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Anger at God common, even among atheists
January 1st, 2011
12:15 AM ET

Anger at God common, even among atheists

If you're angry at your doctor, your boss, your relative or your spouse, you can probably sit down and have a productive conversation about it. God, on the other hand, is probably not available to chat.

And yet people get angry at God all the time, especially about everyday disappointments, finds a new set of studies in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

It's not just religious folks, either. 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. A separate study also found this pattern among bereaved individuals. This phenomenon is something Exline and colleagues will explore more in future research, which is open to more participants.

It seems that more religious people are less likely to feel angry at God and more likely to see his intentions as well-meaning, Exline's research found.

And younger people tend to be angrier at God than older people, Exline said. She says some of the reasons she's seen people the angriest at God include rejection from preferred colleges and sports injuries preventing high schoolers from competing.

The age difference may have to do with cultural norms, she said. Perhaps previous generations were taught to not question God, whereas younger people today don't have any qualms about it. On the other hand, it might be that as people get older, they learn how to handle these types of feelings better.

Anger at God can strongly resemble feelings you may have against another person, Exline found. God may seem treacherous or cruel when bad things happen, just like another individual might. Your anger may fester even more when there's no good reason for the negative event, such as a natural disaster or a disease, to occur. And strong, longstanding negative emotions of any kind can lead to physical ailments.

Moreover, distress at God is associated with mental health symptoms. Exline and colleagues found that among cancer survivors interviewed once and then again a year later, those who were angry at God at both points in time had the poorest mental and physical health. But the study cannot prove whether anger at God made them feel worse or that feeling worse made them more angry at God.

Just like with people in your life, you can respect and feel anger toward God at the same time. And you can move toward forgiveness by reframing the way you view the negative event: Perhaps God was not responsible for it or that he acted in that way for a reason.

"When people trust that God cares about them and has positive intentions toward them, even if they can’t understand what those intentions or meanings are, it tends to help to resolve anger," she said.

Granted, these studies aren't definitive; they are steps forward in this emerging field of inquiry and not the final word on the subject.

But we see it in the real world, too. Jeff Crim listens to people's anger at God all the time - specifically, people who are dying. He's a chaplain and bereavement coordinator North Star Hospice in Calhoun, Georgia, and has found that it's important to find a way to express your anger at God in order to deal with it.

Expressing anger can be cathartic, and help you move on, but how you do it is deeply personal, Crim said. Crim himself will speak aloud to God, but others find solace in a trusted spiritual leader or other person to confide in about their anger at a higher power.

"What they need is a safe place to express their anger, to know that their anger has been heard and listened to," he said.


soundoff (1,112 Responses)
  1. Alan

    The idea that one could be angry at something that he or she believes doesn't exist is nonsense.

    But, the researchers could have chosen to explore the cognitive dissonance that must underlie this paradox. I would be curious about how the subjects in the study reconcile their disparate views. Nonbelievers such as I use the words "atheist", "agnostic", "heathen", "skeptic" and others in idiosyncratic ways. Perhaps a finer understanding of how the subjects label themselves would make this a more useful line of inquiry.

    January 3, 2011 at 13:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Jay

    Atheism and Religion have two things in common. Faith.

    Atheist have FAITH there is no God while the religious believe otherwise. Atheists dont realize it but they are preaching their FAITH just like religious people... Real atheists would shut up and sit down.. but once you start declaring your faith, thats your religion.

    So yea. Atheism IS A RELIGION. You Atheist have a "Father and Son" dichotomy as well..

    Darwin and Dawkins...

    January 3, 2011 at 13:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tommas

      That is simply your small minded view of the subject. Most atheists say "no god" meaning the word and concept that man has invented and all the assumptions that are attached to it. There can very well be something much greater than what we understand we are just not putting a couple of thousand year old limitation to it.

      January 3, 2011 at 13:22 | Report abuse |
    • RichardSRussell

      This utter nonsense is a lie frequently promoted by a religious establishment whose continued income depends on suckers continuing to revere FAITH as a decision-making technique, to the point of insisting that everybody else uses it, too. Faith is the world's worst decision-making technique. Atheists and agnostics don't rely on faith, they rely on EVIDENCE, and there isn't any that points to God as the sole possible explanation for anything. It no more takes faith to disbelieve in God than it does to disbelieve in unicorns; all it takes is a rational brain.

      January 3, 2011 at 13:37 | Report abuse |
    • Akhlut

      Is your disbelief of Ahura Mazda a religion, then?

      January 3, 2011 at 14:06 | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      People call athiesm a religion when they have small minds incapable of understanding logic.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:23 | Report abuse |
  3. Kevin E

    We seem to forget that God, the creator of all things, should be the one to be angry at us!!! He has created all the things we can see, and all the things we can't see, including our very lives! He provides the air we breath, and the food we eat, our homes, our clothes.. our Jobs!! He is the provider of everything we need.. and we get angry at him?? Sort of like Satan.. who continues to be angry at God just because he was thrown out of God's Kingdom. Yet, God has this eternal mercy torwards us, and he is always waiting for us to come to him, much like our children come to us after we've repremanded them, to tell us they are sorry.. God will also forgive, if only we humble our prides, and begin to understand that He is the one who decides over our lives, and when we do that, we begin to understand that He is real and that we owe all Glory, all Honor and all our Praise to Him!! God Bless all who read this post!!

    January 3, 2011 at 13:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jay

      Well said Kev! People are too proud to admit they need God. He knows whats best for us and like a caring parent he tries to direct us in ways that are good. Yet people, because we are sinful, are too proud to admit that human society is FLAWED.

      Just like any caring parent would be angry and hurt about anything that could injure their child, God, Through his word, directs us on how we should live and treat each other...

      The first century Christians had the true faith.. everything that came after is a pagan corruption. But there are worshippers in this world who follow God's word whole and honest heartedly. Im glad and thankful I've come to know them and to know the true and living God.

      January 3, 2011 at 13:22 | Report abuse |
    • Kent

      You seem to forget that God only exists if you have faith in the ridiculous.

      January 3, 2011 at 13:26 | Report abuse |
    • faithful

      Kevin E., you make my day!!!!!!!!!!

      January 3, 2011 at 13:46 | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      rofl.. Kevin, you've been smoking the brainwashing religion pipe for too long.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:39 | Report abuse |
  4. Bible believing God fearing Christian

    Al the bible does not say that....Jesus on earth was the kingdom of God, and New Jerusalem will be set up in the future....part of the dispensations....and thats a lie about Nostradamus...how many times has it been said that the world is coming to an end..."a lie" the bible says no man know the time....just one example..the bible said that israel would become a nation again and it did...the bible said that all these earthquakes in divers places would happen and it is...they are happening in places never heard of....also the bible says the earth groans.........Have you ever had a prayer answered? Have you ever had a situation workout just in time when all seemed lost? Who do you think allowed it to happen, Chance? All doesnt have to believe but God wants us to. Thats why he made us free willed so we can make our own choice. The bible says that he delays his coming so that man can repent and be saved...if thats not mercy and love i dont know what is. Also if God didnt exist, why does science try and disprove the bible and is failing at it?

    January 3, 2011 at 13:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Observer

      Science doesn't set out to "disprove God". That is pure nonsense. Science is the quest to learn everything possible. It just frequently disproves nonsense in the Bible in it's search to learn more.

