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Religious Abuse and Mental Health

Religious abuse may be defined as abuse that is administered under the guise of religion, including humiliation or harassment that may result in what can be turned to be psychological trauma. It may also involve the misuse of religion for secular, selfish, or ideological ends such as the abuse of a clerical position. Most of the religious abuse would result in psychological manipulation as well as harm inflicted on an individual through the use of the teachings of the religion (Maxwell, 2020). The psychological abuse or trauma would result in the brainwashing of the believer and they would end up taking up shameful actions. For example, there those who believe that they are not supposed to go to the hospital, thus when illnesses such as cancer knock on their door, they end up dead due to, lack of treatment.

Religious abuse is perpetrated by some members of the similar or same faith as well as the inclusion of the use of the potation of the authority within that religion. The abuse is mostly directed to those that are emotionally vulnerable adults in society and children. The intensions of such beliefs may be either malicious or well-intentions. Even for well-intentioned religious abuse may have a huge health impact on such individuals. Some of the long term psychological consequences include, the victim may develop a long term depression or phobias (Watts & McGee, 2012). They may also have a sense of shame which may persist even after they left the religion. In some cases, individuals may also be manipulated to avoid actions that may be beneficial to them such as medical treatment or even to engage in shameful behaviors. In the book, religious abuse by Pastor Keith describes her real-life experience (Wright, 2001). In his narration, his Christian Scientist mum got sick and she was eventually to take medical treatment in a hospital. The members of her faith went to the facility to convince her to trust prayers instead of treatment. She later succumbed to illness later. Thus the advice of the church members was the course of her death.

In this way, it is evident that religious abuse has affected different individuals, especially in their health. Many radicalized religious persons have suffered in a big way including death. Religious beliefs can course serious consequences. Thus, religious abuse has serious consequences on the mental health of an individual.


Maxwell, P. (2020). The trauma of doctrine: New calvinism, religious abuse, and the experience of god.

Watts, J., & McGee, R. S. (2012). Recovering from religious abuse: 11 steps to spiritual freedom. Simon & Schuster.

Wright, K. (2001). Religious abuse: A pastor explores the many ways religion can hurt as well as heal. Wood Lake Publishing.

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