Christianity and anger

General discussions about Christianity including salvation, heaven and hell, Christian history and so on.
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Christianity and anger

Postby Jac3510 » Wed Dec 28, 2016 10:21 am

I wanted to offer a few thoughts on anger. As you can already see, the post below is long, but I think worth the read. If nothing else, it's something I've been thinking about for about three years now and haven't taken the time to put together in a semi-systematic way. So I'm going to take the opportunity to do that now and I'd be interested in your responses.

Anger is a basic, God-given emotion and an aspect of reality He intends to be there. It's something we all live with. It is good. But nothing can be as evil, either. Poets have forever compared love to fire, and however true that metaphor is, anger to fire is far more apt.

I don't think it's any secret (to put it mildly) that I've got no problem posting in anger from time to time. The most obvious and recent example and the one gave me the idea to address the issue directly was Audacity's mistranslation thread. During phil's response in capacity as moderator, he stated:

Philip wrote:While I think Jac took his response too far, I do see why he's upset. He really hates to see half-baked stuff floated. And then when he takes the time to thoughtfully respond to such, and he's met with just arrogance that shows one isn't serious about understanding the issue - well, it really ticks him off.

Note that I'm not challenging Phil's moderating. If he or others regard this as such, please know that's not the intent and lock the thread or delete it immediately. I really am wanting to discuss what I see to be a Christian perspective on anger and I think Phil's comments here are an instructive place to start.

So if it's permitted, I'd like to highlight this, as I think this is something that is extremely helpful to note--both in context of how the board functions and frankly how life works. Phil, what you say here is fundamentally true. I was "ticked off," and I remain so. Now, I don't think anybody would say there's anything wrong with being angry. We've all been to Sunday School enough to quote Eph 4:26 (Be angry, but do not sin). And that is the first as simplest observation. Anger, as noted above, is not a sin. It is good in and of itself. But it can obviously be used in a sinful way (just like anything good can). I think that anger happens to be the most dangerous thing we have in this regard. Nothing can more easily lead to sin or be more destructive than anger. For all the flack the sex drive gets at being so difficult to control and so easy to draw us into sin, anger is worse by magnitudes!

And that leads to a second observation. Despite the goodness of anger, it's tendency towards destructiveness (and even sin) means that we are very often afraid of it--both in ourselves and others. That last point is, in my opinion, very important. Western culture in general has been highly influenced by Judeo-Christian values, and the Sunday School lessons on forgiveness and turning the other cheek have become rooted at a deeply subconscious level in our various cultures. It's why very few people need a sermon on humility. We're all very aware of arrogance in ourselves and others, and we hate it. It might surprise some people to discover that in other cultures, that generalized value of humility was foreign (in fact, there were cultures that thought of humility almost as a vice!). Anyway, my point is just that at a subconscious level almost all of us tend to have have a culturally instilled fear of anger. We see it and one of the very, very first things we do is start telling the angry person (including ourselves) to calm down. We tell people to count to ten, to not react in anger, and so on. We quote the other half of Eph 4:26, "Do not let the sun go down on your anger" and interpret that to mean that make sure you don't go to bed angry (especially in the context of marriage).

---------------------
Rabbit trail: I don't think that's the right way to interpret Eph 4:26b. I think the correct interpretation is literally the opposite reading. To not let the sun go down on your anger doesn't mean stop being angry as soon as possible, before the end of the day; it means to never stop being angry. Always be angry! Different message, I know. Paul's point, I believe, is that we ought to be angry at sin. We should always have a righteous indignation at sin. Never let our anger at evil die. So yes, be angry. Paul isn't giving us permission to get mad. He is commanding it! And never stop being angry. Just don't sin yourself in your anger at sin!
---------------------

Now, I grant the practical wisdom of trying to act calmly and rationally. But let me ask you all this. Do you treat any other emotion that way? When you feel a moment of deep, ineffable affection for your spouse, to you pause and count to ten and let that pass before you tell him or her? Or in that moment do you not kiss them or hug them or send them a text message or email? What better time to so affectionate than when you are in that moment carried away by it? That's beautiful! It would be a poor marriage if we only told our spouses we loved them when the moment had passed.