      January 3, 2011 at 13:29 | Report abuse |
    • Bible believing God fearing Christian

      when has science disproved the bible......even the thought that they believed they found the garment placed over Jesus face is a lie i dont care how man test they run...i can disprove it now...the bible says in the OT which came to pass that he was beaten to the point where you couldnt recognize him, beard ripped from his face, swollen, etc. History channel has shows all the time trying to logically explain happens told by the bible, for ex. the parting of the red sea, they said the children went through during low tide...come on! Evolution..the bible says we are made in his image...if evolution is true that means Christ came from a monkey...an out right lie!

      January 3, 2011 at 13:48 | Report abuse |
    • Kent

      "Bible believing..", have you every put down your bible for even one second and had a rational conversation?

      By the way your comment 'the bible says we are made in his image...if evolution is true that means Christ came from a monkey...an out right lie' can be deflated like popping a pin into a ballloon.

      No evolutionary scientist will tell you Christ came from a monkey but rather Jesus Christ and any monkey alive or dead all shared a distant common mammalian ancestor.

      I am starting to think that all God fearing folks might have shared a pinhead as a common ancestor in the very recent past

      January 3, 2011 at 14:03 | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      Bible believing God fearing Christian, How do you even tie your own shoelaces? You should be ashamed of the amount of ignorant trolling you've done here.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:48 | Report abuse |
    • BH

      @Bible Believing- As an agnostic (former Christian), I find this back and forth debate very interesting. It seems as though you are very devout in your faith and from your discourse here you have the honest intention of sharing your word of God with others. You will find that your testimony will be much more persuasive if you educate yourself on the things that you are trying to refute. When you make comments such as "Evolution..the bible says we are made in his image...if evolution is true that means Christ came from a monkey...an out right lie!", it discredits you and makes it apparent that you have no understanding of what the theory of evolution actually is. How can you possibly hope to have an effective argument when you dont even know what youre arguing against?

      January 3, 2011 at 17:57 | Report abuse |
  5. The Jackdaw

    If an atheist is blaming God, he's not an atheist, he's a hypocrite. Some people need to take responsibility for their situation in life as apposed to temporarily inventing deities for the purpose of beating up on them.

    January 3, 2011 at 13:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. ken baldwin

    God reveals Himself in several ways, with the natural around us, the heavens above us, with sending his only begotten son, Jesus Christ and giving us the Word inspired through men via the Holy Truth. There is a form of hell and we have been given the opportunity to seek God and make our choice for salvation. After this short life ends, I believe all bets are off.

    January 3, 2011 at 13:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. RichardSRussell

    As an atheist who thinks it makes no more sense to be mad at God than to be mad at Huckleberry Finn, I have to wonder how the questions were phrased to produce these results. I can understand somebody (yes, including atheists and agnostics) being angry and frustrated at the hand fate has dealt them, but that's not the same as thinking God was behind it. Also, if the questions were along the lines of "Have you ever in your life been angry at God?", then it's not surprising to find that many people who are NOW atheists and agnostics had PREVIOUSLY (back when they were still brainwashed) experienced that feeling.

    I suspect the published research paper was more carefully worded than this general-interest article about it.

    January 3, 2011 at 13:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. ChristianAramaic

    So when atheists get angry at God, they actuallly believe in God, but they are just denying it? Atheist have mixed thoughts, good thing I am not an atheist.
    And why would someone put 6 three times at the end of his name? Is he admitting he is a satanist?

    January 3, 2011 at 13:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • faithful

      i suppose he is. Satan has workers everywhere.

      January 3, 2011 at 13:45 | Report abuse |
  9. zen monkey

    Typical modern response to adversity. If I do something good, it's all because of me. If something bad happens, it's all God's fault. You can't have it both ways. If you give the blame to God, you have to give the credit too.

    January 3, 2011 at 13:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Observer

    If religion is how you view the meaning of life, then atheism and agnotisticism are relgions. Why should anyone get upset if they are called "religions"? It certainly doesn't change anything or make them any closer to being believers.

    January 3, 2011 at 13:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • RichardSRussell

      Key word: "if". IF you view religion as your own personal take on the meaning of life, then indeed atheism and agnosticism are religions. But, of course, that's not what the word actually means to the vast majority of native English speakers, which is why we atheists and agnostics reject the idea that we're religious.

      January 3, 2011 at 13:41 | Report abuse |
  11. Mark

    If you're angry at God, you're not an atheist. LOL
    Who writes this stuff? 🙂

    January 3, 2011 at 13:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sjenner

      Exactly. I conclude there's no God. But gosh darn it I'm angry with Him–and with my imaginary playmate Phil, who never brought flowers. It just doesn't make sense on any level. If you're angry with God, then guess what, you're not an atheist.

      January 3, 2011 at 13:29 | Report abuse |
  12. sjenner

    The idea that atheists are angry at God I find incongruous to say the least. The atheist has already concluded that there is no God. So why would an atheist be angry at someone they've concluded does not exist? I'd like to know how these researchers defined atheism (i.e., has it been formulated to include individuals properly belonging under the agnostic definition) and God (i.e., has the concept being formulated to not only include a deity active in people's, but also some amorphous maybe or just the situation). It sounds like they may have expanded these definitions as far as possible in order to effectuate an "unexpected" result, and thus justify more research. The other finding of the study is not exactly earth shaking: believers aren't angry at God. Well, they're believers. So why would they? Faith does a pretty good job of addressing the "bad situation" and hope for a better life.

    January 3, 2011 at 13:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Bible believing God fearing Christian

    Tom, Tommas, come on use your head....im talking about worldwide things like wars, establishments, weather, etc....and the bible says that knowledge will increase in the land...so guess what, the things you list can and did happen (science). I was also talking about the prophecies in the OT that came to pass during Jesus time....and has continued from then on. If you dont believe these things "willful ignorance" doesnt excuse anyone...our existence is enough to believe...evolution is a lie...........

    January 3, 2011 at 13:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mr. Sniffles

      Thanks for giving us all some insight on the mental health of fervent believers.

      January 3, 2011 at 13:32 | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Reading these posts, one thing seems undeniable. Non-believers are a lot brighter than the religious folks. Coincidence?

      January 3, 2011 at 13:37 | Report abuse |
    • Tommas

      So you mean the only things the writers were able to contemplate at the time.

      January 3, 2011 at 13:47 | Report abuse |
    • Bible believing God fearing Christian

      have you notice that Israel is surrounded by Muslim countries....why havent they just taken them out or defeated them in war? that tiny country in the midst of all that...God is protecting Israel, and us as long as we remain with them...Israel is our prophetic time clock..all attention is on the middle east...coincidence? Most ppl dont accept Christ because they want to continue in the lifestyle they were in. (speaking personally) But God takes away the desire for those things so that you dont miss them...thats what make it so great on top of the benefits that he has promised and gives with the ultimate being eternal life with Him and the Father. It's your choice............the bible says choose ye this day whom you will serve.

      January 3, 2011 at 13:55 | Report abuse |
    • Tommas

      Fearful Christian,
      It is there because of WW2 and Christian Nazis (the swastika is a cross for a reason). It is still there due to our military industrial complex of a nation

      January 3, 2011 at 14:06 | Report abuse |
  14. Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

    The atheist part is "in the past" – meaning someone to some degree believed, but they encountered something very bad in their life, triggering the dilemna of "The Problem of Evil", went through a stage of anger and critical analysis of religions before rejecting the possibility of gods.

    That's why atheists scored highest on a test of religious knowledge.

