Here Comes the Great Deconstruction
Why I deconstructed from Christianity
Outside of a sandwich, I rarely hear the word deconstruction.
However, if you live in a major city, you become used to construction occurring every day. There is always something being built, repaired, or refined. There always seem to be some unfinished projects that seem to lay around forever.
Demolishing seems to be more of the standard that we are used to.
In this instance, Christianity is an anomaly. The word ‘deconstruction’ seems to be the most popular usage when it comes to religion.
Why? Why isn’t it a simple matter to stop going to church? I haven’t been to a service in over 15 years. I haven’t read the Bible, but I can recite verses down to the letter because of all that time I spent in Bible Study.
Deconstruction is a process where you start to detangle and unravel many of your thoughts and modes of behavior. You seek clarity.
For me, it was never that simple. Christianity becomes complicated, especially if you’ve spent your formative years in the church. It tends to fuck with the way you process life. Its tendrils wrap themselves around your mind. It becomes increasingly harder to tell what is your personality and what is a fear-based reaction.
The engine of fear tends to be the blood flowing through its veins. Fear of hell., Fear of offending someone. After some point, you get over it and say ‘fuck it - it’s my life’. Ultimately you end up constantly qualifying and clarifying your relationship with God in your mind.
The road to Atheism from Christianity is not black and white. You may still believe in God, but not in religious practice. You may love God but hate the distortions and the societal pressure. You may hate the rampant unconsciousness of believers. You may cringe at the idea that God is defined by gender.
You may be dealing with unrealized trauma. You may still adopt a spiritual practice that isn’t rooted in Christianity or monotheism., You may end up being a complete Atheist. It’s not always a black-and-white thing outsiders like to make you think it is.
For me, it started slowly. I remember sitting in the pews of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Church, off of Atlantic Ave. It was a hugely popular church back in the day, because of the Grammy award-winning choir. I used to attend the service regularly. When people say you went to ‘church’ you went to ‘church’! I attended every Sunday from morning to night. I also went to prayer meetings and Bible studies. I used to hand out Bible tracts on the street. I even went to missionary courses.
The seeds of doubt entered my mind when I saw dozens of people running to the altar every day in prayer. If God was moving in their lives, why did they need to run to the altar that much? Some people struggled with all sorts of things. Some people had problems paying the rent. I never understood why the church would encourage them to tithe more. In other words, why would the church encourage them to give them the money they need and tell them that God would bless them? Why couldn’t the leadership just give them the money - or at least tell them not to tithe? It was obvious that they weren't hurting for cash.
I quickly learned that you never questioned God, the Bible, or the church. The pressure to accept and believe was palpable. I could never understand why an almighty, all-powerful being couldn’t handle scrutiny. I always thought I would be more faithful if I could get some answers.
The answers never came. When they did, the answers made less and less sense. I was okay with the Bible being purely a book of inspiration. I know a lot of people say with a sneer in their voices, ‘The Bible is just a book of stories’. Civilizations were built on stories. Ever heard of Aesop’s Fables? Ever heard of mythology?
The problem is when the Bible was the ‘infallible word of God’. That would mean that God was never wrong. That means that the people who interpreted the Bible were completely accurate. For instance, the story of the deliverance from Pharoah never happened. No massive parting of the waters or series of plagues. There is no record of that happening anywhere else.
I also had issues with the story itself. If you read the story, it says that God hardened the Pharaoh’s heart. It wasn’t like the guy was an asshole. God did it. I then wondered why. All of it led to the slaying of the firstborn. You had to put blood on the door or the Angel of Death would come and kill their kids. Remember that God was the one who made up all the rules and decided what he was going to do.
However, none of that was the final straw. We like to act as if we make important decisions purely from logic alone. Humans aren’t pure intellect. We are complicated, emotional beings.
The final straw for me was that I was miserable. I had married earlier than I should have. Premarital sex was forbidden for Christians and I was hornier than a barrel of rabbits. After finding your purpose in life, you had to find your spouse. I got married to someone who I thought I loved, who was a terror. Anger issues, verbal abuse, etc. I became someone I didn’t like. I was listening to music I hated and trying hard to stay pure. I was praying all the time and trying to put into practice everything I read.
None of it worked.
I couldn’t deal with all the contradictions in my life and the church anymore. I felt that if God couldn’t or wouldn't answer any prayers or move in my life, how could I believe there would be this shiny afterlife for me? I started to wonder if God existed at all.
So I left. I left the church, got a divorce, and started to take control of my life. It wasn’t hard to leave the church. The church considered divorce the worst thing you could do, so it wasn’t hard to be out of communication with all of them. No one ever reached out to see if I was okay or to bring me back.
As time went on, I started to change my moral views. I realized that Christians would use the ‘cool Jesus who loves everybody’ model to attract you, and then live like we are in the Old Testament where God doesn’t like you very much.
So this is how the deconstruction started for me. I've never regretted my decision. I became a realized person. I believe that more and more people are following this path to finding themselves and living the life that truly makes them whole and complete.