Do You Have a Religion of Fear?

Do You Have a Religion of Fear? April 24, 2024

fire and brimstone in the Apocalypse
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Fear is a word that seems incompatible with faith.

When you have faith, you focus on the One you trust. And when you trust Him, is there still room for fear?

But faith and fear seems to exist at the same time for some Christians. And fear sometimes disguises itself as fervent faith.

How can it be? How can the opposite thing exist underneath a virtue?

Let us try to see what’s happening in the world today.

In our world, secularism is on the rise. In many parts of the world, secularism has spread so much that it has taken away the faith of many people.

We see how divorce is legal in almost every country (except the Vatican and the Philippines). We witness how abortion has become a right instead of a grave sin against life.

If you are a Christian parent today, you’d be alarmed at the kind of world your children would be growing into.

What sorts of things would they learn from their unbelieving friends? What anti-Christian ideals would they imbibe just by surfing the internet and being exposed to social media?

Despite our faith, we know that fear also grows within us. And sometimes, this fear can manifest in unexpected ways.

Here are some of the ways that fear can grow underneath one’s faith:

1. Fear in the form of self-righteousness

Because we see a sinful world, we naturally want to gravitate towards the opposite path of holiness. Along the way, however, we can cross the line of extremity and feel that we are the only ones who are righteous and good.

We start to look down on people. And just like the self-righteous Pharisee, we pray lifting up ourselves while looking down on other people.

2. Fear in the form of intolerance

Having reached the extreme end of our intended holiness, we become intolerant of other people, particularly those with other beliefs.

We no longer try to understand where they are coming from. We see them merely as miserable sinners who should be excluded from our circle and cast away as far as possible.

Sooner or later, people suffering from this kind of fear see an exaggerated vision of spiritual battle between sinners and those like them. They can even focus on the punishments told in the Apocalypse and see every tragedy as a punishment from heaven to a sinful world.

3. Fear in the form of hatred

Have you ever seen or read about people preaching about the Good News without a shred of joy on their face? The reason could be that they have allowed hatred to poison their hearts.

Instead of loving their neighbor, praying for them and helping them return to God, they exhibit a kind of anger that could never convince a single soul towards conversion.

Note that this goes beyond righteous anger. This kind of anger is such that it blinds them from the truth. They could no longer see objectively to discern with proper judgment.

All they can see is the enemy and every person is reduced to either someone who believes exactly like them or to those already condemned to hell.

4. Fear in the form of despair

Some people can be so overcome with fear that they fall into despair. They could no longer see the kind of hope they once had in life.

Once this happens, some can stay lukewarm in faith. Others suffer from scrupulosity, always thinking that their sins are too big for God to forgive them.

They become too inwardly focused that they could no longer see the God who loves them above nor the people around them who cares for them.

Overcoming Fear with Love

Although fear may not be entirely absent in our life hear on earth, we should pray for the grace to overcome it through faith and love.

Faith trusts in the One who loved the world so much that He suffered on the cross to save us from death and give us eternal life.

Christianity should not be a religion of fear but of love. God’s Kingdom cannot be ours if our righteousness do not exceed that of the Pharisees.

To be true Christians, we must be bearers of God’s love. A love that is just but merciful. A love that is not fearful of darkness but is truly confident that light would always be victorious in the end.

“My nature is such that fear makes me shrink, while, under love’s sweet rule, I not only advance – I fly!” – St. Therese of Lisieux

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. This is the commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” – 1 John 4:18-21 (NABRE)

You may also want to read “Why Is There So Much Hatred For Evil And So Little Love For Good?”

Jocelyn Soriano is the author of Mend My Broken Heart, Defending My Catholic Faith and 366 Days of Compassion. She also writes about faith, writing and the single life at Single Catholic Writer.

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About Jocelyn Soriano
Jocelyn Soriano is an author, poet, and book reviewer. She is an introvert who enjoys a cup of coffee and listening to the cello ****** while working.

She wrote the books To Love an Invisible God, Defending My Catholic Faith and Mend My Broken Heart. She also wrote books on poetry including Poems of Love and Letting Go and Of Waves and Butterflies: Poems on Grief. She has published more than 15 books and developed her own Android applications including God’s Promises and Catholic Answers and Apologetics.

She writes about relationships and common questions about God and the Catholic faith at Single Catholic Writer. She is currently single and happy and she would like everyone to know how happy we can be by drawing close to the love of God!

You can read more about the author here.

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