Had an interesting discussion on another forum in their religion category about, people who use "God Fearing" as a compliment. 

You may here some prideful Christian extremists from time to time say "Oh I'm a good God Fearing Christian". As if this is something to be proud of. 

So I made a thread on the other forum about this asking "Why do people use God Fearing as a compliment". They tell me that fear in this context actually means "respect"

Now being the honest person I am. I say ok, lets actually check this out and double check the definition of fear on Oxfam Online Dictionaries. Turns out they are right, the dictionary does actually also have an alternative context that defines fear as "reverence and respect". 

Then I think, ok it does actually define fear in that way. But do all believers of revolved religion actually practice faith out of respect? I don't think they do. We have all observed theists believing out of fear (the general understanding of the word). I think the Jesus Camp documentary is a very good example of this. A very extreme example, but an example none the less. 

So it seems to me that in theory, people may verbally mean fear (i.e. respect or reverence), but in practicality there are many theists who really do believe because they have a fear ( i.e. terror) of going to hell if they don't act and live their lives in a particular way. 

What are your views on this?

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My views are exactly the same. Catholics have a saying "Fear of God is the start of wisdom", which i never understood unless it meant "It is wise to fear God". If christians use fear as respect, I prefer them to use respect instead of fear just to prevent this type of confusion to both followers and insiders.

Very much agreed with.

Which of these two words, fear or respect,  elicits the necessary submission/obedience to authority?

Confusion also elicits submission or obedience.

The alpha males who run organized religion will accept either, along with the money.

One has to be careful taking some of these biblical terms literally. Many translations, especially the King James version are hardly recent and the English in them isn't totally familiar to modern English speakers. After all, that is the mistake of the fundamentalists. Just as "suffer" in the following passage doesn't really mean suffer, but rather "allow" "permit," or "let,"

Matthew 10:14 (King James version)

But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

in the same way, "fear of God" may have connotations of "respect."

That said, the Bible bangers probably think fear is fear is fear.

Yes well if he said that in a public place today he'd probably be arrested. Entire mind sets have changed, not simply words. We have little in common with our ancestors from two thousand years ago.

The idea of respect as separate from fear is a 20th century innovation. To respect your grandmother because of her kindness, to respect your competitor because of their wonderful creativity, to respect the taste of others because it is important to them. The separation of respect from fear, in my opinion, is the bedrock of humanism and a prime starting point in atheism.

The separation of respect from fear, in my opinion, is the bedrock of humanism and a prime starting point in atheism.

That stirs my interest. During my fifty years as an agnostic, before I climbed down off its fence, I gave little thought to humanism.

Around 1980 I visited the public part of an American Atheists convention to hear Madelyn Murray speak. I greatly appreciated her getting mandated prayer out of public schools, but concluded that without religion she would have to find another life purpose.

She, as I now know many women have, might have felt religion's oppressions more than I.

Until the last 80 years or so (approx.) families tended to be pretty authoritarian, and many still are today. So, yes, fear used to be an aspect of respect. Time was not so long ago that when you disobeyed your household's alpha male and/or female, you could expect a trip to the woodshed.

"I love you so much that I will torture you forever if you don't love me back." - god

That you're supposed to fear and love someone at the same time is the definition of an abusive relationship.  That you're supposed to separate yourself from others who don't understand (and from ideas that question) your special relationship is a standard isolating tactic of an abuser.  That you should choose the relationship even over your family is another isolation tactic of an abuser. 

Xians are big on doublethink, on believing two incongruent (or even mutually exclusive) ideas at the same time.  Fear/love.  Fear/respect.  Free will/god's plan. 

+1 for Erock

Make that +2 for Erock.

+3 for Erock (I'm late) :)


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