anger at God?

pedropedro

Registrant
I used to be REALLY religious/spiritual, especially as a teen. I largely lost this connection, and to be honest I *really* miss it. I think it wasn't really about doubting the existence of God (or whatever Name you want to use), but largely anger at Him/Her/It. I'm wondering how to deal with it? Should I ask a clergyperson? Are there any clergypeople on this site? Anyone have any readings from the sacred texts of any tradition on how to deal with anger at God?

NOTE: I was never abused by a member of clergy. In fact, all the ones I've known have been very wonderful to me.
 

HenryD

Registrant
Full disclosure: I have several friends and acquaintances who are clergy of various denominations. Over time I've come to believe that spirituality comes from within, is highly personal, and requires time to evolve. Thus, one can ask another person about HIS/HER spiritual arc but never how to find your own.

I've also found if you ask a clergyman a spiritual question, you'll get a clergyman's response. There's an unavoidable bias. So, fwiw, I'd look for someone else to discuss this with. Just saying.
 
There's a long tradition inside and outside of the sacred texts of humans expressing anger at the God of their understanding. There are a lot of things I don't know, one of which is whether there's a God at all. However, I'd guess that God's ego would not be so fragile as to allow no room for us to be angry when it comes to human suffering, and especially the kind where one is totally a victim. If there's a God and God could not understand the justification for such anger, I'm not sure how godly God would actually be. Where I think it becomes unhealthy for us is when we hold only anger. Whether anger and contempt are directed at God or other people, it's usually harmful for people to hold only those things. I understand why it can be very difficult or even seemingly impossible for some people to let go of anger, resentment, and contempt, but I also think that when those feelings have too much fuel, they really drag us down in ways that only does harm to us. For me, something that has helped when I've been really angry with God (...and during times where I actually believe in God...) is to let God know that if ever we meet in the afterlife, I'm going to expect God to be accountable to answering some questions. This helps me because I realize if there's no God, it won't matter, but if there is a God, then given the opportunity I will eventually confront God on the things that have caused me significant anger and distress.
 

CarbonTiger

Registrant
If you have God on your mind, then God is in your heart, always.

♥

Don't be afraid of your anger. Your feelings are completely valid. I reflect a lot and use introspection to understand how I got there or the "why" i'm mad/angry. "This too shall pass" comes to mind here. I've come to accept my anger. I get frustrated of course, like a child that doesn't understand something. This is when I need to recognize and let it go for the time being, AND in most cases, through any means necessary. Its when you feel anger in your heart that understanding & guidance should be sought.

Hope this helps, just a couple of morning thoughts from me.
 
To piggy-back a bit on @CarbonTiger, in the Hindu epic the Ramayana, the antagonist (Ravana) is filled with such hatred and envy toward the hero (Rama, a divine incarnation), that he spends all his time thinking about Rama, which is its own type of devotion. It's possible negative devotion is better than no devotion. I suggest you see where that anger towards God takes you on your journey.
 
I'm a bit late to this topic but from my perspective, having traveled this particular path and asked these same questions, I've learned that anger at "God" is nothing to fret over. If "the God of your understanding" isn't big enough to handle one of his wounded children being angry at them then you need to find a different God because they're not the one for you. He/she/they are someone else's God whom they are are attempting to foist off onto you as your own. Ignore that God. He/she/they are a false God.
 
There is a pithy verse from a Christian Song that is popular right now which says "I wasn't holding you up so there's nothing I can do to let you down." I think that about my anger toward God. The lowest point of my life was at a men's church retreat. I grabbed a couple of guys I am close to. After talking with me and praying with me for 2 hours they asked me to talk to Jesus. I exploded in anger and told Jesus to F-off and asked him why the hell he didn't stop it. Both of these men simply said, "that's good, keep telling him what is on your heart". They weren't phased by the F bomb and I can guarantee you Jesus wasn't. In fact, it was probably the first time I was being honest talking to God so I suspect He actually appreciated it.

