View Full Version : Is Religion Fear Based?

07-03-2006, 02:29 PM
Are all religions fear based? Does a religion have to be fear based?

07-03-2006, 09:11 PM
The short answer to both of your questions: no.

The problem comes when some religions operate with a "You better do this or you will be damned for eternity." as their primary focus or premise for being.

However you "color" a religion, the Deity (whether it is a God being or a philosophical idea) being represented originally was couched in messages of hope and trust. Then, people began to amend this very simple message into a lot of "do's" and "don'ts", even to the point of transforming the Deity into a really pissed off, unapproachable, and unforgiving "thing" so as to induce fear.

A truly religious outlook is one where hope and trust become paramount and then allowing the experiences of life reinforce one's faith.

For me, I forget all the notions that God is pissed off at me. That message is incongruous with the simple message that God not only loves me but wants me to place my complete hope, trust, and faith in Him (to use the common pronoun). For me, there is no fear where I better do something "right" so that I am continually on His good side. What I want to do is allow my faith to be the center of my life and do what is "natural" according to that faith. [In other words, since I want the Christ to be the center of my life, then I operate according to how I believe the Christ would act, say, do, et al.] Heck, there are times when I go "out into the field and throw rocks at God." From my pickle barrel, He wants you (and me) to question, ask, discuss, et al, as if He were my best friend. There is no fear to approach the "Almighty" and level with Him.

There is a prevailing thought within many religions that bad things happen because God is pissed off. This is a glossing over of the facts of life. In the venacular, shit happens, and it has nothing to do with God. The universe was created with certain laws, and our world--indeed our lives--operate according to those laws, even though our human brain cannot--of oft times will not--comprehend them. The good news in all of this is faith: that no matter what happens in life, God is right there beside every person on Earth willing to help and save.

Finally, the core of almost every religion is the thought that God does not want "fear." He wants hope, trust, faith, and love, and then He wants people to live within those parameters in their daily lives.

07-04-2006, 09:23 AM
disagree with Wallis. Of course I can't and won't debate his personal experience with his God but I feel that religion is soley fear-based. It starts around the time as a baby when one is taken to church for baptism. Then religion and faith - with the threat of FEAR hanging over your head, puts the FEAR of God in you for any reason you may decide to misbehave. Then as you grow up you have this FEAR of God and the FEAR of going to hell if you don't believe and have faith. Then as an adult, the FEAR continues as one is FEARFUL of going against or challenging religious belief.
Now let's take it back a little further. As the social world was developing, explorers would force the new, indigenent, people they discovered into converting to christianity or lose their life (FEAR). The Spanish explorers killed hundreds and hundreds of American Indians for not converting (FEAR). The Pope ordered the crusades not just to oust the Muslims but to spread the word. If the word wasn't accepted then you were killed (FEAR). It goes on and on.
My test to any religious person: Tell your Pastor you are not going to be a Christian anymore or you challenge the concept of God or perhaps just tell yourself "I don't believe in God", You're afraid to aren't you? (FEAR)

07-04-2006, 10:47 PM
Can't disagree with your disagreement, Wouldhe. You hit the "fear" factor nail right square on the head.

And it is this religious view that I have problems with.

07-06-2006, 12:21 PM
You know sometimes fear is a good thing example (not everybody would go on the roof of a 30 story building and walk along the edge without some sort of safty line. or what keeps a person from sticking their hand in a open fire. (would that be FEAR of getting burned)

07-06-2006, 03:52 PM
and perhaps some should be FEARFUL of those filling their heads with nonsense.

07-06-2006, 10:41 PM
From your view point it's nonsense but not from mine. you see I'm souled out I'm in 100%, but the interesting thing is someone is right and someone is wrong, and we will find out in the end.

07-06-2006, 11:38 PM
In my simplistic view, the answer to the original questions would be no, not all religions are fear based and no, a religion does not have to (nor should it) be fear based.

Though I have not studied them in depth, many of the Eastern religions (Buddhism, etc) and many of the nature-based religions are nowhere near fear-based.

It is man who put the fear of god into religion, the religion itself is not based on a fear of god....

07-07-2006, 02:20 PM
In my simplistic view, the answer to the original questions would be no, not all religions are fear based and no, a religion does not have to (nor should it) be fear based.

Though I have not studied them in depth, many of the Eastern religions (Buddhism, etc) and many of the nature-based religions are nowhere near fear-based.

It is man who put the fear of god into religion, the religion itself is not based on a fear of god....

You are incorrect, Endtell. The original questions still stand. Religion is Fear. In fact, you can substitute religion with fear. According to buddhism, life is continuing in circle and circle forever till you became one with the universe. In other word, one must absolutely eliminate desire cause desire is the root cause of suffering and suffering will continue as long as you have a slighless of desire for anything including basic need such as food.

07-07-2006, 06:55 PM
Grasshopper, how does what you posted, which is essentially correct in form, support the hypothesis that religion generates fear? When a person accepts a religion (and a faith), one accepts the consequences associated with that religion. If there is any fear generated, it is within the individual that this fear originates.

A Buddhist, therefore, motivated by the desire to get off the wheel of life, lives a life on consequences. He does not live according to the dictates of fear, but rather through a conscious decision-making process of either living by his faith or by doing the opposite.

I see it this way: if I make a decision based on a fear factor, then I have not embraced my faith, nor have I truly accepted to live by my faith. The "fates" (as in Buddhism) are not fooled any more than the Islamic God, the Jewish God, and the Christian God is fooled by the mere actions of a person. Fear-driven action is not a true expression of a faith that completely embraces a particular religion. Faith, in its distilled form, is the "stepping out" onto thin air while knowing that one will not fall into the abyss; such a faith means that no matter what happens in this life, the Deity (or what-have-you) is going to take care of the believer. So, why fear?


