The Difference Between Renouncing Your Faith and Deconstructing From It
Can You Keep Community If You Lose Your Religion
A simple Google search on "renouncing faith" or "deconstructing your faith" will net you a slew of posts about the tragedy of turning your back on Christ, and how the fault lies with you if you lose your religion and not with organized religion.
The guilt that emanates through the ethers is nothing compared to what people must endure in person. But guilt, judgment, and other out-of-date ideologies are part of what causes people to leave the church to begin with. A new disconnect from old beliefs can change a person's trajectory regarding their sense of faith.
Can You Lose Your Religion?
Is it possible to lose your religion? Research has shown that 50 years ago, 90% of Americans identified as Christians, whereas in 2020, that number had dropped to 64%. If the trend continues, Christians are expected to make up only 35-46% of the U.S. population by 2070.
So, what is happening? Where are all the followers going? Many are renouncing their faith or deconstructing it. For example, in 2019, mega-church pastor Joshua Harris shocked Christians by announcing not only his divorce but the renouncement of his faith.
Christians compared his leaving the church to the likes of Judas. Sadly, he could not simply retire and go about living his life as he saw fit. Instead, he had to explain the reason for his departure. Then his followers felt the need to compare him to one of the most disliked characters in the Bible to be able to accept his personal choices. Just for being honest.
What Does Renouncing Faith Mean?
What does renouncing faith mean? How do you do it? Renouncing faith means making a conscious choice and publicly declaring that you no longer have a belief or will behave in a certain way.
When applying this to religious matters, it could mean no longer taking the Bible as the word of God. Or believing Christ is your savior. It means not showing up to church on Sunday and going through the motions that you probably did out of habit more than belief for quite some time before you renounced your faith.
What Does It Mean to Deconstruct Your Faith?
What does it mean to deconstruct your faith, and how does it differ from renouncing it? Deconstructing your faith is a process of rethinking and processing your belief system. It means closely examining what you knew to be "true," with beliefs dating as early as childhood, and seeing how that fits into your current life.
You can deconstruct your faith and find some bits and pieces still work for you while finding you no longer believe in other aspects of your religion and choose to no longer follow those practices.
Or perhaps, it only resembles the belief in a higher power, the unbridled potential of prayer, and Christ as an enlightened teacher, but you push all the dogma away. You move from religious to a more spiritual point of view. It is a very intimate process where you determine what you believe in, what works for you, and what you will leave behind.
Do You Have to Do It All Alone?
Many people choose to stay in the church because it is what they are familiar with. They enjoy the camaraderie. Having friends of like mind and a place where families can grow together. A built-in social group where events are planned every week.
There is valid fear of losing that connection for yourself, your children, and your spouse, especially when that is the only life you've ever known.
In some rural areas church is the only place to gather in a social setting. Community is an essential factor for many when choosing a church. Especially when comparing non-denominational to non-denominational, where the sermons will be roughly the same.
The social aspect may be the determining factor for families. Are there potlucks? Do they offer daycare? Bible school for kids in the summer? Mom groups? People need community, a sense of solidarity, and for many, they get that at church.
Renouncing faith or deconstructing your faith can leave you fearful of being alone, especially if you have burning questions. Questions that you once would have turned to your pastor for answers. However, you do not have to brave the process all on your own.
There are people who have walked before you and now dedicate themselves to helping you through the process, like myself. I want to help those who have questions about their faith and the direction their new life is taking. That is why I created Numa Soul to be a sacred space so you can regain that sense of community.
You are invited to learn more about my Spiritual Community where all are welcome. You will have access to special teachings, Q & A sessions, guest interviews, book club, the ability to commune with like-minded people, and so much more. Be sure to click the link to get the details now.