But that's a positive emotion, so it seems easy to let ourselves get carried away. But why should it be easier to imagine that? That's pretty telling, I think. You still have to make sure that your action, driven by that beautiful emotion, is appropriate to the moment. Don't show deep physical affection publicly (that's just immodesty), or if person isn't your spouse be sure to reign that in. There are all kinds of ways that acting in accordance with your emotion might be imprudent and even destructive in a particular context. So even here with this "positive" emotion (rabbit trail #2: I deny the distinction between positive and negative emotions) the "but do not sin" applies. Paul could just as well have said, "Love, but do not sin," "or be joyful, but do not sin" or "be fearful, but do not sin."

So all of this leads us to a third observation about anger, and it's one that we see with all emotions. All emotions are good, but all emotions can lead us to great good or great sin. Fear is good, but it can lead us to sin. It is good to act in accordance with and embrace fear. But if we aren't righteous in that fear, we can become faithless and foolish. Even joy can lead us to sin, particularly when we let it make us insensitive to the sorrow (and so need!) of others. It is a sad irony that nothing can make us as selfish as joy can. So be joyful, but do not sin.

Anger, then, is good. And it seems that acting in anger ought to be good. We simply have to be cautious to make sure we are acting in a good way (as if there's anything simple about that). And when I put it that way, it feels obvious and uncontroversial. John tells us that Jesus became angry and drove out the money changers from the Temple. But it's more than just Jesus. Many Christians are very uncomfortable with the imprecatory psalms, but they are God inspired Scripture. Take Psalm 17:14-15 as an example:

    Rise up, Lord, confront them, bring them down;
    with your sword rescue me from the wicked.
    By your hand save me from such people, Lord,
    from those of this world whose reward is in this life.
    May what you have stored up for the wicked fill their bellies;
    may their children gorge themselves on it,
    and may there be leftovers for their little ones.
That's some tough language! Let's not try to explain it away because David is asking God to do it and so is letting Him have the vengeance. True enough, but the anger is there, and good. Again, let's not let the proper use of anger (in some contexts) give us permission not to see the more fundamental truth: God hates sin and so should we. I encourage you to take just a moment and read Psalm 5 in its entire twelve verses.

So what am I getting at with all of this?

Anger is good (first observation), but it can be very destructive and so we often fear it (second observation). Yet that fear is unjustified because all emotions are both good and yet can be destructive (third observation). In fact, it is really dangerous to direct the emotion of fear at any other emotion.

------------------
Rabbit trail #3: That's a whole other thread topic--On Fear--but suffice it to say here that the proper objects of fear are specific threats and never an emotion. Fear of anger is the most common problem in this regard, but some are afraid of love, others of sadness, others of courage, others of joy. Some are even afraid of fear. In the end, all this does is create a situation psychologists call repression, and it is very, very, very dangerous to a life well lived.
------------------

The bottom line, then, is that we ought to act out of anger. Anger, like all emotions, is like a horse. When well trained, it works with our desire for good and gives us immense power to do what God wills. God nowhere says that righteous behavior is emotionless behavior, as if acts are only good and righteous if they are done from a coldly logical perspective. In still other words, God doesn't ask us to operate on sheer willpower. No, I think he wants us to cultivate our emotions--anger included--so that rather than working without them or working against them, they work with us. We are to be angry (or joyful or sad or afraid or whatever) at the right things and act with wisdom in accordance with those emotions, not against them, so that our actions will have the most power.

All this, then, raises the practical question. If we are to be angry, if we are not to try to shut down our anger or the anger of others when we feel it arise, how are we to use it and honor it appropriately? Here I'll close my thoughts with a six tips off the top of my head that you, of course, may agree or disagree with:

