Monday, September 16, 2019

Deconversion narrative

There's a stereotypical deconversion narrative, endlessly repeated with minor plot variations:

1. Boy grows up in "fundamentalist" church.

2. Boy loses his "fundamentalist" faith when he goes to college or reads a book by the pop atheist du jour (e.g. Dawkins, Hitchens, Ehrman), or discovers atheist websites.

3. Boy regards his deconversion as an "escape from fundamentalism". 

4. Deconvert goes on a crusade to share his newfound enlightenment. Spoiling to get into fights with "fundamentalists". 

5. Deconvert has a checklist of cliche-ridden objections to "fundamentalism". Every deconvert has the same checklist. Each deconvert expects every Christian he meets to start all over again by going through the same checklist of cliche-ridden objections to "fundamentalism". 

These are hallmarks of social and emotional immaturity. In some cases, a phase the deconvert will outgrow. 

6. Plot variations:

i) Deconvert from "fundamentalism" to atheism

ii) Decovert from young-earth creationism to old-earth creationism to theistic evolution to naturalistic evolution

iii) Deconvert from "fundamentalism" to Catholicism. That was more popular before the Francis pontificate.

iv) Deconvert from "fundamentalism" to "progressive Christianity". 

Because "progressive Christianity" is an unstable compromise, it may be a temporary halfway house. After a while, deconvert realizes that "progressive Christianity" is too thin to have the advantages of "fundamentalism" so he completes the cycle by becoming an atheist. However, some deconverts remain in progressive Christianity for sentimental or idealistic reasons, to "rescue" Christianity from the "fundamentalists".

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