Call me naïve. I don’t understand how a person, political party, or cultural movement can sustain rage for any length of time, let alone for months and years. But we are living in a day of sustained rage—political animosity, culture wars, national stereotyping, and religious bigotry. One need only flip from one radio talk show to another, liberal or conservative, to hear the drivel of ‘bitter enmity’. Many bemoan the lack of cultural civility, but most of us know that we are living in a meaner day than when we grew up as children.

Rage is in the air. We are not shocked when we hear about a road rage incident, or about someone ‘going postal’. A friend recently told me: “My boss ripped my head off.” I asked what had happened and she said, “He just yelled for a couple of minutes and his face turned a bright red and then he stopped and walked out of my office.” It may not happen to us everyday but we all have been the debris of someone’s rage.

Rage is systemic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. Intrapersonal rage—or what we know as a volatile and explosive predilection—will seldom be satisfying to the one who rages unless it singes another person. Rage almost always is directed against another person even when the fury is directed against an object and in the absence of other people. The debris of private, object-oriented rage is a warning to others of the danger that might come if change doesn’t occur. Rage can not be sustained against a person, group, or nation unless it becomes systemically woven into the language, symbols, and normative acts of a group.

For example, bullies often choose the most vulnerable of the ‘herd’ to torment and demean. They assume no one will side with the ‘nerd’ since there is both the fear of retaliation and the threat of losing status. Decent kids turn their backs from the cruelty because to step into the fray means to stop far more than a person or a small group—it is to take on a system of rage that defines who has power, who doesn’t, and how one can get it. This article assumes that all rage involves personal, relational, and cultural factors in its cause and consequences, and subsequently, in the resolution of rage.

We are about to enter a period of cultural rage, enmity, accusation, and contempt: the Presidential campaign of 2008. It is my untutored guess that the coming Presidential election will be one of the meanest in history. There is a significant possibility that the Republican Party is going to pay heavily for the Bush administration’s neo-conservative Iraq war and the nightmare that follows. If Hilary wins, conservative rage will be unleashed in torrents. It will make the Lewinsky affair and subsequent impeachment rage look like child’s play. If Barak wins, he will be harder to assail, at first, as the first African-American President, but the rage will only be slightly under the surface.

In either case, with power transferred to those who have suffered many years of Republican rule, there will be swift and bitter vengeance. Rage seems to surface when power dynamics change—the empowered wreak vengeance and the newly marginalized howl for justice.

Why should this concern the religious community? The answer may be too obvious. The conservative and moderate religious community was one of the prime supporters and beneficiaries of having a ‘Christian’ President. The backlash against conservatism has not come close to reaching its pinnacle. But it is rising. Just note the rise of books that not merely spurn, but mock, religion. The most heralded book, God is not Great, by Christopher Hitchens, taunts anyone who remains convinced in God’s existence.

He writes: “Religion spoke its last intelligible or noble or inspiring words a long time ago,” and that religion “comes from the bawling and fearful infancy of our species, and is a babyish attempt to meet our inescapable demand for knowledge (as well as for comfort, reassurance, and other infantile needs).” Concerning religious furor over the year 2000, Hitchens says, “The occassion was nothing more than an odometer for idiots.” He refers to pilgrimage as “ostentatious[ly] absurd,” and to Augustine as “a self-centered fantasist and an earth-centered ignoramus.” 1

At this juncture, I’m not interested in responding to Hitchens’ critiques. I merely want you to taste the power of scoffing fury. It will not abate; it will only grow.

As conservatives suffer shame and more assault, there is a high probability of reactive/re-reactive rage as an assault and a defense against the coming gale. Religious conservatives, as well as the entire range of the faith-community, need to be poised to respond to rage with a face that doesn’t continue the cycle of violence.

The storm clouds are on the horizon, and it may be wise to batten down the hatches and prepare for the worst. If my reading of the coming gale is wrong, then at least we have done the hard work of due diligence to escape the temptation of self-righteous rage on either end of the winning or losing continuum.

What may be too complex to analyze on a cultural level is often easier (at first) to see on a personal level. We all likely have someone who hates us—no one escapes enemies in this life. What does it mean to encounter another’s rage sustained through vengeance and hatred?

The Paradox of Rage

Rage is not anger raised to the next level. Anger is generally a response to a disappointment or frustration that involves cognitive process, intention, and terse behavior designed to resolve or remove the block that brought the irritation.2 Rage seems to bypass rationality, intention, and progressive acts designed to seek redress, acting instead as a self-destructive conflagration that deepens the harm rather than resolves it.

