Fear God?

I went to a festival where for 11 days millions of people gather all day and all night to drink heavily and listen to rock music. In front of the festival, there was a man holding a large poster which read: “FEAR GOD”. Next to him was a man with microphone shouting how horrible we are.

I never understood the concept of receiving respect out of fear. I have issues with my father, where he mainly tries to scare the whole family in order to gain respect. I think it is a pile of shit. I respect God (I’m Catholic), but I do not and will not respect anything out of fear. I respect many people for their courage, leadership, selflessness, and most importantly, because they respect me. I go to mass and listen to what goes on in church, but not out of fear, but of curiousity. I am open to all ideas and religions, which helps me to understand other points of view and respect those points of view, whether I agree with them or not. I do not enjoy someone screaming at me saying I am a bad person and that I am going to hell just because I do not share the same view as that person. If a man put a gun to my head and said to respect him, it would not happen; If a man puts a “FEAR GOD” sign in my face, it would not happen.

Your ideas are greatly appreciated.

Ill has to find a link for you.

I feel the idea of “fear god” for ME comes form a early American preacher/priest/shaman (forgot what church he held.) But he basically said that we were nothing but shameful worms wiggling on a rope hanging from god’s hand (over the pit of hell mind you), we had pissed him off way to many times and there was nothing we could do to repent.

I don’t like this idea. The preacher’s idea left out redemption completely, his god was supposed to be a merciful one. so why would he treat his flock to this big fear fest? Simply to put them and keep them in church out of fear.

Sometimes religion is so humanistic that it is laughable.


  • I have had much the same qualm as you about respect, in reference to all aspects of life. Unfortunately, on a majority scale of people, fear works. I don’t agree with it either, I believe it is a quick and easy solution to what is assumed a simple dilemma. People make habit of acting as Gods, look at any profession you have had (service oriented - has to do with people) and notice that there are always those employees who laugh and snicker about how ‘stupid’ the customers are. What these employees fail to realize is that the procedures of the work place are hammered into their head because they are there so often and for so many hours. Furthermore, they fail to realize that people have better things to do than memorize miniscule things when there are priorities to tend to in life. As if people didn’t have lives and had time to go around and memorize miniscule details of a service business. Ie. I work at a storage utility, each tenant gets a code to punch into the pad that opens the gate so they can drive in. I use to work with a lady (with a university degree, two grown kids, and supposedly the most humble and smart person ever) there who always laughed, snicker, and insulted tenants (once they were not present, ofcourse) for coming into the office and asking for her to give them their code because they have forgotten it. What she fails to realize is that people who are tenants at a storage utility are either being evicted, divorced, moving, storing large quantities of supplies for a business, etc, etc - but as you can see these people have better things to worry about than their code to get into their storage utility. Most of the tenants go to their unit(s) maybe once a month, if that.
  • I digress back to attaining respect from fear. People tend not to respect those who do not instill fear in others; or those who do not have something the other wants. But what other way? Personally, I believe the concept in many religions and anti-violence advocates apply the ‘turn the cheek’ rule because it really does get people listening - listening is not respect, but if you have something that sounds important to say, you may be respected. Then the analysis comes to, well why are you respected for what you say, is it because you sound smart and they want to be around smart people, or is it because they are interested in what you are saying and want to learn more? Any one of these doesn’t have anything to do with who YOU are. So how do we get people to like us for what we are? Tough. I view people as people and I like everyone until they give me a reason not to like them. My view is a little deeper than that, but my strategy is to open others eyes to the world and people, to help them understand what I understand in an effort to bring them to the same realization as I, that information is the most important thing in the universe, people and experiences are information, so give everyone a chance and learn. Once they see it, they may or may not come to respect people for people and nothing else.

What’s your take?

