On reddit, droosa asks:
I got to thinking about anger towards religion and religious people. I’ve had periods of vindictive, spiteful anger and other periods of peaceful disagreement. The angry times tend to drain all areas of my life and unfortunately it seems to be cyclical.
So, redditors: How do you transition from anger to something less taxing?
I’m not feeling very practical about this issue. I’ll leave that up to the guys who say, “I await death. Til then, masturbation and video games.” Who can argue with a wank and a Wii?
Anger and cynicism are big issues for me. I’ve spent a long time feeling buried by my resentment and bitterness towards believers, religious leaders, and all of that bullshit. I know I’ve written a thousand tweets and dozens of blog posts about how silly and frustrating I find religion–specifically Christianity. At my worst, I couldn’t even talk to some believers because I assumed the worst and sneered at the idea of what they’d say about prayer or God’s will or some other vacuous superstition.
These days, when someone wants to pray at a function I don’t fume inside; if a friend invites me to church or talks about what she learned in her small group, I don’t roll my eyes and sneer. I don’t feel like I’m fighting for my reason for existing against some malicious population who hates me.
So why do I feel so much more comfortable today?
For me, relationships have been the key. The more I grow close and friendly with people of other ideas, the better I tend to act and feel towards others who hold those ideas–even if they are delusions or born from ignorance.
For instance, I was terribly angry right after leaving faith because I was also angry at myself for being so…duped and taken in. I pushed my anger at this gullability onto those who indoctrinated me. This resentment bounced off onto everyone who indoctrinates others and teaches religious lies… and the cycle continues outward. After a while, I was just plain bitter!
But as I’ve been growing closer to some dear friends who are devout and passionate believers and have connected with them on a fun, peaceful, understanding level, the differences we have sort of melt away. I’m left realizing that my anger is my own struggle. I can have peace and happy relationships with these folks; religion and discord don’t have to be apart of it.
I’m also convincing myself here, you understand. I need to keep taking my own advice.
My point comes down to this: Love people as individuals. See them as more than just “those believers” or “those superstitious weaklings.” Who are they? Why do they have worth and dignity? It’s hard to be angry at people when you understand why they are who they are. Motivations matter, and they come from somewhere. Is it a need for love? A thirst for activity an community? Conformity and social expectation? Depression and fear?
Have understanding, and you won’t need to have so much anger.