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Fear


charley
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The more I have dealt with religious thinking over the years, the more I  see it boil down to a central matter: fear. Fear of the unknown, of what happens after we die, the "wages of sin", (etc.). It could be argued that this fear is supplied by and neatly cured by religion. Much the same way that a drug dealer creates a need and a fulfillment of the needs of an addict. I think that apart from this there is a certain primal fear of what is unknown. In general, I think that this is s a by-product of our human imagination. When we contemplate what may occur beyond the limits of our experience, "anything's possible". This can lead to fearful imaginings and a desire to play it safe with a religious practice of some kind. An alternative is to deal directly with the fear itself. In working to minimize and make the threat seem less powerful. A lot of this has to do with how we think of it. We can condition our minds to take the most fearful visions, sounds and feelings and minimize them within us. That will enable our more rational aspects to take control. In fact, I think that this is essential psychological work that everyone must do to protect themselves  from coercion of all kinds; religious, political, or spousal/familial. I have my favorite methods but I suggest that everyone who has continual issues of one kind or another consider focusing on that psychological work. I have found it  well worth it.

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56 minutes ago, charley said:

The more I have dealt with religious thinking over the years, the more I  see it boil down to a central matter: fear. Fear of the unknown, of what happens after we die, the "wages of sin", (etc.). It could be argued that this fear is supplied by and neatly cured by religion. Much the same way that a drug dealer creates a need and a fulfillment of the needs of an addict. I think that apart from this there is a certain primal fear of what is unknown. In general, I think that this is s a by-product of our human imagination. When we contemplate what may occur beyond the limits of our experience, "anything's possible". This can lead to fearful imaginings and a desire to play it safe with a religious practice of some kind. An alternative is to deal directly with the fear itself. In working to minimize and make the threat seem less powerful. A lot of this has to do with how we think of it. We can condition our minds to take the most fearful visions, sounds and feelings and minimize them within us. That will enable our more rational aspects to take control. In fact, I think that this is essential psychological work that everyone must do to protect themselves  from coercion of all kinds; religious, political, or spousal/familial. I have my favorite methods but I suggest that everyone who has continual issues of one kind or another consider focusing on that psychological work. I have found it  well worth it.

You may be right about fear with some - maybe most people but for me fear isn't an issue.  I've found that in the years I've researched these things, FEAR became a prime tactic of nearly every translator to intimidate people into conversion.  It just makes no sense that a so called 'loving God' would torment people in an eternal inferno for living a 'vapors' worth of life.  I've said to myself dozens of times that if these people (Christians) represent 'GOD' - I don't want anything to do with him because his people suck big-time.  I'd rather listen to the guru!

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9 hours ago, charley said:

.... It could be argued that this fear is supplied by and neatly cured by religion. ....

Absolutely, positively. Just like modern advertising. Your hair is too straight, too curly, too oily or too dry, and it's the wrong color. But we have just the answer for you!

 

One of my favorite musicals is The Music Man. His scam is going to small towns and selling them on creating a boys' band, with him as the source for the instruments and uniforms. He collects the money and then skips out. You can find a great clip of a pivotal scene, "Ya Got Trouble," on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LI_Oe-jtgdI

Then he comes back with the solution: a boys' band (although this performance by Matthew Broderick is but a shell of Robert Preston's in the first clip): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npHJ5Dzrjx8

 

Substitute anything you want in those clips for the problem and the solution — it's universal.

Watch the whole movie. It's fun.

 

 

Anyhow, that's what it all comes down to. A big scam. 

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I think I can relate to what you wrote. After a few years of leaving the church and leaving Christianity, I began to research this religion, looking for evidence. My research was obviously started with fear (my mother pleaded with me to read Christian articles because she didn't want me to go to Hell). Before I agreed to take my mom's advice and give her the relief that I read my mind was so calm and free.

 

That day finally came and I started reading. I got into it - I was beginning to have more and more doubts about my own judgment of religion, and felt the first shudder of fear.
 

I felt like I was writing my master's thesis in theology: I started collecting all kinds of material on Christianity, articles, books, YouTube videos, sermons, websites, etc. - with arguments for and against. It was my way of finding the truth whether the biblical God exists and whether hell is real - these 2 key questions interested me the most and became the main motivator of my search.

 

But guess what? I didn't get anywhere (maybe because sometimes I had a feeling of failure in advance? Or I did the research wrong? I don't know). In fear, various thoughts came to my mind, which is noticeable in my strange questions on this forum.

 

I also followed the advice of C. Lewis, who proposed examining the evidence of Christianity before entering this religion. So I tried, but the same evidence against Christianity was accepted as evidence of Christianity according to apologists. If, for example, I found information that the story of Jesus or Noah's ark was inspired by the myth of Horus and the epic of Gilgamesh, apologists were able to explain and interpret this argument in favor of Christianity - so I noticed that no matter what the opposite evidence refuting this religion, apologists can make an argument out of it disproving the supporting argument. This is where my drama in research began, because I realized that I did not have the knowledge to "untangle" apologists' arguments. In order to do this, I would have to have knowledge (not small, but huge) about archeology (2000 years ago and today, preferably from the beginning of the world and before the existence of the world and before anything else), psychology, history, all religions, anthropology, geography, biology , evolution etc. etc. I can't do it, but I tried.

