Posts Tagged ‘hell’

Fear of faith.

I heard someone say the other day, that religion uses fear. Essentially, the gist of their sentiment was why believe in something that uses fear to convince you of its merit?

To this I say: religion may use fear on occasion, but faith frees you from it. And as someone with faith, I honestly don’t think about the fear much—at all, really. Because though there is hell and such, Jesus frees me from everything—from hell, from fear, from chains, the list goes on.

Then I wondered if there was a problem with that, with me not being scared of hell, but the point is that I no longer need to fear it, right? So that’s okay. Their problem was more with fear being the reason that someone might believe—with fear being the weapon religion yields. Definitely this is true in some instances (with some churches), but the bible tells us to lead with love, to be set apart from our neighbor because of our love. Not because we brandish fear as a weapon, and not because the threat of hell is why the other side should join us, but because, no matter what, and in the face of no-matter-what, we brandish love as a weapon.

I wish that was what Christianity pervaded the world with today. Then again, if there’s hell and it’s scary (duh), is it even possible to get around the fear? If I’m honest, and I decided that maybe I didn’t want to believe anymore, would that fear of hell prove a safety net, a fence that I couldn’t get over? And if so, is that any different than being afraid of crossing a busy New York street for the fear of getting run over? No one has a problem with that kind of fear, the kind that keeps you safe.

Point is, I’m not a Christian because of the fear. I’m not motivated, day to day by it. I’m not running from it. Instead, I’m chasing the promise of what Jesus’s kind of love could do for this world. I recommit when I think on that, not when I think on hell. And yes, I know there are very good, loving people that aren’t Christians, but I am a Christ follower because, not only was Jesus the son of God (which would be enough), but because he started an overwhelming, overpowering movement of love. Because he was the first to look to those on the margins and care for them. He was the first for a lot of things that would be a whole other post (or a book—Who is This Man? The Unpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus by John Ortberg), but he was most definitely the first that stood for love. And then he took it one step further, living out his beliefs by consistent, pristine example, which is more than I can say for the rest of us. Whatever our beliefs may be, we weaken at times, we falter. And that He didn’t is evidence right there of holiness, if you ask me.

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