CORT goals include:
Educating about religious trauma syndrome (RTS)
Providing resources to aid in recovery from religious trauma
Connecting survivors of RTS with qualified therapists, coaches, and consultants.
CORT speakers this year represent a variety of fundamentalist religious backgrounds including Amish, Evangelical, Mormon, Muslim, and Hasidic Orthodox Judaism. They will be covering a vast array of topics from cultural genocide to coercive control, fear of Hell to post-religious sexuality, and religious schooling to racism. In addition to presentations by psychologists, social workers, authors, and former clergy, survivors of religious fundamentalism are eager to share their own personal stories of trauma, recovery, and hope with you.
Welcome to the Conference on Religious Trauma 2022
The Bigger Picture: Our CORT Vision Statement
By Dr. Marlene Winell
There are widespread assumptions that religion in general is good or at least harmless. Yet people are seriously hurt by religious doctrines and practices every day. This has to end.
There is such a thing as religious trauma. Certain aspects of authoritarian religion cause harm that is physical, sexual, mental, and emotional. We are dedicated to making this clear. No longer is it a taboo subject. We intend to make evident the adverse ways in which religion can affect individuals both immediately and long-term. We seek to clarify the way that personal psychology interacts with religion to create suffering that is properly called trauma. We are committed to developing ways to relieve that suffering and treat religious trauma. We want to disseminate this information to our culture – in fields of mental health, education, the justice system, and other areas of society. No longer will the damaging effects of religion be a widely held secret among survivors and no longer will they be treated as invisible.
Separation of church and state is crucial. Respect for science is mandatory. This includes the social sciences and child development in particular. We must support human rights and oppose government policies that violate human needs. We reject superstitions that hold back the advancement of environmental health, global peace, and human well-being. We reject dangerous apocalyptic views of the future. We assert trust in human goodness and natural emotional intelligence.
In a world filled with conflict, alienation, and questionable leadership, basic human values at times need to be clarified and amplified. We seek to support the health and development of strong, compassionate individuals who can think for themselves. We embrace preventative educational methods that mitigate the impact of religious indoctrination. Children need to learn how to think, not what to think. They need to be supported in respecting their own feelings and intuitions, not denigrated as sinners. Humans need to take their rightful place in the natural world, being fully in their bodies, and not just “flesh.” People need to be empowered through human connection, not separated by categories of “us” and “them.”
Civil society depends on making these changes. The world cannot bear more fracturing. Democracy depends on independent thought and autonomous individuals. Freedom of religion must include freedom from religion. We must eradicate the idea that people of integrity must have a supernatural framework. We must celebrate naturalism and humanism as valid paths to ethical and fulfilling lives of joy, wisdom, and satisfaction.
While sounding the alarm about damaging religious teachings and practices, we also acknowledge healthy religion that supports positive human development. There are communities that avoid the worst of mythology, promote intrinsic human dignity, and take collective social action. We embrace spirituality as separate from religiosity. For example, we want to nourish our capacity for awe and wonder, as well as honoring human creativity in the arts and humanities.
To these ends we plan to share knowledge, dialogue about our viewpoints, and develop together approaches to healing our world of religious trauma. We realize that this is a new and growing area of study, so we advance with both confidence and humility, trusting that we are professionals about learning.
By working together, we reclaim the word “faith” by believing we will make progress toward these ends. Please join us.