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Study: Belief in an angry God associated with variety of mental illnesses

Posted by on Apr. 17, 2013 at 1:56 PM
  • 150 Replies

An angry man holds a Bible and a crucifix. Photo: Shutterstock.com.

People who believe in an angry, punishing God are much more likely to suffer from a variety of mental illnesses, a scientific study published in the April edition ofJournal of Religion & Health finds.

The study, conducted by Marymount Manhattan College Assistant Psychology Professor Nava Silton, used data from the 2010 Baylor Religion Survey of US Adults to examine the links between beliefs and anxiety disorders like social dysfunction, paranoia, obsession and compulsion.

To do this, Silton viewed the data through the lens of what’s called Evolutionary Threat Assessment System Theory, which posits that parts of the brain specifically evolved to detect threats, and suggests that many anxiety disorders may be a result of dysfunction in the brain’s perception of those threats.


In keeping with prior studies on this very subject, she queried the data on three types of believers: those who see God as angry, those who see God as neutral and those who see God as loving. Controlling specifically to weed out the non-believers, Silton found that a belief in a forgiving, loving God is associated with positive psychological traits, “almost protecting against psychopathology,” she told Raw Story.

But for those who think God is angry and preparing punishments for sinners, “that belief seems to be very much related to these negative symptoms,” Silton said.

“If you look at the previous research, they’ve connected it to depression and all sorts of other psychiatric disorders,” she said. “We were looking at social phobia, obsession, compulsion, paranoia and a lot of features of anxiety disorders.”

One thing Silton stressed is that her study should not be construed to have found a cause for such symptoms. “We are not looking at casual findings here,” she said. “We are looking at correlational findings. That means we’re not saying belief caused psychiatric symptoms, but we see relationships between beliefs and these psychiatric symptoms.”

Silton said that while her study was mostly quantitative in nature, she’s looking forward to “asking more qualitative questions” in future work, specifically “to look into what else belief systems might be related to.”

“We’d like to look more specifically at depression and eating disorders,” she said. “Do different beliefs in God relate to eating disorder symptoms? So, [we want to be] looking beyond just anxiety disorders.”


http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/17/study-belief-in-an-angry-god-associated-with-variety-of-mental-illnesses/

by on Apr. 17, 2013 at 1:56 PM
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FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Apr. 17, 2013 at 2:00 PM
8 moms liked this

I don't know how true, or not, any given study really is.  We all know these studies can be doctored to fit what ever agenda, or outcome, those involved seek.

But I can say that from my own personal experience, those who believe that God is angry, vengeful....more over a loving, forgiving God, seem to be angry and vengeful themselves.  Their actions and words, all in the name of God, are not positive and are more destructive than positive.  Their approach does not lend one to want to follow that path but rather either turn away completely or seek their own beliefs without interference from some one so full of angst.

12hellokitty
by Platinum Member on Apr. 17, 2013 at 2:19 PM
3 moms liked this

So what about Atheists who while they claim to not believe in God often associate God as being angry and punishing?

futureshock
by Ruby Member on Apr. 17, 2013 at 2:23 PM


Quoting FromAtoZ:

I don't know how true, or not, any given study really is.  We all know these studies can be doctored to fit what ever agenda, or outcome, those involved seek.

But I can say that from my own personal experience, those who believe that God is angry, vengeful....more over a loving, forgiving God, seem to be angry and vengeful themselves.  Their actions and words, all in the name of God, are not positive and are more destructive than positive.  Their approach does not lend one to want to follow that path but rather either turn away completely or seek their own beliefs without interference from some one so full of angst.

I think this way of thinking comes from a misunderstanding of what any particular study is trying to say.  For example, what do you think this study in the op is saying?

I don't know how true, or not, any given study really is.  We all know these studies can be doctored to fit what ever agenda, or outcome, those involved seek.

futureshock
by Ruby Member on Apr. 17, 2013 at 2:24 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting 12hellokitty:

So what about Atheists who while they claim to not believe in God often associate God as being angry and punishing?

What about them?

lancet98
by Silver Member on Apr. 17, 2013 at 2:37 PM

 The first thing that struck me as wierd was that the title referred generally to 'mental illness', but very early on, we find out the study was on 'certain types of anxiety disorders'.

