Belief in an Angry God Will Make You Sick

Belief in an Angry God Will Make You Sick April 17, 2013


The researchers found that belief in a punitive God was significantly associated with an increase in social anxiety, paranoia, obsession, and compulsion. Conversely, belief in a benevolent God was associated with reductions in those four symptoms. Belief in an indifferent God was not linked to any symptoms.

So does this mean that God-fearing individuals are more anxious because of their beliefs, or that individuals who believe in a loving God have less to worry about? Possibly both, say the researchers.

Read the rest here.

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  • As a plane cannot fly with only one wing, so too a God or judgment or a God of mercy cannot life us off the ground. Such a single-winged plane will eventually crash:

  • John L

    Fascinating and not unexpected. Certainly would extend into -all- psychology resulting from one’s beliefs — impacting behavior, social filters, etc.. some healthy, some not. I’ll suggest that the most common religious motivator is future personal reward — and that faith assumptions founded in “future reward” have done vastly more harm than good towards the cause of unconditional love in the here and now.

    All the best with your new writing project, Tony. Thanks for the tip on scrivener.

  • That unhealthy psychology leads physical ailments has been an underlying premise of psychoanalysis since the dawn of the 20th century. It is nothing new. Religious beliefs are not immune from the deleterious effects of dysfunctional thinking.

  • I used to think like those sinners-in-the-hands-of-an-angry-God Christians. When I could no longer reconcile such a (distorted) view of God with some other parts of Scripture, I abandoned it. I’m glad I did — way glad.

  • Eric B.

    Are those conditions shaped by the type of god they believe in, or do those conditions shape their belief in God.

  • And believing in an angry God who pours out His wrath on himself brings Joy unspeakable. Romans 5:1-2, I Peter 3:18.

  • IVP *just* published a book on this!

  • So interesting but I guess not surprising. Think what’s happening often times is a lot of projection of our own dispositions onto God…

  • From my current manuscript [yes, there’s some Žižek in there]…

    While on the surface it does appear as though fundamentalists hold deep convictions, the truth is that they fundamentally lack them—their violent outbursts are a proof of it. Consider the Religious Right in America. If they were indeed as certain of their possession of truth as they claim, for what reason are they so fascinated with (and envious of) the transgressions of ‘liberal society’ gone wild? Why do they bother picketing the funerals of dead soldiers to upbraid gay marriage if they do indeed feel superior?—why such animosity?
    Contrary to how it may seem, the problem is not a cultural difference (and the fundamentalists’ effort to preserve their holy identity in the face of hedonistic culture) but precisely the opposite: they know that they are already like the rest of us, they have secretly already internalized liberal standards and measure themselves by them. How else might we rationalize the ‘Bentley-driving’ mega-church pastor’s denunciation of pleasure-seeking?—or the thousands sitting in padded theater seats listening to sermons glorifying an itinerant peasant-god?
    This seemingly paradoxical situation accounts for the Religious Right’s utter obsession with the culture war: they are internally divided. For even as they claim to be the moral compass of society, they know very well that they are not; and the less society pays heed to their pronounced judgments, the more they sense the loss of any remaining prophetic witness—thus compelling them to insist on their being a persecuted minority.