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Fear (quote)

February 4, 2011

“The remarkable thing about God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.” — Oswald Chambers

I saw this come up on a couple of friends’ Facebook statuses today and it reminded me how clue­less most of Christianity is about the way non-Christians and the non-religious live life. There was a time when I thought that all non-Christians lived their life in constant fear. Fear of the future, fear of death, fear that they would be wrong in the end and have to face judgment.

I now know this to be a lie. It is a lie spread by Christianity in order to protect itself from unbelief. If believers think that without god there is only fear, they will be less likely to question their beliefs. When I see something like the above quote it makes me wish I was out so I could tell them that, no, I don’t fear everything. I don’t fear god. I don’t fear death. One thing I do fear is the power of religion to spread dangerous ideas. I also fear the gullibility of my, and everyone’s, mind.

“The remarkable thing about God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.”
20 Comments leave one →
  1. February 4, 2011 9:19 pm

    Do you really think “most of Christianity” is that way? I guess I do have to keep in mind that you are in pretty strong conservative Evangelical territory. That kind of idea isn’t the sort of thing I hear regularly in my world.

    • Moses permalink
      January 8, 2013 12:47 pm

      Oswald Chambers does not have this sentence ever (The remarkable thing about God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God, you fear everything else)
      These words of prophet’s speech. Especially from Prophet Muhammad – peace be upon him -He stayed (If you do not fear God, you fear everything, but if you fear god you do not fear everything) that in books of Muslim people. Meditation
      please enough of fraud.

      • February 24, 2013 2:02 pm

        While I admit that I am unable to find any citations for the source of this quote from Chambers (I didn’t spend much time on a search as it really isn’t that important to me who said it, the idea exists in much of Christianity), it is entirely possible that both men said something similar. There are plenty of examples of different cultures coming up with similar variants of the “Golden Rule” independently. When two religions have so much in common it is easy for different people to come to the same conclusion.

  2. February 5, 2011 5:55 pm

    Yeah, I have spent my entire life surrounded by conservative Evangelicals, even when I lived in Catholic territory. It is constantly preached from the pulpits of the churches I have been in that the non-Christian lives a life of fear, a life without true joy, a life on the edge of depression and terror. You get many testimonies from the converted that this is how they lived their lives before they found religion to reinforce these ideas.

    Perhaps I don’t give enough consideration to the more moderate and liberal flavors of Christianity, but I am only slightly familiar with it. Also, while I am glad that not everyone who calls themselves “Christian” is frighteningly closed-minded, I don’t understand how one can read the scriptures and come to the conclusions required for the more liberal beliefs.

    When I was still a believer I would have felt that it was a bad compromise for departing from the “truth” of scripture. Now that I am not a believer I feel it is a bad compromise for the opposite reason. It seems to me to be a way for people to hold on to an irrational (and in many ways immoral*) religion while holding a much saner worldview than the fundies. I haven’t yet decided if I think that liberal Christianity is an OK thing or if Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris are correct in their assertions that even the moderate and liberal varieties of religion are as harmful as their conservative fundamentalist siblings. (The argument is that the liberal branches of religion generate sympathy for the religion as a whole, and give the conservative branches more respect than they might otherwise receive. The individual in a liberal branch may despise the fundamentalist as much as the outsider, but the existence of the liberal branch brings more acceptance to the conservative one.)

    (*I say immoral because I view many of the bigoted beliefs of the fundamentalists to be immoral. It is immoral to deny people rights based on their sexuality, gender, or race.)

    • February 5, 2011 6:03 pm

      Not sure what “liberal Christianity” looks like to you, or if it is what I fit into. I’m probably more moderate than anything, as I believe in the Trinitarian God with a Jesus that literally rose from the dead (at least on my good days!)… I don’t want to detract or derail, so I’ll just say that if you are interested in why I believe what I do based on the Bible, I’m up for conversation.

