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Angry with God

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The light cannon "Spectra" is displayed in
Barcelona.
(AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Dr. Michele Novotini was inspired by her grandmother, a genocide survivor, to co-author Angry with God with Randy Petersen in 2001. Novotini’s grandmother spent 80 years feeling angry with God. At the age of 91, one week before her death, she lamented, “I regret that I didn't make peace with God sooner.”

The book quickly outlines in its introduction a difficult question for many people of faith: can you be angry at God and still be considered a good spiritual person who trusts the divine plan? In short, is it OK to be angry with God? And if so, how do you resolve that anger?

The book reassures that it is indeed OK to be angry with God, and I think the bible supports that point. For example, the bible states, “God is love” (1 John 4:8) so God (as love) “keeps no record of wrongs… always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres [and] never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:5-8)

The book also points out that denying or repressing anger is pointless if you accept that God already knows your deepest feelings anyway. Again, I think there’s biblical support for this point because “God knows your heart.” (Luke 16:15)

On the other hand, the book makes some assumptions about the motives and actions of the Divine that could fuel some interesting discussions. Here are two of those assumptions:

  1. God “hardwired this anger response into our emotions.” If this were true, then the exact same challenge would lead to the exact same hardwired response in all human beings. It would also mean that we might as well give up our efforts to manage our anger because an angry response hardwired by God’s omnipotent Hand would be impossible to change. However, if God has nothing to do with our angry responses, then we can start looking for answers inside ourselves instead of demanding answers from God.
     
  2. God “doesn’t always come through for us.” This assumption raises the question of what people of faith can reasonably expect from God. Were we ever promised perfect earthly lives in which a super-genie father figure would sit on his throne in the sky and freely give us everything we pray for? On the contrary, we’re warned that God is not the ruler of this world. Jesus proclaimed, “the ruler of this world will be cast out.” (John 12:31) So who is the ruler of this world? Per the bible, “the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19) These and other biblical passages suggest that God’s kingdom is beyond this material world, and God has no intention of fulfilling all our worldly desires. That idea is likely to frustrate or anger people who define themselves as mortal, material beings, and to delight people who define themselves as Spirit.

Many people struggle with negative feelings about God, including anger, betrayal, abandonment, guilt, fear, and more. Angry with God is one of the books on the market trying to help.

My focus is helping people achieve greater inner peace through the resolution of personal and professional conflicts. Follow my new Examiner articles here: Subscribe.

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