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A personification of anger.

Anger is an unpleasant emotion usually directed at someone or something perceived as having done us undeserved harm. It is not an accidental injury which outrages us as much as intentional harm, or thoughtless negligence.

Unresolved anger can lead to resentment and/or depression. Someone feeling angry will usually have a lack of joy, a lack of judgement, a sense of inbred hate, and overall frustration.

Anger as a sin

In Christian tradition, anger is one of the Seven Deadly Sins (the word wrath is often used to refer to it in this context). Uniquely among the seven deadly sins, anger was at times exhibited by Jesus - for example, when He turned the money lenders out of the Temple in Jerusalem. Since Jesus was without sin, it follows that not every instance of anger is sinful: anger on behalf of a righteous cause is permissible, and can even be desirable. On the other hand, anger for selfish or worldly reasons is a step on the path to damnation; famous examples of sinful anger include Henry II's ordering of the murder of Thomas a Beckett, and King David's murder of Uriah the Hittite in the Book of Samuel.

Mental Health

Unfortunately, the young mental health field has relied almost exclusively upon the expression of anger as the primary mechanism for dealing with this powerful emotion. While expression is important at times, when solely relied on for relief from anger, it has limited value because mere words or behaviors cannot make up for the depth of resentment and bitterness that has been denied in significant relationships in childhood and adolescence. Many health professionals believe that while men feel anger more intensely than women, women are more likely to hold long-term grudges.

Some of the characteristics of psychopaths are being angry, rash, impulsive, and oppositional (among others).[1]

Reduced empathy, often seen in psychopathy, increases the prevalence of goal-directed aggression.[2] Psychopaths have a greater risk of suffering from irritability/reactive aggression.[3] Both decreased empathy and increased anger are associated with maladaptive aggression.[4]

Physical Health

Anger also can lead to poor physical health.[5]

Atheism and anger

See also: Atheism and anger

An angry atheist speaking to a woman with a Bible in her hand.

The Christian philosopher James S. Spiegel says the path from Christianity to atheism among several of his friends involved moral slippage such as resentment or unforgiveness.[6] See: Atheism and unforgiveness

CNN reports:

People unaffiliated with organized religion, atheists and agnostics also report anger toward God either in the past, or anger focused on a hypothetical image - that is, what they imagined God might be like - said lead study author Julie Exline, Case Western Reserve University psychologist.

In studies on college students, atheists and agnostics reported more anger at God during their lifetimes than believers.[7]

Various studies found that traumatic events in people's lives has a positive correlation with "emotional atheism".[8] See also: Atheism and the problem of evil and Atheism and emotional problems

The atheist, lesbian and leftist Greta Christina told the journalist Chris Mooney on the Point of Inquiry podcast, "there isn't one emotion" that affects atheists "but anger is one of the emotions that many of us have ...[it] drives others to participate in the movement".[9]

The American philosopher and atheism advocate Peter Boghossian declared about atheists: “I think the faithful have been propagating a narrative of the angry atheist for so long, and I think that there’s some legitimacy to that... I think it’s really important to have civil, respectful dialogue with people, and we just haven’t been doing that...".[10]

The agnostic Rodney Stark, co-director of Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion, commenting on the New Atheism movement said, “The religious people don’t care about the irreligious people, but the irreligious are prickly. I think they’re just angry.”[11]

Theodore Beale declared:"...the age at which most people become atheists indicates that it is almost never an intellectual decision, but an emotional one."[12]

The Christian apologist Ken Ammi concurs in his essay The Argument for Atheism from Immaturity and writes: "It is widely known that some atheists rejected God in their childhood, based on child like reasons, have not matured beyond these childish notions and thus, maintain childish-emotional reactions toward the idea of God."[13]

Historically speaking, atheists have been the biggest mass murders in history (see: Atheism and mass murder and Abortion and atheism).

See also

External links