Religiously Bound

Religiously Bound

'I did not know religious trauma was a thing until I started experiencing it myself. I grew up in a very conservative church background where I was pushed to always perform and look good.

I faced so many challenges when I finished school, one of them being pressure from the church space I was in. I was troubled because the religious space I had built my faith upon was turning oxic and putting so much pressure on me. How could I leave the toxic space yet it is where I have grown up all my life? How would I explain to my parents that I have chosen to quit church? It ate me up for a long while. I started skipping church and staying at my house all weekend. I did finally manage to leave the toxic environment. I am grateful that I found a space that is healthy and I feel safe now.' By cole

Religion is a source of comfort for most of us. Many can testify that religious faith has helped them through various struggles and pushed them away from cliffs they could have otherwise fallen into.

Religion, like any other social institution, has various norms and regulations defining the expectations and behavior of those following the specific religion. These norms are either static or dynamic to the changing times.

When you choose a religious path to follow, you join a community that has set values and you are expected to adopt them. The values may not coincide with what you believe in but it does not matter. As long as you are a member of a specific religion, the values apply to you and you will be judged by the society based on them.

When these values contradict what we believe in or the expectations of other communities around us, religion becomes a source of pressure and stress.

One is faced with the question; do I leave the other communities around me and follow the values expected per my religion or do I stick with the community and look for another religion that coincides with the new values? Or just quit religion completely?

This is a challenge that many of us face, especially in young or middle adulthood. It is at this age that one is trying to figure out 'who they are'. It is at the age period where we meet new people and join new social groups and communities. The new groups have behavior and value expectations.

This is especially challenging in the current age because times are changing fast. What we thought was morally wrong yesterday is now a norm, what we were taught was wrong as kids are our new norms.

These changing times come with their own norms and values which could contradict what is expected within a certain religious setting.

To some extent, we are forced to question our values and that of our religion and wonder which of them is toxic.

Do you think religious pressure is a consequence of the changing times or just a sign of the times?