FEAR is one of the primary driving forces behind fundamentalist religion, the others being ignorance, guilt, and shame. Religious fears, for those who have them, are very real and hard to overcome. But recovery from religious fear is possible! Let’s think through some religious fears so we can discover that in reality they are baseless.
FEAR: There might be an angry, vindictive God who will punish me for sins.
REALITY: Although God is often portrayed as angry and even evil in the Bible, there is no evidence that such a God actually exists, and therefore there is no rational reason to fear such a God. Sin is a religious concept with no demonstrable basis in reality.
FEAR: There might be a real Hell that I will go to if I don’t believe.
REALITY: Most of the major world religions have some version of a Hell that unbelievers supposedly go to. There is, however, no evidence that any of these hells actually exist, and therefore there is no rational reason to fear them.
FEAR: Demons might be real, and I fear demonic activity or being deceived by them.
REALITY: There is no evidence that demons or lying spirits or any kind of spirits at all actually exist. Fearing their activity or deception is, therefore, not rational. Knowledge obtained through reliable means (such as science) is not something to be feared but knowledge obtained through unreliable means (such as ancient error-ridden holy books, prophecy, fortune telling, astrology, etc.) should be avoided.
FEAR: I am afraid of what will happen to me after I die.
REALITY: Nothing can or will happen to you after you die. Death is simply the end of your life and the beginning of your nonexistence, and there is nothing to fear in it. There is no heaven to gain but there also is no hell to fear.
As Carl Sagan famously said,
“It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.”
It is indeed far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in religious fears and delusion. You can and will be free once you see religion for what it really is — a pack of ancient myths and lies with no basis in reality.
Carl Sagan also said,
“Personally, I would be delighted if there were a life after death, especially if it permitted me to continue to learn about this world and others, if it gave me a chance to discover how history turns out.”
I feel the same way, but I’m not optimistic that an afterlife of any kind actually exists. It all boils down to the evidence, and for religious beliefs, there simply is none that will pass critical scrutiny.
Religious fears can be powerful and very real to those who experience them, but in reality they are baseless, and once you see that you will be free!