Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Caroline Williamson
Mental Health, Religion & Culture
Posttraumatic growth and religion in Rwanda: individual well-being vs. collective false consciousness
Optional Fields
Rwanda; false consciousness; posttraumatic growth; religion
Some scholars include changes in spirituality, such as a greater commitment to their religious beliefs or an enhanced understanding of spiritual matters, in the definition of posttraumatic growth; others conclude that questions of spirituality should be excluded from this definition. This article highlights the fundamental difference of religion to other domains of posttraumatic growth because religions are ideologies (and other domains of growth are not). As ideologies, it is argued that religions can affect different levels of identity in different ways. Based on testimonial evidence from Rwandan genocide survivors, the article demonstrates that although religious beliefs can bring existential comfort at the individual level, they can also lead to a state of false consciousness at the collective level. In Rwanda, the dominant religious ideology facilitated the spiritual and moral climate in which genocide became possible. Today, religious interpretations of the Rwandan Patriotic Front's (RPF) leadership provide spiritual backing to a government which has become increasingly authoritarian.
Grant Details
Art & Humanities Research Council