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Old 03-06-2014, 09:34 AM
 
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I rather think that those who believe in hell don't so much fear it, but are horried at the idea that it might not be waiting for those who do not belong to their exclusive club.

That is why they battle UR and argue for Hellfire so much.
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Old 03-06-2014, 02:00 PM
 
Location: Logan Township, Minnesota
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
I rather think that those who believe in hell don't so much fear it, but are horried at the idea that it might not be waiting for those who do not belong to their exclusive club.

That is why they battle UR and argue for Hellfire so much.
Interesting thought.

For some, probably many that seems to be true.

I have met people that seem to be overjoyed at the thought that those who do not believe as they do, will be BBQ'd
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Old 03-06-2014, 02:05 PM
 
40,103 posts, read 26,767,323 times
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Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
I am sure there are SOME believers out there that are motivated by fear. I would suggest that they are not really believers . . . but are playing Pascal's wager. Believers generally have a positive motivation to believe based on positive personal experiences. Many do not even subscribe to the hell nonsense so there is nothing to fear. It is simplistic to pretend that most Christians are fearful, IMO.
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Originally Posted by mordant View Post
Motivations for faith are many and usually intertwined in any given individual. But I think you are underestimating the "keeping power" of fear. Yes, it's true that one response to fear is to get away from the threat, but what is the perceived threat we're talking about here? In this case the fear is a tool used by fundamentalism. Its real source is the church dogma, but the perceived / alleged source is god ... he is threatening people with hell and/or other punishments including the rather primal one of a father's disapproval and disappointment (particularly effective if your real father was the shaming and blaming type). The only way to escape those threats is to appease the wrath of the father through obedience and repentance.

As you are fond of saying, these are primitive beliefs from a more savage age, but things are the way they are because they got that way. These techniques are effective. Even Pascal's Wager is a way to appeal to the weaker, yet lingering fears and doubts of a more intellectual / heady person.

Hellthreat, as Arq likes to call it, is deeply embedded in society and in our collective psyche, and it is not going to fade quickly or without a fight -- it still works, even as its power over us inexorably ebbs.

You are of course correct that for many, belief is based in whole or in part on positive personal experiences, and I would add what I'd call "adequate personal experiences", such as, being raised in the faith and finding it an adequate abstraction to live by and not really knowing anything else or having the motivation to try anything else. Those motivations can even do their thing right alongside all the fear and loathing.

I agree with you that a believer who mindfully embraces positive subjective experiences of a religious nature has a better quality experience of faith than one who mindlessly cowers before their faith out of terror. But just because one type of believer is a more ideal representative of your faith ideals doesn't make the other type any less genuine a believer. Religion will take them however it can get them. Its hold on people is multifaceted and includes the good, the bad and the ugly. Your disavowal of association with the fearful and ignorant believers is no more valid than the church's disavowal of deconverts as "never one of us".
I agree that within the "hellfire and brimstone" denominations . . . fear is a prime motivator. But as the fundamentalist backlash and irritation with the proliferation of liberal and "love-oriented" faiths reveals . . . they are a dying breed.
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Old 03-06-2014, 09:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Woodrow LI View Post
I have met people that seem to be overjoyed at the thought that those who do not believe as they do, will be BBQ'd
I have met far too many that think this way here in the babble belt.

Held captive at a firefighters funeral (I was a firefighter in uniform) and listening to a pentecostal preacher tell every baptist in attendance (he specifically singled out baptists) they were going to hell if they continued to follow their religion. Nor did this vile hate spewing bloviator of ignorance ever mention the man in the flag draped coffin immediately in front of him.

I would had walked out in the middle of his rant except that I was in uniform with about 200 - 300 other firefighters.

One of the most vile excuses of a man I have ever had the displeasure to witness, exceed only by the comments from a member of these forums in regards to Rifleman's death. It was promptly removed but I suspect it was a wish is that Rifleman is burning in hell.
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Old 03-08-2014, 03:43 AM
 
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Various denominational Bible-thumpers telling all the other denominations that they are going to BURN is only going to make the believers aware that the hellthreat does not make sense, and is only a tool to terrorize believers into obedience- and even then you could still burn.

