All of us have acquaintances who won’t let us mention our Christian faith without setting them off like Roman candles. I not only have such emotional people in my life, but observed them in my psychoanalytical practice. When a stimulus, otherwise benign to most people, can trigger a unusual emotional experience in another, it becomes interesting.
I came up with three explanations which satisfy me.
One is the traditional explanation of childhood trauma. The second, is cognitive dissonance, and the third is supernatural.
Freud taught us how a traumatic experience in childhood can become repressed but serve later to trigger emotional responses. In my classes, I used this illustration. During the war unexploded bombs were dropped on London. Roads were built over them. Over time, whenever a truck rolled past, the bombs jiggled. One day, they exploded.
How does Freud explain the puzzling response of our aggravated friends? During therapy it would be revealed that as a very sensitive child, they were traumatized by the fear tactics preachers used. The person then became agitated later whenever the subject arises.
The second explanation for the unusual response comes from cognitive dissonance. “In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual when confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values.“
In adolescence the ability to reason is heightened. During this period, intellectually oriented youth set about to resolve the subject of religion. Some, using their now advanced cognitive abilities, conclude that a god concept is totally illogical. The benefit of that conclusion is they feel free to live their own lifves the way they want. When it comes time to die, the lights just go out. Because you, their friends, know that God is real, you agitate them by creating cognitive dissonance, raising the question to themselves “What if I am wrong!”
The third explanation is that there is something called an anti-Christ spirit. We have seen it manifested from the cross, to the Colosseum, to the modern attacks by Allah’s followers. The anti-Christ spirit is easy for a self diagnoses. One only has to let people talk about Allah, or Krishna or any other god. If you get no emotional response in yourself but on the other hand become agitated when Christian faith comes up, you want to check yourself for an anti-Christ spirit.