When I started my job a year ago, I was scared of my boss at first. Nothing he did made me scared of him; I guess just knowing that he had the power to tell me what to do and fire me made me fear him. Then I came to terms with myself and decide I was not going to fear him no longer. I decided to get to know him better, and it turns out that we have live in the same area and we both enjoy jazz music. We have become good friends, and that has helped me become more comfortable around. He still tells me what to do and stills holds the power to fire me, but because he likes me and respects as a person, I respect him. In fact, even though I have the least amount experience there, he depends on me more than anyone there, so gives me a lot of work to do, but I don’t mind because he’s not being an ass, he trusts me more than anyone else. To me, that shows respect.

As for the term ‘respect’, I respect anyone who respects me. What does that mean? If you are able to listen to me and are eager to understand my view, whether you agree or disagree, then I give you respect. If you are to quickly judge me and completely disagree with me without giving my ideas any chance for thought, then I won’t respect you.

Information is not a personal trait, but acquiring information, interpreting it and turning it into knowledge is a personal trait and creates individualism and character.

This maybe off the subject a little, but I would love to hear your ideas on this:
I believe that if everyone in the world was able to sit down, share all their views, ideas, and feelings about everything, the world would be a lot better. ONLY, though, if everyone was able to respect and tolerate everyone’s ideas and opinions. I am asian, and have dealt with racism, but I am able to say,“I do not like the idea of racism, but I can respect the idea and tolerate it, only if it is not acted upon.” I have encountered racists; my friend is a racist, but he is able to respect me because I am able to respect him and his ideas. Granted racism is a huge issue, but I have made it clear to him that I was fine with his view as long he did not act upon it, especially when I am around, and he did that. That, my friend, is respect.

I only wish everyone was able to respect and tolerate others that much.

Your ideas?

Baskinova stated:

I am in much agreement with your view. I have had the fortunate experience of living in a socialistic and a democratic system. In Canada people are taught with their rights and freedomes to respect themselves. Unfortunately, this usually leads people to respect others only when they have something they want. On the other hand, in socialism people are suppose to give respect to their superiours (not just in job), superiors meaning - someone who is older than you, you are suppose to respect. Someone who is above you in position at work you are suppose to respect. Someone working for the government is suppose to be respected by those who are not working for the government. This worked nice and dandy for a while, but what ended up happening is that those who were receiving this respect began looking down on those who respected them and saw them as nothing. Much of the respect in socialism is also based on fear. Meanwhile, in democracy the aspect of fear is not so entrenched in society, it’s still there, just not as much. In Socialism, a thirty year old man would never take what a eighteen year old had to say about anything, no matter how indepth or complicated it may be, he would just simply look down upon him and try to give him advice about life in order to feel good about himself, that he has educated a simpleton.

Learning from these two systems I found that there is too much freedom in democracy and too much fear in Socialism. The Golden Mean would be that people respect each other despite any positions in life, age, sex etc. I mean don’t get me wrong, if a 70 year old man comes onto a bus, it is out of respect for age that you (let’s say in your twenties) get up and give him the seat, not because you are suppose to just for age, but because he is a human being and him limbs, muscles, and co-ordination aren’t what they use to be, and since you are suppose to care about humanity in general you want to do everything in your power to make sure this person does not get hurt. Standing, this old guy could get hurt on a bumpy bus. To me, if I am speaking with a thirty year old and he is demeaning me, or obviously ignoring what I (I am 23 years old) am saying and has this superfluous smile on his face as though he is God, I will demean him right back. All things affect respect, age, sex, origin, etc. They should all be included into the equation, but people should be given the benefit of the doubt without judgement in the beginning. I afford all people the same amount of respect as all others - once a person shows me that they don’t respect me, I won’t respect them, although I will attempt to talk to them in order to open their mind into respect people in general so that we can all respect each other and not walk around each other like upset, angry, pouting people.

  • I do apologize, since all I have done is expanded what you have ALREADY stated, but I guess I too needed to blow some steam off. I hope it was worth the read for you. Again, I am sorry.