    • February 5, 2011 6:47 pm

      Well, I tend to view it as something of a spectrum with the fundamentalists at the far end, trying to adhere to the scriptures, then you go through the less fundamental conservatives, moderates, and liberals. I know you aren’t at the far left, but you are also a good way from the conservatives these days.

      I do think that is a good thing. The fewer people who believe that they are required by their god to perpetrate the injustices that the fundamentalists in any religion (I should say that I am mostly speaking of the three big monotheistic faiths, I’m very unfamiliar with other religions) believe in the better.

      A very liberal Christian would be one who writes off the Bible as mythology and believes in some sort of loving god spirit who will bring everyone to Heaven in the end. It is about as far from anything in the scriptures as one could go and still claim to be “Christian”. (Then there are the liberal Christians who view it simply as a good tradition and moral grounding while not really believing in any of it. I guess we could call them atheistic Christians but that just seems like a silly name.)

      Moderate Christians fit in more with the PCUSA and CBF folks, I think you still have a lot of belief in scripture, you just interpret it a bit less literally than the conservatives do. I know that your stance on a lot of human rights issues is closer in line with mine than with those of the mainstream SBC folk. Moderate Christianity is where I was looking to go when I began to doubt my faith. (Even last year I was looking for church jobs in moderate churches, but before I found one I realized I had gone far beyond that stage in my doubt and no longer believed any of it.)

      I am sure that I have misconceptions about what you believe (which is why I would never venture as far as to say that you believe so and so) but I do think I have a bit of a grasp on the general beliefs of moderate Christianity. I would be interested in hearing about your beliefs. I’m not sure if you want to have that discussion here, where it may be attacked by others, or in private through e-mail or something. I don’t care about the derailing of my comments, I kind of like that from time to time!

  3. February 6, 2011 11:02 pm

    That makes sense. E-mail discussion would be fine. I’m not too worried about attacks, but I also don’t want to appear as a rogue Christian invading atheist space ;0)

    • February 7, 2011 2:54 pm

      Those usually claim that we live in constant fear and are only atheists because we want to be free to live our sinful, immoral lifestyles. I doubt that you will do that. But feel free to e-mail me! (As if I really have to tell you that)

  4. February 14, 2011 3:42 pm

    I’d love to write a blog about my thoughts on this sense of fear. You’ve inspired me!

  5. February 19, 2011 1:32 pm

    Hello! I got here via GodlessGirl’s site. Your site seems really interesting. I’ll be sure to check out some more of what you’ve written.

    “I now know this to be a lie. It is a lie spread by Christianity in order to protect itself from unbelief. If believers think that without god there is only fear, they will be less likely to question their beliefs. When I see something like the above quote it makes me wish I was out so I could tell them that, no, I don’t fear everything. I don’t fear god. I don’t fear death.”

    I love this part. I have to confess that, while I don’t fear god, I do fear death, but I prefer to face that fear rather than believe in an afterlife with such a horrible hell for almost everyone who every existed.

    • February 21, 2011 3:37 am

      I’m glad you came by!

      I do fear pain and a painful death, I just have a certain peace about the fact that death is simply the end. There is no judgment after death, no choice between heaven or hell, no paradise that I might attain by believing the right set of beliefs and worshiping the right deity. I don’t have to worry about coming back in another body and living another life, I will simply exist no more.

      I find that comforting, but I can understand how some do not.

  6. dreamerscrayonbox permalink
    April 1, 2012 9:48 pm

    As a Christian myself, I do not think all Christians believe that non-Christians live in constant fear. I do not think that, and I don’t think it is the kind of statement that should be made for anyone without their consent or admission. We can know what people tell us, but we do not necessarily know what goes on inside of their heads.

    I came across this Oswald Chambers quote this evening, and I really like it. I think it puts into perspective mortality and Christian priority. I can attest that I personally tend to focus more on God’s love and grace, and feel that it would behoove me to take the fear of God more seriously in a practical way.

