Angry God, Unhappy People

“The same contrasting emotions result from contrasting views of God. Under the headline, “Belief in Angry God Associated with Poor Mental Health,” Ross Pomeroy explained how the way a believer conceives of God affects his or her mental health. Researchers at Marymount Manhattan College “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.” The report concluded: “We propose that belief in a benevolent God inhibits threat assessments about the dangerousness of the world, thereby decreasing psychiatric symptoms” whereas “belief in a punitive God . . . facilitates threat assessments that the world is dangerous and even that God poses a threat of harm, thereby increasing psychiatric symptomology.”” -David Murray, The Happy Christian

Half-Truths Promote Unhappiness

“Similarly, when I counsel people who are depressed, I certainly ask how they are feeling and express sympathy for their emotional suffering, but most of all I want to gather facts, detailed and comprehensive information about their lives. Usually when we do that together, we discover that at least part of the problem is that the depressed people are telling themselves a lie, a half-truth, or only half the truth. It’s usually not deliberately deceitful. Some people can be so fixated on something that they blow it out of all proportion, or else they unintentionally exaggerate and distort reality.” -David Murray, The Happy Christian

Paul and 2 Timothy 3:16

“Paul sees the whole Bible as the Word of God: (1) He reminds Timothy of what he has inherited, ‘… from childhood (lit., infancy) you have known the holy Scriptures (lit, sacred writings)’ (2 Tim. 3: 15), what we call ‘the Old Testament’. But (2) he has already pointed Timothy to what he now possesses in principle, ‘you have carefully followed my doctrine… continue in the things which you have learned… knowing from whom you have learned them’ (2 Tim. 3: 10, 14) Paul is referring, of course, to his own inspired writings, but his words cover in principle the apostolic scriptures of the New Testament. Then (3), bringing Old and New together, he teaches that ‘all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine (teaching the truth), for reproof (correcting errors in thought and conduct), for correction (redirecting the course of life), for instruction in righteousness (educating the believer— from infancy, v. 14, to graduation, v. 17).’” -Alec Motyer, A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Loving the Old Testament