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  #1  
Old 12th January 2018, 11:50 PM
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Default The Hidden Trauma Of Life After Fundamentalism

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A record number of people are leaving the Christian church, according to Pew Research Center’s report on America’s current religious landscape. The majority of adults who leave their religion do not experience pronounced negative health or psychological repercussions, and in fact, recent focus has been on the apparent benefits of maintaining one’s faith.

Those who were particularly devout and raised in Fundamentalist denominations, however, are more inclined to suffer from what Dr. Marlene Winell, author of Leaving the Fold: A Guide for Former Fundamentalists and Others Leaving Their Religion, has labeled Religious Trauma Syndrome (RTS). Dr. Winell coined the term in 2011 after noticing a unique pattern of symptoms in many of her counseling clients. These individuals had one thing in common: They had recently left their dogmatic and highly-controlling religions.

Fundamentalist Christian denominations, as they will be discussed here, include those within several Pentecostal, Charismatic, Evangelical, and conservative non-denominational movements. Though certain beliefs vary from group to group, Fundamentalist denominations tend to have these attributes in common: They believe in the literal truth and inerrancy of the Bible, along with the literal virgin birth of Christ; they emphasize original sin and human depravity, and the need to accept Christ as one’s Savior in order to avoid eternal damnation; they believe in a literal Heaven and Hell, along with actual angels, demons, and Satan; and they seek to filter out diverse beliefs and worldviews that conflict with their own.

Those who leave such denominations may experience symptoms of RTS, which include, but are not limited to, learned helplessness, identity confusion, dissociation, sleep and eating disorders, substance abuse, anxiety, depression, and interpersonal dysfunction. Critical thinking and independent thought are often underdeveloped. Since the term is still so new, and quantitative research is needed, there are no clear estimates as to how many people who leave their faith end up developing RTS. Also, Dr. Winell notes that aspects of RTS can develop in those who have not yet left their faith, especially those symptoms related to helplessness, problems regarding authority, and many others, making RTS estimates even more difficult to calculate. Interestingly, Dr. Winell has anecdotally noticed that certain personality traits seem related to the development of RTS, including high levels of devotion and commitment and an analytical nature.
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Old 13th January 2018, 12:41 PM
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Default Re: The Hidden Trauma Of Life After Fundamentalism

What we need is government funded atheist chaplains, to give "pastoral care" to those who have left a faith.

Qualifications:

1. essential- Degree in clinical psychology or similar.
2. Experience in dealing with the mental traumas associated with religion, and becoming atheist.

Desirable:-
3. Personal experience as professional or lay cleric who has left a faith.

Pastoral care would comprise of:-

1. Assisting the person who has left the faith to deal with their new paradigm and its implications, including but not limited to:-
a) The reality of mortality
b) The reality of uncertainty
c) Helping the to build a new system of ethics based on the assumption that all religious based ethics have to be re-examined using simple humanity, reason and evidence.
d) Counselling regarding the impact of families and friends deserting the new atheist.
e) Last but not least, counselling and assisting on re-training/further education and employment.
f) Publicly-funded critical thinking workshops [which would include work on logical fallacies] that provide, where necessary, the basics and epistemological foundations of science, with the aim of scientific literacy to senior high school level.
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  #3  
Old 13th January 2018, 01:16 PM
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Default Re: The Hidden Trauma Of Life After Fundamentalism

@Pup: Funded by a victim levy on tax-dodging religious bodies?
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Old 13th January 2018, 01:47 PM
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Default Re: The Hidden Trauma Of Life After Fundamentalism

it's a bit like a culture shock going from extreme belief and religious morals to secular and hopefully humanist morals. They can be quite opposite.
Counciling by atheist therapists would be very welcome.
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Old 13th January 2018, 01:55 PM
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Default Re: The Hidden Trauma Of Life After Fundamentalism

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knowledge is power said View Post
it's a bit like a culture shock going from extreme belief and religious morals to secular and hopefully humanist morals. They can be quite opposite.
Counciling by atheist therapists would be very welcome.
It's almost exactly the role AFA Forums (bastards!) played in my recovery. Certainly better than stamping out burning trolls or teaching Boeotians2 the difference between "similar" and "same".
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Old 13th January 2018, 03:37 PM
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Default Re: The Hidden Trauma Of Life After Fundamentalism

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The Irreverent Mr Black said View Post
@Pup: Funded by a victim levy on tax-dodging religious bodies?
Yup. Any income received not spent on real charitable activities. Capital gains tax on churches sold. Land tax. Stamp duty ----everything that ordinary people or corporations have to pay.
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