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Fear and Religion


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#1 Rebiu

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Posted 26 March 2006 - 08:25 PM

How do fear and Religion relate? Is fear the motivation for accepting religious views and is the relationship exploited by religious oriented organizations? Does fear prevent people from being influenced by religious dogma? I fear induced acceptance sustainable?

#2 hallenrm

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 01:39 AM

I think fear and religion are very closely related, almost on the same plane as fear and insurance. Fear is intutive, because of the competeive NATURE, everybody is competing with everyone for survival, infact fear is the survival instinct; that is the reason for the early evolution of religions much much before modern science took root.


Does fear prevent people from being influenced by religious dogma? I fear induced acceptance sustainable?


I really do not understand this question could you kindly elaborate.:)

#3 CraigD

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 07:44 AM

How do fear and Religion relate?

The acceptability of the idea of religion observance as a consequence of fear of death, hell, etc. appears to increase and decrease with time and change in culture. During periods of perceived libertine excess, it becomes more acceptable – the 1741 sermon ”Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” stands out as an example. During periods of perceived repressiveness, such as the 1960s America, it becomes less acceptable, as expressed by an increase in “New Age” religious thought emphasizing love and compassion.

Personally, I always liked the fictional religious perspective on fear expressed in Frank Herbert’s novel “Dune”:

The Bene Gesserit Littainy against Fear
I will not fear
Fear is the mindkiller,
Fear is the little death
That brings total Oblivion
I will permit my fear to pass
Over me and through me
And where it has gone
I will turn the inner eye
Nothing will be there
Only I will remain


#4 Rebiu

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Posted 27 March 2006 - 02:03 PM

I really do not understand this question could you kindly elaborate.:eek2:

Does fear cause or prevent people from being influenced by religious rhetoric? If people accept religion out of fear will that fear keep cause them to continue to accept the religion.

#5 hallenrm

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 01:03 AM

Does fear cause or prevent people from being influenced by religious rhetoric? If people accept religion out of fear will that fear keep cause them to continue to accept the religion.


No! fear cannot cause or prevent people from being influenced by religious rhetoric, on the contrary people believe in religion and hence are influenced by religious rhetoric, only because they are afraid of the unforseen future. Religion provides a succor from all such fears, a territory where science miserably fails!:eek:. I am intutively equating a religious belief with faith in God.

#6 Southtown

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 11:44 PM

The two points of control are fear and desire. Some tv commercials use enticement to attract customers, others use scare tactics: sleek car commercials vs. crash-test car commercials. Governments likewise polarize: democracies are built on promises while tyrannies are built on threats. Even religions vary: feel-good charismatic Christians vs. hell-fire and brimstone Christians. Other religions probably polarize as well. I hear written Islam is radically off base with the extremists, hence the name I guess.

But the bible says to walk the middle road. Neither let yourself be controlled by lust or desire, nor fear or threat. But do what is right.

There is no fear in love: but perfect love casteth out fear, because fear hath punishment; and he that feareth is not made perfect in love.” — 1 John 4:18

Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: love therefore is the fulfilment of the law.” — Romans 13:10

For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” — Galatians 5:14

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.” — James 2:8-9

So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh: for if ye live after the flesh, ye must die; but if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” — Romans 8:12-14



#7 hallenrm

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 01:02 AM

Does fear cause or prevent people from being influenced by religious rhetoric? If people accept religion out of fear will that fear keep cause them to continue to accept the religion.


Thinking a bit more, i wonder whether you are referring to the fundamentalist rhetoric that is a matter of concern now.

A belief in a religion is perhaps a herd mentality, and "religious" people are sometimes afraid of the retaliation from the society they inhabit. In such a case, people are naturally afraid to accept any rhetoric that is counter to the beliefs of their religion as prophesized by its high priests.

Is this close to your line of thinking Rebiu, when you initiated this thread???:eek2:

#8 Rebiu

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 06:41 PM

I think fear and religion are very closely related, almost on the same plane as fear and insurance. Fear is intutive, because of the competeive NATURE, everybody is competing with everyone for survival, infact fear is the survival instinct; that is the reason for the early evolution of religions much much before modern science took root.

So do you believe fear is a necessary aspect of the human experience?


Does fear prevent people from being influenced by religious dogma? I fear induced acceptance sustainable?

I really do not understand this question could you kindly elaborate.:)

That is because you are removing the question from its context.

How do fear and Religion relate? Is fear the motivation for accepting religious views and is the relationship exploited by religious oriented organizations? Does fear prevent people from being influenced by religious dogma? I fear induced acceptance sustainable?

If you look at it as a series of questions you will see that I am asking if fear may prevent people from accepting religious dogma after having asked if it may cause them to accept said dogma.