I tried to reconcile my anger toward God by understanding the theological reasons he allowed it to happen. Those were all head answers that did nothing to answer the sense of betrayal in my heart.

The turning point for me was when I read the first-person present-tense account of my abuse to my counselor. After I read it, it was silent for a while and I told my counselor that I no longer felt alone. (He teared up when I said that.) Later in the day I felt a spark of faith I hadn't felt in a year. I realized that the true ache of my heart which had been asking "Why?" didn't really want an answer. I just didn't want to be alone in the abuse any longer. And when my counselor went back to that time with me, I was no longer alone. I know it sounds hokey but my counselor was there in the basement when it was happening all those years ago. I was no longer alone in that moment and that is what I really wanted. And think it was the sense of abandonment by Jesus which really drove my anger. And when my counselor "was there" as it was happening I wasn't alone anymore and that was enough.
 

MO-Survivor

Registrant
The turning point for me was when I read the first-person present-tense account of my abuse to my counselor. After I read it, it was silent for a while and I told my counselor that I no longer felt alone. (He teared up when I said that.) Later in the day I felt a spark of faith I hadn't felt in a year. I realized that the true ache of my heart which had been asking "Why?" didn't really want an answer. I just didn't want to be alone in the abuse any longer. And when my counselor went back to that time with me, I was no longer alone. I know it sounds hokey but my counselor was there in the basement when it was happening all those years ago. I was no longer alone in that moment and that is what I really wanted. And think it was the sense of abandonment by Jesus which really drove my anger. And when my counselor "was there" as it was happening I wasn't alone anymore and that was enough.
BelovedSon, yes! I think you hit on something critical. One of the most intense T sessions I had was the one where that kid was pouring out of me and asking, "Why? Why would you do that to your kid? Why?" And the point of it was not to get an answer - there is no answer. Rather, the point of it was being able to express the pain, the betrayal, and the loss due to what happened. And "Why?" is the cry of our hearts as kids. Interestingly, I never really asked God why he allowed it to happen. Instead, I think I have always laid the full responsibility on my dad since he was the one who did it. The, "Why did you allow it to happen?" question - I figure when it's your dad, and he's there 24x7, and you can't tell anyone or escape - it was going to happen. When it's a one-off occurrence, I can see why this question is really pertinent.

As for anger at God, I will say that I believe I've been angry as I work through things in T. It's been harder to be close and to want to be close. And I have expressed at one point that I am angry at him about the loss - but more centered on losing my sister than anything else.
 
seems to me anger is self expression, and if its directed to someone, its relational, which suggests a relationship, even if (for the moment) a hostile one. faith has helped me. anger is still communication and a relation which can hold possibility for growth and change.
 

newground

Chat Moderator
Staff member
I think that certainly anger is not reflecting unbelief... if it were who would we be angry with? I very much agree with everyone that anger in our situations is no great surprise, but what finally got through to me was the idea of perspective. I was involved with a family that lost a very young child a baby infact and again found myself feeling something like how unfair, he never got a chance to even live. And then it dawned on me he died never knowing betrayal or abuse, never knowing evil never knowing any of the things that torture me so so, at least from that perspective maybe he was better off?... That led me to consider that perhaps Gods perspective is a bit different than mine and maybe if I will allow it he really will make things better. I've been in that place for quite a while now the anger is not so much now i guess it is a day by day proposition
 
Theological answers don't really address the anger so I don't typically use them. One idea that was interesting to me though was the assertion that God limited himself in many ways when he created us. Like an artist who chooses to use pencil to sketch has limited himself to black and white, God limited himself with the choices he made when creating us. An obvious one is when he said after the flood that he would never flood the earth again - he limited himself. There are many ways he limited himself but one which I found interesting was by giving us the "dignity of causation". He has given us the ability to make things happen - sometimes awful things. This is a force that works against what he wants to happen. That is why I get pissed off when people say "everything happens for a reason". Perhaps that is true if you means some things happen for a horrible reason. (But that is not usually what they mean). We know all too well that people use their ability to make things happen in horrific ways that cause us to suffer.
 
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