    Learn about "The Problem of Evil" – it is a philosophical test of whether a religion accurately explains the nature of the real world, especially the occurance of terrible events. It's a nasty little test, because almost all religions fail. Christianity fails miserably.

    January 3, 2011 at 13:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sjenner

      Bible Believing God Fearing Christian–the problem with your contentions is that they're merely conclusions. Why are you correct in what you assert? Until you can argue from first principles, you can't convince.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:07 | Report abuse |
  15. Tom

    I believe everyone is a non-believer at birth. I was just never swayed/converted. A devout Christian would be a devout Muslim if born in the the Middle East, a devout Jew if born in Israel, a devout Hindu if born in India. Some people need to latch on to a belief in the supernatural to help them cope with their lives. Others just remain as they were when they were born.

    January 3, 2011 at 13:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sjenner

      There's some good research that indicates that we may be predisposed to belief in God as a species. We're genetically wired for social interaction and social consciousness, which is why were are so cooperative and interact so well as a species (despite all of our conflicts, for the most part, we're able like few other mammals to live in work in extremely concentrated, high density numbers). That social consciousness, it has been hypothesized, may be what latches onto the sense of something bigger, of a larger consciousness. Certainly, every group of humans appears to have developed some notion of the divine, which would appear to support in some regard this concept.

      January 3, 2011 at 13:34 | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Agreed. If there was a god, there would be only one. Instead there are many belief systems.....monotheistic, polytheistic. If there truly was a god, then why are there so many different religions? Try explaining that to 900 million Hindus.

      January 3, 2011 at 13:41 | Report abuse |
    • Respondez

      People are sometimes sort of insulted by the fact that humans are social mammals. They seek a leader (of the pack, if you will), who has qualities of wisdom, benevolence, and the power to protect them from harm. They range from leader of the tribe, to leader of the nation, or some other group unit. Sometimes these human leaders were considered gods. Since humans are aware that their lives will end, and they are not at all thrilled by this fact, they then seek an imaginary leader who will provide the same wisdom, benevolence and protection in a much hoped-for afterlife. It is not surprising that they envision this leader human-like characteristics of love, anger, wisdom, benevolence, etc.

      January 3, 2011 at 13:43 | Report abuse |
    • sjenner

      Exactly the problem that arises when one religion tries to prove itself as "absolute and correct." Thus the natural tendency on the part of the more broadminded to recognize the importance of universal moral norms as a common language of faith, that whether real or imaginary, that there is an objective moral truth that recognizes the integrity and rights of the individual and that keeps in check our darker, more destructive impulses.

      January 3, 2011 at 13:47 | Report abuse |
    • RichardSRussell

      Good point, SJenner. The continued existence of religion among human beings indicates that there's some evolutionary advantage at work. The philosopher Daniel C. Dennett set out to find various hypotheses about what that advantage might be. He came up with half a dozen of them, which he laid out in his book "Breaking the Spell: Religion As a Natural Phenomenon".

      They remain hypotheses, with none of them the clear front-runner for the best explanation. Indeed, it may well be that some combination of them is at work, mutually reinforcing each other.

      My favorite is the one that says religion is a brain parasite, a meme whose goal is to reproduce ITSELF, even if it means the death of the carrier it's infected. (That would be you religiots.) Dennett draws an analogy to a species of ant that persistently climbs to the top of blades of grass where it's likelier to be eaten by cows, etc. It does this because of a parasite in its brain that needs to spend some time in a ruminant's gut as part of its reproductive process. Good for the parasite, bad for the ant.

      January 3, 2011 at 13:47 | Report abuse |
    • sjenner

      RichardRussell, you make some very interesting and valid points. I would argue with the conclusion that religion is a useless or even dangerous parasite. It can be. But I believe it provides a much greater benefit: commonality, societal cohesion and consensus, especially on many of the big issues that confront a civilization. Constantine the Great, I believe, recognized this core benefit when he made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. Simply put, if religion did not provide a benefit, it would not keep repeating itself with so much consistent success.

      January 3, 2011 at 13:57 | Report abuse |
    • Bible believing God fearing Christian

      perversions. false Gods like the ones mentioned in the bible. The is only one God whose son is Jesus. everything else is a lie...Again the Jesus of the bible is the only one who said, He died for us and is coming back to get us...what does the false idol gods offer?

      January 3, 2011 at 13:59 | Report abuse |
    • Tommas

      The same "spiritual" pathways in the brain can be activated by hallucinogens. There is currently research in progress to map these regions and even investigate their evolution.
      Of course there is an evolutionary advantage, once man could ask the important questions it is quite a big problem not to have the answers. Religion/spirituality is just a bandage for the physique that obviously many people still need.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:13 | Report abuse |
  16. Kevin E

    Mark: Satan hates God, yet he believes in him... and so do all his demons.. and that because there is a real, living God!!

    January 3, 2011 at 13:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • RichardSRussell

      Oh, great, somebody citing the lifelong rivalry between the fairies and the elves to "prove" that they both exist.

      Really, I'd say "you can't make this stuff up", except that it's so blindingly obvious that that's EXACTLY the way it works.

      January 3, 2011 at 13:51 | Report abuse |
  17. Anthony

    I don't get angry at God, as he is an imaginary construct of the human mind built to explain those things we do not understand and seek order from. Humans throughout history have been able to rationalize all manner of inhumanity, pain, destruction, evil, and our apathy towards it as long as we can tell ourselves that it's all part of some inconceivable "plan". If that allows you to accept that bad things happen to good people (sometimes because good people do nothing to stop it), then go for it.

    But, there would be no anger with God if we did not expect him to be holy, all-powerful, all-knowing, and operate to our eternal benefit. In our our minds, we have expectations of whatever image of God we create, but he has no responsibility to us, by definition. So when we imagine he acts (or fails to act) in some way that is incongruent with our image of him, we are forced to see that he was imaginary in the first place, or just chalk it up to his "plan".

    What I do get angry about is those who use the excuse of "the plan" or the imaginary authority of god to impose thier world view on those who see things differently. Manifest Destiny, the Devine Right of Kings, the biblical support of slavery, blah, blah, blah. The list goes on and on. But, "It's OK, it's all part of God's Plan, you just have to have Faith."

    I saw a pin-on button that says, "I don't have a problem with God. I just can't stand His fanclub." That made me smile.

    January 3, 2011 at 13:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. tim

    This is a profoundly retarded statement.

    Just in, vegetarians don't like the taste of Hormel brand bacon

    January 3, 2011 at 13:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • NorCalMojo

      I'm pretty sure vegetarians believe in meat.

      January 3, 2011 at 13:34 | Report abuse |
  19. NorCalMojo

    Please look up the words agnostic and atheist in the dictionary, Bluen.

    They're not the same thing. Sorry to confuse you.

    January 3, 2011 at 13:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Luke 2343

    Atheism is a facade. Deep down, we all know there is a God, because He has created us in His image, and our spirits long for relationship and closeness with Him. "Atheism" occurs when someone rejects God out of anger and/or rebellion when someone attributes something bad in their life to an action or inaction by God, rather than the consequence of sin that it really is. The more accurate term is "Anti-theists", simply defined as people rejecting God, and to reject something, the implication is that you inherently believe in it. According to scripture: a fool says in his heart that there is no God. To honestly believe that there is no God, makes you a fool. But to know that He is real, but then try to convince yourself that He is not, you're just fooling yourself at that point.

