Why Are Christians So Angry?

I couldn’t believe the comments that people posted!

My friends at churchleaders.com recently reposted an article from my blog. They’ve done this a few times. I’m happy to allow them access to anything they believe is helpful. What I wasn’t ready for was the comments that ensued. Wow! I’m glad I have thick skin!

If I remember correctly, I was called a heretic. I believe one person questioned my salvation and even suggested I prayed to Satan. It was suggested that I was ruining God’s church. That was flattering, because I didn’t realize I had that much influence! I engaged with some of the responders, but I quickly realized the futility of open conversation with angry Christians.

The blog comments were a reminder of a fact I hate so much: Christians are a pretty mean bunch. Not all of them, but a lot of them. Sadly, I can understand their anger, because I’m a recovering angry Christian myself. Look inside most church services and you’ll see them – Christians sitting in rows with a fake smile on their face. Ready with a “I’m doing just great, how about you” answer for everyone who asks.

Their life is a mess, but they can’t be honest. They are struggling in their marriage, but nobody can know. They are frustrated in their job, but that must remain a family secret.

Side note: This is why adult church sports leagues are so much worse than any other league. It’s all the pent-up anger that is finally released on the umpire and the opposing team. I’ve seen some of the absolute worst behavior on the church softball fields. Yelling, cheating, name-calling, and even fighting. I think a few church basketball teams decided to comment on my post!

So why are Christians so angry?

I’m sure the list is quite long, but here’s a few things I’ve had to release in my life. The first two are pretty basic, but the last one needs it’s own post one day.

1. Expectations.

Expectations are the birthing ground for frustrations. Living a life full of expectations will lead anyone to be angry. Mostly because people will consistently underperform against your standard. My expectations almost ended my marriage seven years in. And others expectations of me have kept me from experiencing God in me. If you want to release some anger and replace it with peace, drop your expectations.

2. Maintaining an Image.

Again, similar to expectations, maintaining an image is exhausting and unChristian. If you are hiding behind an issue in your life, be honest, be open, and seek help. If there is something in your heart that resists being transparent, pay attention to that tension. Keeping up an image wears you down, and in your exhaustion, anger and frustration are your only outcomes.

3. Tension with Grey.

This one is a biggie! I believe it is the number one reason Christians seem so angry. It splits churches. It can split families. And it can keep us majoring in the minors.

Here is the realty – within the Christian faith, there are only a few absolutes. Don’t post hateful comments just yet – hear me out. For some reason, we have made it our Christian duty to debate, argue, and bicker about every little nuance in Scripture. But in reality, interpretation by definition means there will be disagreements. People are going to see things differently. And, take a deep breath … that’s okay. I doubt any seminary or systematic theology professor would agree with me, because, well, it’s their job.

Outside of monotheism, Jesus as God in a bod, and Jesus’ death and resurrection, there isn’t much black and white. God is mysterious. Creation is mysterious. I can’t explain dinosaurs, and I don’t mind. It’s in the grey where Christians get so upset. When you believe there is a right and wrong doctrine or theology for EVERY issue, you are bound to end up angry and in many, many arguments. But when you learn to embrace the tension of uncertainty, life becomes more full.

One last thought (for now). The only good news here is no outsider will ever see the silly, internal bickering that occurred on my post. Non-believers probably don’t surf through churchleaders.com very often. Unfortunately, the absolutely terrible news is that as Christians, we have allowed our disagreements and bickering to be very public, political, and even targeted at the very people we are trying to reach. How insane is that? It’s too bad John isn’t around today to remind us of what he wrote in the first century:

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
– John 13:34-35

Are you a recovering angry Christian? Did you write a hateful comment on my post (just kidding)? I’d love to know your thoughts. Why are Christians so angry? Let me know, and feel free to share this post so we can all learn together.

  17 Comments

  1. Jim   •  

    I’m a secular humanist who is curious about why christians seem to be so angry.

    This post was somewhat useful but raised a question that many atheists find confusing frightening arrogant and contemptible:

    “I can’t explain dinosaurs, and I don’t mind.”

    There are some things I can’t explain and don’t mind: what exactly is gravity; when, where, and how did reproducible cells first emerge. I’m very curious about both and given the trajectory of science, I think both questions will be answered. Or perhaps the requisite research is beyond human ability.

    I’m not reading your statement to be in that vain. I think your statement can be rewritten to this: I can’t explain and I don’t care that scientific facts and scientific theories with high quality research supported by hundreds of experiments and hundreds of observations contradict most, if not all, christian mythology.

    This is the same as having a jury state that evidence in a trial doesn’t matter and that all that is necessary to produce a verdict is to rely on personal biased opinion.

    Such a jury who embraces and elevates ignorance
    is frightening, arrogant, and dangerous.

    Something else to consider: perhaps christians are angry because the god of christian mythology is angry.