    I think we all have different fears for different reasons, regardless of religious affiliation. But faith in God definitely offers a foundation of assurance that He is in control ultimately. If you believe God is good, this is a good thing. (from a believer’s standpoint)

    However, the main reason I felt compelled to comment on your post was because of the following accusation: “I now know this to be a lie. It is a lie spread by Christianity in order to protect itself from unbelief. If believers think that without god there is only fear, they will be less likely to question their beliefs.”

    I think this statement is belittling of what faith is truly comprised of. Additionally, I don’t think it carries much weight as a motive. I do not say this to offend you, so please don’t misunderstand me. I just think that coming from my perspective of faith personally, most Christians that I know fear God because they recognize His power– not as an attempt to control other people or avoid the discomfort of questioning their beliefs.

    I hope that makes sense.

    • April 2, 2012 12:59 am

      First, I never said anything about all Christians, only most. My good friend Jennifer did point out that even that may be a bit extreme, though I’m not quite convinced.

      As to my last statement in the post, when I say it is a lie spread by religion in order to protect itself, I do not think that there are many out there intentionally doing this. I’m speaking of religion as something of an evolutionary organism. (In fact, if it was a lie spread knowingly by believers it would be far less effective. I don’t, for one minute, think that any but a small minority of Christians actively set out to deceive anyone.)

      There is a reason that Christianity has survived for nearly two thousand years, extending the life of the religion of the Hebrews to three or four thousand years when many religions don’t make it nearly that long: It adapts, develops mechanisms to defend itself and to help it spread more readily. The lie is one told by the Christian religion, not knowingly by the religious.

  7. Chris Conscience permalink
    March 29, 2014 2:17 pm

    I like the way you said you don’t fear death… Do you look to your left or to your right when you cross the street? Do you take care of your body? Do you eat healthy stuff?… I am sure you do… Where do you base your standard of morality? Fearing God does not mean to be afraid of Him…but to revere God… You said that Christians are spreading lies to protect their religion… To fear God is a commandment in the scriptures not just a product of some whimsical mind… You might say I don’t believe in the bible…Have you read it or your just assuming that it’s doesn’t not represent the truth… Do you lie? If yes…what are you? Are you aware that this so called Christians help builds schools, hospitals etc… have you contributed any to the betterment of society? Do you rather want the reader believe you than God or the scriptures?

    • March 29, 2014 2:33 pm

      I do not embrace death at this moment, but I know that it is inevitable. I do not fear it. I have no worry about what happens after it.
      The bible is the product of many minds, none of them a god–all men with an agenda of some sort.

      Schools that refuse to teach science or accurate history and hospitals that refuse to provide lifesaving procedures are not bettering our society–they are holding it back.

      What an I doing to better society? Trying to promote equality for people who are opposed by religion, encouraging healthy skepticism, and trying to stamp out scientific ignorance where I can.

      • Chris Conscience permalink
        March 31, 2014 12:41 pm

        Reading your comments I can sense that you have so much hatred in your heart you have stumbled and fall because of the misdeed of those professing Christians who do not really fear God but rather used God as an avenue to propagate their self serving interest. I will not try to convince you to believe God or to fear God and I believe no man can do either… But I summon for your indulgence because i am praying for you even as iwriting that the Holy Spirit remove the veil from your eyes and reveal the love of God for you and use your zealousness to share the love of God to others.
        Thank you for responding on my comments.

        • May 31, 2014 10:39 pm

          I do not have any hatred in my heart–only blood.

          I do hate Christianity, and religion in general, because it spreads lies and encourages people to believe in magic and the supernatural and discourages rationality and scientific thought, and because children continue to be indoctrinated by religions every day and those religions often teach horrendous ideas such as the inferiority of women, that it is a sin to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or to question your sexual identity in any way, and that it is OK to discriminate against people and deny them rights because of some tenant of that religion.


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