    God exists. He created the world and the universe. He created you and me. And he loves us (John 3:16) so much that He sent his Son Jesus to save us from ourselves, or own sin that separated us from God to begin with. That is a promise EVERYONE. God loves you with a love more precious than anything else in the universe, whether you believe in him or not. But if you don't, your choosing the opposite of God – eternal suffering.

    January 3, 2011 at 13:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sjenner

      That may explain some atheists. But a great number if not majority of atheists reject the notion of God as a logical conclusion. There's no malice in it. No anger. Simply an application of principles and observable data that results in the conclusion that there is no God. Most atheists will concede that in terms of probability, the is no absolute anything. But an infinitesimal chance of something is not sufficient to conclude it must be or even conceded as necessarily possible within the bounds of reason. (There is, after all, a tiny chance that the laws of physics may cease to apply, but it is not reasonable to conclude that they will or to submit to a belief system that states that they will.)

      January 3, 2011 at 13:42 | Report abuse |
    • RichardSRussell

      So, Luke, when you write "deep down, we all know there is a God", are you basing this statement on your diligent interviews with all 7 billion of us? Because you missed me. Deep down, I know no such thing. Therefore your categorical statement, applying to every human being everywhere, is false, because all it takes is a single counter-example to falsify it.

      That, my man, is how SCIENCE works.

      January 3, 2011 at 13:54 | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      I just can't pass your comment up. Like RussellR, you missed me too.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:43 | Report abuse |
  21. Brian

    This isn't surprising.

    I'm sure a lot of people who are atheist/agnostic were raised as a Christian or in another religion but something happened along the way. When my disbelief started I was extremely active in my church. I started thinking "If there was a God, he wouldn't have let this happen" or "The God I believe in wouldn't have done that, so I guess there isn't a God" or other similar sentiments.

    This isn't saying atheists top secretly believe in God, because they obviously don't. It says clearly "eport anger toward God either in the past, or anger focused on a hypothetical image"

    Obviously in the past they probably did believe in God and this also goes along with the "if there is a God...." line of thinking.

    January 3, 2011 at 13:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Steve

      Brian, please check out "Answers to Tough Questions" by Josh MCDowell. Your questions are vaild. This will help answer them.

      January 3, 2011 at 13:38 | Report abuse |
    • taildragon

      I hate to be blunt, but McDowell is a tool. He's an incredible intellect...if you are a believer. However, if you have the in-depth knowledge that most former believers have, his treatment of questions and evidence are nauseatingly juvenile. It is so hard for a believer to ever objectively consider that their god doesn't exist, so it's almost impossible to objectively ask the right questions and honestly accept the answers. Remember, we don't believe in Shiva, just like you don't believe in Shiva. We just disbelieve in one more deity than you.

      January 3, 2011 at 13:45 | Report abuse |
  22. Bible believing God fearing Christian

    Al your right. we are born as non believers but until the age of acountability (or when one is mature enough to make that choice with understanding) they are okay. Also you are correct about conforming to where you were raised...but think about it...it seems all "religions" are spinoffs of Christianity...satan is a mocker. Also, the bible is the only book written which tells of a Man (Christ), who loved us enough to die for us and promises to COME BACK and get us..i.e. the rapture. why wouldnt you want to serve.

    January 3, 2011 at 13:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Observer

      "...it seems all "religions" are spinoffs of Christianity". So there weren't any religions until 2,000 years ago? C'mon.

      January 3, 2011 at 13:42 | Report abuse |
    • RichardSRussell

      The idea that Jesus is coming back is probably the most frequently repeated lie in Western history. If we are to believe the folk tales from the Israel of 2000 years ago, the lie was 1st told to a bunch of Jesus's closest disciples. It was accompanied by the word "soon", as in "during the lifetimes of many of you hearing these very words here today". But it didn't happen. Didn't happen then, hasn't happened since, isn't happening now, and will never, ever happen in the future.

      Know why? Because he's DEAD, that's why! Dead, dead, dead. Dead as a doornail. Dead as a rock. Dead as the 8-track tape. Dead and gone. Dead and buried. Dead and never coming back.

      It's been TWO THOUSAND YEARS, for ciminy's sake. Get over it, already!

      January 3, 2011 at 14:01 | Report abuse |
    • Bible believing God fearing Christian

      2000+ yrs ago is when Christ died. The way the OT saints worshipped God in the same sense really was by believing that the animals they sacrificed were pictures of what Christ would do. so it actually goes back farther than that and the other ppl in the land did things like sacrificed children because of their idol god. Even the ppl who God was whipping out as the children of israel moved about were created by him, they followed a different way due to their choice. its the same today, same spirit different face. God set this up with adam and eve, the first thing he did after they ate from the tree was sacrificed an animal to provide a covering for their nakedness. Just as Christ is our covering for our sin......this pattern is consistent throughout the bilbe.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:08 | Report abuse |
    • Bible believing God fearing Christian

      heres the deal, 2000+ yrs ago is when Christ died. The way the OT saints worshipped God in the same sense really was by believing that the animals they sacrificed were pictures of what Christ would do. so it actually goes back farther than that and the other ppl in the land did things like sacrificed children because of their idol god. Even the ppl who God was whipping out as the children of israel moved about were created by him, they followed a different way due to their choice. its the same today, same spirit different face. God set this up with adam and eve, the first thing he did after they ate from the tree was sacrificed an animal to provide a covering for their nakedness. Just as Christ is our covering for our sin......this pattern is consistent throughout the bilbe.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:09 | Report abuse |
    • Bible believing God fearing Christian

      hey, if you believe the bible says he died why dont you believe also where it says he was raised by the power of God, and where the angel told the disciples that the way he left he's coming back the same way? im just asking. the bible says no man knows the time. After his death it could've been anytime...the signs of the time now shows that the rapture is soon to take place....and those left are going to go throught the great tribulation. a time that the world has never seen. you can see it being set up now...attempts at one banking system, all this microchip stuff...its as real as the food you ate today.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:15 | Report abuse |
  23. taildragon

    It took me awhile to stop acting as if God was there, after saying goodbye to faith (I had been a serious fundamentalist). Whenever I would panic about something, my first thought would be to pray or somehow look to God. Eventually I realized what I was doing, and was able to change my habits. Believers might say this is the 'Holy Spirit' at work...but keep in mind I still pathologically avoid cracks in the sidewalk! The more practiced a habit, the more difficult it is to break. I think this relates to this article, although I would like to see the study categorized more discretely, such as the age and reason for abandoning faith. That might be an interesting study.

    January 3, 2011 at 13:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. masonjarjar

    College students?? They don't know what it means to be an Atheist. Of course they're mad at god because they don't really understand how the world works yet and have not had time to devise an alternate way of thinking, other than their child-like view of God as big pappy in the sky...

    January 3, 2011 at 13:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Massive Marbles

    Stop, for one second, you are an independent unit surrounded by creation, that my skeptical friend...is GOD

    January 3, 2011 at 13:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • You Lost Your Marbles

      Did that make sense to you?

      January 3, 2011 at 13:40 | Report abuse |
    • Tommas

      The concept on consciousness and your independent unit could all just be an illusion created by a imperfect chemical machine. Like the inability to see the forest through the trees.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:17 | Report abuse |
  26. What atheism really means

    so tired of people not understanding what atheism means. It's not 'A BELIEF' that no god exists, 'it's NO BELIEF' that god exists. Now, It would be great if i we could 'not believe' in peace. All an atheist ultimately wants is for people to learn the methods of science, for in its short history those methods have done far more good for human well being than all religions combined.
    "there is no society in human history that has ever suffered because its population became too adherent to reason, too reluctant to embrace dogma, or too demanding of evidence." –Sam Harris

    January 3, 2011 at 13:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • RichardSRussell

      This is a great big BINGO, my friend! Thank you!

