By John Marriott
Believers are abandoning faith. But why?
Atheism is on the rise. What, if anything, can be done to prevent this trend? The Anatomy of Deconversion goes to the source of these issues and gives readers a broad picture of the deconversion process. Learn why believers lose their faith, and, perhaps more importantly, discover why so many former Christians claim to be happier, freer, and more fulfilled as unbelievers than they were as Christians. No one fully escapes the pitfalls in life that create a faith crisis. However, learning to navigate these times of crisis is the key to developing a grounded, flourishing faith.
Based on data gleaned from first person interviews and written
narratives, The Anatomy of Deconversion uncovers the reasons,
processes, and impacts of deconverting from Christianity. Unlike
other books that address the topic of deconversion from a purely
theological perspective, The Anatomy of Deconversion takes
a multidisciplinary approach. In doing so, it provides the only
comprehensive account of deconversion available today.
JOHN MARRIOTT is the director of the Biola University Centers for Intercultural Studies, located in Switzerland, Thailand, and Los Angeles. He also teaches in the Philosophy and Intercultural Studies departments at Biola, and in the Department of Christian Ministry and Leadership at Talbot School of Theology. He is the author of A Recipe for Disaster: Four Ways Parents and Churches Prepare Individuals to Lose Their Faith. A former pastor, John is originally from Canada, but he now calls Los Angeles home with his wife, Nancy, and their children, Cody and Moriah. Learn more at www.johnmarriott.org
“The importance of this topic cannot be overstated. Deconversion is a complicated process that while shocking to some, is freeing to others, as the author reveals. It is usually a painful undertaking that impacts many more than just the deconvert. Understanding why some believers risk it all to renounce their faith is crucial to helping those who struggle. It is also important for those who shepherd people of faith. If not careful to present a nuanced Christianity, as Marriott shows, we run the risk of sowing seeds of doubt that grow into tendrils of unbelief. The Christian faith is both plain and complex. At times, our attempts at simplicity serve to paper over difficulties that, left unexamined, provide the very cause for falling away. This book is written with a pastoral goal in mind: help prevent deconversion. Its many accounts of falling away and recommitting will help readers develop the emotional competence to come alongside a struggler and help them fight for faith.”
—Steven H. Sanchez, professor of Bible, The Moody Bible Institute
“Heartrending, hopeful, and pastorally wise. It is no secret that atheism is on the rise, even where Christianity is still the norm. John Marriott shares and analyzes real-life stories of Christians who have left the fold. He identifies problematic practices and teachings that correlate with deconversion, suggesting alternatives. Pastors, professors, and church leaders will want to read this so they can help foster resilient loyalty to Jesus the King.”
—Matthew W. Bates, author of Gospel Allegiance, associate professor of theology, Quincy University
“A disturbing truth about American evangelicalism today is the increasing numbers of evangelicals who simply abandon the Christian faith. In this carefully researched and thoughtful book, John Marriott listens to the voices of those who have left the faith, probes the factors leading to deconversion, and offers sensible and helpful suggestions for avoiding problems leading to loss of faith. Although the issues are certainly troubling, this is essential reading for pastors and Christian educators.”
—Harold Netland, professor of Philosophy of Religion and Intercultural Studies, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
“John Marriott’s The Anatomy of Deconversion is no less readable or pastoral for being grounded in diligent research. This is a thoughtful and thought-provoking book, at once committed to orthodoxy and generous to those who have left it. I recommend The Anatomy of Deconversion to anyone seeking to learn more about why deconversion happens and how crises of faith can become opportunities for discipleship instead of precursors to apostasy.”
—Bonnie Kristian, author of A Flexible Faith and columnist at Christianity Today
“I cannot recommend this book enough. I know of no other book that gives such a thoughtful, insightful, and applicable approach to the topic of deconversion. It offers practical advice on avoiding and averting the possibility of deconversion and offers hope for those who have a loved one still in the struggle. Marriott has a very accessible and easy-to-follow style of writing. You won’t regret taking up this important work.”
—Richard S. Park, assistant professor of Theology & Ethics, Vanguard University
“Recently, popular Christian authors, musicians, and speakers have announced they were kissing their faith goodbye. As a father of adolescent boys, this got my attention. As a pastor, it deeply burdened me and forced me to ask some tough questions. This book has been written for parents and pastors like me. It is unique because it is based on the interviews with the deconverted. It is readable, practical, and hopeful. The hope emerges from John’s practical suggestions for how we can better prepare this generation for the smorgasbord of ideas and challenges to the Christian faith that are now only one Google search away. I highly encourage you to buy several copies that you can share with other parents and your pastor to help us win this increasing challenge called deconversion.”
—Chris McGregor, pastor, City Church (Montréal, Canada)
“A must-read for anyone concerned about the rise of the religious ‘nones’ and specifically of those walking away from the Christian faith. Maintaining that deconversion is less about doctrine than about people, Marriott’s insightful analysis of why and how people lose their faith is based on careful interviews of 24 former evangelicals or fundamentalists. Of special value is his discussion of the need for careful introspection both within the home and the church in what
may contribute to this troubling trend.”
—Peter C. Hill, Rosemead School of Psychology, Biola University, and coauthor of The Psychology of Fundamentalism
“Drawing from personal accounts, psychological frameworks, and research data, Marriott provides a thoughtful, insightful analysis of reasons why many evangelical and fundamentalist Christians decide to leave the faith. He also carefully outlines both challenges and growth opportunities that may accompany such decisions. Finally, he suggests well-reasoned strategies that members of Christian communities might consider in the quest to help others keep, transform, or return to their faith.”
—Dr. Julie J. Exline, professor, Department of Psychological Sciences, Case Western Reserve University
“Although many know former Christians, not all can claim to have systematically analyzed stories from a very broad range of such people. Dr John Marriott provided what we need, offering an important piece of qualitative research as well as a personal journey for an understanding of faith exit.
It can be unsettling to read some of the pages in this book, the first few chapters in particular. Yet one has to continue reading. Correctly identifying the problem is the first step to solving it. This book does just that. I recommend this book to all those who have the heart to care, but not the courage to listen face-to-face to real persons who left their faith in anger or despair.
The final chapters are thought-provoking, getting Christians conservative or otherwise to think seriously about how they should present their faith to others, and how they should build a lasting faith in their fellow believers. The chapters also instill hope in us who mourn and grief.
Now that deconversion is a global phenomenon, this book is a must-read for church leaders in all parts of the world.”
—C. Harry Hui, Social-Organizational Psychologist & Honorary Associate Professor at the University of Hong Kong
Dimensions (inches) 6 x 9
Weight (pounds) .5