Refuse to Live in Fear

Awkward Moments Children’s Bible shared the image above on Facebook, with the following commentary:

What if there wasn’t a heaven or a hell? Would you still believe? What proof do you have of either?

Isn’t it more honest to admit doubts rather than to simply “believe” in hopes of earning a prize? Which is more moral? Which would be more pleasing to a reasonable God?

These are great questions – and if you are afraid to ask them, then you need to think seriously about this issue.

Fear has been used to get people into all sorts of beliefs and ideologies, and to keep even greater numbers in them. And so surely fear cannot be a sound basis for avoiding error, “heresy,” and evil.

And so it must be not only acceptable but essential that we dare to question, to ask what our reasons are, other than fear, for thinking that one view is right and others wrong.

If you stick to your views out of fear, you are more likely to be wrong than right. Just calculate the odds, the numbers of people in all the different views who don’t consider alternatives because of fear. Odds are, you are one of the majority who are bound to be wrong, given the range of possible viewpoints.

There is good reason to think that a moral personal deity, if there is such an entity, will value honesty and questing for truth above talents buried out of fear. And will value doing what is good because it is good more than doing good in hope of rewards or out of fear of punishment.

Refuse to live in fear.

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  • R Vogel

    Very pleased to see Rabi’a being quoted. I wonder if it was on purpose or did you just like the quote?

    • James F. McGrath

      It is a favorite quote of mine, and I am a big fan of Rabi’a and of the Sufi tradition more generally. I feel as though I have learned a lot from what little exposure to it I have had.

  • Dan

    I like the idea of questioning heaven and hell an reflection on what’s left.

    About a year and a half ago I had my own faith-crisis. I started asking questions about why I was a christian and what if I was wrong. What kept me from asking these questions so long was fear. What if I go to hell? What if I lose heaven.

    But then it occurred to me how selfish I felt thinking this. Is this why I do this-the whole Christian thing- to get something (heaven) and stay pout of somewhere else (hell)?

    No wonder Lennon wanted us to imagine no heaven or hell

    But I recalled John Walton’s explanation for the sacrificing of Isaac passage in genesis. As horrible as what Abraham is being asked to do is, Abraham is essentially laying his covenant promise on the line and risking it. The benefit is apparently gods (“now I know…”).

    Would we do that with heaven?

    What if that wasn’t on the table?

    I like the idea of a Christianity aimed at changing not only our own situation, but others. It seems like it should be about more than “get here to stay out of there.”