      January 3, 2011 at 14:04 | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      Thanks! Harris gets it so right. Many believers criticize atheists because they simply do not understand atheism, of which there is simply not that much to understand. Atheism is NOT a religion. No belief in gods. Period. A person wouldn't say, "I believe in the not-believing about fairies." They'd simply say "I don't believe in fairies."

      January 3, 2011 at 14:37 | Report abuse |
  27. John

    Anyone angry at God for not something or those who say if you thanked God for healing the cancer you should also thank God for that car crash should read "The Will of God", by Leslie Weatherhead (http://www.amazon.com/Will-God-Leslie-Weatherhead/dp/0687074827/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1294079585&sr=1-2)

    My Sunday School class covered this book several years ago and now with almost an entirely new cast in the class we are covering it again. Based on Weatherhead's sermons in London during WWII it helps one better understand God's will on earth and why not every hurt is healed.

    January 3, 2011 at 13:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. IntegralReality

    I don't get angry at imaginary friends, I get angry at the delusional fools that try to insist that I play along with their silly Stone Age beliefs.

    January 3, 2011 at 13:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. PhillyGuy

    Even in science, there is something known as the "GOD factor". Meaning, you can't give an explanation based on human scientific principals. If you don't believe in GOD, that's your choice, but as I tell people all the time: I don't have to prove GOD to you. When you have a personal experience with him, no one has to convince you of what's real or not.

    I can assure you that the people that have had a real experience with GOD don't need any convincing. And they don't keep going on and on trying to disprove his existence. The fact that atheists always put their time and energy in always coming up with ideas to prove that there is no GOD, proves that there is a GOD. Because you always have open ended questions trying to validate your uncertainty. I don't go around calling people crazy for talking about the Loch Ness Monster, or Big Foot, or Area 51 aliens. It only shows your own insecurities to even challenge someone for what they want to discuss.

    So the common question always asked, well how do you know who's right? Buddha, Islam, Jesus, Hindu? From what I have personally experienced that can not even be refuted by modern science. I don't have to prove nothing to anyone, no more than I have to prove that my name is what I was born with. If you don't believe, fine.

    But it still doesn't mean that GOD doesn't exist just because you as an atheist can't rationalize it from your own mind's perspective. All you can say is I don't see any evidence. But let's be honest, if someone put the evidence on a silver platter in front of you, you would still find another reason to put that down also. You don't want to believe, not because of sincerity, but because of arrogance.

    And I would be an idiot to keep arguing with someone over and over about something I have personally experienced to be true, just because you want to forever be a debbie downer. I've met self proclaimed atheists that later gave their life to Jesus Christ. So you're going to tell me that I didn't really see that as well, and that wasn't true because you haven't met that person as well? If you do, then you certainly prove how arrogant you are to tell someone that they didn't actually see, or hear, or touch, something that you know nothing about.

    January 3, 2011 at 13:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SeanNJ

      " I don't go around calling people crazy for talking about the Loch Ness Monster, or Big Foot, or Area 51 aliens. It only shows your own insecurities to even challenge someone for what they want to discuss."

      Sort of a gentlemen's agreement: I won't judge your flavor of insanity if you don't judge mine. Convenient, I suppose.

      January 3, 2011 at 13:46 | Report abuse |
    • taildragon

      Too funny! Kinda like why a crocodile won't attack an attorney...professional courtesy.

      (apologies to any lawyers out there!)

      January 3, 2011 at 14:00 | Report abuse |
    • PhillyGuy

      Well that's the way you can try to interpret that portion of my comment. But what I was actually trying to explain is that because those topics have no importance in my life, then I see no need of giving it more importance than what they really mean to me personally.

      Which is why I wouldn't go trolling around the internet trying to find Loch Ness monster, and Area 51 discussions to put down and discredit. But if you always saw me commenting on Area 51 blogs all day long, but I personally think that Area 51 theories are insane, then I have a lacking predisposition socially and mentally. That was my point; but again, think what you want. GOD gives everyone the option to even ignore him. if we choose.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:03 | Report abuse |
    • Nonimus

      @PhillyGuy,
      "Even in science, there is something known as the 'GOD factor'."
      I don't know where you heard this, but it's not science.

      If a "real experience" is all that's required then why hasn't God provided it to everyone? Or, perhaps the evangelicals just aren't praying hard enough for me. Why is that?

      January 3, 2011 at 14:04 | Report abuse |
    • PhillyGuy

      – "I don't know where you heard this, but it's not science."

      Maybe from an ACTUAL SCIENTIST? I know, you never heard that before, so that means I'm wrong and the scientist that said it is wrong as well, right? Goes back to my point about arrogance. Some people think just because you haven't experienced something, or that your mind hasn't been convinced, or that you never heard of something before, then it must be wrong or it never happened because life exists by your standards.

      Well there are a lot of things that people don't understand, and may never will. But that doesn't mean that certain things are wrong unless they can be proven to you. That would then make you a GOD. And I'll repeat it again, it is not the job of a Christian to prove Jesus Christ's existence to you. No where is that stated in the bible.

      Believe it or don't. I'm not going to loss any sleep over you at night no more than you will over me. I don't have to prove what I have experienced to be true.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:23 | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      Philly: I completely disagree with you on the whole evidence thing. To the contrary, if evidence was shown to me, as an atheist, I believe that I'd be the first to start asking the big "why" questions. I'd be absolutely fascinated! I wouldn't try to find other reasons to be a non-believer. Why? Because I am curious and inquisitive – not closed-minded.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:31 | Report abuse |
    • Nonimus

      @PhillyGuy,

      Did this "ACTUAL SCIENTIST" say how s/he used this "GOD factor" in their equations? Did they cite a paper explaining what exactly this "GOD factor" is?

      If you want to provide a link to where this scientist used the term, that might simplify the discussion. I suspect that the term was used as a rhetorical place holder for things that that aren't understood, and not that God actually factors into their equations or theories, which is what you seem to be implying.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:37 | Report abuse |
    • PhillyGuy

      @Tim

      Well, I tell you what. I at least applaud you for giving it a thought; unlike soo many others that are dismissive on completely baseless assumptions. If you would like that kind of experience then I'll say this to you and anyone else reading:

      Give yourself a sincere goal, with real sincerity. Without any pre-judgments, biases, or personal indifferences clouding your thoughts: "ask GOD out of favor, to please reveal something that no person could take credit for, and that would make me a believer that you are the true and living GOD, the creator."

      Ask that in all sincerity as if someone had your life at the end of a gun, and I can assure you that you will receive an answer from him that will change your beliefs.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:51 | Report abuse |
    • PhillyGuy

      @Nonimus

      All do respect, you're actually proving my point in my previous posts. I've had this conversation with atheists and others before that always keep asking the same things, "prove to me this or that, or show me evidence." And it's really pointless, because what happens is once you show one thing, then the atheist finds another reason to discredit that, and it turns into a never ending cycle of who sounds more intellectual.

      Before you know it, I'll be trying to defend the word "is", and then it'll be a debate as to whether or not the letter "i" in the word "is" is really and "i" or something else. It never ends with people that have no sincerity of really wanting to find answers, verses people that believe their existence is enough forever for everything.

