Spirituality and Readjustment Following War-Zone Experiences

Spirituality and Readjustment Following War-Zone Experiences


Religious beliefs and practices (spirituality)aid many people in devel oping personal values and beliefs about meaning and purpose in life. They can provide an avenue for coping with difficult lifeevents including trauma. Mental health professionals increasingly recognize spirituality as a primary human dimension, and a potentially robust area of research. The military has a long tradition of providing for the spiritual needs of its troops through chaplains representing many faith traditions. However, the direct spiritual consequence of participation in war has only recently begun to be studied, as has the potential role spirituality may play as a healing resource for those recovering from war-zone trauma. Researchers and theorists about the effects of trauma have suggested that traumatic events frequently call into question existential and spiri tual issues related to the meaning of life, self-worth, and the safety of life (Janoff-Bulman,1992). For those whose core values are theologically grounded, traumatic events often give rise to questions about the funda mental nature of the relationship between the creator and humankind. The question of how belief in a loving, all-powerfulGod can be sustained when the innocent are subjected to traumatic victimization has been labeled "theodicy" by philosophers. Frequently called "the problem of evil," theodicy poses the question: If God is all-powerful, and God is all good, how does God allow evil to exist in the world? Historically, varied solutionshave been proposed to the theodicy question, including solutions that diminish God (i.e., God is not all-powerful, God is not all-good, God does not exist), or that diminish evil (i.e., it is a punishment for sin, it may


Combat Stress Injury

bring about some greater good), and perhaps individual solutions that diminish the self (e.g.,...