Baskinova asked:

You have hit upon one of my major goals in life. You are completely right, and yes the world would be a better place if only we could all sit down, share views, ideas, and feelings about everything. In order to do this, we must first open peoples minds so they let go of things such as jealousy, hatred, racism, etc. Only then will the sitting down and talking part be worth anything. I mean, what good would it do if we all sat there in a circle and no one could truly concentrate on what was being said because they were too busy looking around and judging others, or fearing others, etc. To explain this latter point better I want to generally say that each person has to ‘let go’ of all that which they hold onto. This means many things which many will argue against, but they have to let go of their conception of math, science, language, life, love, everything… I don’t mean let go as in say ‘goodbye’ to it all. I mean let go as in allow their perception to realize that none of these concepts is perfect. In not being perfect there is room for change. It is this potentiality of change that the truth of life exists…in my opinion.

What is your take?

Baskinova, you are dead right. I am indian, and I too (although less than my family) have encountered racism. Like you I respect the ideas of thosr racists. My father on the other hand, wishes that their ideas were obliterated. It started when I began to read Mein Kampf, and he said that he wished all copies of it were banned, but admitted that it is useful to learn a racists motives. I replied that it is vital that we can air our views, however wrong they may seem to others, but he said that some views should never be allowed an audience.

I guess what I am trying to say (in a very round about way) is that respect for others’ positions is important, if we expect the same respect in return.

I replied that it is vital that we can air our views, however wrong they may seem to others, but he said that some views should never be allowed an audience.

/kicks Quotation symbol code

My father strongly believes that he is perfect. Not just perfect. “immaculately perfect.” Try giving an opinion to him. You will be quickly insulted and a 3 hour “talkin’ to” will follow. I am a very open-minded person; I give everything a chance. My father will not, but he told me I have to “take my head out of the sand”. What the fuck?! :imp: I was so upset when he said that, and from then on, I try not to talk to him about anything that will give him the chance to voice an opinion. Shit, one time I agreed with him on something, and he told me that I didn’t get it, and then went on his “If you don’t listen to everything I say, you WILL FAIL in life. I know what is right.” Shut the fuck up. :angry:

Baskinova, does your father vote?

If you want him to see the woes of his ways in a truly objective light, throw some ‘perfect world’ morality at him, as outlined in the ‘morality’ topic, and ‘perfect world’ topic. He sounds guilty, yet his confidence could be engineered to be force for good.

Being told to ‘fear god’, is the most immoral utterance any man could utter. Any idea which attempts to improve the world without granting the individual greater autonomy to ‘realise’ themselves, is a flawed idea. The morality of perfection is universal. All must abide by it. Anything else is illiberal.


  • I too had similar problems with my father. I’m not sure how old you are, but it doesn’t really matter. The only advice I can give you is that you have to beat him at his own game, and do it regularly. Show him the ambiguity of life and science. Nothing is perfect and always right, not even math or science. Moreover, you have to stand up to him - I don’t mean swear, insult, or fight him - but you have to stand behind your word and show him that even though he has a differing opinion from yours, there is as much merit to your view as there is for his.
  • Don’t hate him (I’m not saying you do, but just in case you do), for whether he is your father or a stranger, people don’t know any better. Your father is the way he is because that is the way he was brought up by his parents. Moreover, the experiences in his life also helped to mould your father into what he is now. He is not responsible for these factors, their not his fault, you must be gentle and considerate when trying to open his mind to the fact that what was done to him was not right, and hence what he is doing now is not right either. Maybe your father had a traumatic event happen in his life, maybe he was always called stupid, or maybe people were always really hard on him for things he was suppose to know, so now he is doing his best to make sure you know things the way he does so that he can spare you the pain and anguish he had to go through…

Just something to think about.

I thought that this was a very interesting thread but want to return to the original question in my post. Baskinova, you said that you would like to hear the opinion of other religions. I agree that respecting God out of fear is difficult and seems pointless. Why would an all-loving God try to instill fear in his creation? Why does he need our respect, surely that need would only arise from some sort of inferiority complex? The concepts of fear respect and love don’t mix very well in my mind.

To look at the way God is depicted in the Bible shows almost two entirely different Gods. That of the OT is angry, vengeful, almost spiteful and demands fear and respect. That of the NT is more loving and compassionate.

