Monday, January 13, 2014

When Atheists Are Angry With God

I read this really interesting post on: The Gospel Coalition

When Atheists Are Angry at God  (by Joe Carter)

I've shaken my fist in anger at stalled cars, storm clouds, and incompetent meterologists. I've even, on one terrible day that included a dead alternator, a blaring blaring tornado-warning siren, and a horrifically wrong weather forecast, cursed all three at once. I've fumed at furniture, cussed at crossing guards, and held a grudge against Gun Barrel City, Texas. I've been mad at just about anything you can imagine.
Except unicorns. I've never been angry at unicorns.
It's unlikely you've ever been angry at unicorns either. We can become incensed by objects and creatures both animate and inanimate. We can even, in a limited sense, be bothered by the fanciful characters in books and dreams. But creatures like unicorns that don't exist — that we truly believe not to exist — tend not to raise our ire. We certainly don't blame the one-horned creatures for our problems.
Angry-at-GodThe one social group that takes exception to this rule is atheists. As C.S. Lewis once testified, "I was at this time living, like so many Atheists or Antitheists, in a whirl of contradictions. I maintained that God did not exist. I was also very angry with God for not existing. I was equally angry with Him for creating a world." Lewis' experience is not uncommon among atheists. Many claim to believe that God does not exist and yet, according to empirical studies, they tend to be the people most angry at him.
In 2011 a set of studies in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that atheists and agnostics report anger toward God either in the past or anger focused on a hypothetical image of what they imagine God must be like. Julie Exline, a psychologist at Case Western Reserve University and the lead author of that 2011 study, has examined other data on this subject with identical results. Exline explains that her interest was first piqued when an early study of anger toward God revealed a counterintuitive finding: Those who reported no belief in God reported more grudges toward him than believers.
At first glance, this finding seemed to reflect an error. How could people be angry with God if they did not believe in God? Reanalyses of a second dataset revealed similar patterns: Those who endorsed their religious beliefs as "atheist/agnostic" or "none/unsure" reported more anger toward God than those who reported a religious affiliation.
Exline notes that the findings raised questions of whether anger might actually affect belief in God's existence, an idea consistent with social science's previous clinical findings on "emotional atheism."
Studies in traumatic events suggest a possible link between suffering, anger toward God, and doubts about God's existence. According to Cook and Wimberly (1983), 33% of parents who suffered the death of a child reported doubts about God in the first year of bereavement. In another study, 90% of mothers who had given birth to a profoundly retarded child voiced doubts about the existence of God (Childs, 1985). Our survey research with undergraduates has focused directly on the association between anger at God and self-reported drops in belief (Exline et al., 2004). In the wake of a negative life event, anger toward God predicted decreased belief in God's existence.
The most striking finding was that when Exline looked only at subjects who reported a drop in religious belief, their faith was least likely to recover if anger toward God was the cause of their loss of belief. In other words, anger toward God may not only lead people to atheism but also give them a reason to cling to their disbelief.

You can read more by clicking the Link above for The Gospel Coalition


  1. I'm sorry to be mean here, but this just pisses me off. How can I be mad at something I don't think exsists? That's like someone saying "I'm mad at the Easter bunny but I don't think her's real". The writer of this is full of bs. Please take this post down for it really offended me.

  2. Will you take down what offends me on your blog?

    1. Sure. But I'll put it in my archives though, and when you quit I'll put them back up. Yes. I'm that kind.

    2. I am offended by the mythbusters gif and every curse word on your blog. Will you change all of that?

      If someone else comes along and is offended by, let's say, the colors you used, will you change that?

      If someone else comes along and is offended that you took down that gif or changed those colors, or stopped cursing, will you change it all back?

      I am sure you get my point, you can't please everyone and you can't change everything that someone finds offensive (no offense) It is intolerance at its worst and censorship at its best.

      Please judge me by my direct actions with you, which I hope you have and always will find friendly and caring for you.

      I can't and don't expect every person to like / agree with every post and I know when talking religion, people will be offended. But I hope you will continue to be my bloggy buddy and keep visiting me! =)

  3. And I'm sorry for being so mean there asdfghjkl. I have anger issues and get angered easily. I can't help it. If you say something that would mildly offend a regular person it just pisses me off.

    1. funny you say this, I was going to reply above that every atheist I know seems to be very angry and unhappy at the core of their being. You may not be angry at God, but I don't think you are truly happy to the center of your being. Why is that? (and I hope I don't offend you with this comment!)

    2. if you want to talk privately about any of this, please email me (