Reading books on a wide variety of topics is a key aspect of deconstructing your faith. I know it has been for me! Over the years, I’ve given and received many recommendations in this genre. Since I’m often asked for these resources, I decided to compile what I hope will be an evolving list that we, as a community, continue adding to as we deconstruct toxic religious culture. Let me know in the comments below what you’ll be adding to your TBR pile!

Here are the best books on deconstructing your faith:

I’ve BOLDED the ones I’ve personally read and recommend. The rest have been recommended to me, but I haven’t read the entire book yet (I’ll update this list as I read!). Each book title is hyperlinked using my Amazon referral link, but I encourage you to check your local bookstores for these too! If you give them the title and author, they can usually order a copy for you!

Books recommended during the 2021 Deconstructing Your Faith Summit

best books on deconstructing your faith

Deconstruction Stories

Nationalism in the Church

Recovering from Trauma, Toxic Religious Culture and #ChurchHurt

Anti-Racism

Gender Bias

LGBTQIA+

Empowering Women

Building Emotional Intelligence and Resiliency

Exploring a More Expansive Faith

Toxic Religion

Bible Translations and Commentaries

Do you love this list of best books on deconstructing your faith from toxic religion as much as I do? So many good books are written above. Here are a few things to consider when looking for a book on Deconstruction and figuring out which one, or ones, you would like to read next. 

What do you want to learn?

As exciting as diving into books on deconstructing faith with both feet and the enthusiasm of a five-year-old, I want to remind you that you don’t have to learn everything there is to know immediately. (And it’s near impossible to learn everything right now, as there is so much to explore). It’s okay to take your time as you discover new ideas. It is actually good for you to pause, digest, figure out what something looks like in your world, and then take on the next thing. You are welcome to buy ALL of the books (fellow book fiend here) but then let’s not shame ourselves when we don’t read them all that same week. 

If your book budget does not allow you to have a library that looks like the one in Beauty and the Beast, after taking a moment to sigh in sadness, you can look at what is most important to you at this moment. Is there a theme or idea you are wrestling with and wondering how it can work in practice in your life? Perhaps the concept of the Divine Feminine, the multiple ways to look at Christ’s death on the cross, or another way of looking at Mary Magdelene? If you can tune into your curiosity, you’ll be able to buy the book you need the most right now, not just the ones you want. (Which is all of them, I hear you, there are so many excellent books on deconstruction out there.) Also, this list of best books on deconstructing your faith is always growing, so I’d also love to hear about any book(s) you are reading now that are helping you on your deconstruction journey! Here are some more questions to ask yourself!

Who are you learning from as you untangle from toxic religion?

Look at who the author is. Although there are many theologians to learn from, white men write many of the most popular books, and if you look at books from the last 2000 years, that’s the majority of what the standard Christian toxic religious culture theology framework is built with. And although there are deconstructing white theologians doing great work, I also want to invite you to look for authors of books on deconstructing faith who vary in experience, background, and culture. The way they see the world can open your eyes to a new way of looking at a previous ‘cut and dried’ verse that your pastor has extrapolated on in the same way for years. If theology and hermeneutics are stirring you, I want to encourage you to look up Womanist scholars, Liberation theology, and Queer theology.

When reading books on deconstructing faith are you looking to expand your knowledge or dive deeper?

If you need to learn more about Faith Deconstruction or a specific belief, having a book that goes straight to the core of it and explains it in fine detail can be pretty helpful. Some books cover vast ground and give you an overview or lay of the land; others get pretty specific. If you know, you want to learn more not just about LGBTQIA+ people but specifically about the theology changes in the last 60 years that have created the culture we have today, that is a more specific subject and can help you narrow down your book. 

Where can you get books on deconstructing faith?

Your only avenue for finding books is more than just buying them. Check out your local library. Did you know most public libraries offer Ebooks and Audiobooks through either Hoopla, Libby, or other apps? There are also inter-library loans if you live in a small area; they can request it from a nearby library. Perhaps you want to read the book first to see if you need it in paperback. If you are a highlighter and book notator like me, you know the joy of writing in the margins and interacting with the book like a dear friend. 

Asking around is another option, or trading books if you have friends interested in the same subject, see if they have any interest in doing a book swap or loaning you a book to read on the subject. Although the books above are on amazon, local indie booksellers can get books online and order them for you. Please keep track of the books you want to read on a site like Goodreads and leave reviews after you read them. Leaving reviews helps authors with rankings (especially on Amazon) and helps fellow people who are deconstructing know what to expect from the book. Even if you bought or borrowed the book, you can still leave reviews on sites where books are sold. 

Be aware of wolves in sheep’s clothing in the Deconstruction world.

In the past, and currently, people will market a book saying it’ll help unpack harmful beliefs, but it is a wolf in sheep’s clothing telling you the only way is via toxic religion. You can be a Christian and unpack destructive ideas from toxic religious culture, so remember you aren’t harming anyone by exploring what an expansive faith that acknowledges the humanity of the people around you can look like in action. As Liz Gilbert says, “There is no such thing as one-way liberation.” Having a book say one thing and do another is why reviews are so helpful as well, as you’ll get a sense of the theme and vibe the book contains, not just what it pitches. All the books on deconstructing faith listed above have freedom, liberation, and respect for all of humanity at their core, and I highly recommend them. 

As you are reading these different books, I encourage you to keep an open mind and remember to take what works and leave what doesn’t. Everyone’s journey is different, and who knows where yours will take you. Books can open the doorway for new knowledge, ideas, and concepts and challenge you in how you are showing up in your life. Post a comment below about any of the above books you have read that you love and why!

What would you add to this list of best books on deconstructing your faith?
Let me know in The Faith Deconstruction Cafe, my free community where we’re deconstructing toxic religion and toxic religious culture together.

These are the best books to read while deconstructing your faith from toxic religion or toxic religious culture. Books on deconstructing faith can help you find new freedom.
These are the best books to read while deconstructing your faith from toxic religion or toxic religious culture. Books on deconstructing faith can help you find new freedom.
These are the best books to read while deconstructing your faith from toxic religion or toxic religious culture. Books on deconstructing faith can help you find new freedom.