      Again, my opinion means nothing just like yours without a personal experience. I can give you my opinion all day long the same as anyone else. But everyone can't say that they've experienced what true christians have. That's what science and numbers can't explain.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:06 | Report abuse |
    • Nonimus

      @PhillyGuy,
      To the extent that subjective experiences are not entirely suseptable to scienctific inquiry, I would agree with you. Certain opinions are neither right nor wrong. In addition, I would agree that the existence, or non-existence, of God is not "provable" by science, especially since science doesn't deal with proofs or the supernatural.
      What I take issue with is the implication that science uses some "God factor" to account for how things work. If you want to say that belief relies on personal experience, why bring up science at all, unless it is an attempt to lend credence to your argument. If you have a problem with people wanting evidence for their beliefs, or saying, "show me evidence," then why present the "evidence" that, "Even in science, there is something known as the 'GOD factor'?" You seem to begin your argument with the very type of argument that you claim to dislike.

      Only secondarily, and please disregard this item if it interferes with the above item, I wonder, if personnel experience is the deciding factor in belief why is it not self-evident and why am I repeatedly being quoted scripture as if that will convince me?

      January 3, 2011 at 15:47 | Report abuse |
  30. Kevin E

    and just like the time of the great flood, when Noah warned people about what was coming.. it will happen again, and many will perish for not believing!

    January 3, 2011 at 13:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • faithful

      BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That sums this entire thing up.

      January 3, 2011 at 13:42 | Report abuse |
    • shmid

      Many people parish every single day. Welcome to Earth.

      January 3, 2011 at 13:45 | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      Yes, of course. The story about the 600-year-old man who build a ship large enough to hold 2 to 7 of hundreds of thousands of animals and all the food for them for months. Then, when he had saved the animals, he celebrated by sacrificing some of them.

      January 3, 2011 at 13:52 | Report abuse |
    • PhillyGuy

      So true. And as soon as millions of people get swept away in the flood, you'll have the hypocrites asking, where was GOD?
      Just like the 90's leading up to 9/11. I'll be darned if every atheist and agnostic didn't fight tooth and nail to take GOD out of everything in the US. School, court house, sporting events, television programming, you name it.

      Then as soon as the US was attacked on 9/11, those same people had the audacity to ask "Where was GOD?", "Why did he let 9/11 happen?".

      January 3, 2011 at 13:55 | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Kevin E, if you are a true believer, you might want to quit posting. You're not doing your brethren any good by continuing to post.

      January 3, 2011 at 13:56 | Report abuse |
    • Nonimus

      ... but I thought God promised it wouldn't happen again?!?!

      January 3, 2011 at 13:56 | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      PhillyGuy,
      You totally missed the point. "Where was God?" was a question for believers. After all, we had a president then who bragged that he talked to God all the time. Apparently, God didn't bother to tell him that an attack was coming, just like God didn't tell Bush that he was starting a war for false reasons.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:02 | Report abuse |
    • PhillyGuy

      @Observer

      No you are completely wrong about that. GOD did warn some ministers and other Christians of the coming danger. In fact, there was a christian minister that tried to tell the govt. in Washington, DC what GOD had told him about the coming events of 9/11.

      And you know what they did? Exactly what you and a lot of other people on this forum are doing: ridicule him like he was a nut. He pleaded with them to listen to him, and they called him crazy. They didn't think he was crazy on 9/11 unfortunately. But then it was too late. Exactly what happened in the day of Noah. People called him crazy and made fun of him, until the flood did come.

      I have close personal Christian friends that told me that GOD told them before hand not to go into work that day in the trade towers in lower manhattan. GOD is real, and he does talk to people. But GOD is not going to deal with someone that only wants to make him their confirmation of a hypothesis. If you're not serious about GOD, then he's not serious about you.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:32 | Report abuse |
    • BR

      PhillyGuy,
      Again, you misunderstand. Those who asked, "where was God?" are pointing out the inhumanity and sadistic tendencies of the very thing people claim is there to protect them. Theists claim, God is my sheppard...what sheppard allows his flock to be slaughtered...hence, there is no sheppard.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:26 | Report abuse |
    • BR

      Observer beat me to my last point, but cheers. PhillyGuy is starting to feel like a troll, but one last bit.

      Why, PhillyGuy, do none of your assertions come with any substantiation? What christian minister? Where? Where was he from? What denomination? WHat was his name? WHere was it reported? What is the name of the church he came from? What did his parish say about his actions? You expect people to believe you when you can't even provide simple details about this story, so why should anyone believe you about the cosmos? And after 911 occurred the authorities simply thought, that one minister guessed right. 🙂

      January 3, 2011 at 15:38 | Report abuse |
    • PhillyGuy

      @BR

      No I didn't miss understand anything. And you and others are not getting my point. I don't care what you think is right or wrong is the whole point of it all. You're convincing or not doesn't disprove anything. If you don't believe what happened then you just don't believe it. It doesn't mean that they didn't occur. But don't sit up here acting as if you yourself are GOD almighty needing evidence to prove your own philosophy.

      There are tons of things that have occurred for centuries of GOD showing himself to countless numbers of people on Earth. And because you don't know, you would rather discredit someone because of what you can't verify to be true. Again, proven arrogance. What difference does it make to keep going over the same thing over and over to a bunch of people that have staunchly made up in their mind already that no matter what is told to me, my answer will always be that it didn't happen,it doesn't exist, and I don't agree with it because my intellect can't process it until you prove me wrong.

      Believe what you want. And if GOD reacted to things based upon my rational or your rational of right or wrong, then that would mean that he wouldn't be infallible. So how a person dies has many factors to it that can't all be explained on an internet forum. But what's most important to GOD is not necessarily how you die, because all people will eventually experience that part of life. But where you will be after death.

      January 3, 2011 at 16:17 | Report abuse |
  31. Holly

    When I actually take the time to think about it, I've always found it really difficult to either believe in God, or to be an atheist. While I feel like the likelihood of God existing seems very slim, I usually just go with agnostic because it hasn't really been proven one way or the other. So to say that God doesn't exist for sure seems just as ignorant as saying that God does exist. For me, personally, it seems more accurate to just say, I think it's unlikely, and even if he does exist, I just don't care. I feel like... if God existed and actually wanted people to worship him, then he'd make those wishes known and do something to always compel people to worship him (and no, "miracles" in stories from thousands of years ago isn't compelling for many of us in today's society to worship him, let alone for people who have obviously grown up with different faiths). But I don't see any all powerful being telling me that I owe it worship for my existence. So I'm going to go on living my life and not worry about it.

    If other people just lived their lives, and not spend so much time worrying about God, maybe we'd be a more productive society that didn't kill each other over said being all the time.

    January 3, 2011 at 13:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. BR

    The researcher is clearly biased. ""When people trust that God cares about them..." What an incredibly flawed examination. Atheist, by definition, precludes the entire premise of being angry at god. You can't be angry at something that doesn't exist, as the first poster points out. The article does a disservice by neglecting to account for that discrepency. I'm amazed this study didn't come out of Bob Jones U.

    January 3, 2011 at 13:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. JustinOhJustin

    Wow, God seems to be a popular topic. I wonder why...

    I grew up not being exposed to the Church, and thus essentially grew up agnostic until sometime into my teens. My parents were both Catholic, but very upset with the local archdiocese, and therefore stopped attending the local church. During my agnostic phase I did feel anger towards God in regards to things that I thought were wrong with the world. Since then I've decided that I truly am an atheist because I came to realize that I have no faith.

