Belief in an Angry, Punishing God Associated With Increase in Mental Illness

sinners hands angry god2A new study reveals that if your vision of God is that of a pissed-off monster then you may be more likely to have certain kinds of for mental health problems. And yes, I mean beyond just believing that there’s an ill-mannered invisible monster watching your every move:

Analyzing a Gallup survey conducted in 2010, the researchers sought to determine how one’s perception of God — as punitive, benevolent, or indifferent — was associated with five different psychiatric symptoms: general anxiety, social anxiety, paranoia, obsession, and compulsion.

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.

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59 Comments on "Belief in an Angry, Punishing God Associated With Increase in Mental Illness"

  1. I am coming to think this idea of God is in and of itself a manifestation of mental illness, a collective type, with a lot of history behind it.

    • Calypso_1 | Apr 16, 2013 at 11:58 pm |

      folie à plusieurs

    • omnivestigation? it’s time to get Imhotep

    • kowalityjesus | Apr 18, 2013 at 5:06 am |

      to those of us with personal incontrovertible evidence, your statement represents folly. We don’t understand why God does not make himself more evident to everyone, but the subtlety of grace is perhaps beyond the immediate perception of many, and denial is a powerful emotion.

      • Do you think I mean “God in general” is a collective delusion? I don’t think that. I think this idea of a vengeful angry God that sends people to Hell is a delusion. Do you have personal incontrovertible evidence of Hell? Or do you mean personal evidence of God?

        I don’t buy into Hell, definitely not God sending people there to burn for all eternity.

        • kowalityjesus | Apr 18, 2013 at 1:43 pm |

          OK I thought that was more of what you were saying, I was surprised with what I perceived to be the radicalism of your statement.

          I admit that all evidence I have of Hell is anecdotal, though I have graciously witnessed the unholy utterings of ‘demons.’ Whether they were actually from Hell, and whether dissonance with God would cause me to keep their company in this life and the next, I take on faith.

          • Yeah, I don’t buy it. I mean different people might use Hell as an interesting metaphor for different things, but beyond that I don’t think it has any reality.

            I think the pay off for Hell has all gone to various priestly castes, and the pay off has been in this life in terms of power.

          • Belief in Hell may prevent suicide, and thus be a survival strategy.

          • Calypso_1 | Apr 18, 2013 at 5:56 pm |


          • kowalityjesus | Apr 19, 2013 at 10:04 am |

            sounds like we might need an intervention…nothing to joke about.

          • Calypso_1 | Apr 19, 2013 at 12:23 pm |

            Intervention? I’m not sure i understand your sentiment.
            Suicide i do not joke about, the states that lead to it are hellish enough.

          • kowalityjesus | Apr 20, 2013 at 10:20 am |

            It was a thoughtless comment, supposed to be (something not even bordering on) a joke followed by its negating statement. I can’t let it go because it brings up such a saturnine subject, but if you would excuse me…

          • Why should suicide be intervened upon? Don’t we have an overpopulation problem on this planet? Seems to me the problem could be solved voluntarily.

          • kowalityjesus | Apr 20, 2013 at 10:24 am |

            suicide is a tragedy, least of which because it seems that base people, who would stereotypically be a krill in an offending throng, never choose to indulge in it.

          • I’ve met people and I myself have confronted differing manifestations of Hell, and it has often had beneifts such as the one you mentioned and others.

          • Is Paradise a Reality then?
            I could imagine a spiritual reality (or non-spiritual?) that consists of the absence of the Good God which would be truly terrifying for one who loves the Good. By examining the Good and examining yerself you might find out what Hell might be to you. I think if I turned away from the One the consequences would be painful to me. And when I turn towards the One the results are always pleasant(but not always to my “ego”). Ignorance may also lead to hell

    • Anthony Neilsen | Apr 19, 2013 at 10:59 pm |

      The first three words of your comment is all you’ve been doing.

  2. I can confirm this from personal experience.

  3. DeepCough | Apr 16, 2013 at 6:40 pm |

    “If you talk to God, you are praying; if God talk to you, you have schizophrenia.”
    ~Thomas Szasz

    • the reflecting god is not to be immediately trashed imo. it’s one of the more difficult practices or meditations to cope with, and some lead on it could be a Stargate reference to the episode that Dr. Jackson has hundreds of consciousness’ loaded into him by a transporting life-boatcolony ship. supposed dis-orders are no more or less dis-orderly than those seeking to quantify them, often inherently wrongfully. e.g. i hear bees aren’t a’buzz – they’re dying.

  4. The demiurge/xtian “god” of Abraham is an asshole of epic proportions.
    The sooner we all tell him to fuck off and die the better.

    • yeah, what was up with the sacks o’ foreskins?

      • Dunno, man. Maybe they make a nice jerky out of ’em.

        • Calypso_1 | Apr 17, 2013 at 12:10 am |


        • legion needs a good feeding. but hey, that native americans survived all those years without god isn’t evidence to the contrary, and that’s not impeding investigation, and christian’s denial isn’t insanity, and where’s my knife to cut the spade

          • Wendy Colby | Apr 17, 2013 at 7:47 pm |

            Native Americans believed in not only a Great Spirit over all the others but that every living thing had a spirit to say they did without God is misunderstanding.Maybe without a “Christian”god but never without a higher power/

          • babel fish offers e unum pluribis. misunderstanding is done without God and that someone does the action is a spirit not necessarily possibly a great spirit and neither necessarily possibly not a great spirit. Aztec steppe does not condone higher power. the ant is recognized in great regard. the ant is recognized in little regard. greatness cannot be without also nothing, nor may it be without also necessarily possibly mutuality. great is the spirit of Malthael beholding this. may the subset sum problem forever remain in Sanctuary.

