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Are Christians Allowed To Be Angry At God?

stubs
Posts: 1,887
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4/5/2013 12:17:03 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I think this is a more critical topic than some think. I also think rooted in the tradition of Christianity there has been this notion that one can never be angry at God or what he does. I've never really bought into that and recently I was assigned to read a book that had some great quotes on the topic and I wanted to post them here to get a response from both Christians and non-Christians. The book is titled Getting Involved With God Rediscovering the Old Testament by Ellen F. Davis

"These biblical prayers expose the hollow sentimentality that often masquerades as prayer, the dangerous falsity of things we have heard-and maybe even thought ourselves-about how we ought to think and talk when God is around. Things like this: God does not have any use for our anger; we must have already forgiven our enemy before God will listen to our prayer. Another false notion of prayer: Since we are people of hope (that part is true, but now comes the false corollary), there is no place for despair or fear in the Christian life. Or this intruction, which has probably quenched more prayer than any other: you must never, ever be mad at God."

"The problem with all these notions of prayer is that we cannot have an intimate relationship with someone to whom we cannot speak honestly"

"Through them [psalms] we find ourselves talking to the living God sometimes in language we would never have imagined would come from our lips into God's ear."

"The psalmists accuse God of abandonment (22:2, 88:14), of murder (22:26), of falling asleep on the job (44:24). They try to bribe God (6:6). They tell God just to go away (39:13). Finally, and most offensively, the psalmist take an un-Christian attitude toward their enemies: they pray devoutly that terrible things will happen to them, even to little children (109:6-20, 137:9, 143:120."

"When you lament in good faith, opening yourself to God honestly and fully-no matter what you have to say-then you are beginning to clear the way for praise."

"When you lament, you are asking God to create the conditions in whit it will become possible for you to offer praise-conditions, it turns out, that are mainly within your own heart."

"Nonetheless, the laments tend to follow a fairly regular pattern of movement: beginning with petition and complaint addressed to God, they move, however fitfully, in the direction of praise."

"The whole prayer bespeaks a bold assumption: God cares that I am in pain and can be expected to do something about it. That is remarkable assumption when you think about it, which we hardly ever do-that the God who made heaven and earth should care that I am hurting."

Any thoughts would be great. Thanks
Composer
Posts: 5,858
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4/5/2013 12:42:26 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/5/2013 12:17:03 AM, stubs wrote:
I think this is a more critical topic than some think. I also think rooted in the tradition of Christianity there has been this notion that one can never be angry at God or what he does. I've never really bought into that and recently I was assigned to read a book that had some great quotes on the topic and I wanted to post them here to get a response from both Christians and non-Christians. The book is titled Getting Involved With God Rediscovering the Old Testament by Ellen F. Davis

"These biblical prayers expose the hollow sentimentality that often masquerades as prayer, the dangerous falsity of things we have heard-and maybe even thought ourselves-about how we ought to think and talk when God is around. Things like this: God does not have any use for our anger; we must have already forgiven our enemy before God will listen to our prayer. Another false notion of prayer: Since we are people of hope (that part is true, but now comes the false corollary), there is no place for despair or fear in the Christian life. Or this intruction, which has probably quenched more prayer than any other: you must never, ever be mad at God."

"The problem with all these notions of prayer is that we cannot have an intimate relationship with someone to whom we cannot speak honestly"

"Through them [psalms] we find ourselves talking to the living God sometimes in language we would never have imagined would come from our lips into God's ear."

"The psalmists accuse God of abandonment (22:2, 88:14), of murder (22:26), of falling asleep on the job (44:24). They try to bribe God (6:6). They tell God just to go away (39:13). Finally, and most offensively, the psalmist take an un-Christian attitude toward their enemies: they pray devoutly that terrible things will happen to them, even to little children (109:6-20, 137:9, 143:120."

"When you lament in good faith, opening yourself to God honestly and fully-no matter what you have to say-then you are beginning to clear the way for praise."

"When you lament, you are asking God to create the conditions in whit it will become possible for you to offer praise-conditions, it turns out, that are mainly within your own heart."

"Nonetheless, the laments tend to follow a fairly regular pattern of movement: beginning with petition and complaint addressed to God, they move, however fitfully, in the direction of praise."

