The Power of Fear

Do you incorporate fear into your religious/spiritual beliefs?
I personally have thought long and hard about this particular emotion. And I have come to the conclusion that the only thing that I fear in this life is I. And the reason for this conclusion is because our Inner Being is truly an uncharted island so to speak. Everything we project as our being, everything we feel, everything we think has a connection to our Inner Self.
And yet how many of us can truly say that we have a full understanding of our Inner selves?
This Inner Self is called many names, the one I prefer is the Shadow Self.
For it is within the Shadow Self, that all of the detritus of our life experiences, end up settling.
It is the core of our very being. It is who we are.
I personally believe that all of the illness and all of the negative energy in this world comes about because we as a species in general, lack the desire and the discipline it takes to confront the Shadow Self and thus obtain some sort of balance within our lives.
I believe that part of the reason for this lack and indeed fear of such introspection comes from the heavy-handed influence of the three major Abrahahamic religions.
This is not an attempt to bash any particular religion/spiritual path, but rather a pragmatic view of the world around us.
There are over 400 recognized religions and countless spiritual paths in our world today. But out of all of these, only three have a very dominant influence on the majority of the world.
And even though all three of these particular religions are descended from the same core source of beliefs, all three of them are locked in a deadly death struggle with each other to control the hearts and minds of folks the world over. One of the three takes on a martyr role, pointing to such events as that which occurred at Masada. And they engage this martyrdom in an effort to confront one or both of the “top three”. Using such ideologue to justify their actions whatever they may be.  The other two rely heavily on religious terrorism both in thought and action to bully the peoples of this world into their particular spheres of influence.
All three claim to be the only “true religion” in the world.
But none of these particular issues are here or there, as far as this essay goes.
What does beg attention is that all three of these major religions have the same underlying themes.
And those particular theme’s are that Deity is solely male and the use of “fear” to sway their adherents.
How many times have you heard the phrase “God fearing”?
As a Pagan, I personally have a hard time conceptualizing my personal choice of Deity as something to be feared. Instead I tend to seek out the positive aspects such as Love, Wisdom, and Understanding and yes even those life lessons that are difficult to experience or comprehend at times. But which are still so necessary to ones spiritual growth.
I can’t comprehend a deity creating a race of beings only to have that creation fear their creator. I just don’t see deity as being as egotistical and arrogant and indeed, so insecure as to engage in such a use of energy.
Therefore I see such religious concepts of fear as the devices of man and not of deity.
Nor can I conceptualize deity as being a distant, unapproachable, male god. If one looks far enough back into history you will see that the Hebrew religion at one time worshipped not only a male god, but a female god as well. She was known as Ashera. But then the stewards of control and domination took hold and she was cast out as a foreign deity unworthy of worship.
It is this deep rooted insecurity which is enforced through the concepts of fear that these three dominant religions share in common.
As a Pagan I firmly embrace the concept and practice of individualism. And I proudly hold on to the idea of personal responsibility that the banner of paganism so humbly endorses. If I do wrong towards another individual, then it is my personal onus to deal with. There is a deeply held personal belief that such an action came about due to a lack of personal understanding of self and was not the actions or inducement of some ethereal being.
The “Devil” did not make me do it; my personal lack of spiritual understanding was responsible, period!
Pagans do not need nor should they seek out scapegoats for their actions in life. I’m not saying that all who follow the path of paganism should follow a set doctrine or tenet of religious and/or spiritual beliefs. For without a doubt, we are indeed all unique and individual in our personal beliefs and concepts.
But as a generality of paganism we should seek to be responsible for our actions as we seek out our personal spiritual paths.
I think that the use of “fear” in religion creates a situation where such a sense of personal responsibility is weakened and thus creates an opening for those who would use religion as a means to power and control.
If one encounters fear in their life, it should be due to a lack of understanding and not because some man made doctrine says it should be so.
And so how do we confront the fears of life?
One answer is to have the desire and the courage to seek out the answers to the fear that one is facing at any given time. Fear should not be used as a carrot and stick device to keep the spirit locked within a manmade constraint.
As pagans we have many, many tools/gifts available to us to accomplish this goal. The fact that the three major religions have spent centuries trying to dispose of these tools/gifts should not be an excuse to ignore our responsibilities. They have their own agenda and it is questionable whether it is one of spiritual growth or one of man’s selfish agendas.
Such tools/gifts are inherent within every living soul, regardless of what religion/spiritual path one embarks upon.
The one thing that will diminish the layers of disbelief and/or ridicule that these religions have attached to such inherent fibers of our soul is “Intent”.
For it is through intent that we seek out our spiritual goals and the means to accomplish them.
So as you go through your individual lives, you may wish to see fear as a challenge to discover the answers that will project your spirit above the impetus that caused such uncertainties in your life.
For fear is a double edged sword. It can be used to enslave the soul to a particular doctrine or it can be employed to free the spirit and create the impetus for spiritual growth.
The choice my friend lies within your hands, as it should…