Religious Trauma and the Binding of Isaac

13 Jul

I have featured Julia’s work, and recently came across this on her blog regarding the Sacrifice of Abraham.

“Deceived, tied up, and held at knife-point — all by his own father? Because God said so? Talk about traumatic!” an older lady exclaimed.

Here is the blog post.

I stopped reading the story of Abraham’s sacrifice to my children when they are younger.  My first born was shaking after I read him the story from a Bible story book, and he still asks me if I would ever kill him if God asked me to do it.  There are many stories in the Old Testament for which a young child is not ready to understand from a developmental point of view.

Julia makes the beautiful point that even when “God provides” during or following trauma – it does not cease to be traumatic.  The trauma still affects the individual – often in painful ways.

I have suffered religious trauma.  I am a victim of spiritual abuse, and struggle with something that I call – “Post-Traumatic Church Disorder.”

You can read more about my own story here.

Julia makes a beautiful point when she states,

It’s hard for the hurt and the hope to coexist. But I think that’s what the story of the binding of Isaac, and the story of any religious trauma, has to tell. It’s not an easy story. But it’s a good one.

Julia Powers is a writer and seminary student at Duke University Divinity School, where she is pursuing the M.Div. degree with certificate in Anglican Studies. Her primary professional interests revolve around pastoral care & counseling, spiritual formation, and young adult ministries. For fun, she enjoys blogging (, dabbling in iPhone app development (, reading, and spending time with friends and family.

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2 Responses to “Religious Trauma and the Binding of Isaac”

  1. Melinda Taylor July 13, 2017 at 08:36 #

    The church is also a persecuting women who have been in domestic abuse situations. When they go to the minister and other heads of the churches they are not believed and/or taken lightly and feel that they are the ones doing the abusing and they use that verse from the bible “God hates divorce”. Along comes the abuser and they are believed, referred to of lawyers that are often in the church trying to drum up business. I should know because i am woman’s advocate and I have seen plenty of it in churches. A woman that was not taken seriously by the minister was murdered. I am sorry if I am being to specific but these are situations that I encountered and if you don’t think men that abuse women don’t abuse their children WAKE UP!!

    • gdavidboyd July 18, 2017 at 11:12 #

      Thanks so much for your comment. Those in church leadership should be aware of domestic violence, and how faith may keep them in a relationship which is dangerous. May God bless and keep you in the work that you are doing for the kingdom.

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