"The whole prayer bespeaks a bold assumption: God cares that I am in pain and can be expected to do something about it. That is remarkable assumption when you think about it, which we hardly ever do-that the God who made heaven and earth should care that I am hurting."

Any thoughts would be great. Thanks

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. (Matt. 7:12) KJV Story book

So considering the trinitarin god is a proven narcissitic bastard that e.g. causes diseases, ailments, pain, suffering, Tsunamis, Eboli, Earthquakes, Floods and when it takes its fancy even screws an ' already married young woman ', makes her pregnant with their bastard child, refuses to Marry her then dumps their little bastard on to the husband & Cuckold Joseph and then permits Joseph to screw his own wife but only as 2nd hand soiled/spoiled goods after!

So ' deep down ' the biblical god wants others to do the same obviously! (cf. Matt. 7:12) shown above!
Radar
Posts: 424
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4/5/2013 2:58:22 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Gee, Composer. You sound like an angry adolescent. My guess is that you're about 15 years old.
Composer
Posts: 5,858
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4/5/2013 3:42:54 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/5/2013 2:58:22 AM, Radar wrote:
Gee, Composer. You sound like an angry adolescent. My guess is that you're about 15 years old.

What am I allegedly angry at?
AlbinoBunny
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4/5/2013 3:52:15 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
God is the moral standard, how can we be angry at that?
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stubs
Posts: 1,887
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4/6/2013 5:57:00 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/5/2013 3:52:15 AM, AlbinoBunny wrote:
God is the moral standard, how can we be angry at that?

What does that have to do with what I posted?
popculturepooka
Posts: 7,924
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4/6/2013 6:29:27 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
The name "Israel" means "struggle with God". If that doesn't give us permission to to do so, I don't know what does. It's one of the things that actually drew me to Christianity. We're allowed doubt, struggle, and question. Examples of this are littered all throughout the bible. I say this in opposition to certain mistaken brands of Christanity (usually heavily conservative and fundamentalistic) who promote blinding obedience and stricture on certain sorts of questions, "all doubts are a sin", and the like.

My man George Macdonald captures the essence of it:

"A devout and honest scepticism on God"s side, not to be put down by anything called authority, is absolutely necessary to him who would know the liberty wherewith Christ maketh free. Whatever any company of good men thinks or believes, is to be approached with respect; but nothing claimed or taught, be the claimers or the teachers who they may, must come between the soul and the spirit of the father, who is himself the teacher of his children. Nay, to accept authority may be to refuse the very thing the "authority" would teach; it may remain altogether misunderstood just for lack of that natural process of doubt and inquiry, which we were intended to go through by him who would have us understand."

"To deny the existence of God may .... involve less unbelief than the smallest yielding to doubt of His goodness. I say yielding; for a man may be haunted with doubts, and only grow thereby in faith. Doubts are the messengers of the Living One to the honest. They are the first knock at our door of things that are not yet, but have to be, understood ....Doubt must precede every deeper assurance; for uncertainties are what we first see when we look into a region hitherto unknown, unexplored, unannexed."

"And if any man yet say that, because of my lack of absolute assurance, I have no right to the sacred post [i.e. as curate, parish priest),"Let him, I answer, who has been assailed by such doubts as mine, and from the citadel of his faith sees no more one lingering shadow of a foe"let him cast at me the first stone! Vain challenge! for such a one will never cast a stone at man or woman. But let not him whose belief is but the absence of doubt, who has never loved enough that which he thinks he believes to have felt a single fear lest it should not be true"let not that man, I say, cast at me pebble from the brook, or cloven rock from the mount of the law, for either will fall hurtless at my feet."
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
Nur-Ab-Sal
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4/6/2013 6:36:59 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/5/2013 3:42:54 AM, Composer wrote:
At 4/5/2013 2:58:22 AM, Radar wrote:
Gee, Composer. You sound like an angry adolescent. My guess is that you're about 15 years old.

What am I allegedly angry at?

Humanity in general. It's really the only explanation.
Genesis I. And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them.
popculturepooka
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4/6/2013 7:01:05 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Oops, this was more about anger. Well the anger and angry ex<x>pressions can come from the doubts so my point is not entirely unrelated.

