hey ex-Christians, we need to talk


Faith deconstruction is a term used by folks — generally ex-Evangelical Christians, though other people, such as ex-Mormons and ex-Muslims use it as well — to describe the process of unpacking, examining, and rethinking their previous belief systems. Oftentimes, faith deconstructionists have endured painful religious trauma. Faith deconstruction generally results in the abandonment of said religion, though some folks say that they have come out stronger in their faith after deconstructing.

The term “faith deconstruction” likely derives from philosopher Jacques Derrida’s concept of deconstruction, what he described as an approach to “understanding the relationship between text and meaning.”

Deconstructionist communities — generally of former Christians, especially ex-Evangelicals — are increasingly popular on social media. As of February 2022, for example, there were 293,026 Instagram posts utilizing the hashtag #deconstruction

There is only a slight problem. A lot of this deconstructionist content completely mischaracterizes the Jewish People at best — or frankly, is blatantly antisemitic at worst.

Your religious trauma is valid, and wherever you are on your faith journey — or lack thereof — is also valid. What is absolutely not valid is that much of what you think is “deconstructing” is just blatant antisemitism.



The authors of the Tanakh [the Hebrew Bible] — our ancestors — never intended for the Tanakh to be used outside of its intended cultural and tribal context. We never claimed that the Tanakh was a set of moral instructions for all of humanity. Instead the Tanakh is the tribal charter of the Jewish People, consisting of our tribal mythologies, oral and written histories, laws, genealogies, and more.

There are so many things in the Tanakh that simply can’t be adequately understood outside of its tribal and cultural context — and language. The Tanakh is predominantly written in Hebrew, which Jews call “Lashon HaKodesh,” or the “sacred tongue.” There are many factors within Hebrew that are not present in other languages, such as gematria, the Jewish practice of numerology.

Let’s talk about the word “Diaspora,” for example. The word “galut,” in Hebrew, describes the concept of the Jewish perception of the “condition and feelings of a nation uprooted from its homeland,” forced to live under foreign rule. It’s a word that appears time and time again in the Tanakh. Though the word “galut” describes the physical dispersion of the Jewish People, it also encompasses the Jewish emotion and pain of being forcefully exiled from the Land of Israel. It’s a concept that is impossible to translate neatly into a Western paradigm, as it is a physical, emotional, and spiritual state of being.

The word “diaspora” comes from the Greek διασπείρω (diaspeirō), which means “I scatter, I spread about,” and is how the Greeks translated “galut” when they read the Tanakh. And yet, “Diaspora” simply cannot capture the deep essence of the word “galut.”

Another example: the concept among Indigenous Peoples that their ancestral land is a gift from the heavens/deities/God is quite universal, though of course Indigenous Peoples are not homogenous, and as such, different tribes across the world have different beliefs and different ways through with which they exercise their stewardship over their lands.

Similarly, the Hebrew God states in the Torah: “to your descendants I have given this land [the Land of Israel]...” Rabbinic Judaism surmises that God had set the Land of Israel aside for the Jewish People during the time of Creation.

Taken out of its tribal context, however, this sounds a lot like…well, colonialism or something like Manifest Destiny.

It was Christians that appropriated our sacred text and stripped it from its intended cultural meaning. That’s not our fault — if anything, if you truly want to deconstruct your Christianity, well…maybe that’s something you should grapple with.

But please leave us out of it.



This is an example of a deeply problematic post. That so-called “misogynistic culture of the Middle East from 2000 years ago” is not some retrograde, backwards, uncivilized culture from a faraway past. That so-called “misogynistic culture of the Middle East from 2000 years ago” is Jewish culture — the very same culture that Jews practice to this very day. Yes, of course some things are different — nothing remains static over a 2000-year period — but we still speak the same language, dress in the same spiritual regalia, largely follow the same laws (Halacha), celebrate the same festivals, and more.

Racist (and antisemitic) comments like these completely ignore the traditional gender variations in Judaism (Zachar, Nekevah, Androgynos, Tumtum, Aylonit Hamah, Aylonit Adam, Saris Hamah, Saris Adam), the Christian mistranslations and misinterpretations of Bereshit (Genesis) that resulted in very rigid understandings of sex and gender, the devastating effects of colonialism on our own Jewish understanding of gender identity, the sexual violence that your own ancestors perpetrated against Jewish women, and more.

To reiterate: describing our culture as retrograde, uncivilized, and misogynistic is racist and antisemitic. That is not to say that misogyny doesn’t exist among Jews — of course it does — but if you, as a non-Jewish person, feel the need to impose your Christianized understanding of the Jewish concepts of sex and gender upon us, you are no more than a Christian missionary by a different name.



This, once again, is another problematic post. Would you disparage the sacred beliefs and mythologies of other Indigenous tribes? I hope not. Don’t do it to us, either.

As already discussed, the Jewish interpretation(s) of the Tanakh is drastically different from Christian dogma. For many centuries, Jews have vigorously debated every last minutiae of the Tanakh. In fact, the Talmud, the primary source of Halakha [Jewish law] and theology, is filled to the brim with the various (and oftentimes opposing) opinions of thousands of different rabbis over the span of many centuries.