#9 Rebiu

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 06:44 PM

The acceptability of the idea of religion observance as a consequence of fear of death, hell, etc. appears to increase and decrease with time and change in culture. During periods of perceived libertine excess, it becomes more acceptable – the 1741 sermon ”Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” stands out as an example. During periods of perceived repressiveness, such as the 1960s America, it becomes less acceptable, as expressed by an increase in “New Age” religious thought emphasizing love and compassion.

Thanks for the information

Personally, I always liked the fictional religious perspective on fear expressed in Frank Herbert’s novel “Dune”:

The Bene Gesserit Littainy against Fear
I will not fear
Fear is the mindkiller,
Fear is the little death
That brings total Oblivion
I will permit my fear to pass
Over me and through me
And where it has gone
I will turn the inner eye
Nothing will be there
Only I will remain

I also enjoyed "Dune"

#10 kcl0341

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 07:15 AM

I think fear and religion are very closely related, almost on the same plane as fear and insurance. Fear is intutive, because of the competeive NATURE, everybody is competing with everyone for survival, in fact fear is the survival instinct; that is the reason for the early evolution of religions much much before modern science took root.




I really do not understand this question could you kindly elaborate.:hihi:



Reply by kcl0341


Religions today:

Some observers believe that the main function of religions today is to provide their followers with a feeling of security.

John Shelby Spong, retired bishop of the Episcopal Church, USA has written:

"Religion is primarily a search for security and not a search for truth. Religion is what we so often use to bank the fires of our anxiety. That is why religion tends toward becoming excessive, neurotic, controlling and even evil. That is why a religious government is always a cruel government. People need to understand that questioning and doubting are healthy, human activities to be encouraged not to be feared. Certainly is a vice not a virtue. Insecurity is something to be grasped and treasured. A true and healthy religious system will encourage each of these activities. A sick and fearful religious system will seek to remove them."

David C. James, rector of St. John's Episcopal Church & Diocesan Mission Center in Olympia, WA, wrote:

Many times when we think we are worshipping God, we are actually comforting our very fragile egos. I’m not so naïve as to assume that we build temple and erect altars to ourselves…directly. But our core need to been safe, secure and sound mandates that we construct reality systems that will support us.

Let me quote Bertrand Russell statement: “Religion is based, I think primarily and mainly upon fear – fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand.”

Fear is one of several very basic emotions and it is an instinct. It is a survival mechanism, and usually occurs in response to a specific negative stimulus. With this instinct our anciently man could survive in the world ruled by jungle laws. If someone was struck by lighting, then they would think this was the act of God. Fear has overcome them by natural disasters such as flood, bush-fire, landslide, earthquakes and many others. Religions were created to give people a feeling of security in an insecure world, and a feeling of control over the environment where there was little control.

A plague, called The Black Death (1347 – 1350 AD) swept over Europe, causing widespread hysteria and death. One third of the population of Europe died. The primary culprits in transmitting this disease were oriental rat fleas carried on the back of the black rats. The Christian church said it was God’s will, but the reason for this awful punishment was unknown. “God have mercy upon us all!” said the bishop. As a matter of fact, there was nothing to do with God. God had nothing to forgive the people. The lack of medical knowledge had caused the plague. Ignorance had created fear that had overcome all the people in Europe. The virus H5N1 and SARS could have killed one fourth of the world population if our present medical knowledge could not cope with the spread of the virus.

Churches and temples in fact are organizations. Like political parties, they have their own goals and the party members have faith in their parties and their leaders. The way to run a church or a temple is similar as running a political party. Power struggle among the leaders of the church exists just like that in a political party. Churches of different religions claim their God is the only true God. In the history of mankind different kinds of wars have been started by different kinds of religions when their conflicts of interests could not be compromised.

Human beings were supposed to be created by God but according to Christian belief we are born sinners because our first parents Adam and Eve had committed the Original Sin. Our first mother Eve, disobeyed God and she ate the fruits from the Tree of the Kowledge of Evil and Good. After having eaten the fruits both Adam and Eve felt shameful for they found that they were naked. God does not want mankind to have any knowledge at all. Do we want our children to have more knowledge than ourselves? Shall we be jealous at our own children if they are more intelligent than us? On what ground that we should be born sinners ?

King Lee

#11 InfiniteNow

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 08:20 AM

Wow, King Lee. Do you have any other text from your clipboard which you can paste? :hihi:

#12 kcl0341

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 06:56 PM

Wow, King Lee. Do you have any other text from your clipboard which you can paste? :hihi:


Dear InfiniteNow,

I have written a peice of article under the title "Was the universe created by God?" The article is about 20,000 words. My arguement is that God does not exist and even if He does exist He would not interfere with our human world. I have attempted to make use of science and phlosophy to show that God has nothing to do with this world.