I believe there is some cross-distillation here regarding fear. When some yahoo starts scripture-thumping and proclaiming that people are going to hell because they do not believe a certain way, here we do have a fear-factor that is being used as a motivation to fill the church/temple pews.

Instead of proclaiming a good news about the love of God and how a faith can change a person's life--in other words, an avenue that removes fear from life, (which will not necessarily bring people and their MONEY into an organized religion), the "you better" approach--or scare tactic--is far easier to preach. In addition, it is far easier, then, for the preacher to smugly declare (in the place of the Deity) who's going to be saved (a handful, in his opinion) and who is going to hell or back to the wheel of life (the majority of us, apparently).

Examples of this have already appeared on this forum: you had better accept Jesus (the) Christ or you will spend eternity in hell.

Well, let's look at this for a minute. The core of Christianity is simple: believe in the Christ and you'll be saved. By believing, the Christ lives within the person and so follows the life.

The simplicity of this core, if one believes in the Christ and emulates the Christ, then one need not worry about anything in this world or the next. Fear is removed. "Do what you will to me, but you can't beat me down."

Ah, but then we have a neo-core of Christianity that has virtually supplanted the original core: You better do this or do that, 'cause God is a pissed-off God, and He only cares about what you do and say. You had better fear this God who stands on the Earth with this huge scythe, and He is gleefully--note the adverb--sending people to Hell by the basketfulls. (sorry for the pun--or attempt)

So, the simplicity of this neo-core (although I'm having a hard time wrapping my brain about it being simple) is that if a person goes through the motions of all the rules and how-tos that some other person has concocted, then God is pleased and will--some say might--spare you from an eternal existence of damnation. And, very importantly, the believer has to measure up to the preacher's expectations--or the religious police of the organization--rather than measure up to God's expectations.

So, now we have fear induced from two directions: 1) from people who will hurt the congregation through punitive measures because they do not act according to the dictates of the church leaders, and 2) from a twisted (and oft completely opposite position of the orginal message) view that God has not an ounce of love and a whole lot of wrath, whereby He derives pleasure from creating souls only to have these souls languish forever and ever in torture.

And why people prefer such a god who is so petty as to assume such human emotions as hate, anger, masochism, et al will forever be a mystery to me. If I have to bow down to fear as a motivation to worship or please such a god, then that god ain't the god for me. I'll stick to the one who has promised that He'll take care of me in this world and the next, no matter what, no matter what the next world is like (although, I expect I'll see most of you again on the next turn of the wheel).

07-08-2006, 10:42 AM
Wallis, you are proposing the idea that your God is different than the other. There are actually two Gods? (or more).

07-08-2006, 07:25 PM
I guess a big "Whoops!" is in order if I conveyed that message, Wouldhe. When I wrote my post, I was confining my thinking only to a person's view of God (or Deity or whatever).

However, if there are multiple gods, and you wanted to choose between them--note: I gave you the option of "wanting" to choose :D --which would you prefer?

1. The god who loves to spank you forever?


2. The god who loves you enough to discipline you in this life and promises to "take care of you" in the next?

(P.S.: "take care of you" has that pesky bad connotation, doesn't it? :D )

07-08-2006, 11:04 PM
How about a God that really cares. One that would make his presence known. One who is not so mystical and magical. One that doesn't commuicate in codes and parables. How about one that takes an active part in everyones life and one that can ease or eliminate the suffering HE has created. One that would put the question that has plagued man for millenium, is there a God?
How about one that protects us from all the bad that can happen to us. One that isn't an absentee God. I could go on...

07-09-2006, 10:36 PM
Very good questions, Wouldhe.

How about this little scenario:

You chose to come back into this existence. You chose to go through "hell" (literally or figuratively) so that you could "learn" something. Now, when you signed up to live this life, you had to agree on certain things:

1. You would forget almost everything about your "real" existence and any past lives you have already experienced.

2. You would be cut off from any direct line with the Deity (or whoever is running the show here).

3. You have to go through a number of "tests," both major and minor that are designed to drive you just close enough to insanity but far enough that you won't go insane.

4. You have to complete a "mission" in this life. We could call it an "impossible mission" if you like that we can succeed in against all odds.

I could think of a few more conditions, I suppose, but I think you get the picture.

Then, we have several choices:

1. We can go through life and learn or not learn (or something in-between).

2. We can continue to choose to accomlish them mission or not. Most often, we have no idea what the mission we're supposed to accomplish entails. We'll know the results after we have run life's maze.

3. We can reject the whole notion of God (or Deity or whatever), we can accept that something "out there" is helping (or laughing its collective ass off), we can embrace a philosophy or faith that leans on a God, or we can totally go against the grain of the world and place everything on the God Come Line. (There are lots of positions in-between these suggestions as well.)

Questioning God (and the existence of a God) and just why the heck we exist in the first place is actually very healthy. There is no manual on how to play this "game" of life, and when we become frustrated with all of the chaos in life it is quite understandable.

Personally, I do not see life as being "good" in the sense of happiness, success, or what have you. Whoever coined "Life sucks" should have a shrine dedicated to him (most likely a woman). Personally, I do not see life as an end-all or a one-time deal. I prefer to viewing life as a kind of life sentence (oh--sorry about the pun!) that I have to serve, hopefully be rehabilitated, and then return to the business of being all I can be spiritually.