The shaky faith of the angry

The shaky faith of the angry

Have you ever been so angry that you were just shaking? Imagine some politicians debating angrily and shaking their fingers at each other: one says “I personally blame you completely for creating this problem,” then, in response, Ron Paul gets so furious that he shakes and he says “WHAT? How can you blame me? I voted against everything bad and for everything good. The real problem is politicians like you who blame other politicians for blaming other people for causing the real problems that they say are the real problems when in fact, once the accusations are removed, those so-called problems are just developments as in circumstances.”
Okay, of course, politicians like Ron Paul would probably not say that. They are too busy relating to reality as a bunch of problems, then prioritizing the various problems, then valiantly trying to solve them or at least to look valiant to themselves while they try to solve them.
I call that vanity as in pride. I began studying the subject a long time ago when I too began valiantly saving the world from all of its problems, or at least trying to look good while I tried to look like I was solving at least one actual problem.
Ron Paul at a rally in the Nashville War Memor...

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My grandmother Edith was not impressed by all of that. One day shortly after I entered college, she said to me something like this: “oh, you are such a proud little do-gooder, aren’t you?”
“WHAT?” was of course my reply. Then I thought silently to myself “but no, I am NOT argumentative! Ron Paul may be argumentative, but certainly not me.”
I could be a very angry youngster at times. Further, in some ways, I did not really grow up much in the next decade. Or the one after that.
However, now I finally understand what she was referencing. I was following a program of what to be proud about, what to be interested in, and what to do to fit in (at least to fit in to that program of how to be perceived as a do-gooder).
She probably asked me how was college and what had I been doing. I told her that I volunteered to go to a beach and clean up trash with a bunch of other college students, mostly young ladies who would be wearing much less during the volunteering outing than I was used to seeing them wearing. Of course, I may not have described it precisely like that to her. Anyway, with all my pride at cleaning up the beach like any good boy should do, she responded with “Grow up, boy! By the way, you look thin. How many push-ups can you do?”
I was startled. I was stunned. I was offended. I was insulted. I was angry.
She was my grandmother. She was supposed to be nice to me. She was supposed to soothe me. She was supposed to validate me. At least those were the kinds of things that I might have said to myself.
So, let’s talk briefly about faith and anger. Sometimes people talk about faith a lot but they get irritated or angry if anyone questions their logic. In other words, they have confused faith with something that involves presumptions and logic. Their faith is rooted in some particular evidence. Their faith is about a logical deduction based on that evidence. That’s normal, but that is not what I mean by faith. I might call that a mere belief or presumption.
Faith is the natural result of experience. If I have direct experience with some subject, then do I get irritated or angry if someone questions my experience? Do I have shaky faith that is actually just a belief or presumption? Do I have an anxiety about convincing other people to agree with me? Do I crave their approval? Do I disapprove of anyone who does not share my particular form of devotion or fanaticism or ideology? Do I criticize and complain as a ritual of my religion based on belief and presumption and idealistic mythology?
The disapproval and argumentativeness of someone who craves validation is just a sign of their craving. That would apply to me as well as anyone else.
It is one thing to go to beaches for any reason whatsoever. It is another thing to whine about other people going to beaches and leaving trash there. Whining can be annoying. Which is more annoying: the trash on the distant beach or the whining about it for hours and weeks?
I’m not whining about whining either (though I may have done that a few times as well). If someone whines and someone else validates their whining, that is entirely possible. It may not be very valuable to me, but my valuing of something is a distinct issue.
I could value some possibility as a thing to suppress or to ignore or to encourage and promote. Any of those are possible- yes, even suppressing or opposing something.
If Ron Paul wants to oppose all government programs that redistribute wealth to particular exclusive recipients from particular select sources of government revenues, that is possible. I may or may not choose to actively question whether there have any been any government programs that did not redistribute wealth to particular exclusive recipients from particular select sources of government revenues.
I might choose to invest my time and energy to question something or oppose it or promote it or ignore it. I might choose to promote particular systematic redistributions of wealth toward particular recipients and from particular sources. That could be in the form of the politics of involuntary redistribution or in the form of operating a business and soliciting customers through things like advertising and referrals.
Maybe my grandmother was actually angry at me for being such a wuss (a “good” boy). She was not angry as in abusive, but maybe she was just angry as in disappointed. “Is that all you’ve been doing in college? Really? That sounds rather boring. Don’t you have any dramatic adventures for sharing to amuse your dear old granny?”
“Um, well, not that I am going to tell you, Granny. I’m only going to tell you about picking up trash from the beach. Given your response to that story, I think that whole topic of conversation is already over!” 😉