I don't know how to post my article in this Forum.

Thanks for your attention and care.

King Lee (kcl0341)

#13 InfiniteNow

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 07:03 PM

Hello King Lee.

Thank you. I am glad to see your clarification.
I now agree with your goal.
I hope you can find a way to present it to a large audience.
I am curious to read more.

你是不是中国人?

#14 kcl0341

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 07:37 AM

Dear InfiniteNow,

You are right that I am a Chinese living in Hong Kong. I have lived in Vancouver for 10 years. How do you know I am a Chinese and you could write Chinese too. Just wonderful!

King Lee

#15 InfiniteNow

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 08:10 AM

Dear InfiniteNow,

You are right that I am a Chinese living in Hong Kong. I have lived in Vancouver for 10 years. How do you know I am a Chinese and you could write Chinese too. Just wonderful!

King Lee


It was a lucky guess. :)

我现在在大学学习中文。 祝你好。

#16 nutronjon

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 09:07 AM

Personally, I have studied concepts of God, because of a burning curiousity and desire to know truth. This means studying all concepts of God and the history of these concepts, and how they spread and blended with concepts in difference regions. For me this is so natural, I am having a difficult time conversing with people who assume they are an authority about God, but have done none of the studying. It is really problematic for me that, by God people in the United States mean the God of Abraham, and they speak of this concept of God as though it were the only one.

Anyway, fear is not my motivation for studying concepts of God and studying human history and human nature. I am just very curious and find it exciting and very pleasing to study and then share what I think with others.

#17 HydrogenBond

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 12:55 PM

Fear is the strongest instinct. It is based on fight and flight, with the needed response having to happen, quickly, to assure survival. If we compare this to desire, desire although also strong, doesn't get the system going with the same level of survival urgency. Sexual desire, which may be the root of all desire, is more for survival of the species, where the slack can be picked up by someone else. The idea of using fear, was it is the trump card of all the instincts, able to override all of them.

For example, one may desire that chocolate cake, but if I have a gun, you will back down with fear trumping desire or hunger. One will have to try to work around the fear by being sneaky or charming to be able to satisfy the desire. Take away the fear, and we just pig out on the cake like an animal. Add the fear to the blend, we need to become a little more ingenious to satisfy the desire, like a thinking human. The global warming fear is helping us to satisfy our desire for a clean environment. Rather than just desiring it, with longing, we are more urgently doing something. There is a lot more thinking and ingenuity at work.

The old saying, the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, caused people to have to think before just acting on any impulse. A quick impulse is what animals can do. But a human is suppose to use their mind. The fear sets up a conflict of coming (impulse) and going (fear). The animal in us will have to stop in the middle, and has to think about it first. Philosophers may write an entire book stuck between fear and desire trying figure out a way to get the chocolate cake. Without the fear he would eat the cake and then take a nap. There would be no need for this well thought out work around, which may help the common good.

At the time of Jesus, he preached the removal of the fear. Humans had got all they could get out of the old testament fear angle. The problem was, fear was no longer being used to expand the mind, but to enslave people. What was suppose to take the place of the polarization of fear was a polarization using love. For example, we desire that chocolate cake. With fear we stop short and then back off. We then may develop an ingenuity to get around it. There is often a temptation affect, as we fixate on the desire, which can not be satisfied quickly out of fear. The result is the ingenuity needed to get it.

The change was to replace the fear polarization with a love polarization. Although we know the work-around, and can now get the cake, one stops to ponder, not out of fear, but out of love. OK, it took a while, but I have the cake. But I also love my little brother so maybe I will share. I feel sorry for that poor person, so maybe I will give him part of the cake. It was a new polarization that was designed to fan out the modernized human instinct and ingenuity for the common good. Now the philosopher is pondering his desire and his love and he comes up with new ideas like democracy.

The earliest Christians preached, " let no one be your judge with respect to food, drink, festivals, etc.". Forget the fear angle that is passe. The new law is summarized in only one sentence, so it is easy to remember and hard to legally manipulate, love your neighbor (and God). One only has to think in the middle between their totally legal natural and calculated desires, and love. Try to fan out for the common good, no more fear, just love. But as history shows this pure love polarization movement didn't last.

After a few centuries and enough gladiator competitions, we settled on fear and love. That completed the trinity, impulse of desire, fear and love. We act with impulse but stop short due to fear. There we think and use our ingenuity to work around. Then we get it and stop again because of love and find that compromise that has extended benefit around us.