    I do find it interesting when atheists get upset by those with faith in a higher being, like we see in some of the comments here. I wonder if the thought of challenging their world perception has burdened them with some doubt. Perhaps they're more agnostic than they realize, and simply don't like the idea of their mind being clouded in the gray rather than being black or white.

    While I hold the belief that there is nothing out there "greater" than physical beings, I will say that I respect those with heartfelt religious beliefs and not those just going through the motions. Good luck to them because I might be wrong.

    January 3, 2011 at 13:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kent

      Hi Justin

      If you think you 'might' be wrong you are still very much wearing religious shackles from childhood.
      However I mightily respect your opinions. You're not a true atheist, yet. You might actually be the type of so called quasi 'atheist' that the article is referring to. Frankly, I would imagine it would be difficult at best to be a true atheist in the United States due to overbearing peer pressure and the fear of being ostracized. Good luck. Hang in there. You're not alone,
      it just seems like you are.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:29 | Report abuse |
    • JustinOhJustin

      Wow, there's arrogance and there's a whole new level of what you just described about me, Kent. Would you like to tell me my philosophical leanings towards social and economic policies as well? Wow.

      I assure you, I am an atheist and there are no trappings of peer pressure present in my life. I'm simply willing to not force my views upon others, to respect their decisions so long as they do the same for me.

      January 3, 2011 at 17:02 | Report abuse |
    • Kent

      Hey Justin

      I apologize if I came off as arrogant. I was somewhat startled when you used the term "I might be wrong" because
      generally atheists don't waffle in their 'faith'.

      You said "Kent. Would you like to tell me my philosophical leanings towards social and economic policies as well? Wow".

      If you don't get mad at me, could I make an attempt?

      You're liberal leaning, you voted for Obama, you hate golf, you abhor Fox news in principal but find it nevertheless entertaining now and then.

      January 3, 2011 at 19:31 | Report abuse |
    • JustinOhJustin

      I'm a libertarian (not affiliated with the party) with conservative leanings, heavily influenced when getting my BA in economics, and abstained from the Presidential race while voting for all other races in my district in 2008 because neither candidate suited my at all. I have nothing against golf as a game – except when it's on TV. And I don't watch Fox News but will read their website, taking care to pay attention to any biases that crop up, like I do here and other news sites.

      January 4, 2011 at 14:48 | Report abuse |
  34. slickery

    Once everyones realizes the sky creature doesn't exist, it will be a free-for-all. You think Sudan is bad.... just wait....

    January 3, 2011 at 13:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SeanNJ

      To be honest, that scares me more than the possibility of god's existence ever did. A twisted corollary to Pascal's Wager.

      January 3, 2011 at 13:50 | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Sniffles

      But in countries where faith is not prevalent, war is less common. Studies show that war, torture, and major crime occur more often in religious countries.

      Studies do not support the presumption that morality only comes from religion, that people are not able to be decent without religion.

      January 3, 2011 at 13:52 | Report abuse |
    • Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

      But the conflict in Sudan is to a significant degree a religious war, Muslims versus pagan. That's part of the hatred that fuels it.

      January 3, 2011 at 13:56 | Report abuse |
    • slickery

      My thought has nothing to do with war. It's the realization that this world is, in fact, a big survival-of-the-fittest game. That's when the fun begins. If there is no being higher than humans, then who's going to tell me I can't kill everyone I see? Who? No one. And I will to ensure my survival. Happens all the time in the animal world.... oh wait, we ARE animals....hmmmm

      January 3, 2011 at 13:57 | Report abuse |
    • SeanNJ

      @Mr Sniffles: I'm fairly certain he's referring to a sudden "eureka" moment where the faithful are forced, en masse, to go through "god withdrawal." Some would handle it better than others, but there could be the potential for some civil unrest.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:01 | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Sniffles

      Nicely stated, Sean. Though I personally believe that most of the religious-in-withdrawal would choose to be decent, just as atheists do. I don't think their morality actually comes from religion – studies show that religious people are actually slightly less moral. The have higher rates of major crime, are more likely to support war and torture, and they get divorced more.

      Atheists do not go through bursts of violence of other dangerous misbehavior when they choose atheism. The only way for your scenario to be correct would be if religious people are powderkegs of evil who are only held in check by religion. Totally hypothetical, of course, for religion is not going away – even if it ought to.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:16 | Report abuse |
  35. Kevin E

    Many people perish.. true! but that's nothing compared to what's coming!! "Every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that He is Lord"

    January 3, 2011 at 13:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • faithful

      Hallelujah!!!!!

      January 3, 2011 at 13:51 | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      Death should be of no concern to us, for when we are alive, death is not present, and when we are dead, life is no more.
      -Epicurus, Roman philosopher

      January 3, 2011 at 14:14 | Report abuse |
    • RichardSRussell

      Just basic psychology. How do you get somebody to do something they'd really rather NOT do? Sticks and carrots.

      Of course, the track record of Christianity shows that, when God was a tad slow coming up with sticks of his own, his followers were more than happy to help fill the deficit. Oversubscribed it, actually.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:19 | Report abuse |
  36. Stacy

    Maybe this is the way the soul is shouting out that God does exist. You can't be angry at someone that isn't there.

    January 3, 2011 at 13:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. from the heart

    First to the writer, you obviously don't have anything else to talk or write about and if you think you are creative, let me be the first to tell you, that you are far from it. Stupidity and idleness gets you nowhere! Please know that God is everywhere and is aware of everything and that there is a reason why things happen. Now put that in your pipe and smoke it.

    January 3, 2011 at 13:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bigbill

      I disagree; I think he got a pretty good respond to the article, a large audiance, and that’s what journalism is all about. Keep up the good work, gives us a littl break from DC and crazy killers in the news.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:03 | Report abuse |
  38. Nonimus

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

    During their lifetimes... not as atheists!

    January 3, 2011 at 13:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom

      So, born-again atheists?

      January 3, 2011 at 13:57 | Report abuse |
    • Nonimus

      The French version would be 'Renaissance Atheist'.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:44 | Report abuse |
  39. dman

    Hey God Fearing Christian, all religions are spinoffs of spinoffs. Some guy, most likely a leader in some category says "I had a vision" and the next thing you know, POP! Christianity, Islam, even the Mormons got in on that one. And how many Pop's have occurred in Christendom since the beginning? Well you get a few guys along the way that says HEY The Pope ain't all that and the next thing you know POP! Protestants, Methodists, Baptists, etc... and of course they'll all tolerate you if you convert!

    Sounds like Gods plan is "Get Out and Declare" your own religion! Religion is good for some parts, but really I agree with Tall Dragon that a religious person will pray his problems away (which either gets resolved or gets replaced with another problem, doesn't matter GOD wins! yea!) and use GOD as an enabler. I would think GOD would want you to be self-reliant and your own person!! That's how Jesus, Mohammed, and Joseph Smith did it! Heck GOD wants you to be Atheist! All he's got is a bunch of whiny kids that can't think for themselves. Sounds like I need need start a church (because power over others and money can't hurt).

    Sarcasm aside, My life has been vastly improved by removing Heaven and Hell, God and Devil. Its like Santa, I finally got it.

