Suffering of Life after Religious Disaffiliation: A Caring Science Study
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionKoskinen, C., Nynäs, P., & Nyholm, L. (2021). Suffering of life after religious disaffiliation: A caring science study. International Journal of Caring Sciences, 14(1), 1-7
Background and aim: There are many circumstances where an individual, either voluntarily or involuntarily, may leave part of their life behind. Religious disaffiliation, the focus in this study, has become increasingly common and may under certain circumstances have a profound impact on a human being’s life, health and wellbeing. The aim of this caring science study was to gain a deeper understanding of the suffering that human beings may endure after religious disaffiliation. Participants and methods: In-depth interviews were conducted with 18 participants who had left various religious communities in Finland. The data material was analyzed through a qualitative thematic analysis according to Clarke and Braun. Results and conclusion: The results show that life after religious disaffiliation entails different forms of suffering of life. Suffering of life was expressed as: Pain and sorrow over being rejected, Overwhelmed by guilt and shame, Living in constant fear of both life and death and Humiliated as a human being. Eriksson’s concept suffering of life is relevant and valuable in understanding the results of this study. Ultimately, suffering of life refers to the violation of a human being’s dignity. Further research is needed on what constitutes caring and how suffering can be alleviated in this context.