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  • Writer's pictureAbi Sims

Deconstruction in the Christian Faith: A Journey of Faith and Doubt

Deconstruction has become a common term within Christian circles, sparking debates, conversations, and controversies. When we deconstruct something, we go through a process that challenges our beliefs. When we deconstruct our faith, we process the challenges that form the core of our spiritual beliefs, which invites us to reexamines our beliefs, interpretations of scripture, and traditions. For many, this process is scary. When you grow up in a belief system that ties your worth and value to a Savior, threatening your eternal salvation if you "sin" or leave the faith, you become groomed to believe that anything outside the fold of what you've been taught to believe is "of the world" and of Satan.

Many people in Christianity believe deconstruction is a threat to the faith and a way for Satan to deceive people, leading them away from Jesus. Another common belief is that those who deconstruct never truly believed in Jesus, because if they did, they wouldn't have left. This is a fallacy: deconstruction is a wrestling, and if people didn't feel this path was necessary for them, they wouldn't walk it.

As a former evangelical Christian who used to lead worship at church, preached sermons and spoke at faith-based events, and regularly prayed over strangers on the street, I started deconstructing four years ago after the "supernatural" experiences I had at our charismatic church stopped once we left. Jesus was the realest thing I had experienced, and I could have never imagined a life where I wasn't living for Him. When I started deconstructing, I remember it being the loneliest, scariest path I've ever walked. Many nights were spent begging God to show up for me and remove the doubts, questions, and uncertainties I had about Christianity. While the journey into uncertainty can be frightening, it can also be a necessary path toward deeper spiritual understanding.

How Does it Start?

At its core, deconstruction involves questioning the beliefs and assumptions that you've been engrained with. It's about confronting doubts, grappling with difficult theological questions, and dismantling structures of faith that no longer resonate with personal convictions or experiences. Deconstruction is a fairly new concept, but its prominence in discussions reflects the recognition of how complex faith really is and the need for authenticity in spirituality.

For many Christians, deconstruction begins with a sense of cognitive dissonance (an inner conflict between what they've been taught to belief and what they experience or observe in the world around them). This dissonance can be triggered by encountering suffering and injustice, theological inconsistencies, or seeing different perspectives and worldviews. Whatever the catalyst, the process of deconstruction is often marked by a profound sense of uncertainty and doubt.

The Tension Between Faith and Doubt

In the middle of doubt lies an opportunity for growth and transformation. Deconstruction is a beautiful invitation for believers to engage in critical reflection, wrestle with hard questions, and seek new ways of understanding their faith and how they engage with the world. This journey requires courage, humility, and a willingness to change; to embrace uncertainty and be at peace with not having all the answers.

One of the main challenges of deconstruction is navigating the tension between faith and doubt. For many Christians, doubt is seen as a threat to faith; a sign of spiritual failure or spiritual weakness. But not only is doubt a natural part of the human experience, it's also an essential component of faith. It's a way for us to more deeply explore our beliefs and grow spiritually. Embracing our doubt can lead to a more resilient faith that wrestles with the mysteries and uncertainties of the divine instead of resting on certainty and dogma.

Deconstructing to Reconstruct

Deconstruction is a part of the puzzle, but it isn't the full picture. It's not just about tearing down existing beliefs; it's also about constructing something new -- a faith that's more inclusive, compassionate, and responsive to the complexities of the world. But reconstructing also looks like adopting those tenets without faith involved. Faith can be helpful when it comes to morality, but it isn't necessary for morality to be formed. Deconstruction may ultimately lead to a decision to leave the Christian faith altogether.

Final Thoughts

The journey of deconstruction isn't easy, and it comes with its hardships. It can be a lonely and disorienting process filled with fears and doubts. At times, it can be destabilizing because it challenges the foundations of one's identity and community. Many lose friends and family members.

But at the same time, deconstruction is a transformative experience; a journey of faith that leads to deeper intimacy with the divine and greater solidarity with people who are suffering.

Deconstruction isn't the end of faith; it's the beginning of a new chapter.

It's a journey that reminds us that faith is not a destination, but a journey; a journey of faith and doubt, of questions and answers, of struggle and transformation.


At Root Counseling, we work with clients who are navigating their faith journeys and provide them with unconditional support as they heal. To schedule a session with one of our therapists, you can visit us here.

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