1. Make sure the anger is justified. Anger is always rooted in a judgment, and we are to judge with righteous judgment. If the anger is unjustified, rather than tamping down or ignoring the anger, recognize your sin (because that is what it is) in falsely accusing the other. Confess if necessary and you'll find the anger will resolve itself;
2. If the offense that angers you is private, handle it privately. One of the dangerous things about anger is that it can easily escalate a situation when, in reality, anger used properly resolves situations.
3. Where the offense is public, it must be handled publicly. People disagree with this, but this is of the utmost importance. We are not islands but social creatures, and public offenses are offenses at us as well as to the community. To fail to resolve public issues publicly gives rise to the opportunity for gossip and makes it too easy for others to draw false conclusions. Human beings constantly engage in meaning making whether we know it or not--we ask, "What does that mean?" or "Why did that happen?" And if we aren't given an answer, we will create one. Don't let public offenses lead people into creating false narratives.
4. Make sure the anger and response are directed at the correct object. This is especially important and why fights in marriage tend to get out of hand quickly. Often something will make me angry because it is related to a deeper (usually unresolved) complaint. We think we're fighting over the dishes not being done, but in fact, we're really fighting because I lived in a filthy house growing up and always felt ashamed at that, and now I feel that you're putting me back in that shameful situation. So don't do that. Don't let anger be a pretext for a proxy-war. Part of using anger righteously is being honest about what you're angry about, and that goes back to the first tip.
5. Make sure the response to your anger is proportionate. This should be self-explanatory. Where the offense is minor, let the response be so. But where major, let the response be so. If you feel (and that's the important word--"feel") that your response to a minor offense is major, ask what that's about. It's probably that you're fighting a proxy war (per 4). On the other hand, if your response to a major offense is minor, ask what that is about! That could suggest not having a properly formed conscience. As an aside, the "response" language here applies to both the emotional reaction itself as well as how you choose to respond to the emotion (so both the feeling and what you do with it).
6. Distinguish between personal offenses and communal offenses. That is, there's a difference between someone personally insulting you and someone flouting the common good. It is right and good to encourage forgiveness of the former (but that doesn't mean you don't stick up for yourself in the process--by all means, forgive, but let the offender know his or her actions were hurtful so that you can protect yourself appropriately in the future). But I don't see anything scriptural or good about encouraging forgiveness of the latter. If someone insults me, that easy to forgive. But if I murder or steal or make racist remarks or other such things, then the community has a right and obligation to express their collective anger at me. Without that, human society cannot function. The great shame of losing shame in our culture is we give up permission for community outrage!

Applied to the G&S board, all of this (literally, all of it) is what is going through my head when I choose to respond openly and publicly in anger. And since I think I'm right--if I didn't, I wouldn't say this, now would I?--my hope is that all of us work within some understanding like this with respect to anger. If someone insults me personally, a true ad hominem, who cares? Not me. It's a minor offense. I can forgive and choose to respond or not going forward. But when someone (like Audacity in the particular case now, but others (including me!) could well be raised as examples from other times) insults the community as a whole or the central ideas that make us a community, there is nothing righteous or good or praiseworthy in offering that person a cool, dispassionate response. Such a reaction is, ironically, an injurious insult the each member of the community who does respect it! And as I said to Audacity in the other thread, when the subject matter being insulted is as important as God Himself, then we demonstrate not love, but biblical hatred, for the offender when we offer such a person a validating response. All of this, of course, presumes the first tip especially has been followed. Insults from ignorance are highly forgivable. We owe people forgiveness when their insults, though real, are unintentional. But when those insults are from a place of fundamental antagony, they must not be tolerated. We are to be anger, the Bible says, and respond in Christian indignation. That's good theology and it's good psychology.

I want all of us here to be more fully human, not less. I don't want us to be carried away by our emotions (that's being less human--being mere animals). But I don't want us to let fear of a particular emotion or emotions prevent us from doing what is right, either. I speak, of course, with reference to the G&S community, but I also speak to all of us as individuals and our own lives and to the other communities we are members of. Anger is good, and properly cultivated, is the greatest tool we have to root out sin and evil and to promote harmony, love, justice, and even peace.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue

And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Christianity and anger

Postby patrick » Thu Dec 29, 2016 1:27 am

Just in to say that I've long been concerned that our culture is too suppressive of anger, but I haven't been quite sure where to really draw the line. I agree with most of what's written here, especially the part about not responding to your anger with fear on the one hand and making sure it's justified on the other.

That said, I'd stress that I don't think anger, or fear for that matter, are quite on par with happiness or sadness. I think of anger as a principally defensive emotion (i.e. pushing a situation from basic to serious), and for that reason I feel it's worth adding that there's some justification to being more wary of it. Even when something wrong is happening, I think a lot of times responding with anger isn't as effective as some other responses. Not that I think you're saying this precludes other responses, just that I suspect there's a step before even asking whether the anger is justified -- though I'm not quite sure how I'd put it beyond something like not preparing yourself to have anger as the first response to insult.

My 2cents.

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Re: Christianity and anger

Postby RickD » Thu Dec 29, 2016 3:41 am

Jac3510 wrote:I wanted to offer a few thoughts on anger. As you can already see, the post below is long, but I think worth the read. If nothing else, it's something I've been thinking about for about three years now and haven't taken the time to put together in a semi-systematic way. So I'm going to take the opportunity to do that now and I'd be interested in your responses.