I know an acquaintance whose husband is making their divorce proceedings a living hell. He blames her for the divorce and would rather keep the legal process moving at a snail’s pace to prolong the agony. He is using every possible legal means to sap their meager resources so she will get few assets. If he were merely angry, he would work with his attorney to limit her demands and provide the minimum required by law; his rage is a consuming fire that will not only devour her assets but his as well.

And this is the paradox of rage—it never works. It always seems to bring more harm to the one who rages. Why would anyone in that much pain add more shame, loss, and harm? It is not enough to say, “I guess I temporarily lost my mind.” Though this may be true, we must further ask what was the internal urge that brought us to lose our senses?

Most people know rage personally—we have all erupted or been in the presence of someone who blew their top. Usually, rage is related to an experience of what is often called a ‘narcissistic injury’. When an offense occurs that wounds us deeply and to the core, it shatters our sense of self and floods us with shame.

The result is a meltdown that suffuses us with raw impulse so that we fail to regulate our emotions, words, or behavior. The consequence is often a physical and/or relational harm of sufficient proportion to immediately bring approbation and additional shame. The cycle of offense–> shame–> rage–> shame–> defense can spiral for several death cycles before exhaustion or consciousness of the harm rises to end the debacle.

As a psychologist, I see many examples of interpersonal rage. A client lost his job after a long and demanding period of late nights, long travel, and excessive commitment to the firm. His work kept the firm afloat by retaining an important client. Several months after his heroic sacrifice, another client quit the firm and a major lay-off was announced. When his work had earlier been rewarded, my client believed that he had been given a piffling amount of what he deserved, and had expressed his concerns to his seniors and peers. It didn’t surprise anyone, except my client, when he was now laid off.

My client could have parlayed his departure into a significant severance package or at least have gained a sterling recommendation; instead, he stormed into a senior staff meeting and berated his superiors with their cronyism, incompetence, and ingratitude. He thereby lost his job and his future in the industry. Had he really wanted his superiors to pay, he could have taken a job with their competition, using his insider knowledge to beat them at their own game. Instead, he marked himself as a loose canon.

He kept his rage alive by nursing a legitimate grievance with bitter milk—actually expensive Merlot.3 In the days after his firing, he rehearsed the wrong with excessive libations of alcohol. His fury was pickled and kept fresh by an alcohol induced narrative.

Rage can only be sustained over a period of time by fantasies of revenge that anticipate the humiliation of our enemies. This drama is played out in our imaginations, arousing us no differently than does pornography. It quickens our pulse, raises our serotonin, and intensifies our pleasure receptors. We code rage into our neuro-chemicals and need only a trigger or opportunity for the rage to explode.

The wound is so raw that it demands to be staunched through fire—a fire that shames the perceived perpetrator. It is self/other immolation that is prompted by the fantasy of a reunion through mutual destruction; misery, after all, loves company. Even though my client ruined his career, he still prized the surge of power he felt when he humiliated his boss. They were now both the same—humiliated—in a union of shame.

Like Samson, my client took down his captors and eradicated the shame of being shorn and blinded in the final act of vengeance. Rage empowers and takes one out of the shame related to being wounded, while finding solace in the shame that comes from wounding. Such is our hatred of feeling foolish and dependent as a victim, that we would rather rise as a figure of Promethean rage (even if it means having our liver eaten for eternity).

In literature, this is often the story of the tragic character. The tragic hero is driven by hubris—or pride—and lives with a deep flaw that eventually brings him/her down from the heights of grandiosity and omnipotence. Sometimes there is a turn toward humility or humanness, but often the tragic figure holds us fixated because he doesn’t break before forces under which mere mortals would bow. One only need think of the iconic figures in 20th century literature or music—Hemmingway, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain—to sense our ambivalent respect for self-destructive, passionate, narcissistic flames who defy the system, win, and yet immolate in a rage of rebellion.

The figure we will consider in this regard later in the paper is Captain Ahab of Moby Dick. Ahab is despicable, manipulative, unfeeling, and driven by cruel and tormenting rage. Yet, he is the only character in the novel with guts, passion, and glory. As hateful a character as he is painted to be, there is a gnawing respect that the reader develops for his desperate attempts to annihilate the whale. Ahab surfaces in his readers the slightest recognition of our own dark draw to the long pleasure of hatred.

