Fear Play—

How we trade in our insecurities for bigger ones

A healthy amount of fear is normal. Skepticism allows us to make our way in the world without being suckered, while religion attempts to alleviate those fears, then ersatz the trivial everyday with existential death anxiety—not terribly afraid to die, but afraid of what will happen after you do—and a fear of separating from loved ones you never knew before life happened.

On advisement we relax and let Jesus take the wheel, then fear is directed at our performance and we’ve taken the bait. We all have fears—which ones, seem to make all the difference finding personal peace.

Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom“—Luke 12:23 KJV

Have I got a deal for you! Do you want to see my puppy? I have ice cream—any flavor you want—like the taste of hell… Even as a believer this made me a little squirmy, but few seem to be able resist it.

I was having a conversation the other day and the gentleman said, “we get the most out of religion when we allow our faith to be vulnerable“—in a sense, letting down your guard in belief.

Allowing your faith to be vulnerable is like lowering your expectations to be happier. After all, getting a C- when you were expecting a D can give a lot of hope, but it doesn’t take us anywhere meaningful. I know, I grew up being suckered.

So how does one go about deciding the right amount of vulnerability? It can be comforting to be a part of a flock full of deception you can trust—until you no longer think like they do.

Christianity—Holding on to the past while hoping the future ends—until it’s their future.

Why should I fear death?
If I am, then death is not.
If Death is, then I am not.
Why should I fear that which can only exist when I do not?”

Epicurus, letter to Menoeceus

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs breaking the faith trap.

59 thoughts on “Fear Play—”

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  2. “Allowing your faith to be vulnerable is like lowering your expectations to be happier” –so true. And why would you want a vulnerable faith? Aren’t you basing your entire life’s work on your trust in God…seems like you wouldn’t want to take that lightly.. a “vulnerable faith”..sounds like someone’s teetering on the brink of a “broken faith”.
    * Kermit sipping his tea. Lol

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    1. Good observation. Broken faith has been re labeled as “maturing” or vulnerable. Oh, it’s normal to doubt, just hang tight. This is how god forges us…

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        1. I thought it would be awesome to level out my farmland with faith. Just hold up my hand and command it to be leveled in the name of Jesus… It doesn’t work.. hehe

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  3. I agree with the first sentence, after that, it does not follow personal experience. I realize what you say may be so for others. I don’t recall being religious or believing anything due to fear.
    And death? It’s not inevitable death that I am worried about, it’s the dying — that process. The transition is (as you point out in comments) threatening due to potential loss of control and mind, two of our innate fears. But I was dead before I was born and I will be again. That’s natural. I am an animal.
    We shall all be enlightened as to what lies beyond the veil, my friend, but not today. Today we play, we live, and we love.

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    1. Well spoken sir. What inspired this post was a conversation I had with stoicwannabe the other day. She not a believer anymore, but she’s afraid to say the words. She’s trying super hard to be sensible but her fundamental upbringing has her frightened of hell she knows doesn’t exist. Good for you Bill, really. I still have flashbacks. It’s like a PRSD, if you know what I mean. She also gave up her confidence to run her own life and is stuck in this painful transition.

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  4. …relax and let Jesus take the wheel.

    Ahh, the epitome of disempowerment (veiled as “faith” and escape). Another form of chronic anesthesia just to numb temporary discomfort and pain, not unlike the behavior of addicts. Consequently the human brain and body isn’t allowed to learn and adapt. Quite the life-cheating Con Game, huh?

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    1. Certainly. But while we defer life’s problems they just never leave. Focusing on the gifts you’ll receive in the dead zone (if you make the cut) and we all know the ambiguity of that whole canaworms

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    1. “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest—Matthew. Or is it, then I will give you “the rest”. Then the real fears are infused. Fear of the great unavoidable unknown.

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        1. There you go, short and sweet. I guess that’s within his rights. Wouldn’t that be nice to be incapable of doing anything immoral because your god, and you write the rules?

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    2. For many, there is also giving it too much fear it becomes mundane. In my own case I was so inundated with fear at home that the fear taught by religion made me want to die. But I woke up in time to ask myself, what is the purpose of this fear? My father reinforced my fear by hitting me everyday, terrifying me (and all around him). God only threatened, he never carried through. Why should I fear him? All talk, no action.
      That gave me an opening, and I jumped through it. And never stopped…

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  5. Fear has always been used to control people, religion or no. I’m curious as to when people began to fear death. Is it a natural response to life? Other animals don’t seem to exhibit it as such, at least not as an abstract. Self-preservation in the face of predation is very real and I expect creates fear in a situational manner.