          • native americans weren’t living without God, they were living without the grace of Christ

          • irregardless of and dissociated from fallacious and illegal transpondence and illegal religion and illegal conversion of property does not constitute living with God nor does it constitute living without God, and last i heard, the clinking and clanking from the upset table in the temple was still so ungracefully echoing throughout the universe that no one has a clue what a Christ is. thus solely taken in vanity the lie that was not spoken becomes the inevitable conjunction of a false prophecy hitherto disregarded as a waste of time, an affront to livelihood, and counter to the health so eloquently propositioned by the soliciting members of a defunct cult concerning itself with nothing more or less than a dead animal.

          • Calypso_1 | Apr 18, 2013 at 10:04 am |


          • Calypso_1 | Apr 18, 2013 at 10:02 am |

            …and that helped them how?

          • 14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

            15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

            16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.I believe the native Americans were filled with the grace of God. They(not all, of course) were the meek who shall inherit the earth.

            Romans 2:14

    • kowalityjesus | Apr 18, 2013 at 5:04 am |


  5. I believe in an angry punishing god. But he’s not MY god.

    • kowalityjesus | Apr 18, 2013 at 5:14 am |

      praytell who IS your god? ineffable?

      • Ultimately, yes. But, of course, to call God ineffable is to make Him not actually ineffable.
        I do worship the god of mercy and believe its presumptuous of anyone to try to limit God’s Mercy. I recognize Jesus Christ as the perfect manifestation of the Mercy of God, but I don’t believe God is sado-masochistic and irrational, so my interpretation of the sacrifice is not “orthodox”. I view it as a sabotage of the (false)creator’s attempt to trap us through the law(karma)

  6. Ryan England | Apr 16, 2013 at 10:22 pm |

    The angry punitive God is always good – as long as it’s the ‘other guy’ he has it in for. But what if his angry, punitive God has it in for us? Not so nice.

  7. Blasphemy

  8. God has always been used as the supreme variable in population control and manipulation. Isn’t that the point? Reinventing the wheel under another label to continue on under different banner is just smoke and mirrors.

    • kowalityjesus | Apr 18, 2013 at 5:09 am |

      hark! thine generalizations are fallacious! God controls the people, it is those who falsely intercede that create the notion that one is not subject on an individual level to his Creator.

  9. Calypso_1 | Apr 17, 2013 at 12:05 am |

    What about belief in intradimensional hyperspace machine elves?

  10. Mental anguish or Chaos is nothing but dissonance of many truth (and lies) coalescing toward unity such as is with Nature spiral down like the Fibonacci from infinity gradually and sequentially into 8, 5, 3, 2, 1, 1, 0. Basically when there are many different opinions, the energy itself is also diffused across so many entities or neurons and therefore no-one being able to assert power over the rest. However as the dances between truth and and false draws out toward infinity only the higher truths and the bigger lies will survive. Right before the very end you will have the Highest Truth and the Biggest Lie going head to head. For most people these two are symmetrical – look identical (the study of dialectics)- Truth and Lies are almost

    Bipolar will reign (Fib 8, 5, 3, “2”) for months maybe even years. Eventually for most people, one side of the brain will overpower the other thus people either sway to the lies or see the truth. Then they will stand up for one cause or the other thus War is eventually unavoidable! Zero in Fibonacci of the brain would be either a brain stroke or a heart attack. ~Aumni7

    Correction (it was very late after a long day when I posted it)
    The correction is for the last line: A brain stroke or heart attack is when somebody spends too much time thinking about issues (bipolar dissonance-like a car overheating either the water pump, the radiator, or the hoses connecting the two will go bust then the rest of the “vehicle” follows). 3 2 1 1 0 -> Trinity, bipolar, unity of the brain (minor enlightenment), Union with the Most High (major enlightenment), 0 (for now I will just state the mathematical answer as undefined 🙂 The Dark side does not a single all-knowing Nevi’ims waking up to free the rest of the sheep so halt the process before unity with “anti-bipolar” drugs.

    • kowalityjesus | Apr 18, 2013 at 5:15 am |

      very interesting statement. Does it draw from Revelations? big lies die hard…

  11. It’s a “chicken or the egg” question. Does growing up believing we’re stalked by a vengeful monster have the potential to damage us while we’re children, or do the obsessed and the paranoid create God in their own image? Maybe a little of both?

  12. “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.”

    Sounds Jungian.

  13. It is not a question here of how we must turn, twist, limit or curtail a
    phenomenon so that it can still be explained,if need be, by principles
    which we once agreed not to exceed;but it is a question rather of the
    direction in which we must expand our ideas to come to terms with
    the phenomenon.
    – Schelling

  14. Daenerys_Targaryen | Apr 19, 2013 at 9:00 pm |

    It stands to reason.

    Whilst religion correlates on the whole with positive mental health these benefits relate to the community life encouraged by religion, not to the spook in the sky swindle.

    Shame is better than guilt as a basis for morality. Shame is important for society as regards things like sexual and economic conduct. Guilt is a power trip for people to control the lives of other people – and the basis of lies such as the Abrahamic religion and communism. Slave-like following of the Golden Rule is the root of guilt-based morality, because no one can live up to its standards set by hypocrites above.

  15. I hope my correction makes more sense now (sorry about that)

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