The Bible is Holding You Hostage
You need to hear something.
Are you ready?
Here it is.
The Bible will never say what you need it to say in order for you to be free from the dogma that was part of your religious heritage.
If only it was that simple to just be free from the dogma of your religious heritage. My need to say this comes from years of helping people deconstruct from toxic religious beliefs so they can live a spiritually empowered life.
I often receive comments from people telling me that my content has helped them deconstruct. Yet, those same people will ask questions such as:
“Am I going to hell for not going to church?”
“Does God love me if I no longer believe in the God of Christianity?”
“Where does it say in the Bible that it is okay to be gay?”
“What if hell is real, and I’m destined to go there because I don’t believe like my family does?”
“Am I a good person?”
These questions break my heart, because I have been where these people are—held captive by Biblical teachings from my religious indoctrination.
This being held hostage by what we think the Bible says is so common that I have come to expect that it will be present in those who are deconstructing from their religious heritage. When one understands how deep into the soul religious indoctrination can live, then one understands how much power weaponized scripture has over the deconstructing Christian.
The first thing that often arises for the deconstructing Christian is an awareness of something shifting deep inside of them. They may have had hints of its presence, but now it is so profoundly powerful that it cannot be ignored. This internal shift is inviting them to turn their gaze from those with whom they have trusted to feed their soul and to seek a different understanding about faith, spirituality and perhaps even God.
It isn’t uncommon that the deconstructing Christian will mistake their initial awareness of this internal shift as the entirety of deconstruction when in reality, it is only the beginning.
The Beginning of what?
That is the question that each deconstructing Christian must answer for themselves. That answer most likely will not come in one massive a-ha moment, but rather in moments where, little by little and step by step, the peeling away reveals the spaces where their religious heritage harmed them and their indoctrinated beliefs controlled them. Then and only then will wisdom and healing arrive to fill the sacred spaces where hurt, deception and indoctrination once lived.
Before social media, many of us who were deconstructing from our religious heritage did so alone and unsupported. This isolation makes the spiritual wilderness—the void that is felt when one first begins deconstructing—even more challenging. Given the lack of support and community, it is easy to see how a person can assume that simply being aware of this inner desire to deconstruct and then honoring that awareness through some sort of action—such as reading scholars or listening to teachers outside of one’s religious heritage—can be all that deconstructing from religion requires of us.
Except it isn’t.
At least not for those of us who, even after reading the books to help us deconstruct, are still left wondering if we’re going to hell, if God rejects us, or if we are a good person.
Those types of questions point to a deeper level of deconstruction from our faith.
Let me assure you that questions about your worthiness or your salvation isn’t uncommon as you deconstruct from your religious heritage. What is uncommon, or perhaps more accurately, what points to an intense level of religious indoctrination is the hyper-focus on the Bible to bless your deconstructing journey just as it did when you were immersed in your religious heritage.
If one doesn’t become aware of this insatiable need to be affirmed by scripture, it’s easy to replace one dogma with another. This need to be affirmed by scripture most likely is residual from a religious indoctrination that preached affirmation of one’s self-worth can only be found in the approval of church authority who in turn controlled the scriptural interpretation.
This pattern is exhausting and can distract from the real work of deconstructing from a toxic and weaponized religious heritage. I’ve seen this happen time and again, where people caught in this spiral reach out to me in DMs pleading with me to point them to scripture that reveals this or that truth.
But this or that truth isn’t the problem.
The need to be affirmed by thousands-year-old text that is filled with mistranslations and monumental gaps in the original manuscripts that it is impossible to know the writer’s original intent is the problem.
It isn’t that I don’t understand it—I absolutely do. I’ve made hundreds of videos and written many blogs addressing the flaws in scripture and why homophobia and transphobia can not be reconciled as a sacred Christian virtue no matter how many times a Christian comments “Leviticus 18:22!” Hint: it’s not the flex you think it is.
What is truly needed, however, is a turning away from this need to be Bible-affirmed and move toward living Bible-inspired. If we accept this as part of deconstructing from our religious heritage, then deconstructing becomes a sacred healing journey that peels away these harmful narratives so that they no longer have the power over us to control us in ways that limit our showing up in our world as the best version of ourselves.
In future blogs, I’ll expand on what it means to live Bible-inspired. For today, it is enough to know this…
Deconstructing from your religious heritage is primarily about healing. Healing from anything that harms us or no longer serves our highest good is hard work. This healing journey invites us to stay focused on the work to peel back those layers of indoctrinated belief so that something better, wiser, and more sacred can arrive.
Then and only then can this internal shift continue to point us to our true north so that, someday, somehow, we no longer have to ask, “Am I a good person?”
We know we are, because we…just…know.
And that is freeing.
That is sacred.
That is Holy.