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    1. Not sure, but my fear left after religion. At my place in rural panama the locals allow natural death. Not so much in the city. My aunts (all religious) are spending everything to save 94 year old abuela—again. She’s miserable and they’re making her decisions for her. She’s having surgery again today in fact.

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        1. For the IV feedings it’s out of pocket $600 a day. Panama has free health care but not for this type of thing. Pure selfishness really. And our last illness is always the most expensive. I hope when I get there I’m smart enough to say when.

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            1. Certainly for them, not her. My mother in law loves to drag everyone into the woe is me misery panic. She’s consented but it’s under pressure. She had another surgery two months ago and they’re all praising miracles because she actually survived. Poorly, but alive. She’ll have no intestines after today. God is good

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            2. Maybe she won’t make it this time. Not that I’m wishing ill will, but at 94 years of age and not doing all that well, it could be a blessing for her.

              None of us likes losing loved ones, but at some point don’t we have to consider THEM ahead of our personal wishes/desires/feelings? Unfortunately, this often isn’t the case.

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        2. I don’t have any kids either, but I never thought of that. I guess it’s because in my heritage the parent generations never lived long enough to need to be stuck away somewhere. I’m pushing the envelope at 69.

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          1. That’s an interesting comment. Never really put that in perspective that way. My family on all sides lives into the 90ish range. My dad has been retired 21 years now, and still healthy. Mom died in an accident, 10 years ago, so there’s that too.

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            1. I try. Meanwhile I feel for Jim’s grandmother. Life is hell without a colon. What will it be like without any intestines. I cannot even imagine. What are the doctors (and family) hoping to achieve. This is major surgery. I hope they aren’t trying to kill her, two major surgeries in 2 months is against the odds.

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            2. I really don’t know. Maybe she’ll eek out another month or two so the sisters don’t have to deal with their own insecurities for another while.

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            3. The reasoning is, “Me! Me! Me!” even though they are not part of the ME generation. They cannot let their mother go. Jim, I apologize for going on about this. It is your family we are talking about. But it sucks.

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    1. It certainly does. Thoughts and prayers weren’t cutting it as always. You’d think that since it’s good enough to protect our schools, it’d be better than a wall.

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  6. Sometimes I think that philosophically I am an Epicurian. And I am reminded of the quote by Woody Allen (from memory) “I’m not afraid of death; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”

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    1. Death doesn’t scare me. It’s the diapers and dementia (no offense buddy) hehe, and then the doctors and Hell, even family trying everything to save you.
      My 94 year old grandmother is having surgery today on the pressure of her children.

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  7. Most religions, and especially Christianity, have this curious relationship with the concept of fear, especially when it is related to god. God loves us, we are told, and we are supposed to love him with our whole heart. But at the same time we are also supposed to be utterly terrified of god. The entire Old Testament is a document based on sheer terror, people cowering in fear of the deity that supposedly loves them so much.

    I was just thinking — if you look at the relationship between people and god, it sounds identical to the kind of relationship a battered woman has with her abuser. The christian bible portrays a god who is essentially the first and ultimate wife or girlfriend abuser; he claims to love his victim, may even act lovingly towards the victim, but demands utter devotion, attempts to control every aspect of the victim’s life, blames the victim for his own mistakes, lashes out violently for little or no reason…

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    1. I was talking with StoicWannabe the other day. She no longer believes but is afraid to say the words in fear something will happen. Raised fundamental, can’t shake the ghost of her upbringing. The outcome is terrible for many.

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    2. Good catch, grouchy. My only problem is why next generations are so willing to be abused in the same way after watching their parents suffer so much. I know from experience watching my father abuse my mother, and all 10 of their kids, that some learn to expect to be abused, while others turn away from being an abuser or being abused. My mother checked out early, death her only escape. Of the kids, 60/40 in our case, with 2 abusers and 4 who let themselves be abused. That actually is a good percentage who learned to stop the cycle of abuse. That percentage does not show up in preventing religious abuse, however. Only one atheist, and one agnostic. I think your comparison has to be spread wider. Give people like StoicWannabe another thing to think about.

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      1. Speak for yourself. I plan on being elevated to Sainthood. Saint Joey. Patron saint of lost causes and hopeless cases.

        Saints skip the queue right?

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  8. It’s not just Christianity, in that case. We’re all holding on to values taught in the past. They’re rigid.
    When you can’t change, at least adapt.

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            1. Yes. The premature death cults. That is the other end of fundamental belief. So eager to get with Jesus again you join in a pact and rush things

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            2. They’ve already beat you to it. That is the goal. A hope and prayer the future ends. Like Star Trek 2 and the borg. The line must be drawn here! No further!—Captain Picard

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