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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Hmm... That was an odd read, @Reg.  Where do you think that I'm blaming the young people of America for Wall Street?  I would agree that on average they are the victims.

I'm not sure I would buy the notion that simply open debate is sufficient for ethical or productive lawmaking.  After all, it was open debate which repealed Glass-Steagall, and facilitated institutional robbery on a grand scale, while in many ways it was Joe Kennedy's edicts which put it in place.  There's a balance between expertise and openness, between consent and vision which needs to be struck.  I guess.  Legal theory is way outside my expertise.

Well, when I was younger and still believed, I was very afraid of God. How could I not be? God was a giant, stern faced paternal figure that would apparently drop me into a fiery lake if I didn't do everything exactly right. I was terrified of God. It wasn't until I stopped living with that fear that I started moving away from religion. When I became aware that there was no smiting, that evil and wrong doing in our world went unpunished by divine will, I stopped being afraid. It was all down hill from there, an easy stroll from fanatic, fearful zealotry to the cool, rational embrace of Atheism.

L O L !!!  Screw the Lord.  He is impotent.  Given my long standing, dismissive opinion of Him, He would have never allowed me the 77 1/2 happy years I've had, so far, if He could have prevented it.  If He existed.  Which He doesn't.  I would challenge Him this minute to kill me; I would mockingly "pray" for it; but I know there's nobody there to hear my prayer, so what's to fear?  Nothing!

Ok, Dale... It's been 12 minutes. Don't leave us hanging, LOL.

It was just a coincidence, I'm sure

Nope, I've never feared the Lord.  I have feared those who do have fear for the Lord though. 

Yes, I used to fear God, mostly I feared being wrong and what that would mean - mortality! I thought about immortality and why God would make us live forever - if you 'know' you are going to live forever you develop a different attitude about life. Being an atheist has freed me to realise the precious aliveness of the present. I feared punishment from God; hell. I saw that hell was an evil construct and a necessary evil for christianity to flourish. I saw that it was just plain wrong to tell children if they don't do this or that then they will burn in hell for eternity; how sick - abuse! Having controlling over-protective parents and being intensely involved in christianity during your teenage years does damage. I'm pretty sure of it. I think that this has at least something to do with my panic disorder.

I can't really say how it felt to ditch the fear of the Lord as my deconversion has been a gradual process lasting several years (and I needed all that time to adjust.) And now that I don't fear the Lord I can't say that I'm free - my panic disorder reminds me that I'm damaged. One thing I can say though is how I have come to see authority in a different light ever since I've been an atheist. I am now my own authority; a free thinker: This has been the most precious gift of my life.

I don't think I ever feared God. I believe that I noticed early on that the punishments offered for bad behavior were neither immediate, nor within my ability to comprehend, either from lack of imagination, or willful denial that a being could supposedly be the source of unconditional love and the source of unending torment.

I sometimes get beliefs or rather doubts about my doubts... and worry that there really might be a God.  

But then like many athiests I know I take solace in the idea that even if there is a God he will like us more than his faithful followers, respecting our reasonable doubt in him.

It felt really awesome. A life changing experience.

“Eternal suffering awaits anyone who questions god’s infinite love.” - Bill Hicks

I used to Fear the Lord.  For a lot of ex-believers this is probably what comes back and haunts us the most.  A lot of my Christian friends now accuse me of 'losing the fear of the Lord' like that's the worst possible thing I could do.  Can I get a witness?

The funny thing is that their bible also says, "perfect love casts out all fear."  I don't know if this means their god doesn't love perfectly, or if it is just further evidence of wildly contradictory statements in their bible.  If there are any Christians reading this, perhaps they can clarify.

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