Study: Belief in Angry God Associated with Poor Mental Health

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Joined in 2013
April 23, 2013, 17:19

Thought this was an interesting thing to share.

'Respondents' characterizations of God were gleaned from their opinions of how six adjectives — absolute, critical, just, punishing, severe, or wrathful — applied to God. A numbering system was used to gauge the degree to which the subject viewed the adjective as an accurate descriptor of God (very well = 4; somewhat well = 3, not very well = 2, etc.). In a similar fashion, respondents answered queries designed to measure the five aforementioned psychiatric symptoms.

The researchers found that belief in a punitive God was significantly associated with an increase in social anxiety, paranoia, obsession, and compulsion. Conversely, belief in a benevolent God was associated with reductions in those four symptoms. Belief in an indifferent God was not linked to any symptoms.'

Ann Maree
Joined in 2008
April 23, 2013, 18:23

Thanks for this Druganov. The findings make sense. If we experience or believe in a wrathful, angry, punishing God, we are likely to feel unsupported and negatively judged, carrying this inner critic around with us. And that's a hard and hellish way to live. We all have needs for love, support, compassion, understanding and these qualities tend to make us feel good and lead to healing rather than mental illness.


Ann Maree

Joined in 2005
May 2, 2013, 10:50

Sadly – No great surprise but very interesting. Thanks for posting.

Whilst this study has certain limitations (its a study of correlation rather than causation really)

( Basically they just ask people to characterise what type of God they believe in AND then attempted to measure they levels of social anxiety, paranoia, obsession, and compulsion.)

negative thoughts about oneself – – low self esteem etc ARE harmful – and as the article notes theres a plethora of studies on that kind of thing….

It is also interesting in that it does make the explicit point that the type of God View you choose to hold will affect your life (and in a positive or negative manner) ….

It also reminds me of a book the Velvet rage – "" – and it talks about how the opinions we hold about ourselves shape our behaviours.

He doesnt talk about it in the context of belief in an angry God – but its a powerful book anyway – and adding in what he says – to the idea that we [can] hold values of shame, paranoia etc because of our belief in a [type of] God and it makes this study very disturbing….

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