Anger is a basic, God-given emotion and an aspect of reality He intends to be there. It's something we all live with. It is good. But nothing can be as evil, either. Poets have forever compared love to fire, and however true that metaphor is, anger to fire is far more apt.

I don't think it's any secret (to put it mildly) that I've got no problem posting in anger from time to time. The most obvious and recent example and the one gave me the idea to address the issue directly was Audacity's mistranslation thread. During phil's response in capacity as moderator, he stated:

Philip wrote:While I think Jac took his response too far, I do see why he's upset. He really hates to see half-baked stuff floated. And then when he takes the time to thoughtfully respond to such, and he's met with just arrogance that shows one isn't serious about understanding the issue - well, it really ticks him off.

Note that I'm not challenging Phil's moderating. If he or others regard this as such, please know that's not the intent and lock the thread or delete it immediately. I really am wanting to discuss what I see to be a Christian perspective on anger and I think Phil's comments here are an instructive place to start.

So if it's permitted, I'd like to highlight this, as I think this is something that is extremely helpful to note--both in context of how the board functions and frankly how life works. Phil, what you say here is fundamentally true. I was "ticked off," and I remain so. Now, I don't think anybody would say there's anything wrong with being angry. We've all been to Sunday School enough to quote Eph 4:26 (Be angry, but do not sin). And that is the first as simplest observation. Anger, as noted above, is not a sin. It is good in and of itself. But it can obviously be used in a sinful way (just like anything good can). I think that anger happens to be the most dangerous thing we have in this regard. Nothing can more easily lead to sin or be more destructive than anger. For all the flack the sex drive gets at being so difficult to control and so easy to draw us into sin, anger is worse by magnitudes!

And that leads to a second observation. Despite the goodness of anger, it's tendency towards destructiveness (and even sin) means that we are very often afraid of it--both in ourselves and others. That last point is, in my opinion, very important. Western culture in general has been highly influenced by Judeo-Christian values, and the Sunday School lessons on forgiveness and turning the other cheek have become rooted at a deeply subconscious level in our various cultures. It's why very few people need a sermon on humility. We're all very aware of arrogance in ourselves and others, and we hate it. It might surprise some people to discover that in other cultures, that generalized value of humility was foreign (in fact, there were cultures that thought of humility almost as a vice!). Anyway, my point is just that at a subconscious level almost all of us tend to have have a culturally instilled fear of anger. We see it and one of the very, very first things we do is start telling the angry person (including ourselves) to calm down. We tell people to count to ten, to not react in anger, and so on. We quote the other half of Eph 4:26, "Do not let the sun go down on your anger" and interpret that to mean that make sure you don't go to bed angry (especially in the context of marriage).

---------------------
Rabbit trail: I don't think that's the right way to interpret Eph 4:26b. I think the correct interpretation is literally the opposite reading. To not let the sun go down on your anger doesn't mean stop being angry as soon as possible, before the end of the day; it means to never stop being angry. Always be angry! Different message, I know. Paul's point, I believe, is that we ought to be angry at sin. We should always have a righteous indignation at sin. Never let our anger at evil die. So yes, be angry. Paul isn't giving us permission to get mad. He is commanding it! And never stop being angry. Just don't sin yourself in your anger at sin!
---------------------

Now, I grant the practical wisdom of trying to act calmly and rationally. But let me ask you all this. Do you treat any other emotion that way? When you feel a moment of deep, ineffable affection for your spouse, to you pause and count to ten and let that pass before you tell him or her? Or in that moment do you not kiss them or hug them or send them a text message or email? What better time to so affectionate than when you are in that moment carried away by it? That's beautiful! It would be a poor marriage if we only told our spouses we loved them when the moment had passed.

But that's a positive emotion, so it seems easy to let ourselves get carried away. But why should it be easier to imagine that? That's pretty telling, I think. You still have to make sure that your action, driven by that beautiful emotion, is appropriate to the moment. Don't show deep physical affection publicly (that's just immodesty), or if person isn't your spouse be sure to reign that in. There are all kinds of ways that acting in accordance with your emotion might be imprudent and even destructive in a particular context. So even here with this "positive" emotion (rabbit trail #2: I deny the distinction between positive and negative emotions) the "but do not sin" applies. Paul could just as well have said, "Love, but do not sin," "or be joyful, but do not sin" or "be fearful, but do not sin."

