An apologist recently shared three common reasons why some Christians deconstruct their faith: intellectual issues, disagreement with doctrine, and emotionally negative experiences with Christianity and Christians.
Apologist, author and speaker Brett Kunkle joined Pastor Jason Jimenez for an episode of the ‘Challenging Conversations’ podcast released earlier this month. They addressed the issue of deconstruction, a term used to describe Christians who question their faith.
Jimenez, the founder of STAND STRONG Ministries and faculty member of Summit Ministries, said many evangelicals use deconstruction as “a process of removing what you were raised to believe, with the intention of hopefully rebuilding it, your faith in a better and stronger version than before.” However, Jimenez wondered if deconstruction was necessary.
Kunkle, founder and president of the MAVEN movement to equip the next generation to seek good and truth, said deconstruction is based on postmodern philosophy, which holds that people cannot understand a text due to various intellectual biases. or cultural.
He believes that some Christians have taken the postmodern idea of deconstruction and used it more “to tear something down”, such as one’s own beliefs, than to rebuild.
There are “a myriad of reasons” why people are “deconstructing” or moving away from traditional, God-centered Christian beliefs, Kunkle noted.
“I think a lot of the reasons people deconstruct can kind of come down to one of three reasons,” Kunkle said.
“They have intellectual reasons. So they’re really struggling with maybe a doctrine of Christianity that they grew up with and now find that’s inconsistent, or doesn’t make sense, or doesn’t may not fit the surrounding culture. … There are real honest questions, and we don’t want to minimize that.”
Kunkle said people often claim the only reason they deconstruct their faith is because they only disagree with the doctrines of Christianity. However, he said there are two “deeper and [more] “fundamental” reasons why the majority of people deconstruct themselves from faith.
“A lot of times people break down for emotional or psychological reasons. And usually it’s because they’ve been hurt by the church, hurt by someone in the church, or maybe they think they’ve been injured,” Kunkle said. .
“I don’t want to minimize someone’s hurt, but they think the hurt is due to a particular teaching. So that’s where people in the deconstruction movement will talk a lot about the culture of purity, for example. ”
Kunkle defined the “culture of purity” as “referring to the church’s conservative teaching on human sexuality”, which involves “God’s design for abstinence [from sex] Before marriage.”
“Now we have this pejorative term ‘purity culture’ that people refer to, and certainly there may have been some abuse,” he said. “I think sometimes these are – just to be honest – exaggerated. purity, and who have had a very wholesome experience of it.”
“And then there are those who will talk about their injury because of it,” Kunkle continued. “Or they [are deconstructing because they] grew up in a house where mom and dad were maybe very legalistic, and there was just this constant guilt and shame that plagued them. And so, there’s pain there.”
Kunkle thinks it’s “the pain and pain in the wound they can place at the feet of the church or at the feet of Christians.”
Besides “the church hurting and disagreeing with the doctrine contained in the Gospels,” he said, some people deconstruct because they choose to live in direct disobedience to the Word of God.
“The third is moral reasons. It’s not unique to the deconstruction movement. It’s been all of humanity since the beginning of time. It goes back to the garden, where Adam and Eve are doing what? They’re suppressing truth in the world. injustice, as Paul speaks about in Romans 1:18“Kunkle said.
“There are just a myriad of ways human beings have suppressed God’s moral law in our sin for a number of ways,” Kunkle noted.
Kunkle advised Christians who know someone who is deconstructing their faith to “just spend time getting to know them and getting to know their own unique story.”
Christian artist Lecrae has made headlines and come under intense scrutiny for going public with his decision to deconstruct his faith last year. The rapper argued that this was an important step in rebuilding his belief in the gospel.
“I’ve done a lot of spiritual deconstruction over the past few years, and now I’m rebuilding,” he explained in an interview with NGEN Radio. “God really connected me in different places and spaces that I never really imagined.”
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