Questions for God: The Intersection of Faith & Trauma
Updated: Jan 27
In theology, trauma has been defined as an ongoing death, a fragmentation of the soul, and an overwhelming affliction of the powerless. The post-traumatic response paralyzes, confuses, and disrupts the linear flow of time. It creates a wound that has the capacity to infiltrate one's body, mind, and soul as it ruptures one's sense of safety and innocence.
As one's very being is threatened questions intersecting faith and trauma emerge. This blog is dedicated to identifying, exploring, and giving voice to those "God questions."
Trauma: common, all-consuming, and complex
Complex trauma is exposure to multiple traumatic events over a long period of time. The traumas may occur over the course of months or years and render one powerless and fearful. Because the trauma is ongoing, one is not able to "rest and digest" traumatic experiences. The threat is continual and one learns to live in a heightened state of alert.
Some examples of complex trauma include: child sexual abuse, childhood abuse and neglect, domestic violence, or war.
Some types of complex trauma, like sexual abuse, violate the body in indescribable ways. Not only can the victim not escape the unsafe environment, but the very body itself becomes the crime scene. Invisibly written beneath the skin are the lies and violations of abusers. Safety cannot be found even in one's own body.
Relationships can be tainted by mistrust and fear, one's body becomes a site of oppression, the post-traumatic response can bring about anxiety and dissociative episodes, and one's sense of self becomes distorted. Complex trauma, then, can impact one's social, physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.
What kind of God Questions?
Oftentimes, survivors of complex trauma cannot remember a life not dictated by survival. Relationships, belonging, identity, and even one's understanding of how the world works is shaped by the complicated traumatic experience.
For many, this leads to equally difficult and complicated questions about God. Here are but a few:
Why did this happen?
Where was/is God?
Why didn't God answer my prayers or keep me safe?
Did I deserve this?
Why does my abuser seem to have a stronger connection with God than me?
What does this say about who God is?
Can I trust God? Myself? Others?
Does God even exist?
What type of wound did this trauma inflict and how can I heal?
A Community of Support
This blog is a safe space to explore questions like these. Made up of posts by survivors, mental health workers, pastors, friends, and theologians, Faith and Trauma is intended to be an ever-growing community of support.
It is a place for people that are familiar with complex trauma to converge.
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