Religious & Spiritual Minorities
Religious & Spiritual Minorities
Are you going through a period of spiritual or religious change or upheaval? Are you questioning your faith, considering converting to a new faith, struggling to deepen or change your practices, beliefs or traditions? Spiritual and religious challenges are a part of our human experience, yet we often feel alone or frustrated when they occur. Sometimes our spiritual development or progress is complicated by social pressures, discrimination or other relationship conflicts, losses or traumas.
Being in a Religious or Spiritual Minority
In the US, if don’t you identify as Catholic or Christian, you are in spiritual or religious minority. It can be stressful to live in a culture where your beliefs, traditions and practices are largely unacknowledged or unknown to others. You may experience the culture’s general lack of awareness, interest and sensitivity as innocent ignorance or you may have been the victim of intended or malicious harassment, discrimination or stereotyping. Regardless of the intent behind discrimination or stereotyping, it hurts and can lead to feelings of frustration, isolation, depression, ostracism, anger, self-hatred and hopelessness.
Did you know …
- All combined, people who identify as Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim and Hindu comprise approximately 4% of the US population?
- 15% of the US adult population claims no religious affiliation or is atheist?
- An overwhelming majority of US adults, approximately 76%, identify as Christian? That breaks down as follows: 26% identify as Catholic and 51% identify as some form of Protestant (including Methodists, Lutherans, Pentecostals, Anglicans, Adventists, Congregationalists and Calvinists to mention a few of the 33,000+ Protestant denominations!) or other Christian, non-Protestant denominations such as Unitarians, Baptists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Christian Scientists and others).
- Many more, including the Bahai, Jains, Sikhs, Native Americans, Pagans, Heathens, Taoists, agnostics and others who don’t know how to identify, make up the remaining 5% of the population.
Spiritual & Religious Crises
You or someone you know may have had a mystical experience, a near-death experience, a spiritual emergency, a crisis of faith or a time when they lost faith or chose to change practices, beliefs or affiliations with previous spiritual or religious groups. These experiences can be triggered by life-threatening or terminal illness, accidents, trauma or new phases of spiritual development. They can bring feelings of confusion, grief, disillusionment, exhilaration, euphoria, hopelessness, anger, resentment, emptiness, isolation, despair and sadness.
Severe spiritual or religious events may include altered states, strange body sensations, disorientation and strong feelings or shifts in physical energy. If you are in an extreme state of frightened for your personal safety, we encourage you to reach out to someone — a friend, a family member, a professional or a suicide hotline. Taking this step now to getting help is important.
Spiritual and religious crises or emergencies are often associated with one of the following:
- experiencing a loss or questioning of faith
- considering or changing denominational membership
- converting to a new faith
- intensifying or deepening religious practices and orthodoxy
- having a spiritual or religious crisis or emergency
- leaving or recovering from a cult experience
- a life-threatening or terminal illness
Spiritual or religious crises can result in life-altering and life-affirming change and they may also be profoundly distressing, frightening or disorienting.
It can be helpful to get support and understanding from someone who can help you process your feelings and experiences related to a spiritual or religious crisis and separate aspects of your spiritual challenge from psychological issues, relationship problems and community reactions.
At LifeWorks, we can provide a combination of support, understanding and therapy to help you:
- take time for personal exploration and discovery
- experience and grow into a new relationship with the mystery of life or the divine
- find meaning and purpose in life
- integrate the changes that you are experiencing
Call us at 847-568-1100 today to talk someone about your experience.