Monday, January 17, 2011

Anger with God Studied

Dr. Julie Exline, Case Western Reserve University psychologist, also earned her certification in the Ignatian Spirituality Institute (ISI) at John Carroll University. Dr. Exline informed the ISI that she was pleased with a recent CNN interview about the study she led on anger with God.

Need to clarify headline
Dr. Exline was "delighted" Elizabeth "Landau did such a thoughtful job with the story, taking care to get the facts right. And she hit all of the key points from the paper." Unfortunately, the headline's closing phrase, "even among atheists," caused confusion and anger.

Dr. Exline has communicated these clarification's to To Find Fruit:
Thank you for the interest in our work.
Unfortunately, there have been a lot of misunderstandings around the CNN article, due largely to some overgeneralizations about atheists.

Just to clarify:

* Our article was intended to focus on anger and other feelings that people have toward God in the wake of suffering; it is not intended as a study of atheism per se, although we wanted to allow atheists to participate. Anyone aged 18 or over is invited to participate at this link:

* We are by no means claiming that all nonbelievers are angry at God! There are many factors that feed into people's decisions about whether or not to believe in God: Intellectual, social, cultural, and emotional factors are all likely to play a role for believers and nonbelievers alike.

* What we have found is that SOME (not all!) people who do not believe in God report either: a) anger toward God as part of their history or b) anger when prompted to focus on a hypothetical image of God.

* We interpret our findings to mean that the topic of anger toward God may have relevance for at least some nonbelievers; thus nonbelievers should not be automatically excluded from conversations about anger toward God. Our aim is to be inclusive, but we recognize that anger toward God by a believer is not the same as anger focused on a hypothetical image of God by an atheist or agnostic.

Based on the comments received here and elsewhere, we have made some changes to our study to try to improve and clarify the questions that are intended for atheists and agnostics. We apologize for any misunderstandings.

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