Do you have faith, or merely fear?

If our faith is primarily a mantra to drive away punishment, our faith isn’t really a faith, it is a fear. We feign faith in order to keep from being punished. We believe in an uncertain way only from fear of hell, and so our “faith” is without love and self-serving, a mere survival instinct. When we do that it usually manifests itself as a kind of harsh and brutal moralism. In this crippling system it is psychologically comforting to see ourselves as better than other people. Thus trying to hype up our ego leads us to a kind of moralism where we have to denigrate others in order to make ourselves feel better about ourselves. Such self-centredness is a prime mark of the Fall. — Orthodox Archbishop Lazar Puhalo (featured in Hellbound?)

About Kevin Miller

Kevin Miller is an award-winning screenwriter, director and producer who has applied his craft to numerous documentaries, feature films and shorts. Recent projects include "The Chicken Manure Incident," "Hellbound?," "Drop Gun," "No Saints for Sinners," "spOILed," "Sex+Money," "With God On Our Side," "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed," "After..." and the upcoming biopic "The Divine Comedy of Thomas Merton." In addition to his work in film, Kevin has written, co-written and edited over 45 books. He lives in Kimberley, BC, Canada with his wife and four children.

  • Kristi Outler Byrd

    He was one of my favorites in the documentary. And – wow – these words are so true!

  • IB Bill

    It’s a well-articulated point.

    If the threat is that after death you will be burned alive forever without any respite, how you can you possibly live and possibly relax? It’s a terrifying thought. And some saints have said they were there in hell, and that’s exactly what it’s like. When I go down that line of thought, I wish I had never existed at all. The idea that somehow could force me into existence and threaten me with eternal burning and it’s not clear if I will be judged by thoughts or deeds while being tempted by demons and threatened by natural world suffering and my own weaknesses seems somehow not quite right.

    The only way I can justify it is to think the fall happened in a different realm, and I was already damned as such through my own intentional fault, war and rebellion against God, and while my memory was wiped clean, my essential character wasn’t. Thus, I have a fallen nature prone to rebellion against God and I chose to be born into this world as a second chance, and that the challenge is that I must accept God’s grace and salvation in this life to set things right, without apparent reason to do so and against what appears to be essential fairness, and with no memory of my previous crimes against God except for a character oriented against Him. Not only that, but in accepting this chance from God, I provoked the wrath of what must of been my former comrades-in-arms, and thus earned their enmity for betraying the cause against God.

    None of this is remotely Biblical, but it does have the advantage of explaining how I could justly be in such a situation, and ought to be extremely grateful for that chance.