So all of this leads us to a third observation about anger, and it's one that we see with all emotions. All emotions are good, but all emotions can lead us to great good or great sin. Fear is good, but it can lead us to sin. It is good to act in accordance with and embrace fear. But if we aren't righteous in that fear, we can become faithless and foolish. Even joy can lead us to sin, particularly when we let it make us insensitive to the sorrow (and so need!) of others. It is a sad irony that nothing can make us as selfish as joy can. So be joyful, but do not sin.

Anger, then, is good. And it seems that acting in anger ought to be good. We simply have to be cautious to make sure we are acting in a good way (as if there's anything simple about that). And when I put it that way, it feels obvious and uncontroversial. John tells us that Jesus became angry and drove out the money changers from the Temple. But it's more than just Jesus. Many Christians are very uncomfortable with the imprecatory psalms, but they are God inspired Scripture. Take Psalm 17:14-15 as an example:

    Rise up, Lord, confront them, bring them down;
    with your sword rescue me from the wicked.
    By your hand save me from such people, Lord,
    from those of this world whose reward is in this life.
    May what you have stored up for the wicked fill their bellies;
    may their children gorge themselves on it,
    and may there be leftovers for their little ones.
That's some tough language! Let's not try to explain it away because David is asking God to do it and so is letting Him have the vengeance. True enough, but the anger is there, and good. Again, let's not let the proper use of anger (in some contexts) give us permission not to see the more fundamental truth: God hates sin and so should we. I encourage you to take just a moment and read Psalm 5 in its entire twelve verses.

So what am I getting at with all of this?

Anger is good (first observation), but it can be very destructive and so we often fear it (second observation). Yet that fear is unjustified because all emotions are both good and yet can be destructive (third observation). In fact, it is really dangerous to direct the emotion of fear at any other emotion.

------------------
Rabbit trail #3: That's a whole other thread topic--On Fear--but suffice it to say here that the proper objects of fear are specific threats and never an emotion. Fear of anger is the most common problem in this regard, but some are afraid of love, others of sadness, others of courage, others of joy. Some are even afraid of fear. In the end, all this does is create a situation psychologists call repression, and it is very, very, very dangerous to a life well lived.
------------------

The bottom line, then, is that we ought to act out of anger. Anger, like all emotions, is like a horse. When well trained, it works with our desire for good and gives us immense power to do what God wills. God nowhere says that righteous behavior is emotionless behavior, as if acts are only good and righteous if they are done from a coldly logical perspective. In still other words, God doesn't ask us to operate on sheer willpower. No, I think he wants us to cultivate our emotions--anger included--so that rather than working without them or working against them, they work with us. We are to be angry (or joyful or sad or afraid or whatever) at the right things and act with wisdom in accordance with those emotions, not against them, so that our actions will have the most power.

All this, then, raises the practical question. If we are to be angry, if we are not to try to shut down our anger or the anger of others when we feel it arise, how are we to use it and honor it appropriately? Here I'll close my thoughts with a six tips off the top of my head that you, of course, may agree or disagree with:

1. Make sure the anger is justified. Anger is always rooted in a judgment, and we are to judge with righteous judgment. If the anger is unjustified, rather than tamping down or ignoring the anger, recognize your sin (because that is what it is) in falsely accusing the other. Confess if necessary and you'll find the anger will resolve itself;
2. If the offense that angers you is private, handle it privately. One of the dangerous things about anger is that it can easily escalate a situation when, in reality, anger used properly resolves situations.
3. Where the offense is public, it must be handled publicly. People disagree with this, but this is of the utmost importance. We are not islands but social creatures, and public offenses are offenses at us as well as to the community. To fail to resolve public issues publicly gives rise to the opportunity for gossip and makes it too easy for others to draw false conclusions. Human beings constantly engage in meaning making whether we know it or not--we ask, "What does that mean?" or "Why did that happen?" And if we aren't given an answer, we will create one. Don't let public offenses lead people into creating false narratives.
4. Make sure the anger and response are directed at the correct object. This is especially important and why fights in marriage tend to get out of hand quickly. Often something will make me angry because it is related to a deeper (usually unresolved) complaint. We think we're fighting over the dishes not being done, but in fact, we're really fighting because I lived in a filthy house growing up and always felt ashamed at that, and now I feel that you're putting me back in that shameful situation. So don't do that. Don't let anger be a pretext for a proxy-war. Part of using anger righteously is being honest about what you're angry about, and that goes back to the first tip.
5. Make sure the response to your anger is proportionate. This should be self-explanatory. Where the offense is minor, let the response be so. But where major, let the response be so. If you feel (and that's the important word--"feel") that your response to a minor offense is major, ask what that's about. It's probably that you're fighting a proxy war (per 4). On the other hand, if your response to a major offense is minor, ask what that is about! That could suggest not having a properly formed conscience. As an aside, the "response" language here applies to both the emotional reaction itself as well as how you choose to respond to the emotion (so both the feeling and what you do with it).
6. Distinguish between personal offenses and communal offenses. That is, there's a difference between someone personally insulting you and someone flouting the common good. It is right and good to encourage forgiveness of the former (but that doesn't mean you don't stick up for yourself in the process--by all means, forgive, but let the offender know his or her actions were hurtful so that you can protect yourself appropriately in the future). But I don't see anything scriptural or good about encouraging forgiveness of the latter. If someone insults me, that easy to forgive. But if I murder or steal or make racist remarks or other such things, then the community has a right and obligation to express their collective anger at me. Without that, human society cannot function. The great shame of losing shame in our culture is we give up permission for community outrage!

