Leaving Christianity is woke.
If you want to get ahead in 2019, then there's a simple formula:
Just announce publicly on social media you've had an epiphany that made you realize how unwoke Christianity is.
You "deconstructed" it.
Ensure that you distance yourself from the moral convictions that you previously had.
Mandatory: virtue signal to women, ethnic minorities and (for the most virtue points) beg forgiveness from the LGBTQ+ community for not supporting their "marriage" equality.
This is the only way Christian leaders and public figures are able to redeem themselves and regain an ounce of humanity in the eyes of the world.
Momentarily I might add.
Check out the language used in a headline recently on LGBTQ Nation:
Anti-gay pastor quits Christianity, leaves wife & marches in Pride parade as atonement.
The article goes on to describe Joshua Harris as "turning his life around". 😆
Commenters on the article are even more telling, describing Joshua Harris as becoming "more human", welcoming him home as a brother, and offering forgiveness.
For a group that hates church, they sure do talk like one.
(Some are less forgiving and demand reparations for full atonement, however.)
The fact is, the world loves a good "why I left Christianity" story (or a Rachel Held Evans "Jesus was a liberal" enlightenment story for a close second).
UPDATE: Apparently Marty Sampson has backtracked on his public statement.
I remember a theology lecturer of mine many years ago saying:
Want to get famous and make a tonne of easy money?
Just write a controversial (pejorative) book about Jesus.
I always thought it was a funny statement.
But it's true.
The world detests the truth of Christ and those who refuse to bow to golden statues.
They love stories of fallen pastors (hypocrites who get caught out and church abuse stories).
Most of all, the world wants to give a megaphone to prominent Christian figures who make a conscious and public declaration that they're done with the faith.
It's a sweet victory.
On the one hand you have figures like Rachel Held Evans and Tony Campolo who embrace 'progressive Christianity' (there's no such thing) yet remain in the Church (poisoning it from the inside) which the media loves.
They become powerful allies to atheists and people who loathe the Gospel:
I’m happy for him. https://t.co/X3Kp66Tsis— Andrew Smith (@amgsmith) July 27, 2019
On the other hand you have Joshua Harris types who put out statements effectively saying:
"It was all nonsense and I'm sorry for believing it".
Yay, the world wants to be my friend now.
I wonder how many new clients and speaking gigs Harris ("wordsmith and storyteller") got after his announcement and news publicity?
The guy clearly understands social media and this was a viral reach strategy that worked exactly as he intended it to.
Hating on Jesus is highly profitable.
And in a world where social media fame is a currency, what better place to announce your change of heart.
Dating Jesus Goodbye
I actually became a Christian when this book's influence was at its peak.
The world of AOG evangelicalism and youth culture was all new to me and as a new believer (and young guy), I was keen to meet a nice girl who shared my new values.
I learned how damaging Harris' book was first hand very early on.
It almost turned me away from church, in fact.
So I guess the only redeeming aspect of Josh Harris walking away from Christianity is that his immature and ignorant teaching on courtship will never be taken seriously again.
But serious question:
Why did a 21 year old's book ever become so important to begin with?
He was never in a position to be giving relationship or marital advice to anyone.
There is definitely something wrong with the church culture we've created that elevates fools as wise councellors. We allow guys like Harris literally to shape our theology.
Then we act shocked when they get divorced and become atheists.
How many people will follow Harris out of Christianity I wonder?
Deconstructing deconstruction ("falling away")
Of particular interest is Harris' mention of "deconstruction" as his reasoning.
While it's not exactly clear what his understanding of this term is, it is indeed a popular philosophical concept that has permeated throughout seminaries.
Deconstruction in a nutshell (applied to the biblical texts) says this:
These texts were written by people with a particular historical and cultural perspective that shaped the way they see and interpret reality; ergo, all biblical texts are suspect and cannot be taken at face value.
Josh de Keijzer explained deconstruction in great detail and much better than I could.
At the end of the day, deconstruction is about being hyper-skeptical.
In a sense, it's antithetical to faith.
You end up questioning and doubting literally everything - the Bible gets stripped bare because most of the content is suspect.
Reading starts from a position of doubt.
I could write volumes on my experiences with decontructionist thought in seminary and the friends who abandoned God as a result of it. It harmed my own faith for many years.
That's not to say that it's evil and there isn't a place for it.
But when you take someone like Joshua Harris, who was born into a vapid and useless church culture, they have no authentic faith foundation to stand on.
Introduce deconstruction to them and their entire worldview gets smashed to pieces.
The flock will follow false shepherds when the real sherpherds don't lead
Direct your frustration at useless church leaders.
Instead of letting a 21 year old with no life experience write a manual that dictates (ruins) Christian relationships all over the world, actually start leading your people.
Stop trying to be relevant and cool.
Youth groups that spend their energy on things like "music ministry" (cringe!) and telling kids how to date aren't doing a damn thing to help raise young men and women to live holy lives.
Joshua Harris was never an authentic believer.
He grew up in a "church" culture and got sick of it after his marriage fell apart.
That's the truth of it.