The second reason Butler gives for why people deconstruct is that they see Christianity as incompatible with science and reason. He believes that some in this situation have received poor teaching, and he argues people should not reject the entire Christian faith because of bad teaching when there is plenty of good teaching available on many difficult topics.
Butler’s third point is that some people who deconstruct do so as a way to justify the sin that they are committing. “I minister in a college town,” he said, “where students regularly deconstruct when they’ve started sleeping with their girlfriend or boyfriend. Convenient timing. Others deconstruct while harboring an addiction (drugs, alcohol, porn), to release their guilt.”
With his fourth reason, “street cred,” Butler means that it is not as “cool” to be a Christian as it is to deconstruct, a process he sees as a trend. “Doubt is hip,” he said. “The desire to fit in with the cultural ethos of our moment is strong. That’s why so many deconversion stories sound like everyone’s reading off the same script—its well-worn clichés signaling conformity to accepted norms.”
Notably, Butler does not define “deconstruction” in his article, nor does he explore in depth the biblical support for wrestling with doubt, something he might not have addressed due to length. He does acknowledge, however, a “good form” of deconstruction modeled by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount and contrasts this “good” deconstruction with “bad” deconstruction, modeled by Satan in Genesis 3.
Still, Butler primarily refers to “deconstruction” negatively, such as when he says, “Deconstruction is poison, not medicine. It supplements the sin that’s killing you, rather than healing it.”
Reactions to Butler’s Article
Much of people’s criticism of Butler’s post centers on accusations that his language shames people who have deconstructed, minimizes just how traumatic spiritual abuse can be, and misrepresents people’s motivations.