It is almost 2023 and statistically, a lot of previously devout evangelical churchgoers have left the church. Frankly, it’s because many who were raised in the movement have trauma, I know what you are probably thinking. You may think I am referring to something as trivial sitting in services and were bored, or that VBS didn’t feed us snacks that we liked. What we mean is that we have religious trauma because………..
- From the time we were babies, we were told we were deserving of hell, giving us terrible self-esteem.
- We were told that we were responsible for the souls of our friends, giving us anxiety and a sense of urgency to convert our loved ones.
- We were told when our bodies were developing that they were sinful and making our elders “Stumble” AKA think about sleeping with your pre-pubescent bodies as we were children
- We weren’t (properly) educated in science, sex ed, and history and we suffered later on in life
- We weren’t taught about sexual consent and told that it was almost always the girl’s fault
- We were taught to see the world outside of the church as evil, which made us distrust anything outside of the church
- Mental illness was seen as an attack from the devil and if we were struggling, we were told it was because we weren’t strong enough believer
- Many were abused, and it was covered up because it made the church building and evangelicalism look bad
- We were taught that its from the devil if we question our faith (if you are in an organization that has a problem when you questioning their beliefs that’s a red flag)
- We were told to deny our sexual orientation and that being queer is an abomination
- We were taught that we would be impure and nobody would want us if we weren’t virgins when we got married
- Cry nights were planned into the summer camps and conferences we went too
- Us who identify as females were told that being mothers was the ultimate reason for our existence
- We had to hide certain aspects (or ‘sins’) of our lives in order to save ourselves from receiving judgment from our community forcing us to live double lives
- We were told that we were nothing without the god of the bible
- We were taught to live in fear of hell
Now, I know I don’t have to justify my trauma. I wrote this for the person I was years ago. I believed that one would only leave because they were hurt by someone or something in the church. Yes, I was hurt but I have many reasons why I dont see myself returning long term to an institution such as the evangelical church.
“Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.” ~ Mathew 17:17-18
With all the love,