Skip to main content

The Lesson of Fear

By WizenedSage (Galen Rose) ~

The Bible contains story after story involving god demanding worship and threatening – intentionally invoking fear in - those who might not worship him. Clearly, there is a very important lesson concerning fear that we should learn from the Bible.

The following are just a very few of the thousands of passages where god brandishes fear among the people:

Malachi 2:3: “Because of you I will rebuke your descendants; I will smear on your faces the dung from your festival sacrifices, and you will be carried off with it.”
Exodus 22:20: “He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the LORD only, he shall be utterly destroyed.”
Deut. 6:14-15: Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you; (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.”
Ex 34:6-7: “And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed . . . that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.”
(This is similar to what we would expect from the lowest Mafia scum, “Do as I say or I’ll be coming after your kids and their kids.” This pretty much ensures that no one will stand up to this god. The hero might be willing to accept his own destruction, but very, very few would sacrifice their children, if there were any way to avoid it. Threatening someone’s children is about as low and as morally reprehensible as one can get, isn’t it?)
(Matt. 10:28): And, lastly, the Prince of Peace says, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

If there is a god who truly loves us, as the Bible also claims, then why would he primarily teach through fear? Isn’t this the modus operandi of brutal dictators and other thugs? Why would someone who loves you want you to fear him? I was always very careful to avoid making my wife or children fear me, because a fearful person is an unhappy person. Because I loved them, I did not want them to be unhappy. I didn’t want them to fear me, but to love and respect me. I didn’t want to frighten my children about life, but to teach them, the best I could, about how to live a good life, a moral life, a life they could be happy in and proud of. Shouldn’t the wisest and most powerful ”father” in the whole universe have been able to find a way to do this for his children, instead of just scaring the hell out of us?

Why does the god of the Bible sound like a crude bully? Not a leader who seeks to earn respect, but one who demands it, threateningly? Could this be because this god was described by primitive men in a brutal age, an age of kings and emperors who commonly ruled by fear? Would the truly wise and enlightened king or emperor who really loved his people rule through fear, or would he seek to gain their respect, praise, and willing obedience by doing good things for them and showing them how much he cared?

Why does the god of the Bible sound like a crude bully? Not a leader who seeks to earn respect, but one who demands it, threateningly? Now, please, don’t tell me Bible-god’s choice to rule by fear doesn’t have to make sense to me. That’s just stupid. The MINIMUM REQUIREMENT for believability of any god should be whether it makes sense to us. How else are we to disqualify the Flying Spaghetti Monster or Ganesh, the Hindu god with the head of an elephant? Reason has led us out of the caves and into the space age; from ignorance and superstition to science, philosophy, democracy, and ethics, while faith has led people by the billions into false religions like Hinduism, Islam, Zoroastrianism and thousands of others. Reason clearly has the better track record, as any real god would surely know. If Bible-god isn’t REASON-able, he will be shunned by billions who will follow other religions or none. And the proof of this is already on the ground today, all over the world. Could a real god be so stupid as to not understand this?

I believe the lesson we should learn from the heavy use of fear by Bible-god is that it was written by superstitious men, out of their own heads and legends, based on their own experiences living in a brutal and barbaric ancient world. No rational, compassionate and loving god would choose to rule by fear anymore than I, a decent man, would choose to rule my family by fear. I think it just makes sense that the Bible was written by primitive, fearful men, who themselves were ruled by despotic and cruel kings and emperors, and in no way represents the revelations of a real god.