Book Review: The Anatomy of Deconversion

Book Review: The Anatomy of Deconversion, by John Marriott by Jonathan McLatchie

For many years, I have had a fascination for the reasons why people deconvert from the Christian faith. I have, without exaggeration, viewed many hundreds of deconversion testimonies on YouTube, purchased and read books by deconverts, followed the blogs of deconverts, and personally interacted with many who have either given up their Christian faith or are considering doing so. I was therefore interested to pick up The Anatomy of Deconversion: Keys to a Lifelong Faith in a Culture Abandoning Christianity, by John Marriott, a professor of philosophy at Biola University. Marriott’s doctoral dissertation focused on the subject of deconversion, so he is certainly well qualified to speak about the issue at hand. In this book review, I will offer a summary of the research conducted by Marriott (outlined in the first ten chapters of the book) and then offer an appraisal of Marriott’s recommendations for action steps believers can take to instill in people a robust and lifelong confident faith (outlined in chapters eleven and twelve)….

In conclusion, Marriott provides us with an excellent, and very welcome, survey of the reasons people have for deconverting from the faith, together with an insightful discussion of the experiences that accompany loss of faith. However, the discussion of presuppositionalist apologetics towards the end of the book contains fatal flaws that do not take much insight to see through. I worry that presentation of the ideas of Cornelius Van Til and Greg Bahnsen will not have the desired effect of stabilizing peoples’ faith and preventing a crisis, but will do more to drive people away from the faith.

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