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Monday, March 28, 2011

Fear - Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

I had a conversation yesterday with an old friend.  He is a year younger than myself.   I have known him for nearly 35 years.  Although he has not gone to church for many years himself, he heard that I had 'come out of the closet' about doubting religion and made the comment that I was VERY brave.  He said that he had never before met someone who had been active all his life in church, but who is not AFRAID of dying.  He has met many who have lived lives of indulgence, laziness and sin, but who had become religious as they realized that death might be near.  I am the only person he knows who has come out against religion at this stage in my life.

I don't fit the mold.  I don't seem to be AFRAID.   The prospect of dying and being judged by God seems to be something that people who have even lived very honorable and sinless lives seem to FEAR as they near the end of their lives.  There seems to be so much to FEAR.  Humans seems to have so much to fear that religious teachers play the emotion to the hilt in order to assure compliance up to the very end.  There is a FEAR of thinking for ourselves without the help of a priest or religious teacher.

I was asked, why I don't believe -- and gave a few detailed explanations for my skepticism, but my friend was incredulous -- "But what if it is all true?" -- referring to the existence of an invisible and undetectable heaven and hell and other aspects of an all-knowing God who expects and demands obedience.  My answer is that I have lived a good life.  I have nothing to fear -- but FEAR itself.  I refuse to let my life -- and death -- be guided by fear.

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