Applied to the G&S board, all of this (literally, all of it) is what is going through my head when I choose to respond openly and publicly in anger. And since I think I'm right--if I didn't, I wouldn't say this, now would I?--my hope is that all of us work within some understanding like this with respect to anger. If someone insults me personally, a true ad hominem, who cares? Not me. It's a minor offense. I can forgive and choose to respond or not going forward. But when someone (like Audacity in the particular case now, but others (including me!) could well be raised as examples from other times) insults the community as a whole or the central ideas that make us a community, there is nothing righteous or good or praiseworthy in offering that person a cool, dispassionate response. Such a reaction is, ironically, an injurious insult the each member of the community who does respect it! And as I said to Audacity in the other thread, when the subject matter being insulted is as important as God Himself, then we demonstrate not love, but biblical hatred, for the offender when we offer such a person a validating response. All of this, of course, presumes the first tip especially has been followed. Insults from ignorance are highly forgivable. We owe people forgiveness when their insults, though real, are unintentional. But when those insults are from a place of fundamental antagony, they must not be tolerated. We are to be anger, the Bible says, and respond in Christian indignation. That's good theology and it's good psychology.

I want all of us here to be more fully human, not less. I don't want us to be carried away by our emotions (that's being less human--being mere animals). But I don't want us to let fear of a particular emotion or emotions prevent us from doing what is right, either. I speak, of course, with reference to the G&S community, but I also speak to all of us as individuals and our own lives and to the other communities we are members of. Anger is good, and properly cultivated, is the greatest tool we have to root out sin and evil and to promote harmony, love, justice, and even peace.


Brian,

I see you're finally getting in touch with your feminine/emotional side.

:knitting:
1 Corinthians 1:9
9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

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"Christianity is not a joke, but it has some very poor representatives."


St. Richard the Sarcastic--The Patron Saint of Irony

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Re: Christianity and anger

Postby Kurieuo » Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:07 am

You just need some anger management Jac. Maybe Patrick too. ;)


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Re: Christianity and anger

Postby Storyteller » Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:13 am

patrick wrote:Just in to say that I've long been concerned that our culture is too suppressive of anger, but I haven't been quite sure where to really draw the line. I agree with most of what's written here, especially the part about not responding to your anger with fear on the one hand and making sure it's justified on the other.

That said, I'd stress that I don't think anger, or fear for that matter, are quite on par with happiness or sadness. I think of anger as a principally defensive emotion (i.e. pushing a situation from basic to serious), and for that reason I feel it's worth adding that there's some justification to being more wary of it. Even when something wrong is happening, I think a lot of times responding with anger isn't as effective as some other responses. Not that I think you're saying this precludes other responses, just that I suspect there's a step before even asking whether the anger is justified -- though I'm not quite sure how I'd put it beyond something like not preparing yourself to have anger as the first response to insult.

My 2cents.


Being angry is a whole different thing to reacting angrily. You can be really, really angry yet not react angrily. Anger and temper are two different things. Anger can change things, it's a powerful motivator.
Faith is a knowledge within the heart, beyond the reach of proof - Kahlil Gibran

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Re: Christianity and anger

Postby B. W. » Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:15 am

y:-? Anger with moderation y:-?
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Re: Christianity and anger

Postby Jac3510 » Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:17 am

All this micro-aggression is triggering me. I need a subforum where we're only allowed to talk about bunny rabbits and play-doh. :(

