Catholics teach that the fear of god is a gift from the holy spirit.

Fear = Wisdom? Really?

I used to fear GOD. It was real to me and a constant source of stress. Perhaps when atheists speak of new found freedom, some of it is really the shedding of fear. Did you ever "FEAR the LORD? and if so, how did it feel to ditch that fear?

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My Aunt, who is 83 and a very, very devout and conservative Christian, once confided in me how her older sister had told her about Hell when she was only 6 years old. She was given a description of a place filled with burning flames, forced drinking of boiling water, and torture...forever. This is where god would send her if she was "bad".

From that point on, her sister could control her totally, because "bad" was not doing what her sister demanded. When she advanced into organized religion they had a ready-made, submissive subject, who would accept anything the church people said as truth, do whatever they commanded. She believed what they told her to believe, because of her fear of hell. She attended a Southern Private Christian University, where she was taught racism, sexism, (the inferiority of blacks and subservience of women) homophobia in the extreme, and many other bigoted ideas were "good" because of certain Bible verses.

She is convinced that everyone who was not "saved" by her particular religious rituals was going to this tortuous Hell, even those good moral people who were ignorant of Christianity. "That's just the way it is" she told me. "There is only one way to avoid Hell.", and she meant her own brainwashed, indoctrinated, concepts. All the innocent people in all the world? Going to Hell for no reason?

This experience with her solidified my total rejection of all organized religion.

** disobedience is the beginning of autonomy

You can buy an ebook copy of Michel Onfray. Atheist Manifesto for $2. That's a bargain. His discuses the disgusting attributes of the xin god-fiction and how god-proxies inside xian institutions use fear of eternal punishment as part of social control and indoctrination.

Fear of gods, of course, antedates xianity. One Greek philosopher Epicurus (340-270 BCE) adopted and adapted a materialist viewpoint in abolishing all transcendent fictions -- the invisible, incorporeal, other world -- the metaphysical garbage still embraced by all xian theology today.

Xians saw to it that most of the works of Epicurus and all the works of Democritus were destroyed. But, three Epicurus' letters to friends on the principles of his philosophy and some 40 maxims survived in a work by Diogenes Laertius -- On the lives of the most celebrated philosophers (200 CE).

Just search under Epicurus and also under 'the four-fold cure' -- the tetrapharmakon.

Yes, we Catholics teach that fear of the Lord is a gift, or the beginning of Wisdom.

That's a terrible modern English translation, though.  In modern English fear has the singular meaning of fear of punishment/harm/terror, etc.  That isn't the meaning at all, and if anyone in our faith actually tried to teach you to (modern English) fear God, or Hell, or some other such nonsense they would be getting the religion wrong.  No different than someone teaching bad science.

The original Greek/Latin meaning refers to a form of filial love.  It's the reluctance to offend or harm the relationship with another.  So fear of your spouse would be a part of marriage; a reluctance to deliberately offend or bring harm to a relationship you value.  Fear of our spouse is why we guys make a point of remembering our anniversaries ;-)

You can't tell children about the burning fires of hell without inducing a bit more fear than 'fear of offending'.  The majority of people here who were religious state that they were just plain afraid - so Greek and/or Latin don't enter into it.

Don't worry, @Strega, I don't mind.  I'll just keep providing evidence.  I know it's hard to give up a deeply held belief in the inherent wickedness of someone else's tribe.  There are probably good evolutionary reasons for that.  At very least, I figure it's more a Bayesian process in terms of evaluating evidence.

@Robert

Nah, it's just all the ass-raping of children.  Then there are you continuous assertions that ass-raping of children is perfectly normal and everyone seems to be doing it - which doesn't speak well for the Catholic circles you frequent.

As I said, Heather, it's hard to give up a deeply held prejudice about another group, particularly when that prejudice makes us feel superior in some way.  That aspect of psychology is very well known.

It's one of the reasons that proper religion is of value, because it provides a cognitive framework to work against such prejudice.  One Heavenly Father by necessity means all are brothers and sisters.   Groups of people don't "ass rape" others by virtue of their tribal identity, any more than Jews murder babies or westerners fornicate with goats.  It's an unreasoned prejudice.

For atheists like yourself, there is apparently no alternative cognitive framework which calls into question that unreasoned prejudice against a whole group because of the actions of a few.  Instead, the prejudice is viewed almost as a virtue, which you are proud to declare in public.  It's virtuous to attack others unfairly, because they are inferior.  The are not brothers and sisters.  They are all ass-rapers/kikes/niggers or whatever, and we are superior.

Except that you've been given an open forum in which to present evidence to the contrary - and you refuse to offer anything other than anecdotal evidence from admittedly fading memories.  It seems far more likely to me that you evade factual declarations because they do not support your position.

For fish on Friday?

As long as it isn't shellfish.  Leviticus abhors a prawn.

I must admit that as a Catholic, the fish thing is a true penance.  I'm not much for fish, and the fish I like tend to be shellfish so I'd never make a good Jew.   Dinner, however, would be fine.

This was a thread about fear of God and such, so I'm not sure what to do in terms of "evidence to the contrary".  It's a bit like "When did you stop beating your wife?".  All I can say is that I never beat my wife, no one I have ever known beats his (or her) wife, and neither I nor my church have ever advocated wife beating.  "But you have no evidence!  All Catholics beat their wives!!"  LOL.  Well, if you say so.

I've shared what we actually teach about "fear of the Lord".  That is really the way we view it.   If you don't believe me because you can't abandon your prejudice against Catholics, that's OK.  I don't mind.  The real question is whether you think that's an OK thing for you?

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