Hatred: Rage Refined

As destructive as rage is, it pales in comparison to its offspring—hatred. If rage is the shattering barrage of a twelve-gauge shotgun, then hatred is the piercing precision of an assassin’s rifle. Hatred focuses the narrowed eyes on the object of rage with unremitting intensity. The object becomes more important in hatred than he ever could have been when he was an object of adoration or love.

As paradoxical as it may seem, there is profound devotion in unremitting rage. For most of us it is too exhausting and we have better things to do with our lives; instead, we simply erase the hated one from our world. If we see them at church we turn aside and talk to someone else. We erase the person through indifference; instead, hatred is a dark union of desire for the other that both desires destruction and seeks the permanence of return where the other can never forget us. Otto Kernberg writes: “The primary aim of the one consumed by hatred is to destroy the object—a specific object of unconscious fantasy—as well as this object’s conscious derivatives, an object who at bottom is both needed and desired and the destruction of whom is both needed and desired.”4

Consider this obvious point: no one thinks more about God than an atheist. At least the agnostic can ignore or be indifferent to God; but the atheist rages at a god who doesn’t exist and at all who are idiotic enough to believe in him/her/it. The same is true for the one who hates. Hatred is a passion of such devotion that the hated is seldom far from imagination, desire, or devotion. Hatred requires a passion that can only be called worship.

It is hard to believe that the person who wants to destroy you also worships you. Kernberg addresses this paradox by saying: “Underlying this need to destroy reality and communication in intimate relationships lies, I believe, unconscious and conscious envy of the object, particularly of the object not controlled from within by similar hatred.”5 The hating one hates that the other is not controlled by the same hatred. He envies the freedom, the insouciance of the one who wounded him and the goal of vengeance is to merge both their suffering together so that something is shared again that unites the two in a pyrrhic victory.

This is the interplay of lust and anger, or what Jesus calls in Matthew 5:21-28 adultery and murder. Lust is a desire that has gone mad. Madness, in this case, is a desire that has become an obsession, a consuming ache. All rage begins with desire or lust that has been shattered. We are betrayed, exposed, and in our utter emptiness we are naked and ashamed. Such desperation demands a covering, and anger serves as our shield. It is more than mere anger; instead, it is an anger transfixed into lustful rage that seeks to devour and to be filled by the one who has caused us to feel empty. Hatred involves a desire for reunion that seeks first to kill and then to devour the one who wounded us. As irrational as it may seem, envy drives rage to the refining fury of hatred.

Read the lyrics of one of the most honestly hateful songs I can recall in relatively recent history, written and performed by Alanis Morissette:

“You Oughta Know”

I want you to know, that I’m happy for you
I wish nothing but the best for you both
An older version of me
Is she perverted like me
Would she go down on you in a theatre
Does she speak eloquently
And would she have your baby
I’m sure she’d make a really excellent mother

Cause the love that you gave that we made wasn’t able
To make it enough for you to be open wide, no
And every time you speak her name
Does she know how you told me you’d hold me
Until you died, till you died
But you’re still alive

And I’m here to remind you
Of the mess you left when you went away
It’s not fair to deny me
Of the cross I bear that you gave to me
You, you, you oughta know

You seem very well, things look peaceful
I’m not quite as well, I thought you should know
Did you forget about me Mr. Duplicity
I hate to bug you in the middle of dinner
It was a slap in the face how quickly I was replaced
Are you thinking of me when you fuck her

Cause the love that you gave that we made wasn’t able
To make it enough for you to be open wide, no
And every time you speak her name
Does she know how you told me you’d hold me
Until you died, til you died
But you’re still alive

And I’m here to remind you
Of the mess you left when you went away
It’s not fair to deny me
Of the cross I bear that you gave to me
You, you, you oughta know

Cause the joke that you laid on the bed that was me
And I’m not gonna fade
As soon as you close your eyes and you know it
And every time I scratch my nails down someone else’s back
I hope you feel it…well can you feel it

And I’m here to remind you
Of the mess you left when you went away
It’s not fair to deny me
Of the cross I bear that you gave to me
You, you, you oughta know

The singer’s rage has narrowed into an intense hatred. She shames herself in naming her sexual perversity and then accuses her lover of desiring a good mother rather than a good fuck. She mocks his promises and curses him with the promise that every one of her sexual encounters with other lovers will ring in his ears. His peace infuriates her and she swears she will not leave him alone or fade from his memory. It is a tragic and brilliant picture of rage refined into hatred—a devotion of desire that would rather be destroyed than to relinquish the dark bond.