 

This is what happened and where I got trying: from a diligent student I turned into a lazy, instead of studying for college I started learning religion, and to gain as much time as possible, do not ask me how I earned money (not only a religious reason, but also) , I couldn't even sleep out of fear, I started drinking alcohol to such an extent that if it weren't for my mother, who is a nurse, I would have ended up in the hospital (fortunately, I haven't had a drink to this day), I started to engage in various escapes from fear (activities that release large amounts of dopamine in the brain: alcohol, junk food, sweets, addiction to shopping, watching funny videos,), which made me neglect almost all my duties - but I had to get away from the stress and fear that religion gave me, I lost my will to life (through various things in my family, in college, but religion also played a part in that).

 

Fear exhausted me physically and mentally. I was an emotional wreck. How is it that in the past and now I can even lift my friends' spirits, cheer them up, give good advice, but I cannot help myself?

 

You mentioned psychology in your post. I stumbled upon a psychological video by accident, so I started searching recently about C.G. Jung, about archetypes and some psychological clues to deal with. But what I found there only killed me more: I learned that I can have different syndromes and show bad archetypes in my life, and archetypes should balance each other, but in my case one archetype prevails over another - I concluded from all this that I am abnormal, disturbed, strange to the point that I broke down mentally (I couldn't eat anything normally because I choked on tears, I blamed myself for everything, I started to feel guilty towards my parents and all the evil in the world, I felt an outcast and a social parasite, my self-esteem it fell to zero, because I realized that I do not like social norms and I do not fit into them, I found out that an adult man has to deal with himself, otherwise he is bad as in religion, so I try to cut myself off from all help, there is still many other things that I will not mention here for fear that someone might send me here to a psychiatric hospital) - guilt and religious fear turned into wi and social fear and guilt for the evil of the whole world and for the misfortunes of other people - this is what I have found.

 

From a calm person who knows what he wants and supports others emotionally, I have become a scared and isolated individual. I cry every day and I feel like zero. As in religion, in psychology (here I am talking about the articles on which I was based when looking for information about myself and my problems, I do not criticize personal advice from qualified psychiatrists and psychologists - I have nothing against psychologists here, because I think they are needed and I value these people. All I'm saying is that fear can make you believe everything uncritically.) you can find contradictory values: love yourself, but in another psychological article: parents who unconditionally love their children make them grow up to be narcissists or the snowflake generation or: I may be a highly sensitive person or have a psychopathological syndrome - one statement must be true, but which? These or that? So this information knocked me out even more. I was (long ago) at peace with myself, until religion and some dose of psychological knowledge from various sources made me so concerned that I would fall down from which I can no longer get out.
 

Being struck out by religion, okay, you can handle it - but be struck out by society because you don't fit in? No, it's more difficult. Because you are alone.

 

To be deleted not only because of religion but also because of society is quite a big blow. And no one has to tell me that something is wrong with me that I can't fit in with society - the articles I've read are enough - it's usually enough to make me feel crossed out and worthless, but I noticed that it is the same with religion - if you have trouble taking each word seriously and relating most words to yourself, I guarantee that if you read anything about hell or sin you will feel a shudder of fear. The brain can perceive the words read for a realistic picture of the situation (I think so from experience, I can be wrong).
 

If someone had talked me into murder today maybe I would have come to believe that I am a murderer? Why would I believe? He could tell me he saw my thoughts and mentally killed someone. He would have backed it up with other arguments, and I already believe him. This is how a scared person works - he becomes susceptible to manipulation and is mentally completely vulnerable. You can convince such a person anything. You can tell me everything today, I have no way to defend myself. So please don't go there! Don't go where I am, don't end up like me, don't be a loser like me! If fear pushes you to do more research, please stop! do not act in fear! You won't get far this way, and you may end up with psychological trauma, which I do not wish for you. Maybe I will go back to researching religion, no, in a moment of weakness I feel like praying to God, but in my heart I know that hell and the principles of relationship with Jesus scare me and I have no confidence, knowledge or faith to confirm the existence or non-existence of God.

 

From the research that I have conducted, it may appear that the biblical God and hell do exist, but it may also appear that he does not exist. It all depends on the strength of the arguments you have and your own knowledge of the subject. And even if hell and God exist, you have to ask yourself if you are able to force yourself and return to Christianity? If not and you are to be stuck in fear like I am, please close this topic as soon as possible, don't go to fear like me and start meditating, doing yoga, doing mindfulness and breathing training, whatever, but don't go my way. driven mainly by fear - because you can accidentally destroy other spheres of your life - religious fear affects your whole life and your mind.
 

 

Conclusion from my own experience: fear will get you nowhere - fear will destroy you

 

 

 

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We have to all strive for some degree of self-awareness.

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Couldn't agree more with the OP.  And I would go so far as to say that oddly, fear of the unknown is greater than fear of the known.  I think this became very apparent when covid vaccines hit the market.  Many people feared potential "unknown" side effects of the vaccines more than they feared what they could actually see happening from the disease itself.  I found it especially interesting when smokers - people who know damn well they are putting themselves at risk for a host of diseases and other issues - were concerned about what might happen if they got the vaccine.  People fill in the gaps not just with religion, but with conspiracy theories - when they are unsure, fearful, and in some cases, uneducated about whatever the topic is at hand.  And when they cannot be experts at answering mysterious questions, they become "experts" with whatever they use to fill in the gaps.  Personally, I'm trying to learn to get more comfortable with the mysterious.  To just sit with it awhile, be curious, and see what happens. 

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