I have two classic phobias (fears), Arachnophobia and acrophobia.
Contrary to some devout WOTL Christians I do not suffer from Churchophobia which I'll get into in the latter part of this column. I have no doubt that both of my phobias were acquired from the same source and definitely were not instincts I was born with.
When I was around three or four years old may father was putting some finishing touches on the roof of a two story garage workshop he had built next to our house.
Since there was a convenient ladder leaning next to the building and I being a curious person I decided to check out what my father was doing, that is until my mother happened to notice the scene of her son climbing the ladder.
My father was fearless concerning heights that probably involved self confidence where he was satisfied he was in control of all the variables.
In later years I have seen him walk the raised edge of a three story school.
His fear of heights where he could not have control i.e. flying prevented him from ever attempting to ride an airplane.
He was borne in 1902 so he grew up with their development.
My mother was much more trusting and enjoyed a few plane trips California.
Back to the scene I began with, Mom was in a sheer panic and probably P.O.d at my father who no doubt was amused that his son was taking after him.
Albert got the fear lesson that day since I was naturally emotionally close to my mother.
I'm sure there must have been other incidents but that is the one I recall my mother relating to me since I do not recall it personally.
Later as a teenager I worked with my father on a two man scaffold attached to a three story school.
I learned I could acclimate to a height situation but it would only last a few weeks at best until the fear would take control when I wasn't working on the scaffold any more.
An uncle who had become a superintendent of schools in California related to me how he and my aunt avoided teaching their adopted son a fear of snakes when my aunt was experienced a constriction on her neck by a fairly docile one she had draped around her neck.
The did not telegraph the fact they were dealing with danger. By speaking in Italian as they unwrapped the snake from my Aunt's neck in the presence of my adopted cousin they avoided transmitting fear..
It's easier and more effective to teach fear than an intellectual concept of danger since words are not necessary for understanding or effective communication.
A tone of voice, facial expression, and body movements, can all lend to instinctual reinforcement that the teacher is dealing with something harmful. A child can understand those non verbal signs before they understand verbal language.
This ability to teach about danger exists in the animal kingdom since it is not dependant on human style verbal language.
We call it instinct, recognizing it as the means animals have to survive in the face of danger.
What some don't realize is that this animal instinct also functions well in humanity.
Phobias are fears that most likely were not taught to us by someone using words.
We have the ability to learn from someone's words, beginning with those of our parents.
We also have learned much from our parents even before developing the ability to understand and speak words.
What makes our ability to survive and lord over much of the animal kingdom is our ability to think and communicate with using verbal language.
Intellect's ability to function on the verbal level gives us advantage over animals and their instincts.
Hunters have learned to turn animals instincts against their survival.
Humans throughout history have recognized our own instincts often using them to gain advantage over other humans.
Fear is an emotion with an instinctual basis. I consider it a left-over that loses when faced with our superior intellectual ability.
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself"-Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
My favorite "Fear is the Mind Killer" says it best.
"Fear the Lord" comes straight out of organized religion but what is implied here?
The beneficial effect of fear is that it still might cause us to recognize an/or avoid danger.
The less beneficial effect being that the danger might be illusory.
The recognition of danger on an intellectual level is not fear but a simple intellectual conclusion of cause and effect.
Fearing the Lord may imply that contravening what "The Lord" represents will result in unpleasant consequences.
Not punishment but the natural effect cause by an action or lack of one.
Con-sequence=what comes after in a sequential process.
We often see "The Lord", God, or whatever the Principle is called, including Mother Nature as representing rules of behavior some of which we classify as "Natural Law".
When a natural law is violated a natural consequence follows, rather than "God's Vengeance" or perhaps not.
Is God's Vengeance actually the unemotional consequence of a violation of natural law?
If I understand that "Fear the Lord" means what I have mentioned where pray tell do people get the notion that I fear "The Church" which in my opinion is a poor way to classify the totality of organized religion.
Perhaps some feel I fear only certain churches. The specific church that comes to mind is the Mormon Church that some feel I fear due to the amount of negative criticism I write of here concerning some of it's official and unofficial policies and practices.
My critics only seem to see the negative material I write about the church they love as they discount all the respect and admiration I have shown where I single out that same religion for all the good it has done for society.
Taking my positive mentions into account do I truly "fear" the Mormon church?
Perhaps it is a love-hate reaction?
And perhaps not.
To recognize an actual dangerous policy or potential action is not the same as having a fear reaction.
I have outlined in previous columns some policies of Christians and specifically Mormons I consider to be contrary to my concept of the inalienable rights guaranteed me under the Constitution.
The fact is that Mormons in general, Harry Reid and a few others to the contrary, "fear" the ACLU in the same way I "fear" Mormons.
They recognize that the ACLU defends actions Mormons consider contrary to their interests.
To me this is not fear but rather objective reality that is considered dangerous.
Furthermore I do not fear much of anything beyond the two aforementioned phobias I have detailed here if fear is described as I have in this column.
I do recognize inherent problems in all organizations including churches.
Recognition of a potential or actual problem is an intellectual process quite different from the instinctual fear many people have concerning many things.
I recognize the evangelical imperative some Christians claim as agency that has affected my quality of life.
I must share this planet with these people as we disagree about specific areas of society.
This is where the concept of democracy runs up against that of the inalienable rights my government's Constitution is based on.
When I see these churchians as I shall call them use the democratic power of strength in numbers to marginal me because they can I will resist and deal with them as I would any other attempt to encroach upon civil rights guaranteed me.
Orthodox Churchians despise the American Civil Liberties Union due to it's successful resistance against churchians creating a theocracy to supplant civil government they term evil ridden and out of control.
I wonder with that kind of attitude who really is doing the fearing and against what.
© 2009 Matt 7:6 - 7/9/12