    • Gavin Adams   •     Author

      Jim, thanks for your comment. I can certainly see how easy it is to believe Christians aren’t just wrong, but are also arrogant and contemptible. Believe me, I get that. I guess that is why I actually wrote this post.

      To your point on science, though, I actually believe fully in science. And, I don’t see science as competing or in contradiction to faith. I guess if you were to read every single word of the Bible literally, there would be some potential conflicts. But even within these conflicts, there is plenty of room for a God, creation, and scientific fact to exist together. When science helps explain our world, I wish Christians would simply say, “Oh, that’s how God did it.”

      I know we all walk through life with some existing bias. As a highly logical thinker, it’s impossible for me to not see through the lens of reason and logic. I hope my bias, while always present, will never keep me from being open to new ideas. Including new truths. I don’t consider my way of living in faith ignorant, arrogant, or dangerous. I consider it open-handed.

  2. Andrew   •  

    Hi, I find this article to be insightful and honest. It is said that those who believe with seeing are blessed, but that those that believe without seeing are truly blessed. Well I used to believe without seeing, but as I got older I became jaded and backslid tremendously. I needed to see it to believe in it with the same childhood faith I once knew. So I asked Jesus Christ to take the reigns. Through his humbling process I witnessed God and now have a solid and real understanding of God, the trinity, and have a real relationship with Him. I needed to see to believe again, and I was born again as a result. I know for certain I was, and those who know what I’m talking about know there is nothing confusing about the process. BUT, it still leaves grey areas. Absolutely. I know God, I know Jesus. Christ, yet the bible still confuses me, and I still experience every emotion on the human pallet, including anger, but I get through it with prayer quite quickly, and I am okay with that, this does not change my belief in God and Christ. I meet so many leaders in church and talking with them is like talking with an atheist. They are so quick to quote scripture, and as a born again, I don’t need to know all the scripture, I have the counsellor living in me, the author lives within me, I hear Him all the time and he helps to interpret scripture. He also helped me to understand that the words of Jesus Christ are the new covenant, and this has served me well. I follow the commandments of Christ, without a thought at all. Paul has amazing insight, I love his beautiful words inspired by God, like Solomon and others, but they are not my saviour, with all due respect to each and every brother in Christ. And I know this will raise concern, but unless you are Christ Jesus I will treat all your words with a spirit of discernment, always. Whether you are Moses, Abraham, Debbie down the corner, or Malcolm the homeless man in our suburb. The good news here is that, because of Christ, the Cross, and His love for all of us, through Him, I can honor everyone that I meet. You are all equal heirs to the throne in my heart, which is guided by Christ. I have many grey areas, but Jesus is my go to, and He commands me to love as He has loved, live as He has lived, and forgive as He has forgiven, glory to God. I am not boasting, I am recounting to everyone the true message, as this article has. Great article, I am sorry on behalf of all the haters, as I once was one myself, now I am a lover of the light again and offer myself to Christ everyday as a living sacrifice to be a vehicle for the Will of Our Father. Why, because He loves all of us and called me out of the shadows, Amen.

  3. David Zavala   •  

    The problem or the issue is that there are and there will always be three types of believers. And it is true that we call or people call all these three types Christians because they identify themselves as believers is Christ. But the truth is only one is the genuine believer, the others are, in case you didn’t known, the unbeliever and the make believer. You can find them in the book of John 6. These types will be present in all congregations. I believe that when a person is truly born again, they will have the fruits of the Spirit. I truly believe this. I’m not saying born again Christians don’t get mad, but my experience is that born again Christians are usually sweet and humble and a pleasure to be around with. So we go back to the Lord’s first doctrine: You must be born again, John 3. You shall know the truth ….

    • Andrew   •  

      Hi David, I love meeting true believers, so much of the chaff is left out of conversations and this leaves room for real conversation, revelatory conversation, healing, and tangible, fundamental spiritual growth and supernatural living. I don’t mean to put words in your mouth David, I hope I have not said too much. Respectfully, Andrew.

  4. tom.g.   •  

    to many people leading in to many directions. just like people dont like politicians lying so they dont appreciate being fleeced for their money. this is why there is so much hatred, i hate to say hatred but thats how i feel. nobody likes being lied to. to many denominations. people need to stop playing church. a little bit of this and a little bit of that.mix it up and pass the plate and dont preach on gluttony, the new sin of the choir. and make sure you preach against the really bad people so everybody but that scumball can feel good! signed tom g. an ex drug addict

  5. Kathy Lines   •  

    Absolutely could Not have said it better myself!

  6. Effective Christian   •  

    I am born again Christian, In my church as a servant of God we we have to follow an schedule, every time I’m on schedule, I arrive at church 30 minutes early every time I get to my post one or two angry Christian woman already at my post. I told them I’m on schedule this month I am here. This happened repeatedly, I’m tired of that ignorant angry Christian women, So I finally said these women can have that post and don’t put me on schedule again. Lots of them in Christian church ( ignorant power hungry angry women.)

