"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Grrrrrr!! Why are we so angry?!?!



So today I was glancing at the Yahoo headlines and this article Poll finds Americans angry about pretty much everything caught my attention.  We are angry at Obama for not doing enough! We are angry at the congressional Republicans for not doing enough!  Dadburnit, we must be angry at God because He only has a 33% approval rate according to the poll! 

"The poll finds that Americans are being affected by their anger in other parts of life as well. Fifty-six percent are so angry that they can’t even sleep and 13 percent say the anxiety has affected their sex life. Twenty-six percent of married respondents claim the country’s economic problems have affected their marriage, with more than half of those people saying it has made their marriage worse."

In Journey Into America, anthropologist Akbar Ahmed talks about Americans living at such a fast pace and being so "connected" to electronics and social media and "drowning in information" that they don't take much time for self-reflection, for silence.  He claims "people have lost the capacity for self-reflection and find it difficult to see the majesty and mystery of life." 

Take time to enjoy the many pleasures God gives us every day


He describes today as "cynical, noisy, iconoclastic, and [a] materialistic world of consumerism" where even "heroes and role models provide little more than temporary entertainment." Often politicians, performers and sportsmen end up "as fodder for everyone's entertainment" when they fall from grace.

"It is perhaps an awareness of this predicament at various levels that makes Americans, in spite of consuming a disproportionately large share of the world's wealth, among the unhappiest people on earth while obsessively insisting they are happy.  Americans have much to be unhappy about: the incidences of suicide and depression are abnormally high, especially among their students and soldiers; their jails are the fullest compared with those of any other nation, their rates of obesity the highest, their marriages more in danger of breaking up, and more Americans claim to have been abducted by aliens than any other nationality. A foreigner may be forgiven for assuming Americans perpetually oscillate between two primary emotions, those of anger and fear, all the while proclaiming that their country is the greatest and best in history."  (pg. 461)

In another part of the book, the team had met with Noam Chomsky. I'll quote him in regard to the American fear factor.

"For Chomsky, it is not the idea of freedom and democracy that lies at the heart of America, but fear. A sense of fear and threat permeates every aspect of society, he explained to us: 'It's a very frightened country. Unusually so, by international standards, which is kind of ironic because [we're] at a level of security that nobody's ever dreamed of in world history....The theme is we're about to be destroyed by an enemy, and at the last minute, a super weapon is discovered or a hero arises, Rambo or someone, and somehow saves us. The Terminator or high school boys hiding in the mountains defending us from the Russians.'" (pg. 379)

Have you ever stopped to wonder why a nation that supposedly has a majority of Christians is so angry and so fearful? My pastor reminds us regularly that the Bible tells us "do not fear" over three hundred times.  Enough for nearly every day of the year. So why are we afraid? Why do we fear? Why do we let anxiety and fear and anger rule our lives?

"He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul."


How about we meditate on this instead?  Seriously. Isn't this great stuff?

 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.  (Phil. 4)

9 comments:

Becky said...

I have to say, I think this is very true. American society maybe more so than individual Americans, strike me as very angry and very fearful. It's like people are constantly "waiting for the other shoe to drop".

On a side note, Denmark has consistently been declared the happiest country in the world for several years now :P

Susanne said...

Yes, I agree: as a whole it seems we are fearful and angry...or at least that's what the media tells me and I sense! But I think for some it's just a particular issue (or three) that boils their blood. Like I can be having a merry day and ONE THING just makes me angry. Like reading about polygyny which isn't common here, but just my reading about it makes me angry. Samer and Andrew have been at the receiving ends of my "how dare they?!" rants! :D

Oh, you live in Happyland! How lovely!

Becky said...

Yes, the joys of universal health care and free education :)

Suroor said...

I think Americans have unfair expectations and when life doesn't turn out the way they want they get angry. Too much TV! :D

Susanne said...

That! Was an excellent point! Too many ads telling us we need this or that to make us happy. Then we buy it on credit, run up debt and are stuck in the cycle of trying to satisfy our souls with STUFF when stuff doesn't fill the holes in our hearts.

I love Paul's saying about learning to be content no matter what situation he is in. This should be our goal. Be content with what we have and realize THINGS do not make us happy in the long run.

Great observation!

observant observer said...

I've never been to America, so I don't know the reality there, though it's been the constant exposure to anyone in the world. America does this, America does that, and many nations who don't have enough confidence and strong tradition, become the follower of the American life style. You have American Idol, we also have the version of Indonesian Idol, you have all those reality shows, we follow through.
I suppose American has always wanted to maintain to be number one in everything, so it becomes a burden to any American, I suppose, to be the light of the world. The most of everything. That in the end will be a trigger of anger. American should learn to relax a bit. Like one line of a movie said (eat, love and pray), many Americans should learn the art of "doing nothing" and enjoy it.

But I suppose, I also don't know the border of being "in the joy of doing nothing" and being in pursuing a "meaningful life". ;-)

observant observer said...

I've never been to America, so I don't know the reality there, though it's been the constant exposure to anyone in the world. America does this, America does that, and many nations who don't have enough confidence and strong tradition, become the follower of the American life style. You have American Idol, we also have the version of Indonesian Idol, you have all those reality shows, we follow through.

I suppose America has always wanted to maintain to be number one in everything, so it becomes a burden to any American, to be the light of the world. The most in everything. That in the end will be a trigger of anger. American should learn to relax a bit. Like one line of a movie said (eat, love and pray),that many Americans should learn the art of "doing nothing" and enjoy it.

But I suppose, I also don't know the border of being "in the joy of doing nothing" and being in pursuing a "meaningful life". ;-)

I also agree with what Suror said, that consumerism has swallowed many Americans. I think many reaizes that, but too difficult to escape from all the entice of the "glittering goods". Many Indonesians have fallen to that trap as well.

And perhaps Americans also have the habits of critizising everything, even themselves. It's good for one thing, but perhas too much critic will only ends up in bitter taste in everyone's mouth. No one seems easy to be satisfied.

American should begin to see all other nations around them and start to think that they're somehow must be better than other, and praise the Lord. Be grateful.

Well, this is from someone who watches a lot of American movie....;)

observant observer said...

Sorry for the double post! Blame it on the mouse...hahaha...

Susanne said...

Observant,I really loved your comment! So much good stuff in it. I think you have us figured out pretty well! :) Thanks for taking the time to share what you did!