what the US needs to get to.
In other words, the world would be a better place overall if the US went faster from fundamentalist Christianity toward the postchristianity that’s found in so many successful countries around the world. Hence, my blog postchristianity.net was born.
What I Believe Today
A society where the well-off universally sacrifice and help those who are weaker is a world where ALL benefit, including the wealthy. I believe Christ-likeness is still good, and this society I’m describing is what Jesus would want, but the current version of the church is hindering us. A society that gives more rights and favor to the poor, the alien, the queer, the female, IS more Christ-like, whether it’s done in the name of Christ or not.
And my desire for a more just and moral society comes from an internal morality, not a mandate from a deity. My deconstruction story has thus led me to the conclusion that morality that springs naturally from within is more powerful, and must be stoked by action.
What’s Your Story?
Because I believe that Christianity is holding us back, I’ve decided that it is a central goal of mine to help others deconstruct; that if I can work to help just a handful of people move away from toxic Christianity, that I would have improved the world for our children.
Are you moving away from fundamentalism? Or are you shifting from plain moderate Christian to a more justice minded liberal one? Is your agnosticism pulling you away from your church group? Or are you a closeted non-Christian, looking for guidance?
My goal is for others who are in the process to read and find solace and community here, and that there are many others who are with you. Please consider contributing to this blog and telling your story too.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for helping me make this world a better place.