The mechanics of fear in fostering faith
Fear has been a great motivator for manipulation since the dawn of human relations. The ancient priest classes in religions all over the world capitalized on that fact. If the hunt was unsuccessful; if the crop failed; if pestilence or famine hit the population or if invaders subdued the people … the reason was never the priests’ fault. It was always because: a) the people displeased their definition of “god” in one way or another… and … b) they needed to get back on the good side of their “god” through tithes, sacrifices, donations, free labor or some other such payment system. If they don’t, “god” will punish them in mean and merciless ways. Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge”. Of course, the payments would be collected and utilized by the priest class for the benefit of themselves and the ruling hierarchy. The people had to be made to feel guilty, afraid and convinced that the punitive disaster was, is or will be their fault!
Why does it work?
To take a closer look at why this system works requires an understanding of a very intrinsic part of our human nature… the spiritual dimension of our being! We really are religiously vulnerable. The need to feel in harmony with the Infinite and All Encompassing. The drive to be one with the Power in which we live, move and have our being makes us open to manipulative forms of systems for worship.
Whether we’re aware of it or not, we each have a spiritual dynamic to our nature. Some people, unfortunately, are insensitive to this quality of being and prefer to believe that it doesn’t exist. Most people, however, are aware of it to some degree or other and sense a need to express it in their lives. It is this dynamic that can connect us … our consciousness … with the Creative Force that originated and drives the cosmos. Some call it Vibratory Creation. Some call it the cosmos or the Big Bang. Some call it “God”. No matter what the label, there is no good reason to believe that the nature of this Creative Force is anything like the nature of a mortal human being. No reason to believe that it can become angry, or happy, or sad, or jealous or, even, tired with a need to rest after working hard and take a day off. No reason to believe we need to “appease it” with dead animals, aromatic fires, sacrificed babies, sacrificial virgins, pure hard cash or whatever else may satisfy the temple treasury as part of the repentance for our “sins”. This ancient and superstitious approach is plainly wrong and needs to be addressed.
Still, the innate desire to connect with and be in harmony with the spiritual dimension of being and with the grand scheme of Creation does generate longings for a soul satisfying system of expression.
Therefore, the need to be in touch with and empowered by “god” in a beneficial way is what lays beneath all spiritual systems. It is the fundamental core of all religious ideologies and gangs who organize into priest classes are fully aware of this. As far as the bible is concerned, Yahwist priests who created the bible elaborated on the pre-existing invention of a “human like” god and wove it into the tapestry of their theology. They defined their deity as one who could and would dole out “blessings” including national security, national prosperity and military acquisitions as in this typical quote from the book of Deuteronomy. This was the carrot.
The Lord will grant you abundant prosperity – in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground – in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you. v.12 The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. v.13 The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. ~ Deuteronomy 28:11-13 NIV.
But, also, the very same “god” could and would dispense “curses” such as famines, pestilence, natural disasters and/or crushing conquerors as in these horrific curses from the same book of Deuteronomy. This was the whip.
15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:16 Cursed [shalt] thou [be] in the city, and cursed [shalt] thou [be] in the field.17 Cursed [shall be] thy basket and thy store.18 Cursed [shall be] the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.19 Cursed [shalt] thou [be] when thou comest in, and cursed [shalt] thou [be] when thou goest out.20 The LORD shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me.21 The LORD shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it.22 The LORD shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish.23 And thy heaven that [is] over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee [shall be] iron.24 The LORD shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed.25 The LORD shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth. etc., etc., etc.
On and on and on …. dangle the carrot and crack the whip. Enough horror to scare the bejeezuz out of any true believer! According to this scenario, “god’s” positive or negative actions depended on the behavior of the people (or, sometimes, simply their kings) as defined by the Yahwist priest class who created this theology in the first place. The bible, including the Pentateuch, the prophets and re-written history all come to us in their present (or near present) form during the post-exhilic period while the priest class was under the employ and supervision of the Persian Empire. Why? Because Cyrus The Great had a handy method of controlling his outlying satraps through the channels of their existing priest classes.
In Judah, they fashioned elements of dimly remembered folklore and legends together with their understanding of historical events and geography into a re-write of Israelite theology which has persisted like a nightmare on the mind-set of humanity for thousands of years! That theology is embodied in the bible. That theology defines god as a judgmental and unreliable dangler of the carrot and cracker of the whip. It fosters fear of god by listing examples of ferocity into the deity’s character.
The important thing to understand is that these examples of god’s ferocity never actually happened. They are lies!
- There never was an original sin. There never was an Adam & Eve. There never was a punishing curse placed on humanity because of their so-called wrong doing. Defining “god” with this obvious unpardonable lie is actually blasphemy.
- There never was a global flood. There never was a punishing curse placed on all of humanity because the population of the entire planet committed world-wide wrong doings. Defining “god” with this obvious unpardonable lie is actually blasphemy.
- There never was a destruction of Sodom & Gomorrah in one night because of “god’s” wrath. Defining “god” with this obvious unpardonable lie is actually blasphemy.
- And the list goes on and on. Yahwist priests began blaspheming the Universal Force of Life with manipulative lies about punishing curses. Defining “god” with these obvious unpardonable lies is actually blasphemy.
- Christian priests added the Zoroastrian idea of damnation, Hell and the need for “salvation” by a Savior from on high to the mix. Defining “god” with this obvious unpardonable lie is also blasphemy.
We can conclude that from a truly spiritually sensitive point of view, the bible is a misinformed, misleading and spiritually inhibiting blasphemous book.
Let’s re-evaluate the bible!
The bible presents an untrue and misleading definition of the Creative Force that initiated time, matter, space and self aware life forms. The bible promotes division among peoples on the planet. It formulates elements of fear, frustration, guilt and anxiety as part of the baggage of belief. Worst of all, the bible defines the human race as “damaged goods”, a self reproducing swarm of inhabitants that are doomed to Eternity in Hell if they don’t or won’t fall in line with the dictates of today’s version of the Yahwist priest class. The organized Abrahamic religions…Judaism, Christianity and Islam!
We need to focus on being spiritually sensitive people who see science and technology as aides in determining a real and verifiable truth. We need to develop a new and believable system for soul satisfying spiritual expression. We need to develop a theology that unites rather than divides. We need to recognize science and technology as tools for enabling our evolution as spiritually sensitive human beings. We need to explore a better path!