No need to fear God
In countries and societies that believe in God, right from childhood there is this general notion that God has to be feared. If someone commits a crime people say, “Oh ! He is such a God-fearing person. He couldn’t have done that.”
In the same breath, people also say, “God is Love. God is Merciful and Kind.” If God is Love, and is merciful and kind, why do we have to fear God? When we are already in trouble and are afflicted by worries, where is the use for such a fearsome God? Shouldn’t there be a rational explanation?
Strangely, worldly intelligence has nothing to do with spiritual wisdom. If someone is a brilliant inventor, a scientist, an astute politician, a business magnate, a skillful doctor, a brilliant engineer, a prodigy musician, a mathematician, a “pandit”, a theologic expert etc., it does not mean that she or he can be great spiritually. In fact, you can even say that it is diametrically opposite. All these worldly achievements need gathering data in your mind. Spirituality has to do with discarding the junk and emptying the mind. One has to be simple, humble, honest and sincere in the pursuit of God. There are so many stories of how a poor, uneducated person has attained the highest spiritual goal – oneness of the individual soul with the All-pervading Reality.
When we are unhappy, or receive sudden bad news, or struck by terrible illness, we seek a Kind Being who will be loving and understanding. We immediately run to our mother or father, sister or brother, or considerate friends. In the case of illnesses, we ask around for a knowledgeable Doctor who has a good bedside manner, who is a good listener and understanding. We don’t seek out people who scare us to death or is mean to us.
The same way, when we make mistakes in life, inadvertently or otherwise, when other human beings are unable to help us, the only thing that makes sense is to seek the Mercy, Help and Guidance of a Higher Power that is kind, understanding, forgiving and helpful. When we are desperate, we throw our hands up and reach out to that Higher Power whom we usually call “God”. That means that “God” has to be a Kind, Gentle, Understanding Being who helps ease the pain, and who reforms a devotee with Love. Not a tyrant or dictator who punishes and throws unfortunate people into the Blazing Fire of Hell, while sending those who are afraid of him to Heaven.
Why then are people afraid of God? Partly because of ignorance, and partly because of the bad things that they do and are afraid of the consequences.
First, regarding ignorance, is the lack of reflective thinking. Most people normally believe anything their parents, elders or followers of religion tell them about matters they do not easily understand. People who preach religion to make money or power, or fake zealots, typically say that we are all sinners, that we should fear God, that we should attend a place of worship and hand over as much money as we can to them. The impression is given by them, “that once we do this, God will not punish us, but will send us to Heaven. And then, of course, we can continue in our old ways of bad thoughts and unwise deeds. But if we don’t succumb to their advice (or threats!), we will go to Hell”.
Since some people are brainwashed from childhood with this kind of thinking, it is not easy to think independently and come to a meaningful decision about God. Religious fanaticism is the worst sin. It takes mental effort to have an open mind, and to clean up the mind to let bright light and fresh breeze to come in. But since the mind is too full of junk, most people give up the cleaning completely. This is due to ignorance of the fact that life would be so happy and wonderful if the mind is cleared even a little bit.
Second, regarding doing bad things, sometimes people do wrong or imprudent things. They get caught up in the problems of the world, and weave for themselves a tangled web. They do not enquire, investigate or contemplate on the adverse, ill effects that doing certain deeds or leading a certain way of life can cause. They don’t want to take responsibility for their actions. So they blame it on God.
Let’s say, we get sick, and the doctor prescribes a bitter medicine to be taken for a few months, which will cure the illness completely and give us a great quality of life. However, some of us cannot bear the bitter medicine that we have to take temporarily, but are willing to suffer forever the existing illness we are used to. Living unwisely is like this. It is strange, but true. The elusive Mind pulls this Magic trick on us. It makes us do unwise, foolish things, but tries to make us believe that it is all God’s fault! It is a sweet challenge to figure out that ultimately we are the ones responsible for the way our life turns out and for the things we can control. God is only helping us out of Kindness, in spite of our callousness!
Looking around the world and its happenings, most of us come to believe in the existence of an Almighty Higher Power that governs Nature and maintains Cosmic Balance and Law and Order among Human Beings. The Truth is, this Higher Power is neither fearsome nor terrible. It is like a true friend, who does not interfere, intrude or meddle in our affairs, but is out there available constantly when needed.
God is such a Great friend in need, indeed. Such a God is Kind, Loving, Forgiving, Helpful and ready to rush to help us at our humble but sincere beck and call. God is our best friend, in whatever form or name we choose to offer worship. There is definitely no need to fear God. Because God is Love!