Now to give Judaism’s slant on it - according to spiritual Judaism (Kaballah-mysticism) man should definitely not fear God but should be in awe of God. This, I believe is the sort of respect other people have hinted at - similar to the respect you would have for a genius. This reconciles the problems of the other form of respect. God no longer craves adulation but instead receives respect because we have awe for him - he is so great, so loving, so kind etc.

DISCLAIMER - I am not saying that I agree with this at all - just providing another religion’s viewpoint. All I would say is that the ‘awe’ respect instead of the ‘fear’ form seems to remove some of the problems that the latter brings with it.

I agree with you all the way.

What actually the bible meant with “fear” was respect. And old testament term, right now I can’t remember all the details about the old testament culture, but I’ll try any ways.

The type of fear isn’t the fear that a mouse has for a cat, but the fear as in respect, say there is someone who is a strong yet very honest and kind person, he can do lots of harm to you, but since he is wise about it he won’t go off kicking your butt 24/7, say only if you do anyone else harm. You fear him kicking your butt so you
respect him.

Oh yes and I remember that in the old testament man wasn’t forgiven, before the new testament there was a certain “strictness” you could say. According to the bible and my studies man was not forgive, thus God would have to inflict fear in order to gain respect
or obedience. Kind of like dealing with a stubborn selfish child (though it was more like a nation of stubborn children).

The new testament finishes the old testament (God forgives man) So according to the bible obedience is not gotten through fear any more, but through and friendship.

Well hope that helps. :laughing:

Frozenviolet, cool avatar, the latin spelling for know thyself is ‘Temet Nosce’.

thanks for the correction, and thanks for your complement! :smiley:

the avatar (my older one) was from a game :slight_smile: called Ragnarok Online(it’s free by the way) My new avatar is my own art.

Like your avatar alot too :smiley:

I understand what you stated; I am 5’6’', and I play hockey. There are far more larger men out there that able to easily kick my ass, and just because they don’t, I should respect them? That to me does not make sense. As I stated before: If someone put a gun to my head and said,“Respect me,” I’d tell him to fuck off. Simple as that. Certainly the idea that fear=respect may have been considered right for a while, but I because of the idea of respect in society has changed, we may need to teach our children differently. My generation(I’m 20) does not fear their parents; fear=respect no longer exists between our parents, and all younger generations have developed this relationship with their parents as well. I respect my parents because of the hardwork, dedication, and sacrifice they wnt through in order to give me and my siblings a good chance at life. I see children younger than me, even in my 17 yo brother, treat their parents as money machines and dummies that they yell at whenever they don’t get their way. I turn my radio down and slow down in residential areas when I’m driving when I see children and adults. These other bastards put a $5000 stereo in their cars, turn it up a loud as possible and pretend they racing the Le Mans or something. No respect. I don’t know. :confused:

i don’t know man, i think its the parents fault. Look at eminem, no respect to his father or mother, but look what they did to him. His father left him, his mother did drugs and didn’t raise him, left him on his own. So now he insults them and hes pissed off, of course he doesn’t show respect. Do these people deserve respect? Child abandonment and child neglect.
I think it’s parents nowadays who don’t know how to raise children, they should instill values, love, etc into them. I think these kids who just do whatever were given money to live and let go, not parented in any emotional or support in any other way, just financially. If parents want respect, they should earn it, parents do not deserve respect just becuase they have the label or being parents and being older. The kids are only 17, i think they need more time to figure everything out, since they’re parents didn’t help, they have to do it on their own. I think what it comes down to is there are bad parents and good parents, and these bad parents hand out bad kids. So before you call them bastards, call their parents bigger bastards first.

Yes, respect out of fear is an inferior kind of respect, as it does’t have an inner origin. But respect out of fear is a step towards respect out of love. In today’s society, where sin is everywhere, this step is kinda necessary.

h2o stated:

I think you have made an illogical step here, it doesn’t follow that if you are correct and fear leads to respect, that doesn’t mean; or cannot be soundly infered that it will lead to or be a step towards respect out of love.

What’s your take?

I did not say that fear leads to respect. I only reffered to the respect out of fear, which does not always occur. And this kind of respect, sooner or later, will lead to a form of love.