Eric Reitan wrote a nice blog comment about this:

"A few years back I was at a talk by Marilyn McCord Adams that focused on her reading of the Book of Job. One of her main conclusions, as I recall, had to do with the "friends" of Job who sought pat justifications for the horrors Job endured--who sought to immunize God from critique through acts of victim-blaming and analogous moves. If you read Job with any care at all, the message is that God strongly denounces these "theodicies." His approval, instead, falls on Job.

We might be tempted to say that the character of God in the poem approves of Job DESPITE the fact that Job, in effect, shook his fist at God and shouted out "Why, God? Why?" But part of Adams' argument was that this approval comes BECAUSE of Job's honest ex<x>pression of how he was feeling, not in spite of it. Adams' idea is that, in the face of horrors, Job approaches God in the manner that presupposed a relationship of love and trust, as opposed to a relationship defined by the appeasement of power.

When we feel as if we have been wronged by a tyrant, we keep our mouths shut or, even, make up excuses for the tyrant so that he won't have reason to turn his capricious wrath against us. It was Job alone who responded to his plight as if God were a beloved friend who had apparently wronged him, as opposed to a tyrant from whom one can expect no better (but whom one had better strive to appease by blaming others).

This is a surprising moral to draw from the story of Job, given how much of God's speech at the end is about the gap in power and wisdom and greatness between Job and God. But I think it may be the right one. If so, it isn't a story that is supposed to offer a theodicy, but rather one that advocates a certain way of responding to God in the face of horrors--not by seeking to justify God's permitting them, but by honestly crying out our anguish, perplexity, and even outrage.

So how does this relate to your post? Job's "friends" were prepared to set aside their compassion, their moral intuitions, their instincts about right and wrong, in order to "justify" God's allowing horror. Job, by contrast, held firm to his own sense of right and wrong, even if it meant he could make no sense of God's behavior. If Adams is right, the message of Job is that the latter is to be preferred. Those who try to reconcile Landina's horrific death with God's sovereign goodness by invoking victim-blaming stories or lifting God above morality are being like Job's friends. If we are to be like Job, we shouldn't try to justify or whitewash Landina's fate, but should instead turn our gaze towards heaven and cry out, "How could you?!"
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
stubs
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4/6/2013 11:29:23 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
@PCP

An interesting point that I want to note is do you think these psalms where the writer seems to be angry at God or the "cursing psalms" are simply descriptive and not prescriptive? Are the prescriptive in the sense that we are supposed to do that at times or is it simply descriptive in the sense that sometimes due to our human nature we will experience times in which normal, complacent prayers do not suffice? I would love to get your opinion on that.
popculturepooka
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4/7/2013 12:14:22 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/6/2013 11:29:23 PM, stubs wrote:
@PCP

An interesting point that I want to note is do you think these psalms where the writer seems to be angry at God or the "cursing psalms" are simply descriptive and not prescriptive? Are the prescriptive in the sense that we are supposed to do that at times or is it simply descriptive in the sense that sometimes due to our human nature we will experience times in which normal, complacent prayers do not suffice? I would love to get your opinion on that.

Wait, are you talking about the imprecatory psalms? If so...

Things like the imprecatory psalms, I think, has to be taken as descriptive and not prescriptive. I don't see how wishing/praying that your enemies' infant children be dashed upon the rocks could ever be morally praiseworthy. That is something no one SHOULD ever pray for no matter what sort of suffering their enemy has visited upon them. It is entirely understandable in one sense from the writers POV to wish such moral horrors on their enemies - they were, after all, experiencing heavy persecution and all of us know what it is to let our vindictive natures get he better of us once in a while. In that sense, you can feel empathize with the outrage. But we all know that empathizing with the source of the outrage doesn't imply that we should necessarily approve of actions that flow from the sense of outrage.

I don't think I need to point out that that sort of sentiments expressed in the imprecatory psalms seem utterly inconsistent (if taken as moral obligations that we out to do some of the time) with what Jesus taught. If they are taken as prescriptions they really only can be made sense of as an example of what NOT to do.
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
BLACK LIVES MATTER!