So the study commences with a ridiculous premise...or at least a very badly chosen title to the article about it....

Just come out and say what 'certain anxiety disorders' you were studying, so we can all go back to our normal routines (ROFLMAO).

Quoting -Celestial-:

 

An angry man holds a Bible and a crucifix. Photo: Shutterstock.com.

People who believe in an angry, punishing God are much more likely to suffer from a variety of mental illnesses, a scientific study published in the April edition ofJournal of Religion & Health finds.

Who in the world publishes, or even more importantly, juries and reviews the 'studies' that so serendipitously appear in this....'journal'?

The study, conducted by Marymount Manhattan College Assistant Psychology Professor Nava Silton,

Study.   Conducted by an assistant psychology professor.   OKAY....someone who has basically NO training in 'mental illness'.....

used data from the 2010 Baylor Religion Survey of US Adults to examine the links between beliefs and anxiety disorders like social dysfunction, paranoia, obsession and compulsion.

WHAT?    That's a list of ANXIETY DISORDERS?   ON WHAT PLANET?  

Ok, another nutty premise....that this is a list of 'anxiety disorders'.

Oh my god, I'm actually starting to be glad I got involved in this idiotic waste of time....

Just as an FYI, they were not looking at a 'list of anxiety disorders'.   They were looking at some nutty made up category tailor made to their study resulting in exactly what they wished to find.

I just love how this is called a 'study'.

That's the next ridiculous premise, that this is a 'study'.

To do this, Silton viewed the data through the lens of what’s called Evolutionary Threat Assessment System Theory, which posits that parts of the brain specifically evolved to detect threats, and suggests that many anxiety disorders may be a result of dysfunction in the brain’s perception of those threats.

That's pretty funny too.   But I have a feeling the entertainment isn't quite over. 


In keeping with prior studies on this very subject,

As George Takei would say, 'OH MY!'    Prior studies on this very subject?   Do you mean SOMEONE ELSE has trod this august path before?

she queried the data on three types of believers: those who see God as angry, those who see God as neutral and those who see God as loving. Controlling specifically to weed out the non-believers,

Go on, I'm still with you(translation, the dryer alarm has yet to buzz)....

Silton found that a belief in a forgiving, loving God is associated with positive psychological traits, “almost protecting against psychopathology,” she told Raw Story.

"ALMOST"!    Isn't that just INCREDIBLE!

How convenient that 99.999% of the world will have no idea what the term 'protecting' means in that context...

But for those who think God is angry and preparing punishments for sinners, “that belief seems to be very much related to these negative symptoms,” Silton said.

Of course it's not possible that the person with paranoia is delusional, and that such ideas (an angry vengeful god) are part of a delusional pattern of thought, or that because someone who has 'social dysfunction' (whatever in the hell they deemed THAT to be- ROFLMAO) is simply believing in a 'negative' sort of God because they don't feel good, or are depressed, and that is what people tend to do.

“If you look at the previous research,

We ARE calling it 'research', now, do be sure to keep that in mind.

they’ve connected it to depression and all sorts of other psychiatric disorders,”

Um...doh....when people are depressed they have unhappy ideas about a lot of things...

she said. “We were looking at social phobia, obsession, compulsion, paranoia and a lot of features of anxiety disorders.”

Ok, that's kinda vastly different from the list you gave up at the start of the article...

One thing Silton stressed is that her study should not be construed to have found a cause for such symptoms. “We are not looking at casual findings here,” she said. “We are looking at correlational findings. That means we’re not saying belief caused psychiatric symptoms, but we see relationships between beliefs and these psychiatric symptoms.”

Um....sure, and the use of 'protective' didn't give people this impression at all, and of course, EVERYONE is going to wade thru this article down to this paragraph where all the disclaimers are swimming like fish in a pond...

Silton said that while her study was mostly quantitative in nature,

That's a funny thing to call it....'quantitative' - I'm going to save that one for a rainy day....

she’s looking forward to “asking more qualitative questions” in future work, specifically “to look into what else belief systems might be related to.”

I hope that keeps her busy for YEARS!   VERY busy!  (ROFLMAO).

