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    • Rev. Dr. Terri Daniel
    • Certified in Death, Dying and Bereavement, ADEC
      Founder, The Death Awareness Institute and The Afterlife Conference

      End-of-Life Advisor, Interfaith Chaplaincy, Bereavement Support

Grief and God: When Religion Does More Harm Than Healing

In many religious traditions, God is assumed to be responsive to the needs of believers, and in difficult times, the faithful turn to God for comfort and guidance. When God is viewed as a benevolent protector that can shield us from harm, what happens to faith — and healing — when God fails to provide that protection?

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Cain in the Land of Nod

The Judeo-Christian story of creation is assumed by biblical literalists to be an accurate, historical representation of the beginning of the universe, with Adam and Eve firmly ensconced as the first human beings to inhabit the earth, and the Garden of Eden as the first habitat. Those who accept this as literal fact are faced with numerous challenges, and in this essay I will focus on one of the most common… the origin of Cain’s wife, whom he meets in a foreign land known as “Nod,” to which he is banished for the crime of killing his brother. To address this issue, I will focus on Genesis 4: 9- 17 (RSV):

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God Needs a New Image

As a clinical chaplain and grief counselor, I am often confronted with images of God that create more suffering than solace when people have experienced a traumatic loss. The question they usually ask is, “Why would a loving God let this happen?” Or they will say, “I thought if I was a faithful Christian and pleased God, nothing bad would ever happen to me, so why did my child die? What did I do wrong?”

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Toxic Theology: 
Religious Beliefs that Hurt Instead of Heal

In October 2015 a television news crew covered the story of a ten year-old boy named Kyler Bradley who was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. The crew filmed Kyler in his classroom surrounded by his friends, while the teacher instructed the children to “pray for a miracle.” The reporter said: “Kyler believes in miracles. So do his classmates. Their teacher planted that idea when she told 30 ten year-olds about Kyler’s cancer.”

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