Full Title: Deconverted: a journey from religion to reason Author: Seth Andrews Year: 2013 Genre: Nonfiction Publisher: Outskirts Press
ISBN 978-1-4787-1656-3 (U.S.) View It On Amazon View It On Google Books
Part autobiography and part polemic, Deconverted takes the reader through the life of a
young Christian American (the author), from his blind acceptance as a child, to relative success
in a religion-related industry, to questions that didn’t have answers, and finally to the
point when felt he had to speak out against his former religion and against the harm it causes.
What I Liked Least About It
I found very little to dislike about this book. If I’m forced to nitpick, I would say it
bothered me a little that all the photographs are clustered together on a few pages near the
middle (like many other books I’ve read, especially older ones), instead of spread
throughout the text.
What I Liked Most About It
By far, the thing that stood out most to me in this book is how similar Andrews’ journey
was to mine (shameless link to my own story of
deconversion). Of course, there were major differences, but through the first half of the book,
I identified with nearly every thing he said. Like me, he was raised by two good, caring, devoted
religious parents. His age is close to mine (within a few years). He grew up in Oklahoma, where
I spent several formative childhood years. He was involved in the CCM (Contemporary Christian
Music) scene, and a fan of the same artists that I admired. Most other books I’ve read by
(or about) atheists describe men and women who have nothing in common with me except a few
ideas, or our lack of belief in gods. This one was different and better than those, because
of the similarities.
But there is much more to like. Another big thing is that I read it in three days, which is
unusually quick for me. For the past several years, the only time I read is while lying in
bed, falling asleep. I rarely make more than 10 or 12 pages per night. Some books have
required months to read. This one took three days. It was easy to read, and enjoyable.
No complex sentence structure. No words I had to look up in the dictionary. I don’t
mean to say it was simple, or that Andrews is uneducated. He published a book and I haven’t,
so that’s saying something. What I mean is that his writing style is clear and concise, and
it is obvious that Andrews made an effort to avoid obfuscation; he wanted this message to be
understood without equivocation.
One more thing: The questions that Andrews asked — during his period of losing religion
— were the same ones I eventually asked, and the answers he received were the same
answers I had been told all my life. His experiences of engaging in online debates or reading
forums were nearly identical to my own. These experiences usually go like this (quoting from
Q: How do you know that the Bible is the word of God?
A: The Bible tells me so.
Q: But why do you believe the Bible is true?
A: Because it’s infallible.
Q: How do you know it’s infallible?
A: Because it’s the word of God.
At almost every turn, if you ask enough questions, the answers always end up being: “because
the Bible says”, or “our church beleives”, or “I just feel it in my
heart”. As they were with me, none of these answers were good enough for Andrews.
I really want to recommend this book to everyone, but I know for a fact that most would not enjoy
it, nor would they get anything from it. Almost everyone I know made a conscious decision at some
point in their adult lives to cease questioning their beliefs, and to think of any doubt as an
attack from Satan. So they would likely see this book as “an attack of Satan” too,
perhaps tossing it away from them in fear or maybe praying over it to cast out demons.
I would, however, recommend this book to anyone who is seriously doubting his or her faith, or to
anyone who might wonder “how can someone brought up Christian just decide to be an
atheist?” It’s also light reading for any of you atheists out there.