Who is the object of that hatred? For Morissette, it is her duplicitous lover. Is that enough to generate and sustain rage refined into hatred? I doubt it. I’d suggest that all rage, and hatred even more so, seeks vengeance against a more primary agent that is seen as the ultimate ground of all pain and injustice, even when one denies the existence of such a being.

All rage and hatred is consciously and unconsciously sustained by our fury against God.

Morissette boasts: “It’s not fair to deny me of the cross I bear that you gave me.” The cross may simply be a common metaphor for suffering. But she gives it more meaning. She is saying, essentially, “by being ignored by you, I am relegated to the billions of people who suffer in utter ignominy—the forgotten, unnamed, and marginalized. And I won’t permit you to ignore me when you put me on this cross.” This is the question that everyone who suffers cries out: “Where is God?” “Will I be forgotten?” “Is my pain pointless and absurd?” It is the question that Jesus cried out as well: “My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?” This is the lament that can rapidly propell the heart to harden and narrow into hatred. No one gives us a better portrayal of that narrowing, hardening movement than does Herman Melville in Moby Dick.

Ahab’s Promethean Rage

Reader, when did you last read Moby Dick? I never had. I first watched the movie. The story is simple: Ahab lost a leg to a big whale by the name of Moby. He later secured a vessel, an unsuspecting crew, and a small band of swarthy writhes to help him wreak revenge on the white whale that humiliated him. His relentless rage superseded sanity and sent the doomed ship, Pequod, and all its crew except Ishamael (the story’s narrator), to the depths. A simple story, yet the movement of the characters to the final moments is excruciating, exhausting, and compelling. It is a grand study of rage and revenge. Relentin finally, I took the written journey, word by word to the awful end.

There are as many interpretations of Moby Dick as there are waves on the sea. It seems that in this languid epic, Melville was quite happy to slap the reader with as many crests of words as the Pequod endured before finally descending into the silent abyss. The book goes on forever. And there are times when even a sentence becomes exhausting to finish. I don’t think this is due either to a sleepy editor or to Melville’s inability to write clearly.

Melville must have intended for the reader to drown in a world of words, thousands of explanations, chapters of whaling information, and character development that lead eventually to the sensation of white nothingness. James Woods writes: “Melville is blasphemous not just in the way he confesses his fears, but in the way he uses language and metaphor to frustrate the protocols of religious allegory. He floods allegory with words and similes. Language fills the whale with meaning, but it is language that empties the whale of meaning, too.”6

The overabundance of language strips away all meaning because one realizes that nothing has been said. Is the whale God? Yes. Is it the abyss? Yes. Is it the impersonal, brute, uncaring universe? Yes. Is it the devil? Yes. Is it every obsession, all hatred, all love, and the object of worship, devotion, meaning, and meaninglessness? Yes.

It is no wonder that, in his day, Melville’s novel fell on deaf and patronizing ears. Yet, it is a masterful case study of rage, hatred, and vengeance, which emotions are directed against God. It is an excellent resource to provoke thought about one’s most consistent and pernicious enemy, or even about the coming season of political rage.

Ahab explains his quest in a frank admission to Starbuck: “All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each event—in the living act, the undoubted deed—there, some unknown but still reasoning thing puts forth the mouldings of its features from behind the unreasoning mask. If man will strike, strike through the mask! How can the prisoner reach outside except by thrusting through the wall? To me, the white whale is that wall, shoved near to me. Sometimes I think there’s naught beyond. But ‘tis enough. He tasks me; he heaps me; I see in him outrageous strength, with an inscrutable malice sinewing it. That inscrutable thing is chiefly what I hate; and be the white whale agent, or be the white whale principal, I will wreak that hate upon him. Talk not to me of blasphemy, man; I’d strike the sun if it insulted me.”7

Ahab suffered a narcissistic injury in the loss of his leg. But we learn in the book that he was also an orphan and had been forced to find his way in life at the age of eight. He married when he was fifty, spent only one night with his wife, and conceived a son whom he never met. He was a man without relationship, except with the beast that dismasted and humiliated him.

This beast is Job’s Leviathan. The writer of the Book of Job uses the image of a whale as a sign of God’s inscrutable and outrageous strength that man can not conquer or catch. Ahab intends to strike through the mask of the whale to find the emptiness he presumes is behind it, hoping against hope that there is a person, an agent behind the mask. If there is a person, then he can strike the being that has not only allowed suffering but who seems to mock Man’s efforts to understand or transform human pain. God, if there is anything such as what that word connotes, is silent and absent.