    January 3, 2011 at 13:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tommas

      That may be asking way too much for many of these people to grasp. They truly think their beliefs are original and unique from the thousands of other religions that have come and went.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:20 | Report abuse |
  40. bdx

    the amazing thing is that most here are commenting on what religions claim – not what the bible actually says about god.
    If you read the whole bible you find that god is not the one responsible for bad things happening, there are other influences and "time and unforseen occurance befall all men" thus god does not influence accidents one way or the other, does not determine who will live through a natural disaster or not.
    If you actually read the bible and do some research you will find there is no such thing as a burning hell, that the punishment for unrepentant sinners is death itself – nothing else.
    Just like you will realize that christ was not born on Dec 25 or even close to it (that's even on wikipedia)
    Most religions today have more pagan influences than actual christian teachings – if someone bases thier belief or dis-belief in god on the traditions and misrepresentations of man then of course they will be angry when things go wrong or injustices occur.
    Read the entire bible with an open mind and do some research yourself – don't just listen to what someone says in a pulpit – and don't dis-believe without doing real research and reading the bible for yourself.

    January 3, 2011 at 14:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LouAz

      " god does not influence accidents one way or the other, does not determine who will live through a natural disaster or not."
      Oh yea? Tell it to Noah, and the Egyptians about Moses, and the angel that slew the Philistines, and "other" acts of your god in your bible. You can't pick and choose the parts you like, you have to account for all of it from cover to cover. You want arethmetic of addition and subtraction and division, without multiplication ! NO SALE !

      January 3, 2011 at 14:25 | Report abuse |
  41. wisman

    Another bunk religious study. Notice how the writer Julie Exline asserts through the entire study that there is a God. Of course she is going to get screwed results. Atheists are relabeled : angry people in denial. The whole study is disgraceful. I can just see the two choices they were told to fill in: "are you understanding of God?", "are you angry at God?". If atheist did respond it was clearly meant to mean "if God exists" then I would be angry at him.

    January 3, 2011 at 14:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Research, Anyone?

      Wisman,

      Your ignorance is truly comical. Assuming that the research is flawed, simply because you do not like the results, is pure ignorance, and that indeed is a tragedy. Having read the research study published in the peer reviewed journal myself, I can truly say that there were many options for atheists to choose from that did not mandate a choice between anger and belief. I feel sorry for individuals like you who spout off so wrecklessly.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:32 | Report abuse |
  42. Bob

    If one accepts a conventional definition of God as the omnipotent and omnipresent proprietor of the universe, then any anger directed at God for life's tragedies should appear to a thinking person as being misplaced. Is God our servant, on whom we can lay blame when things do not go our way? That sort of "Oh, Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz" theology makes belief in God appear to be ridiculous and, almost certainly, drives people to atheism by turning religion into a parody of itself.

    January 3, 2011 at 14:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LouAz

      I had forgotten sweet Janis Joplin for many years. Thanks for reminding me of her deep understanding of religion in the USA.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:13 | Report abuse |
  43. Lilly Ward

    It all comes down to good and evil. God as Creator is present in all things, except evil. Evil is defined as that which is absent of God...which is Good. God is Love. Man has the free will to choose all that is good, but because of our humanity we often fall short of the target. We must take some responsibility for the state of the world in its poverty and disease. That poverty and disease is not simply the images we see from developing countries. Developed countries also suffer from the poverty and disease of the heart, the mind and the spirit. When we feel that God does not answer our prayers, we need to ask ourselves...for what do I pray, and how strong is my desire for change. Am I able to persevere. Only through prayer which is creative thought can we be enlightened.

    January 3, 2011 at 14:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • RichardSRussell

      Prayer by itself is an utter waste of time. You're just talking to yourself — there's nobody on the other end of the line.

      The only good that's going to be done for you in this life will be done by you yourself and your fellow human beings.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:24 | Report abuse |
  44. sjenner

    Many people have accurately stated that believers' arguments are unconvincing. This does not, I believe, result from a lack of intelligence on the part of believers, but from the believer's failure to recognize the already-formed assumptions and conclusions upon which their faith rests. The necessity for the believer is to start at core principle, and to address the core issues of (1) why should someone believe in a god, and (2) why your god/religion is the correct one. Believers are asserting an affirmative proposition. So the burden of proof always rests with the believer to establish the proposition. Merely reciting Bible verses isn't going to suffice. Believer's have to substantiate the legitimacy of the Bible first (in other words, the Bible comes much later when arguing with someone who agrees that it is authoritative and relevant).

    January 3, 2011 at 14:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. RichP, easton, pa

    Knew a lot of atheists during my 27 years of military service lotta converts too , coincided with incoming rockets and mortar fire strangely enough. Me, I don't know, I have seen some amazing stuff so I can't write it off, after all, why take the chance. Most of the rules are pretty simple and straight foward and generally won't hurt you.

    January 3, 2011 at 14:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • wisman

      don't fall prey to pascal's wager

      January 3, 2011 at 14:07 | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Well said, and I agree, but when it is SHOVED down your throat from all angles, well then it is a problem.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:11 | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Sniffles

      The "no atheists in foxholes" has been proven totally false. I asked an Atheist who had been at the Yalu River when the Chinese came across en masse. He said he felt a lot of fear but never had any thoughts about God.

      The believe in god in the military is slightly less than in the general population – it would be more if the foxhole theory was true.

      Even after almost being killed repeatedly in his life, including in World War I, Ernest Hemingway not only remained atheist but considered religion a menace to human happiness.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:24 | Report abuse |
  46. brian

    "Moreover, distress at God is associated with mental health symptoms."

    I'd say the very belief itself in a god is associated with mental health symptoms... namely delusion.

    January 3, 2011 at 14:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • RichardSRussell

      Not to knock the writing style here, but wouldn't it be better to be afflicted with mental HEALTH symptoms than with mental ILLNESS symptoms?

      January 3, 2011 at 14:26 | Report abuse |
  47. j.mo

    I'd suggest folks take a look at the study itself. When you see how the questions are worded, the finding makes sense. For many there is an incident or series of incidents that may be the beginning of their questioning. So if this group is asked about their past or asked to project their feelings on a god they don't believe in, they might be more likely to bring up anger. That doesn't mean they are angry now with god. I'm not sure that makes sense when I write it out, but I'd recommend paging through the study itself.

    January 3, 2011 at 14:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. flash

    If there were no threat of hell and promise of great afterlife in heaven there would be no need to worship. All of religon is based on things that can't be verified, that's why it works so well. Just remember that the people who thought this all up also thought the sun revolved around the earth and if you sailed to the end of the world you would fall off.

    January 3, 2011 at 14:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sjenner

      Not necessarily. The Sadducees, one of the major branches of Judaism before the destruction of the Second Temple, did not believe in an afterlife, because one was not mentioned in the Torah, the only part of the Bible that they accepted as authoritative. They nonetheless worshiped (and indeed controlled the Temple cult for a great deal of its history) because they feared what God could do to them in the here and now.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:11 | Report abuse |
  49. bigbill

    I beleive in God, but I am never angery at him. I try not be peacefull with his creations as well, even though its very hard sometimes.

    January 3, 2011 at 14:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob

      You're never angry at "Him", Bill, because you've been conditioned not to be. It's no more complicated than that. You're likely the same as most other "believers" - they got their hooks in you as a young child (through your parents, because the same thing happened to them), and now it is simply part of your psychology. Decades of conditioning have made you the "believer" you are today.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:19 | Report abuse |
  50. LouAz

    NONSENSE ! Nuthin' from nuthin' leaves nuthin' !!!

    January 3, 2011 at 14:08 | Report abuse | Reply
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