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7 Responses to “The shaky faith of the angry”

  1. Divorce Recovery Solutions Says:

    The older I’ve become the more I realize how few really authentic people there are in the world. Anger is a great way of controlling. I have Faith through my experiences and although I’m open minded and I’ll listen to anyone’s opinions, I won’t listen to angry opinions…..boy does that piss a person off. Tovah

    • jrfibonacci Says:

      If someone comes to me with anger (like angry at me), then there are many possible responses. One is to withdraw (or run). That response has it’s place and time. Another is to argue defensively. That one may be ineffective, but not always, right? I might presume that someone who is angry is both afraid and confused. I might “surprise” them by saying something like “You have a good reason to be angry, but you also have a good reason to be cautious. Do you know the reason why you might want to be cautious?” Another option is to scream “you are scaring me!”

      Here is more on the roots of contempt, which is to me the more notable danger or sin than just anger:

  2. Jaen Wirefly Says:

    Thanks for including my posting in your blog!

  3. Listener Says:

    You allude to a couple interesting ideas here, but I’m not sure I’m understanding your point.
    A) Self-righteousness, pride, is the scourge of do-gooders, and most bloggers, for that matter. I’m sure I’m guilty of this at times, as you may be too. The challenge is separating good intent from this egotistical motivation… it may not be possible. Religion can get particularly nasty as it creates a group mentality where outsiders often can be perceived as beneath the believers. Bloggers at least often act alone. And for those of us who aren’t delusional, who is reading that we could be trying to impress anyway?
    B) Beliefs, Faith, & Anger – Personally, I get outraged when people deny evidence that appears obvious to me. “I caught your cold because you sneezed on my burger the other night.” “No, that can’t be.” “What do you mean, ‘it can’t be’? What the heck is your problem?” Things that cannot be demonstrated with evidence, I’m much more likely to tolerate other points of view or even to accept that others necessarily have a different view, but I tend not to have much patience for absolute certainty in these cases. “God created Earth in 4000 BC.” “Why are you so sure?” “It’s certain because it says so in the Bible.” “Does the Bible also say that you are an idiot?”
    Why do you end so many of your posts with these “I may or may not” statements? If you started with that sort of thing, but then resolved your opinion by the end of the post, it would be more satisfying for me, the reader.

    • jrfibonacci Says:

      As for your point A, “beneath” is a trivial word. In language, “we” can form out of a household, a family, a business venture, a neighborhood, a tribe, a city, an industry, a nation, a political affiliation, a religious affiliation, and so on. Every “we” has a particular bias or self-interest. They all have the potential to conflict, to exclude, to vilify something or label it “beneath” or “evil.” In fact, such divisiveness is natural. Within any divisive grouping, internal division is also inevitable. Or is there an alternative?

    • jrfibonacci Says:

      re “Does the Bible also say that you are an idiot?”


      Fool. The bible uses the word fool, not idiot. Then again, it depends on the translator, right?

      As for the “may or may not” pattern, that is about recognizing alternatives, not really expressing an opinion or encouraging any particular momentum. It is also about empathy.

      I might sneeze on a burger. I might deny any connection between that and any future event. I might get angry that someone suggests that I had any role in their results. I might get angry that someone fails to applaud me in a particular way. Then again, I might not.

      I might have been a fool before and I might be a fool again. I might change my opinion and I might change your opinion for you. I might satisfy you as a reader and I might not. You can please some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time because there is a fool born every minute and some of them might eventually have the same brilliant sense of humor that I do, which means that they will not be fooled by my foolishness, and those are the people that I might be most interested in identifying.

  4. Listener Says:

    I’m sensing a theme in your posts. Or I might not be. heh heh. thanks for the response.

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