To the X Christians in the group I still don't get the god-fearing part. You're supposed to fear the all-knowing, all merciful wonderful god? If you don't follow all of god's Commandments he'll strike you down? Please enlighten me as to the explanations you were given for why you should be god fearing, or if I'm not understanding the true meaning of the term. Thank you
This whole fear of the wrath of god thing is the secret sauce, the key hook for Christianity to trap its followers. Recognizing what a complete oxymoronic impossibility it represents was also key to me escaping my own Pentecostal indoctrination in my late adolescence. I had already figured out the church authorities were hypocritical crooked salesmen with no legitimate authority. I then learned of various contradictions, factual errors, and morally bankrupt messages tucked into the bibble, disproving the claim to being the infallable word of the almighty.
Letting go the belief in cosmic punishment for being wrong was the last challenge for me to escape the god belief trap altogether. It happened when I realized (just like others here are saying) the impossible contradiction of the Abrahamic claims of an almighty, omniscient, wrathful epitome of love that God is supposed to be. If God exists and IS love, it would never create humans as flawed and ignorant and prone to selfish, nearsighted mistakes as we are, only to then condemn billions of us to eternal torment for the "sin" of being as he made us. Boom! End of god worship.
There is a reason god is referred to as “father” as in god the father. I believe it was to set up a parent as overlord of the family thousands of years ago. This was likely an act that saved many lives as having one leader/guide/father cut way down on questions.
My mother used to say; I’ll put the fear of god in you! To which I innocently answered, but I don’t fear god since I can’t see him. That made the fear-of-god lesson memorable for sure.
In scripture, fear is used to express a filial or a slavish passion. In good men, the fear of God is a holy awe or reverence of God and his laws, which springs from a just view and real love of the divine character, leading the subjects of it to hate and shun every thing that can offend such a holy being, and inclining them to aim at perfect obedience. This is filial fear.
It's like fear the Masonic lodge secret religion racist devil worshippers driving police cars or they will terrorize you with red and blue lights to beat you like Rodney king or murder you like the others. Submit to Authority-666 pay taxes.
The God fearing part of Christian theology, was first introduced at the time when Christianity was at conflict with the classical schools of philosophy. Where the followers of Epicurus especially, and some of the Stoics held that there could never be any need to fear god, since if god was all good, how could it do unjust harm, and therefore it could not do evil or ask you to do evil.
Christian theology however held that it was possible that god could ask you to do something that would at least seem to be evil, and it was still your duty to obey.
This was held to be a key difference between believers and the followers of philosophy.
I was told that fearing god is the same as respecting god. And that just like a parent, sometimes fear is necessary to get the child to follow the parent who knows best.
I distinctly recall when I decided to no longer follow christ out of the fear of what would happen if I didnt. First step to becoming agnostic.
If you care to read John Edwards sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”, it paints a picture of a wrathful merciless God. Truth is, this was the popular perception during this time period. The idea of God being “benevolent” in nature is a fairly new concept.
That term puzzled me, too, during my years in the church. The best explanation that I got was that "fear" was a poor choice of word, and that it should more properly be understood as "deep respect".
For what it's worth, I don't actually know if this interpretation holds up linguistically.
The Bible is built around the psychotic idea that you are supposed to revere your parental masters as a slave who deserves to be punished for someone else's crimes .
The military still does this to it's recruits :
If one gets into trouble, then everyone suffers for it.