K, have you looked at any work by Jordan Peterson? He's a pretty recent YouTube sensation over some arguments he's been having in Canada with SJWs. A psychology professor in Toronto. He has an open and often discussed interest in religion, and while I don't agree with a good bit of his interpretation of the OT (he reads them as myths, as proto-psychology), I do think he's got some really interesting arguments about the nature of reality itself that reminded of some of the stuff you've talked about in the past. He is most certainly and strongly opposed to materialism and argues in one a few of his many videos that rather than seeing consciousness as something that arises from matter we should put consciousness at the heat of our understanding of the universe, and so invert our understanding of things. I've not looked enough into what he's referring to, but thought you might know something I didn't.

edit:

Better link, it's much shorter. Topic is "redefining reality" - his other interesting stuff, I think, is on God and evil, science and religion, and existentialism:

This one (in a watchlist, don't know how to bring just that video over)

edit2:

I think this is the one where he discusses some of the stuff about consciousness

and this one
Last edited by Jac3510 on Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:27 am, edited 3 times in total.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue

And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Christianity and anger

Postby jenna » Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:17 am

I dont see anything wrong with being angry or showing anger, to an extent. Even Christ got angry, and reacted angrily. It all depends on how far it is taken.
some things are better left unsaid, which i generally realize after i have said them

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Re: Christianity and anger

Postby Jac3510 » Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:19 am

Storyteller wrote:Being angry is a whole different thing to reacting angrily. You can be really, really angry yet not react angrily. Anger and temper are two different things. Anger can change things, it's a powerful motivator.

I don't know what it would mean to get angry but not react angrily. If you mean that you should let the emotion pass before you react, then that's sort of the idea I'm arguing against in my OP.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue

And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Christianity and anger

Postby Storyteller » Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:32 am

Jac3510 wrote:
Storyteller wrote:Being angry is a whole different thing to reacting angrily. You can be really, really angry yet not react angrily. Anger and temper are two different things. Anger can change things, it's a powerful motivator.

I don't know what it would mean to get angry but not react angrily. If you mean that you should let the emotion pass before you react, then that's sort of the idea I'm arguing against in my OP.


Um, am trying to think of an example :oops:

I'm not saying let the anger pass before you react, more kinda anger can be quiet, subtle.

Okay... might not be a great example but byrrds post about women being attracted to women beaters, that really got my goat, I was so (insert expletive here) angry, see, angry enough that in real life I did indeed swear and I very rarely swear yet I dont think I reacted angrily.

I am terrible at explaining things sometimes and I am not disagreeing with your OP.
Faith is a knowledge within the heart, beyond the reach of proof - Kahlil Gibran

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Re: Christianity and anger

Postby Jac3510 » Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:55 am

I don't think you're disagreeing. I just think these sorts of things are important to talk about. We tend to shy away from them, in my view. I think your example is a good one. I think it was appropriate and indeed good to get angry. And the responses were, I thought, right on point. It would have been very wrong, I believe, to offer evidence from sociological studies as to why his fundamental premise was incorrect. The fact is, whether we like it or not this is true, his comments were awful not because they were wrong or insensitive but because they had an immoral element to them. It's not merely insensitive or merely incorrect to say that women are attracted to wife beaters. It is wrong. That's something you just don't, not because of any issues with censorship, but because good people don't talk like that. It's gross. It's demeaning to an entire group of human beings. The fundamental premise of that statement was an attack on women, and so the response has to be proportionate. Proportionate means just that: strong enough, but not too strong. So to post back with a million curse words and wishing death and violence would have been over the top. But equally it would be under the bottom (to make up a phrase) to offer a merely dispassionate, clinical response.

That's what I'm trying to get at. Anger is an emotion, and it is good, when used the right way. It animates us. It, like all emotions, gives our words meaning that they simply don't have all by themselves. Patrick rightly said that our culture suppresses anger. I think he was right, and I think that is having all sorts of bad effects at every level of society and in virtually all communities.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue

And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Christianity and anger

Postby Storyteller » Thu Dec 29, 2016 11:07 am

Agreed :)

Anger is a very strong, powerful emotion and we are taught from a very young age not to get angry. I think it's important to differentiate between anger and temper. Anger can be a force used for good, temper not so much.
I often get told that I am calm, even tempered, really slow to anger, I disagree.. lots of things anger me, I just don't let temper control my actions. Anger shows passion, feeling, if you get angry you care, deeply. Temper, I think comes from a selfish stance whereas anger more of a loving one.
Faith is a knowledge within the heart, beyond the reach of proof - Kahlil Gibran

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Re: Christianity and anger

Postby B. W. » Thu Dec 29, 2016 11:46 am

There is righteous anger and there is unrighteous anger...

