In his essay on wrath, Jack Miles writes that the wrathful God of the Bible changed when he came down from heaven to save his fallen creation. Miles sees the God of the New Testament as a more merciful God who has given up smiting and punishing. While different religions have varying visions of the wrathful or merciful qualities of God, nearly all agree that believers must eschew anger. Use this guide to see where the five major religions stand on wrath.

Buddhism: A Buddhist precepts insists, “Don’t be angry.” Buddhism teaches that anger is a result of attachments.One of the most important Buddhist texts, the Dhammapada, devotes an entire chapter to anger. Anger is a fetter, an attachment that keeps one in a cycle of rebirths. “Abandon anger,” the Dhammapada says. “Be done with conceit, get beyond every fetter. When for name & form you have no attachment—have nothing at all—no sufferings, no stresses, invade.(Dhammapada 17) “Conquer anger with lack of anger,” the Dhammapada advises in the same chapter.

The Sodhanna Sutra teaches that becoming angry is the best way to please one’s enemy, since anger brings about seven things that are pleasing to an enemy. For example, a person overcome with anger, says the sutra, is ugly, sleeps badly, has a poor reputation, and has other qualities pleasing to one’s enemy.

Buddhists believe that meditation can soothe anger. Sensei Pat Enkyo O’Hara has written that working to experience one’s anger can help one allay it and learn from it.Christianity: Anger is not always a sin in Christianity, but anger can be harmful if one commits further wrongs while one is angry. “In your anger do not sin,” Paul cautions (Ephesians 4:26). —