At one point in the story, Pip, a small boy on the boat, falls into a calm, empty sea and is forced to swim for hours alone with no hope of recovery. He goes mad. Melville describes Pip’s madness in theological terms. He writes: “The sea had jeeringly kept his finite body up, but drowned the infinite of his soul. Not drowned entirely, though. Rather carried down alive to wondrous depths, where strange shapes of the unwarped primal world glided to and fro before his passive eyes; the miser-merman, Wisdom, revealed his hoarded heaps; and among the joyous, heartless, ever-juvenile eternities, Pip saw the multitudinous, God-omnipresent, coral insects, that out of the firmament of waters heaved the colossal orbs. He saw God’s foot upon the treadle of the loom, and spoke it; and therefore his shipmates called him mad. So man’s insanity is heaven’s sense; and wandering from all moral reason, man comes at last to that celestial thought, which, to reason, is absurd and frantic; and weal or woe, feels then uncompromised, indifferent as his God.”8

Pip goes mad because he drifts for hours in a world of wonder, eternal complexity, and depth, and somehow he discovers that God is as indifferent as the calm, complex waters that drowned his soul. God is indifferent, not engaged, nor angry; God is neither present nor absent; but the world around us jeers. We are saved only to be mocked and there is no one to strike back at except for the white whale.

Ahab goes crazy as well, but unlike Pip, his madness sharpens his focus and intensifies his intentions. The whale is the mask and behind the mask may be heaven or God, but if there is a god then he deserves death and must be exposed as a sham. If there is no God, then the greatest of creation must be brought to the same hollow death as Man, and the cosmos will at last have a rite and a ritual of rebellion that reveals there is no justice, no love, no transcendental guide to humanity. The whale must be conquered, or Job’s non-existant God will continue to mock Job with impunity. The death of the white whale will shatter God’s boast that Leviathan can’t be captured with a hook.

Ahab’s insanity is made up of the combined hatred of humanity. Melville writes, “He piled upon the whale’s white hump the sum of all the general rage and hate felt by his whole race from Adam down; and then, as if his chest had been a mortar, he burst his hot heart’s shell upon it.”9 Melville reminds us that madness can become a powerful weapon. “Far from having lost his strength, Ahab, to that one end, did now possess a thousand fold more potency than ever he had sanely brought to bear upon any one reasonable object.”10

Ahab is mad and motivated to wreak revenge on what has caused him to stumble. His leg is a whale bone fashioned to enable him to walk with a limp. Unlike the biblical character, Jacob, whose wound creates a desperate cry for blessing, Ahab uses his wound to justify a relentless pursuit of his mortal enemy toward a final unification of both characters’ suffering. The end of Moby Dick and the end of all raging revenge is worth our note.

The End of Rage

Prior to Ahab’s fate, there is a moment where Melville allows us to see the humanity of Ahab. He writes: “That glad, happy air, that winsome sky, did at last stroke and caress him; the step-mother world, so long cruel—forbidding—now threw affectionate arms round his stubborn neck, and did seems to joyously sob over him, as if over one, that however willful and erring, she could yet find it in her heart to save and to bless. From beneath his slouched hat Ahab dropped a tear into the sea; nor did all the Pacific contain such wealth as that one wee drop.”11

In a war for Ahab’s soul—his humanity battling his hardened evil—the evil wins at the last moment, without saying a word. All rage requires a steady, relentless progression of slaying humanity. Rage is inevitably a servant of evil that demands allegiance through the slow annihilation of sorrow, desire for tenderness, and the hunger for reconciliation. Evil herds the heart toward reckless revenge that promises redress and rest.

Ahab says near the end of the chapter, “What is it, what nameless, inscrutable, unearthly thing is it; what cozening, hidden lord and master, and cruel, remorseless emperor commands me; that against all natural lovings and longings, I so keep pushing, and crowding and jamming myself on all the time; recklessly making me ready to do what in my own proper, natural heart, I durst not so much as dare?”12 Ahab felt something in himself that stood against the essence of what it means to be human; something pushes, crowds, and jams us to find life through another’s death.

The story’s end is swift and simple. As Ahab stabs Moby Dick, the rope of the harpoon careens over the gunnels, catches around Ahab’s neck and brings him into an eternal embrace with his enemy. They are now one. The victor, pierced, carries Ahab on an endless journey of union.