Bible mentions one can become angry and not sin in Eph 4:26...

Problem folks have is justifying unrighteous anger as righteous anger so to inflict their brand of wrath...

How to tell the difference between the two maybe the issue being brought up in this thread is what I am seeing.

Here is an example:

Bible sets fort unconditional promise to Abraham for Israel in Gen 12:2-3: "I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." NKJV

Again concerning Israel God says this:

Zec 2:8, "For thus says the LORD of hosts: "He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye." NKJV

Recently the Obama administration, Obama and Kerry cursed and stabbed in the back, Israel, and thus met the conditions mentioned above. Next Kerry in a 70 minute speech linked here --

https://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks ... 266119.htm

...mentioned this... "a Jewish and democratic state, living in peace and security with its neighbors..."

1 Th 5:2,3 tells us to watch for this phrase gaining momentum - "Peace and safety!" The word safety used in the Greek means security...

Now here is the example:

Some Christians will say we need to bless Kerry and Obama with bounty and goodness and favor etc.. in our prayers and love on them with our prayers because we can't be angry... so to bless one's enemies... etc and so forth...

Another group of Christians will see that these two folks and their cronies as in violation of Gen 12 and Zeh 2 declaration made by God himself and see these people have invited judgment upon our on nation. They also understand Psalms 83:2 will be fulfilled as well. They are angry at the anti-Semitic predators who mask their racism behind great swelling words of emptiness.

So this group prays that the Lord spare the country while fulfilling Psalms 109:4-20 with this caveat - it is not just us whom these folks cursed but the Lord whom they sinned against... enough is enough So You Lord, God of all Justice, you alone make an example of of them quickly...Amen....

Which one group is righteous in their approach to anger?
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Re: Christianity and anger

Postby PaulSacramento » Thu Dec 29, 2016 11:48 am

There is a certain honesty in anger.

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Re: Christianity and anger

Postby melanie » Mon Jan 02, 2017 7:16 am

A certain honesty and a whole lot of stupidity half the time.
I'm not aware of the thread that triggered this in regards to audacity but I clicked on this thread because well I'm a hot head who relates to an honest outpouring of anger.
I can be brutally honest in my anger but the only person that serves ultimately is myself no matter how justified I may appear to most importantly myself.
As it is ultimately a self serving justification.
When actions are truly righteous, the self, the ego, finds no measure for explanation. In spite and despite others it is just a peace of spirit, a knowing that our actions, words and interactions with others were justified.
That part of us that seeks to explain, to elaborate further, to find external understanding I believe is an imbalance that we are trying to iron out within ourselves.
Using scripture in its richness of endless lessons in putting aside reactionary, unnecessary outbursts of anger and pulling out that one instance when Jesus got mad is in my opinion a means of justification when in reality there are countless other versus that would probably sprirtually serve us better.
We're human and that in of itself is our justification.
We get mad and we react
I am the first person to relate to that.
We can dissect the ins and outs of when that anger turns the tide to sin but a reactionary outburst is not a spiritual reaction but a wholly human response and that's okay cause we are human.
In that regard, no justification needed. People push our buttons and we react.
What I find a little troubling is the attitude to turn that into a higher, if I may noble, righteous response. Beside the fact that in any instance that is entirely dependent on personal perspective which differs greatly depending on the individual.
Some may think a particular outburst or expression of anger is justified whilst others may disagree, whether that boils down to a righteous anger is well anyone's guess any widely speculative.

Personally I relate to this thread as a passionate, highly opiniated, hot headed, Christian. I can say in any instance where I have reacted in anger throughout my life most poignantly in times where I felt justified there respectively have been umpteen lessons for me to learn and grow. In times when I felt truly justified, I have allowed myself to go full throttle as I'm right, I'm justified. It's not a pre thought action but nothing rings so true as to set a wrong right. It's this unleashing of a self perceived righteous anger. The more justified it is the more strongly it's felt.
It's very real, very human, Intrinsically coming from a good place, it often has a real tangible basis in morality and is honest as they come.
It doesn't make it our best spiritual way of dealing, the ultimate response or even close to a righteous anger that can even be remotely compared to Jesus.
Anger is an emotion that has its place but we can't help but misuse and overindulgence because we are human the best we can do is learn and grow and evolve into the spiritual beings that one day we will become in the Kingdom of Heaven.


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