“We’d like to look more specifically at depression and eating disorders,” she said. “Do different beliefs in God relate to eating disorder symptoms? So, [we want to be] looking beyond just anxiety disorders.”

 Oh THANK GOD!   It's on 'Rawstory.com'.  

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/17/study-belief-in-an-angry-god-associated-with-variety-of-mental-illnesses/

I LOVE this type of study as it has such a marvy way of confusing the hell out of people and involves doing something like noticing that 'unhappy people seem unhappy'.

Um.   YUH.  


 

pansyprincess
by Silver Member on Apr. 17, 2013 at 2:54 PM
6 moms liked this
Huh??

If you are an atheist, you don't believe in god. .. not a happy loving one or a punishing angry one. If you believe in an angry god, you aren't an atheist.
Quoting 12hellokitty:

So what about Atheists who while they claim to not believe in God often associate God as being angry and punishing?


LucyMom08
by Gold Member on Apr. 17, 2013 at 2:57 PM
2 moms liked this

 I've noticed this as well...I know my own opinion doesn't count for much, but it seems as if some people don't have a concrete definition of 'God' as an independent entity...they project traits of their own into their own definition of what God is...it seems to be fairly common...gentle, loving, kind people follow a gentle, loving, kind God...angry, jealous people tend to follow an angry, jealous God, etc...

Interesting study...this fascinates me as well...

Quoting FromAtoZ:

I don't know how true, or not, any given study really is.  We all know these studies can be doctored to fit what ever agenda, or outcome, those involved seek.

But I can say that from my own personal experience, those who believe that God is angry, vengeful....more over a loving, forgiving God, seem to be angry and vengeful themselves.  Their actions and words, all in the name of God, are not positive and are more destructive than positive.  Their approach does not lend one to want to follow that path but rather either turn away completely or seek their own beliefs without interference from some one so full of angst.

 

Clairwil
by Ruby Member on Apr. 17, 2013 at 3:15 PM

I wonder if this is related to another finding:

(source)

researchers discovered that university students with stronger beliefs in God's punitive and angry nature tended to be the least likely to cheat on an academic task. But stronger belief in God's comforting and forgiving nature significantly predicted higher levels of cheating.

In terms of explanation, the researchers theorized that it has to do with an individual's take on the supernatural. From the Shariff and Rhemtulla paper:

This pattern of results is consistent with theories highlighting the effectiveness of supernatural punishment–specifically–at regulating moral behavior and, as a result, group cooperation. These theories argue that human punishment is a highly effective deterrent to anti-social behavior within groups, but one that faces inevitable limitations of scale. Human monitors cannot see all transgressions, human judgers cannot adjudicate with perfect precision, and human punishers are neither able to apprehend every transgressor, nor escape the potential dangers of retribution. Divine punishment, on the other hand, has emerged as a cultural tool to overcome a number of those limitations. Unlike humans, divine punishers can be omniscient, omnipotent, infallible, and untouchable-and therefore able to effectively deter transgressors who may for whatever reason be undeterred by earthly policing systems.

In other words, belief in a forgiving and kind God is typically used by people as a loophole, or excuse for bad behaviors. Belief in an omniscient and angry God, on the other hand, doesn't allow for that.

mehamil1
by Platinum Member on Apr. 17, 2013 at 3:17 PM

Well, that's how God comes off, especially in the Old testament and a reason for why they don't believe. Who wants to believe in that nonsense? The study is about those who believe that, not those who don't. 

Quoting 12hellokitty:

So what about Atheists who while they claim to not believe in God often associate God as being angry and punishing?

Clairwil
by Ruby Member on Apr. 17, 2013 at 3:18 PM
2 moms liked this
Quoting -Celestial-:

The study, conducted by Marymount Manhattan College Assistant Psychology Professor Nava Silton, used data from the 2010 Baylor Religion Survey of US Adults to examine the links between beliefs and anxiety disorders like social dysfunction, paranoia, obsession and compulsion.

I wonder which way the cause and effect goes.

Does someone become anxious because they think god is watching.

Do they think god is watching, because they are already prone to anxiety.

Or are both things caused by some third factor?

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