- Nov 8, 2011
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Hellfire and brimstone to the max. It's a formula as old as time. The angry sky god must be appeased.That is not the way it's supposed to be, and it's very unfortunate that that was your experience. As it says in Romans 2:4, it's the kindness and goodness of God that lead people to repentance. Not fear of death and hell.I grew up in a succession of cultish Southern Baptist/ Pentecostal churches. I was filled with so much fear of death and Hell it almost seems like it happened to someone else. Terrible thing to do to a kid. I was driven in tears to the altar at a tent revival at age 7 by the certainty that I was going to Hell. Maybe when you grow up you come to call that fear something else but it's always there.Actually, it's not about obedience. It's impossible for ANY human being to be "good" enough to get to heaven. We can try our hardest to obey God all the time, but we will inevitably fail if we try to do that on our own.And yet the bible mentions a reward for obedience as eternity in paradise and the punishment for disobedience as being condemned to living an eternity suffering in hell.You didn't get what I was saying. I don't know any Christians who became a believer out of fear of death. That makes no sense, because when you're an unbeliever you don't believe there is anything to fear. When you die, that's it, that's all there is, right? So why would you fear death as an unbeliever? And once you become a believer, there's no need to fear because you will be with God in heaven. So what you're saying makes no sense. The only people who I have heard fear death are lifelong unbelievers who are on their deathbed and then have a last-minute conversion, out of fear that they were wrong.The Christian obsession with the afterlife is 100% rooted in the fear of death. If you are not worried because you think an eternity of bliss awaits you then your faith has served the purpose for which it was designed. There's no shame in that but I can't do it anymore. The faith of my youth died from a thousand cuts inflicted by this cruel world we were born into.I don't fear death, as a believer. And I didn't fear death when I was an unbeliever. Why should I have, when I didn't believe in God or heaven and hell? And why should a Christian fear death, when we believe that we will be with God in heaven after we die? As someone else mentioned, I can't think of any Christians I know who fear dying.Consolation for the certainty of death for themselves and everyone they love. They cannot cope with the possibility that their parents and grandparents no longer exist in any meaningful form. Never underestimate how much these people fear death. For this reason I am loath to attack anyone's personal faith. I keep all my criticism on the point where faith intersects politics.
That is nothing but playing on peoples' fear and greed in order to get them to comply.
So if a person chooses to live a good life with no expectation of any reward of eternal bliss and no expectation of eternal punishment if he doesn't how does he compare to the person who lives a good life because he wants to live in eternal bliss as a reward or because he fears the eternal punishment ?
It's about receiving the gift of salvation and becoming born again, as opposed to going through life following rules or trying to be a "good person." That just doesn't work. The only way to transform one's character and life is to surrender to God and become a new creation. Then the good works and transformation will inevitably happen, because we are literally changed from the inside out.
And yeah I've heard your claim from atheists so many times. I have never met a Christian who came to God out of fear. It's always out of love. Yes, the bible talks about "fear of the Lord" but not in the sense you're talking about. The fear spoken about is a deep respect and reverence.