The article is about how to begin the process of unlearning religious trauma. An example of religious trauma could be described as the result of being taught in your faith that you’re in danger of eternal damnation due to human sexuality, gender identity, or sexual orientation. This can lead to low self-worth and intense feelings of shame. The article provides some tools for unlearning religious trauma including seeing the difference between belief and truth and dismantling rigid beliefs.
The psychological effects of being LGBTQ+ and growing up in a religious household can lead to a lifetime of harmful brainwashing and confusion for many people. There are ways to unlearn these toxic tendencies, but it takes time, patience, and self-compassion.
Healing: Seeing the Difference Between Belief and Truth
There is a difference between what we believe and what is true. For those recovering from trauma as a result of religion, it is important to understand that our beliefs are just thoughts that we assign power and authority. There's a saying that goes like this: "if you repeat a lie often enough it becomes the truth." In a similar vein, being repeatedly told throughout your life that you will spend an eternity in hell because of who you love can easily become an anxious belief. It can take years for people to realize what was said to them by others about God or religion is false.
Dismantling Rigid Beliefs
Many people struggle to break free of old beliefs and patterns. These people often find it difficult to unlearn a belief system that has been ingrained in their lives for such a long time. This rings true for those who have been raised in a religious environment, where they were taught from a young age to blindly follow the values and rules set forth by the religion. However, if these rigid beliefs are holding you back from living an authentic life, it is important to take steps towards changing them. Here are some tips on how to do so:
3 Tips for letting go of harmful ideologies:
- Be honest with yourself – If you find that certain harmful beliefs keep coming up over and over again, chances are there’s something going on inside of you that needs addressing.
- Ask for help – You may be able to get support from a friend or family member who has been through similar experiences in their own lives.
- Have patience and practice self-compassion – It takes time to heal the wounds inflicted by negative thoughts and feelings. Give yourself permission to feel whatever it is you need to feel without judgment.
In his talk, Vincent discusses his own experience growing up gay and Catholic and the struggles that happened as a result of his conflicting identities. He talks about how he overcame the stigma surrounding being an LGBTQ+ Catholic and brings to light ways in which both groups can come together rather than against each other.
Does this mean that if you're in the LGBTQ+ community, you should not have a faith?
Not at all! It's clear the LGBTQ+ community has a challenging history with religion, generally speaking. But, it's important to remember that faith means different things to different people – it is a beautiful and highly subjective thing. For some, faith can provide comfort when they're feeling down; others find solace in prayer. Since faith is inherently subjective, doctrines and texts can be interpreted in several ways.
Resources to help you now:
1. This Little Light of Mine - Podcast
Join me on my healing and recovery journey towards mental health, spiritual health and emotional health as I find my voice by sharing what happened in my life as a Queer Christian where I was taught that I was not allowed to love.