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Anger at God Common During Times of Crisis, Study Finds
Date:1/3/2011

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

SATURDAY, Jan. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Although people rarely talk about it, almost everyone experiences anger toward God at some point in their lives, commonly after the diagnosis of a serious illness, the death of a loved one or a trauma.

In fact, nearly two out of three people report that they've felt angry at God, according to a study in the January issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. And many get angry because they believe that God is responsible for the negative events in their lives.

Those who reported being more religious were less likely to get angry with God when bad things happened to them.

"People who are more religious don't get as angry. They may be more likely to think God caused the troubling event, but they're also more likely to put good intentions on the event, saying things like, 'God is trying to strengthen me,'" explained study author Julie Exline, a psychologist and an associate professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

Exline's study analyzed the results of five previous studies that examined people's relationships with God, particularly during times of personal crisis or disappointment.

In addition to finding that those who were more religious were less likely to be angry with God, the researchers found that certain types of religions, specifically Protestant Christians, were slightly less likely to get angry with God in the face of personal problems.

Interestingly, those who don't believe in God or question God's existence reported more anger at God than people who said they believed.

Other groups that were more likely to be angry at God when something bad occurs in their lives include younger people and whites, according to Exline.

Exline said that the anger people feel toward God often parallels the anger that people may feel in other relationships. For example, if
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