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God Fearing

Back in the day, there was a popular religious phrase that people used. People didn’t ask whether someone believed in God but rather asked if you were a “God fearing” individual. In the age of public relations and individual empowerment, theists no longer use this phrase.

Today, people don’t like to be afraid. When most people fear something, they usually have a good reason for such a fear. Terrorism is a good example. After 911, people were afraid of terrorists. Does that mean that terrorists must love us? Of course it doesn’t. That doesn’t make any sense. But that is how believers viewed God.

If you don’t worship the cloud that God floats on, he will smite you and damn you to Hell to be tortured for all eternity. You should be afraid and you should worship him. That was the way people viewed God not all that long ago.

Today, this reasoning doesn’t resonate with most empowered Americans who don’t like to be afraid. The stick doesn’t work on the modern American in the same way, so religion tends to use the carrot a lot more now. God is love and he cares about you and will reward you in Heaven with an eternal paradise of bliss. Oh, and when you get to Heaven there will be trillions of dollars waiting for you and a porn star (because 72 virgins just doesn’t cut it here in the States).

Personally, I like the “God Fearing” phrase because is shows the bronze-age thinking that has gone into these religions. I’m a more modern American and when someone threatens to send me to be eternally tortured, my first instinct is to fight back. I think many religious people feel that way too and that is why you don’t hear people asking if someone is “God fearing” anymore.

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  • http://www.myspace.com/itsahicke Her3tiK

    I’m pretty sure the God-fearing line is still being used. Maybe not as much, but it certainly hasn’t gone out of style yet. Street preachers and plenty of pastors still seem to be getting their kicks out of the fear angle… and then turn to the love angle, and fail to see the contradiction.

  • John

    Wow, this is why I keep reading. Just when I think “No, he couldn’t possibly write anything more hare-brained than that last one…” there you go again.

    Passing over the fact that by “God fearing” they meant one who not only believes in God but tries to follow his ways (after all even the devil believes in God) I would really just like to personally thank you for providing such a brilliant example of the dangers of the sin of Pride. There really isn’t anything worth responding to in your nonsensical claims.

    • http://www.dangeroustalk.net Staks

      You really didn’t respond with anything sensible anyway John. I didn’t say that “God fearing” meant “a belief in God.” I said,

      People didn’t ask whether someone believed in God but rather asked if you were a “God fearing” individual.

      The point is that in modern America, fearing a god isn’t as effective or politically correct as loving a god. So more often than not, believers don’t use that particular stick any more.

  • SmilodonsRetreat
  • Billy

    Surely if anyone wants observable proof of a ‘kind’ evolving into another ‘kind’, simply look at how a tadpole, which is essentially a fish, quite literally evolves into an air-breathing animal. It’s exactly the example Comfort was seeking in his ‘film’, I only wish that someone would have thought of it before now, it might have saved him the effort.

  • Keef

    Hello, great article. I think you should find out if your hosts are using Cloudflare. I had to proxy to get past a 502 bad gateway error. It’s been like it all day. I’m in London, England. I followed the link from an atheist facebook page. Keep up the good work

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

    My favorite example of observed evolution is the bacterium that developed the ability to metabolize nylon. Obviously, before nylon was invented, that enzyme wouldn’t be useful.

    I’ve written more on how DNA alone defeats the Design Hypothesis here. (Many apologists like to point to DNA as a huge plus for their side of the argument. Actually, the reverse is true.)

    • Drek

      What is nylon made from? Did this bacteria eat any/all of the ingredients before it was constructed into nylon,….. duh!

      “I’ve written more on how DNA alone,…..” You first rebuttal wasn’t logical why on earth would I put credibility into what you wrote regarding DNA?

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker


        I think you meant, “Since I didn’t get the first point, why on earth should I imagine that I can understand what you wrote regarding DNA?”

  • Drek

    The real unedited version was best,… your editorialization was just plain silliness and largely unscientific.

    • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk