I wasn't sure how to title this thread, hence the question mark. But it sort of comes down to that, on one level at least. Monday, as I was walking down our university campus, a bunch of people were standing on the quad with a huge sign that said "GOD IS ANGRY" and "GOD HATES..." followed by a list of groups, like homosexuals, "Romanists" (I assume this is Catholics?), adulterers, "baby-killers," and so on. The friend I was walking with, of whose religious orientation I am not aware, smirked and said, "nice." I said what leapt to mind: "That is painful." She said, "yeah, people like that really give all Christians a bad name." But that wasn't really what I was thinking. I was thinking of my entire pre-Orthodox life, which I spent alternating between extreme fear and extreme denial of God. I was sure God hated me, and when I wasn't in denial of Him I was madly trying to figure out how to placate Him. I wonder how many other people are in the same position, and when I see friends and family in churches which essentially teach this angry God (my sister denies that she is afraid of God in the same way I was, but I think she is: whenever she commits what she considers a serious sin, she runs away from God, not to Him), it is painful to watch. I remember what that was like and I still fight with the leftovers from that belief (it's almost like PTSD; you can't just stop thinking that God hates you if it's so ingrained).
So when I see people on a college campus promulgating lies about God, essentially defaming Him, I feel strongly. I don't think what I feel is anger so much as pain. I don't know what to do. I know I wasn't brought to Orthodoxy by anyone arguing with me, but rather by being with Orthodox people who were so loving that I had to know what it was that made them that way. But I still want to run up to these people on campus and shout, "The Lord is compassionate and merciful, longsuffering and of great goodness! He forgives our iniquities and heals our diseases! God is love! Love is patient, love is kind!" I haven't done it yet, but the temptation is strong. I don't have much faith that it would get me anywhere, though. What would (or have, or do) you do in this situation?