As Rabbi Dov Rosenfeld explains: “I should state that our tradition teaches us that every word of the Torah is the precise word of God…The question is only if God intended His words to be understood as literal truth or at times more figuratively.”

To illustrate this point, for instance, in the United States, 81 percent of Jews believe in the theory of human evolution and only 16 percent reject evolution all together. On the other hand, 66 percent of white Evangelical Christians in the United States are more inclined to believe that humans have always existed in their present form (i.e. did not evolve from other primates).

Although some 20-22 percent of Jews in Israel and the United States, respectively, consider themselves atheist or agnostic, the majority of us are not. Instead of mocking the beliefs and mythologies of our ancestors, grapple with the fact that Christians have historically weaponized their mischaracterizations of the Tanakh to justify our persecution.

Finally, disparaging everything in the Tanakh as religious fantasy is blatant erasure of ancient Jewish history, including our oral history and archaeologically-proven history.


Imposing a white Evangelical Christian (or similar belief systems) understanding of religion on other people — especially people with tribal, land-based religious beliefs, such as Jews — is not much better than imposing your religion on other people.

When you disparage all religions because your particular religion caused you harm, you are still coming from a Christian supremacist viewpoint. You are erasing thousands upon thousands of Indigenous religions because your particular colonialist religion caused you harm.

While the specific concept of “religion” as we know it today in the modern sense doesn’t exactly exist in Judaism — Judaism predates the concept by millennia — Jewish peoplehood, tribal identity, and religion/spirituality are inextricable from one another. This is something that Jews have in common with thousands of Indigenous tribes across the globe. Disparaging Judaism because Evangelical Christianity was harmful to you is disparaging our very essence as a people. I hope I don’t need to tell you that that is antisemitic.

For many marginalized folks, especially Indigenous Peoples, spirituality roots and sustains us, especially in the face of unspeakable oppression. Judaism — that is, our tribal mythologies, traditions, beliefs, and laws — is what ensured our survival during 2000 years of exile from our homeland.

We see this erasure a lot in conversations around the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. “Religion is the problem!” or “Jews can’t just take Palestine because their religion tells them to!” You are not only misrepresenting the conflict, but you are misrepresenting our peoplehood.

Instead of disparaging our belief system altogether, consider how your religion appropriated (and continues to appropriate) from our tribe and how it has been weaponized to harm us and other Indigenous Peoples across the world.



Many so-called “decolonizing” Christians or deconstructing ex-Christians spread misinformation to large audiences that continues to inflict harm on Jews. Given that the Tanakh appropriated from us, mistranslated, and then weaponized to justify our persecution for the past 2000 years, you would think that “decolonizing” or “deconstructing” Christians and ex-Christians would center Jewish People as far as these topics are concerned. Instead they do exactly the opposite, or worse, they tokenize fringe voices that are not representative of the community.

This is most evident around the discussion of the identity of Jesus. At worst, they continue to perpetuate the “Jesus was a Palestinian” claim, which is ahistorical on multiple levels. First, Judea was not renamed Syria-Palestina until about 100 years after Jesus’ death in an act of Roman colonial aggression. In other words Jesus would never have identified as Palestinian. In fact, Palestinian did not become an ethnic or national identifier until nearly 2000 years after his death, when Khalil Beidas identified as Palestinian in 1898. Third, Jesus, as someone who opposed Roman rule of Judea, certainly would’ve never identified by a name that the Romans forcefully imposed on the Jews. Fourth, it’s quite convenient to identify Jesus as Palestinian but not claim the Jews that supposedly killed him (in other words: taking all of the credit but none of the antisemitism, which is textbook cultural appropriation). Jesus was far from the only crucified Jew during this time period; in fact, at one point during the First Jewish Revolt, the Romans were crucifying some 500 Jews a day. To claim “decolonization” yet continue to erase the genocide that our Jewish ancestors suffered is not decolonization; it’s just further erasure of the Jewish People.

I’ve also seen some well-intentioned people make statements such as “yes the [Jewish] Sanhedrin sentenced Jesus to die, but don’t take it out on Jews today just because some Jews back then aligned with white supremacy!” This, too, is absurdly problematic on so many levels that it’s hard to even know where to begin. First, white supremacy as it exists today was not a thing back then, and framing it as such is disingenuous. Second, the Sanhedrin were, like all other Jews, under Roman occupation at the time, a deeply oppressive and bloody period for Jews. Third and perhaps most importantly, there’s zero extra-Biblical evidence that (1) Jesus actually existed, and (2) that Jews sentenced him to die. Indeed, crucifixion was a Roman punishment, and had the Sanhedrin sentenced him to die, he would’ve been stoned instead.

The earliest Gospels were not written until decades after Jesus’ death, during a time when Jews were heavily persecuted during the Jewish Revolts. Of course Jews would be depicted negatively; the Gospel writers would not want such persecution to be inflicted on them as well.

You want to “deconstruct” and “decolonize”? Start by grappling with the fact your book was appropriated from an Indigenous tribe with closed spiritual practices.

Oh: and stop calling it the Old Testament, while you’re at it.

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