There is an increasing interest in the influence of religious fundamentalism upon people’s motivation, identity and decision-making. Leaving Christian Fundamentalism and the Re-construction of Identity details the stories of those who have left Christian fundamentalist churches and how they change after they have left. It considers how the previous fundamentalist identity is shaped by aspects of church teaching and discipline that are less authoritarian and coercive, and more subtle and widely spread throughout the church body. That is, individuals are understood as not only subject to a form of judgment, but also exercise it, with everyone seemingly complicit in maintaining the stability of the church organisation. This book provocatively illustrates that the reasons for leaving an evangelical Christian church may be less about what happens outside the church in terms of the lures and attractions of the secular world, and more about the experience within the community itself.
Table of Contents
1. The Historical Emergence of Christian Fundamentalism as a Social Movement
2. Method of Inquiry
3. Introducing the Participants and Journeys of Change and Renewal I
4. Journeys of Change and Renewal II
5. The Shaping of Identity through the Lens of Truth
6. The Shaping of Identity through the Lens of Power
7. The Shaping of Identity through the Lens of the Self: The Resistance and Anti-pastoral Revolt of Docile Bodies
8. Narratives of Laughter and a New Ideological Becoming
9. Co-construction: what is the role of the interviewer in the construction of identity stories?
Josie McSkimming is a former church insider of the Sydney evangelical church, and has spent many years counselling Christians about their personal experience of Christian fundamentalism and its effects on their sense of identity. She has described her research into the identity change of those who exit Christian fundamentalism in the recently published book, Constructing Narratives of Continuity and Change (edited by Hazel Reid and Linden West, Routledge, 2014), as well as other articles about how her own exit from fundamentalism affects her therapeutic work with Christian clients.