The story ends with the drowning of an archangel. As the ship sinks, its victory flag flying, Tashtego, one of the Pequod’s crew, grabs a bird that is hovering nearby and drowns it with the sinking ship and its crew. Melville writes, “and so the bird of heaven, with archangelic shrieks, and his imperial beak thrust upwards, and his whole captive form folded in the flag of Ahab, went down with the ship.”13 Ahab is dead, yet through his hoard of rage, he manages still to drag one more mark of beauty down with him.

In the epilogue, Melville finishes the entire work by reminding us that even in being found by the ship Rachel, which had been on a long search for the captain’s lost son, Ishmael still remains lost. The final sentence of the book: “It was the devious-cruising Rachel, that in her retracing search after her missing children, only found another orphan.”14

You and I are orphans in an endless sea of cruel and indifferent beauty. The truest character, the tragic hero, the one to be honored for his courage, is Ahab. Rage will never win, but what a hell of a trip. Or as God-hating as Melville pictured himself in writing a scandalous expose of life, did he preach the gospel he mocked?

My claim is simple: all rage reminds us that the fury blast of wrath—no matter how intense or personal the cost—withers before the face of one who was pierced and harpooned for my sin. Rage wins because it is willing to give up everything—including humanity and life itself—to accomplish the goal of being reunited with the one who has wounded us. Our narcissistic wound requires a sacrifice for reconciliation. We must make someone pay to find vindication and release for our rage. We demand recompense to satiate our sense of justice. But what we want, though this desire becomes twisted in our rage, is the return of relationship—the uniting touch of perpetrator and victim—to take away the dark gulf, the silence that the wound has opened.

Jesus bore the rage of creation—the rabble, the religious right and left, political figures, military—and he bore the rage of the Creator. It is no small thing for the created beings to turn against God, but isn’t it pure madness for God to turn against God? It is this inconceivable twist in the story that makes all rage against God impotent—not because of his power and transcendental distance/absence but due to his mercy.

Melville spoke of true grace only once in his epic journey. He spoke of it when he named the arms of the sky as glad, happy, and winsome. And what is more, Ahab was embraced by a step-mother—a non-biological parent—with the tears of grace. It is the sweetest moment of the book and its loss signifies the far greater horror of all that follows. The wrath of the Father against his Son reconciles his orphan sons and daughters to himself.

Our rage at best forces us to see not only its impotence, but it also intensifies the profound longing for a reunion of grace, rather than a merger through violence.

What is the point for the coming rage in our future? People will hate you and rage against you. Systems will be used to mock and marginalize the believing voice. You may be assaulted by those who use deceit and legal means to hide their barely concealed rage, but we can keep from flinching or fearing. Instead, it is possible to yearn for the sky’s glad, happy, winsome embrace—and for the ending of our orphaned madness.

The author of Hebrews does nothing to ameliorate the suffering of those who have come under rage’s vengeful eye. He/she describes with brutal honesty the inevitability and necessity of suffering. But the author doesn’t hesitate to bring us into the heart of Jesus who suffered not only the rage of sinful men and fallen angels, but also the turning of God’s face from him. He tells us, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”15

Scorning the shame that is due to the fury of mockery and the hatred of rage can only be redemptive when the defiance against rage arises due to the surprise of grace. Our rage peters out in a sigh of desire when one tear falls into the infinite abyss of the sea and we discover that the sea is nothing other than the tears of God.


1. Christopher Hitchens, God is Not Great. (2007) Quotes taken from pages 7, 64, 60, 6, 64, respectively.

2. M. Lewis, ‘The development of anger and rage.’ In Rage, Power, and Aggression: The Role of Affect in Motivation, Development, and Adaptation, eds. R.A. Glick & S.P. Roose. (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1993).

3. Proverbs 20:1

4. O. Kernberg, ‘Psychopathology of hatred’. In Rage, Power, and Aggression: The Role of Affect in Motivation, Development, and Adaptation, eds. R.A. Glick & S.P. Roose. (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1993): 65

5. Ibid., 67.

6. James Woods, God’s Dictionary. (New Republic)

7. Herman Melville, Moby Dick. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1988): 164

8. Ibid., 414.

9. Ibid., 184.

10. Ibid., 185.

11. Ibid., 543.

12. Ibid., 545.

13. Ibid., 572.

14. Ibid., 573.

15. Hebrews 12:2-3, NIV