Hellthreat is a con and a scam and the sooner people decide that it is no more than that, the better.
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Old 03-08-2014, 08:11 AM
 
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I agree, Arequipa.

There is such a thing as hell, but it's closer to "I'm miserable, ergo I'm in a Hell of suffering" than "I'm evil, God is punishing me by sending me to hell."
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Old 03-08-2014, 10:04 AM
 
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Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
Various denominational Bible-thumpers telling all the other denominations that they are going to BURN is only going to make the believers aware that the hellthreat does not make sense, and is only a tool to terrorize believers into obedience- and even then you could still burn.

Hellthreat is a con and a scam and the sooner people decide that it is no more than that, the better.
The real hell is the self-imposed hell that people that think like this impose on their lives. I find it sad that today many many people have a real fear of hell that has a paralyzing effect on their mind.
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Old 03-08-2014, 10:38 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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Originally Posted by Asheville Native View Post
The real hell is the self-imposed hell that people that think like this impose on their lives. I find it sad that today many many people have a real fear of hell that has a paralyzing effect on their mind.
It's terrifyingly real to some, especially those who are particularly vulnerable psychologically. But even people who don't quail in terror at the very thought, for whom, like my former self, it's more of an intellectual concept, it as a profound impact on their thinking. It emphasizes concepts of sin and evil, and keeps them from owning their own "shadow" (in Jungian terms), from bringing the unconscious to the awareness of their conscious, which is much of the basis for any meaningful personal growth.

It promotes smugness. My particular "denomination" was not so much judgmental as condescendingly smug to "unbelievers", "the unchurched", and "backsliders" -- not to mention "weaker brothers in Christ" with less rigorous and "correct" dogma on offer.

It promotes hubris, too, instilling a Jesus complex in people, a sort of low-grade arrogance that says "I have all the answers and I am here to save you". It was my Jesus complex (which fed my youthful hubris) that was my undoing as a theist. I ignored clear warning signs and even actual clear warnings about marrying my first wife because I actually believed the BS that "if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation ... old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new"; and "if you ask anything in my name it will be given you, pressed down, shaken together, overflowing". Not to mention extra-biblical pulpit bloviations about god's marriage covenant being so powerful that it makes even a bad relationship right.

So it is not just a question of fear and loathing, it is a question of a whole host of ills that proceed out of such pernicious doctrines.
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Old 03-18-2014, 06:33 AM
 
Location: North Eastern United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asheville Native View Post
I have met far too many that think this way here in the babble belt.

Held captive at a firefighters funeral (I was a firefighter in uniform) and listening to a pentecostal preacher tell every baptist in attendance (he specifically singled out baptists) they were going to hell if they continued to follow their religion. Nor did this vile hate spewing bloviator of ignorance ever mention the man in the flag draped coffin immediately in front of him.

I would had walked out in the middle of his rant except that I was in uniform with about 200 - 300 other firefighters.

One of the most vile excuses of a man I have ever had the displeasure to witness, exceed only by the comments from a member of these forums in regards to Rifleman's death. It was promptly removed but I suspect it was a wish is that Rifleman is burning in hell.
I know what you mean about Pentecostal preachers. i was taken to a service one Sunday by a friend. That experience still amazes me in a not so positive way. The preacher scared the crap out of me, I was a child still but I believe it would have even scared any adult non Pentecostal person. Also people were laying in the middle of the isles during that service.
I'm Pagan myself ,but the post by someone here that some people are believers just because they fear that they will go to hell if they are wrong and god does exists.

I have to be honest though, I have had the " what if he does exist" thoughts / worries. And I feel that many Pagan's,Atheists and Agnostics probably have the same thoughts,even if it does not bother them or scare them into becoming Christian or going back to Christianity. I'm not going to change my mind at this point though.

I found this thread by searching for " ghosts and spirits". I borrowed the book " When ghosts Speak" by Mary Ann Winkowski.It's a very interesting book so far, and as skeptical as i am about some 'ghost hunters' books / tv shows . I actually do believe her. She's the person whom the tv show 'Ghost Whisperer' was made about.Sorry that this is a long post...
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Old 03-18-2014, 10:03 AM
 
Location: OKC
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Fear of hell doesn't cause people to believe, but it sure causes believers not to doubt.
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