Fugitives from Fundamentalism

The Musings of Adult Missionary Kids (MKs) & Former Born-Again Believers

Angry at God

Posted by Paulo on November 5, 2009

Believers have asked me before if I am angry at God. “No,” I said, “not any angrier than I am at Santa for not existing and not bringing me presents.” The belief that God is real is so ingrained in the minds of some believers that they can’t imagine a world without him. Either you’re on God’s side or you’re against him. Or you’re just plain lost.

In a way, I can understand why some people would think that way. Fundamentalists surround themselves with people who are like-minded. They don’t hang around too many people who don’t believe in God. Sure, they work with them and stuff at their jobs, but I don’t think they get into too many deep discussions with unbelievers. The only exposure some of those faithful churchgoers have of the minds of unbelievers are testimonies of former unbelievers who somehow found Jesus. Those testimonies usually include someone who “was raised in a Christian home” but later rejected the Gospel and went their own sinful way only to fail miserably, hit rock-bottom, and later “found the Lord in their life again” and realized how “the Lord was there all along.” Or someone who came from a secular home and who always felt like “something was missing” in their life but never could quite figure out what it was until they “found the Lord” and they suddenly realized what they had been missing all along. With testimonies like these (and long sermons to back them up), some believers actually come to the conclusion that all unbelievers feel like that.

Personally, I don’t feel the lack of God in my life. On the contrary. A great burden was lifted once I let go of God. It makes me laugh when people ask me questions like “What happened in your life that made you turn away from God?” (as if something terrible happened to me and I blame God for it). Well, nothing happened. I just started to think outside the Christian box. If you don’t believe someone is real, wouldn’t it be silly to be mad at them?

6 Responses to “Angry at God”

  1. The Chaplain said

    Coincidentally (or miraculously) enough, this relevant video appeared in my email box this morning:

  2. Ann said

    Believers have asked me before if I am angry at God. “No,” I said, “not any angrier than I am at Santa for not existing and not bringing me presents.”

    Well, I think most kids would be angry if Santa didn’t bring them any gifts one year. And maybe even angry if they found out he didn’t really exist, and that they were lied to about his existence. But getting angry at an imaginary character doesn’t translate into that imaginary character being real. And getting angry at the people who told you Santa is real doesn’t help either (and what if they thought Santa was really real!). Furthermore, getting angry at the kids who insist on believing Santa is real, even when told he’s not, is sorta pointless–they’re just kids and haven’t developed the ability to determine Santa and his gift giving is just a myth. They don’t know that Santa’s elves can’t scratch you off the nice kids list. That Santa can’t watch you when you are sleeping or awake. That Santa can’t punish you by denying you his free gift if you are naughty.

    Now if the kids were naughty kids that year, well, I can see how parents might not be too happy about their behavior. But most parents, being good people, will still love their kids and want them to have a good Christmas, and, in the end, probably give them gifts anyway.

    In my case, as a mother, I like to take credit for the gifts I buy with the money I earn. F!@# Santa! “Hey kids, I bought these presents for you–how about a nice hug. Yes, I’m real! And you’re pretty swell too.”

    • Paulo said

      When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
      1 Corinthians 13:11

      • Ann said

        There’s been some extensive research done on substance abuse and the maturation process. It’s known in the field of addiction that many people get generally stuck at the developmental age at which they became dependent on an addictive substance. Meaning in many cases they see the world through the eyes of a teenager, reacting to life experiences as a teenager would, if they become dependent at a young age–using daily or almost daily (for opiates and marijuana many people are just kids when they start using, 12 to 15). Once you’re an adult, drugs don’t have that effect on the brain since most of brain development occurs prior to the mid-twenties.

        I wonder how this might apply to religious ideology? People seem to get stuck in a childlike place in their spiritual development (staying in fundamentalism). Most people are exposed to religion at a young age. The challenge is for people is seeing outside of the box, or perspective, that becomes part of self-identity during childhood. Working with people as an addiction counselor, I often see the boxed perspective.

        Change is a difficult process, and, although it’s a part of life, it happens more for some than others. Our minds and personalities become fairly stable in our early to mid twenties. After that, change is more of a struggle. It’s sometimes minimal (depending on the person) and occurs slowly. Like swimming upriver during rainy season.

        While in school, therapists are taught to lose expectations partly because of this. Medication produces the most and fastest change. Without medication, many disorders and patterns of behavior and thinking are almost unchangeable, but not completely. This can be frustrating for both client and therapist. But real change happens if the client decides it, not because the therapist decides it. As a therapist I can listen, support people, and use cognitive techniques (like socratic dialogue/questioning and confronting irrational thinking), while attempting to see the world through my client’s eyes so I can be there with them in that slow change process.

        That said, there are still times as adults when changes happen for us rapidly, when we have “light bulb” moments or changed awareness from our experiences.

    • Ann said

      But there is always that one darn gift that shows up under our tree every year from Santa for the kids…still trying to figure it out since I know deep in my heart there’s gotta be a natural explanation!

  3. Jerry said

    “A great burden was lifted once I let go of God.”

    That was true for me, too. Being a fundamentalist was a pretty stressful lifestyle. There was always this worry that I would screw something up and then die and not be officially forgiven for a sin I hadn’t repented of. One of the darkest days I remember in college was when I thought I had accidentally thought something bad of the Holy Spirit and believed I had committed the unforgiveable sin. Oh, what a sad set of delusions. Giving up God was like wiping the whiteboard clean and having the chance to decide what I thought about the world around me. Those things have become my beliefs — not my parents or the church’s.

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