The Religious Right website One News Now reported to their followers that Joshua Harris, author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye, has left the faith and is no longer a Christian. Harris, in an Instagram post, said, “By all the measurements that I have for defining a Christian, I am not a Christian. Many people tell me that there is a different way to practice faith and I want to remain open to this, but I’m not there now.”
Harris mentions the process he is undergoing is known as deconstruction. The Premier Christianity website in their article Deconstructing Faith: Meet the Evangelicals who are questioning everything says, “A new generation is re-thinking what they’ve been told about Christianity, the Bible and what it means to be a follower of Jesus. They argue a ‘new reformation’ is taking place as they voice their doubts and embrace a process known as theological deconstruction. Those who have walked this road say it’s a life-giving and ultimately faith-affirming process, but others are sceptical.[sic]”
The heart of the matter: questions. Fundagelical Christianity can’t stand questions. Fundagelical Christianity claims to have “THE TRUTH.” In Fundagelical churches, you don’t go on a spiritual journey to find the truth; it is given to you in a statement of faith. Truth is presented to you as a series of propositions and policies. This is why Harris can say, “By all the measurements that I have for defining a Christian, I am not a Christian.” He no longer measures up to the standards he was taught define Christianity.
Fundagelicals tell you that to be a Christian, you must recite the magic “sinner’s prayer” and then confess certain beliefs. Your beliefs must be backed by actions. (James 1:22-25) You must believe that Jesus loves you and died for your sins. However, if you don’t love Him back, He will torture you for all eternity in hell. The actions of a “Real Christian” include being anti-abortion, no sex before marriage, and anti-LGBTQ+ policies. Harris admits he knows that there is another way to practice faith and he’s open to it but just not there yet.
This is one of the difficult steps in escaping from the destructive Fundagelical trap. Fundamentalist and Evangelicals train up their children until their Fundagelical beliefs are part of their core being. The children are raised to distrust anything, including their own conscience, that doesn’t line up with their Fundagelical training. To question what you were raised to believe is to lose part of yourself. Some might say that Harris is throwing away the baby and the bathwater; however, I say he is throwing away the bathtub. Right now the water is running everywhere, and the baby looks a bit confused, but he’s enjoying the knowledge that there is a great big world beyond the tub.
Christianity is ready to throw off the oppressive system of religion Fundamentalism and Evangelicals have imposed on it. Harris is one more crack in the façade, one more seeker of truth escaping a closed system, one more child of God walking on the wild frontier of faith.
It’s interesting to note that Harris closes his Instagram post by quoting the mystic Julian of Norwich. “I believe with my sister Julian that, ‘All shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.'” It is a very simple trust and faith that says I don’t have the answers, but I believe that Jesus will make all things well. By the way, that’s my definition of Christianity.
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