Fear of God

Cerealkiller

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I wanted to put this thread in this section so that a wide rang of opinions can be expressed without havin to worry overmuch about offending some.


A comment was made fairly recently on another thread, and it is a common sentiment expressed by atheists that belief in God, or gods, or any non-material world, is predicated on fear and insecurity. Essentially that religion is a crutch that the weak use to prop themselves up.

What I wanted to discuss was this, I do not find God to be a terribly comforting idea, nor do I find the spiritual world as a whole comforting. In fact I find God frightening. I find the concept of an all-powerful being, who is constantly watching, and constantly judging frightening. I find the idea that our every action in this temporal world, could have eternal consequences unsettling. Not only this but, I find all the attendant devils and whatnot of the spiritual world frightening. After all, once one has admitted one supernatural and unexplainable phenomenon into their life, how can you completely rule out any other. In short, God is scary. However, I still believe in God, because despite being scary, I cannot deny what I know is true.

So the question then is this, does anyone else find themselves with this sort of emotional response to the Supreme Being? And what do the atheists of the world think of those who do?
 

Bellator

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A quality of God that is agreed upon by most monotheists is being all-loving. The thought that he is always loving you and always there for you rules out the fear for most monotheis.
Also, some people see God as more of a force than a being. This way, it is not like his eyes are always on you, but he is still aware of you. This might deal with some of the discomfort.

I still believe in God, because despite being scary, I cannot deny what I know is true.
how do you know?
 

iBrian

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Cerealkiller said:
it is a common sentiment expressed by atheists that belief in God, or gods, or any non-material world, is predicated on fear and insecurity.
Certainly it may be true in certain instances, but overall I don't see it being applicable to many people.

In fact, it could even be conversely reasoned that such an atheist response is based on fear and insecurity in facing matters beyond immediate comprehension.

It does take a certain level of attitude to accept the unknown - I remember years ago a flatmate played a trick on me, by slightly rearranging furniture when I was out. I might return and find a chair on my bed, for instance.

Having read about the supernatural for years, I was genuinely scared at the prospect of any of it being even possibly true. After all, if faced with a poltergeist, how on earth do you deal with it?

Later on, after my "spiritual awakening", there simply wasn't any fear of the unknown, simply acceptance of it. What I'd read on the supernatural seemed irrelevant, and having a developing belief in God didn't really provide comfort, as much as a particular purpose, or focus of purpose.

Funnily enough, a lot seemed like rediscovering original feelings as a very young child - that there was something else out there, that I didn't understand, but that it was all alright anyway. As a grown up, it could perhaps be argued as simply articulated in a different way.
 

smkolins

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In relation to using God as a crutch - is eating a crutch? Is going to school a crutch? Satisying a need by going to the source is a good thing, but looked at otherwise it could be viewed as a crutch or opiate. But if one truely needs it, then living without it is threatening our wellbeing, even our life. On the other hand a culture may fix upon a need and satisfy it one way and honor that one way, when other ways may be better or more reliable, or less clouded with superstition (which is ideas attached to something that could be true but you will never know.)

In relation to fear of God - there is something to it. Yes God is loving, but what if we do something stupid - aught not we be corrected? Isn't correction painful? But is not the true pain when we feel the connection falter and don't know what to do to reconsile? It's like parents - yes they love us and support us - but when we do something wrong, they let us know, and can measure out the costs AND what to do to fix it and o how much that hurts! If only we had done it right - and thinking what would my mother do if she knew I was doing x can sometimes get you out of trouble!
 

smkolins

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I said:
Having read about the supernatural for years, I was genuinely scared at the prospect of any of it being even possibly true. After all, if faced with a poltergeist, how on earth do you deal with it?

Indeed I found the movie Poltergeist very scary - but the part you hint at and the movie doesn't allow for, is that good forces are at hand as well - and even that such ability is not equally destributed between what is evil even if called good, rather than what really is good.

Evil only has the power we give it, while good is independent and needs no affirmation in order to be. But if we do not affirm, we do not participate.

Actually a much harder thing to do is more the guardian angel route - people are very stubborn, and remarkbly not open to truth sometimes, and the noise and pace of western culture sure doesn't encourage listening.
 

smkolins

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StarshipEnterprise said:
how do you know?

Question of knowing is related to the question of what is believable. What answer are you prepared to accept? What would move you? There is no Faith which does not ask the believer to change. What truth can get you to change your life? Logic? Senses? Persistence? Diversity of sources?
 

lunamoth

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The Bible is chock full of guidance that humans have gleaned from their experience of God over the millennia. It is also chock full of examples of the mistakes and outright rebellious nature and greed of humans over the millennia. I do not think God intervenes in some way to smite those who turn away from Him or hurt His people (and we are all His people), nor do I think God intervenes to give material reward to those who do His will. The fear of God is respect and trust and reverence for His mighty works. He is a parent of (what I think of as) natural consequences. Love each other, take care of each other, don't covet and desire and be greedy. When you do these things life will still not be perfect, but it will be closer to perfect. OK, so several thousand years after having this advice we still couldn't do it (and He knew of course that we couldn't), so listen to this. Don't just love your neighbor, love your enemy. Don't just stop coveting, give up everything you own and follow Me. Did God lower expectations when we failed? No, like a good parent He clarified His expectations. He told us we can do it, He gives us His Spirit to assist us, and He forgives us when we fail.
 

Cerealkiller

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"how do you know?"

Thats actually a good question, that I cannot answer. To be honest, from a very strict definition of the word know, I don't know anything. The only thing beyond doubt is my own existence. Everything else is subject to uncertainty. However, I feel more sure of the existence of God, than I do of many many other things. If you are really interested I can run through the numerous mind-game logic puzzles that lead to the conclusion that God is an existent being, but its more a matter of feelings and mysticism that the logic just undergirds.
 

shunammite

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I think all the confusion is from a "failure to communicate."

I think to be human is to fear because we are vulnerable to pain. Physical pain and mental pain. All living things can experience physical pain but the more you can THINK, the more mental pain you are capable of experiencing. Golgotha, the place of the SKULL...where the fiery trial takes place, imo.

Any monotheist who sees his god as only "loving"...what does he do with all the PAIN???? Apparently his "god" has no power over that stuff????

Most people are very messy thinkers...and I don't blame them anymore...to be too honest with your thinking will kill you lickety split...much easier to go around killing other people mentally...writing them off as morons for what they are living by.

Two thoughts on fear of God from the bible...

Happy is the man who feareth alway, but he that hardens his heart falls into mischief. And the lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his mercy. Prov 28:14, Ps 33:18, 147:11.

Couple with I John 4:18, Perfect love casts out fear because fear has torment. Don't it though!!! But it's hard to get rid of the stuff!!! The only way out to me is to stop caring about anything, to have no preferences...and I can't do that, not yet anyway.
 
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