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Righteous Anger

Mark Tully considers the positive and negative aspects of one of our most common human emotions. When are we right to be angry, and when does it do harm to others and ourselves?

Mark Tully considers one of our most common human emotions - anger.

Anger is all too easily dismissed as a negative emotion with no capacity for doing good, but Mark considers the positive as well as the negative aspects of this emotion.

In conversation, Rabbi Stuart Altshuler of the Belsize Square synagogue in London gives his definition of Righteous Anger and explains how anger and love can go together.

Mark also considers the misunderstanding that allows some Muslims to think the concept of righteous anger justifies them in using violence, carrying out acts of terror, fighting a Jihad, to take revenge for what they see as insults to Islam or injustices to their fellow Muslims.

And for a Hindu perspective, we hear a fable about an aggressive and poisonous snake that was commanded by a Swami to desist from biting passers-by. The snake took this edict too far and was abused for its passivity. The Swami tells the snake, "I told you not to bite, but I did not tell you not to hiss!"

Throughout the programme, Mark balances the dangers of misdirected or selfish anger with the need for anger as a means of challenging injustice and improving the lives of the disenfranchised. He attempts to discern when to bite, when to hiss, and when to turn the other cheek.

A 7digital production for BBC Radio 4.

30 minutes


Music Played

  • Träd

    Battle Hymn of the Republic

    Performer: Battle Hymn of the Republic .
    • The Civil War O.S.T..
    • NFI.
  • John Lennon

    How Do You Sleep 

    Performer: John Lennon.
    • IMAGINE.
    • EMI: CDP-746641-2.
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice 

    The Temple

    Performer: Cast of Jesus Christ Superstar .
    • Jesus Christ Superstar CD 1.
    • NFI.
  • The Mozartists, Ian Page, Ben Johnson 

    Va, dal furor portata - aria K.21 for tenor and orchestra

    • Mozart in London.
    • Signum: SIGCD534.
  • William Walton

    Symphony No. 1: II. Presto con malizaPerformed by:Tamsin Little - Main Artist

    Performer: BBC SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA; Edward Gardner .
    • Walton: Symphony No. 1 / Violin Concerto.
    • Chandos: CHSA5136.


Title: Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion 

Author: Carol Tavris 

Published by Simon & Schuster


Title: Righteous Wrath 

Author: Henry Van Dyke

Out of Copyright


Interview with Rabbi Stuart Altshuler


Title: Islam, Peace and Tolerance

Author: Zahid Aziz 

Published by Ahmadiyya Anjuman Lahore


Title: Rolling Thunder 

Author: Doug Boyd 

Pubilshed by Random House


Title: The Flame of an Anger

Author: Keshav Malik

Published by Samkaleen Prakshan