    • Gail   •  

      You are right. I am a 67 year old woman and I too see a lot of women who are power hungry in the church. We try and teach the body of Christ through helping people grow in Christ and mature and I try and teach women their role in the church…submissive to God, Christ, their husband and then men in leadership. I don’t have a problem with this. I have an old nature too that can still rebel, but when I recognize it, Christ helps me. If Christ submitted to God to live on this earth in the humble manner that he did, certainly, I as a woman, can respect Christ teaching the 12 disciples, men, to be the leaders in fulfilling the Great Commission. I am not ashamed of my role as a woman, but I feel for the women who “want their rights in the church body,” they do not understand the Bible and either they are not submissive to the authorities in their lives, or they have not been taught. I am trying to do my part on the mission field to teach women their wonderful role as companions to their husbands, not slaves, but true companions. It does take a lot of hard work on both parts and communication.

  7. JP   •  

    I’ve been so upset (i hope not angry!) at this matter. I Googled “angry Christians” and happily the search landed me on your article. Your last point (re: Grey) was perfect. One critical word i’d add (but without an ounce of venom) is re: your line about “fake smiles”. Perhaps you are thinking of people you know….and know to be hypocrites. But it seems hard to me to be sure a smile is fake. A lot of the mean Christians I know seem to me to have a very sincere faith in a very loving God but cannot abide nuance. And so get angry with anything that challenges them. Their God seems small to me—but their faith seems real. And their smiles too. Makes it a bit more unnerving, actually! Anyway, thank you so much for your helpful thoughts. I hope we’re don’t often have to be “sinners in the hands of ….” angry brethren!! : )

  8. Trac   •  

    Hi there. I see I’m a year late commenting on this but I ran across it googling Christians and anger and wanted to say your insights on the grey areas is spot on. But I also would add some Christians don’t want to invest the time and effort required to pray, study the Word, and meditate on scripture to get some sense of how to interpret the scriptural principles that are not absolutes.

    I believe when anyone prayerfully reads the Bible, they will see what they are meant to see for that season of their life. But the LIVING Word can’t be all one size fits all in everything because we’re all in different places in the journey with unique personalities and unique circumstances. However some folks want God’s Word handed to them on a silver platter with all the do’s and dont’s, be and be nots already nicely chewed up and in a nice neat list.

    Christians are lazy sometimes so they call someone else’s interpretation a forbidden private interpretation but THEIRS is the Biblically accurate one.

    Great post. Thank you

    • Gavin Adams   •     Author

      Couldn’t agree with you more! Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • Ugh   •  

      “and meditate on scripture to get some sense of how to interpret the scriptural principles that are not absolutes.”

      The problem is that is completely the opposite of the definition fundamentalist Christianity of which there are LOTS of members. The Bible is the –>Literal<– Infallible Word of God. The concept of the "Spirit of the Law" and the "Letter of the Law" is something I've only heard referenced in Catholicism which many Evangelicals express significant disdain for. The result: madness

  9. Chuck Partridge   •  

    Gavin, great insight. As leaders we fall into these same traps. I feel the pressure of expectations and to maintain an image for two reasons: 1 – to try and be an example to others (Paul wrote about this in 1 Cor 11:1 and Phil 3:17 and elsewhere) and 2 – for fear of judgement by others if we reveal the wrong struggle or show the wrong weakness.

    Finally, the gray areas cause everyone, not just leaders, to have to engage in conversations – and conversations require us to listen to someone else. That is uncomfortable for so many. No one likes to admit they don’t have all the answers, but as you said (and Paul spoke of as well) there are many things that are a mystery that will only be revealed at the end. I for one love to have those conversations, but they can be challenging, time-consuming, and require much more of an investment than just arguing. It is easier to argue and shut down the dialog…

  10. Rusty Humphrey   •  

    Thanks for sharing this, Gavin. We are struggling with an 18 year daughter (who attends another church in the area) and always seems “angry” and trying to force her viewpoints on everyone else. I know part of that is being 18 and a lot smarter than everyone else around you, but your article help shed some light on the situation. Great job – as always!

  11. Chad   •  

    I love your comment about the grey area. It was in that area that I found my excuse to not be a Christian. It was only when I embraced the grey area that I was able to recommit my life to God.

  12. This is something that has been troubling me a great deal. I see the anger on Twitter, and in the media. The anger particularly shows up in regards to political issues. I am appalled at the ugliness spouted towards Obama, even to calling him names. And, I am absolutely not an Obama fan. But, we Christians have a responsibility to show a love and respect to each other and to unbelievers. There is such a thing as a righteous anger, but even righteous anger does not need to be expressed viciously.

    I would love to see more Christians, such as yourself, speaking up about this. This is a sickness that I believe was contracted, in part, by too much worldliness, and not enough Godliness. The less time we spend with God, and the more time spent with the world, the more anger, and less peace, we will feel, and express.

    Thank you!

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