I was not born that way. I was raised in that way. “There is a God up there who sees everything you do and punishes you when you misbehaved” was a standard reprimand. This did the job. It instilled the purest form of abstract fear into a young soul, surrounded by many others who dared not think in any other way.
When I was 14 I took part in a nation wide French language competition. A teenager one-two years older than me interrupted a colleague’s prayer for good luck with a sharp “There is no God. If there is one he would strike me with all his might as I speak no”. I still remember his cynical laugh. That was probably the first non-orthodox and up-front view I have encountered on the matter, which raised a question deep in my mind.
Years later I was on the verge of a love affairs, which smell of danger. I was asked back then if I wasn’t afraid to enter into this relationship. “No’ was my answer, fast completed with “I am only afraid of God”. That was a rather strong belief, rooted in my childhood and early education.
My journey of self-nurturing brought me a fundamental personal appreciation of the ‘fear of God”. I read the Bible in my late teenage years, a time when I begun practicing independent thinking. I processed this reading years later when I read Solomon’s Proverbs and Ecclesiaste.
My mind came to appreciate the following: God (with whatever name he is known or called by his followers in whatever region of the world) is the Creator and as such is a Parent. Parents love and nurture. So does God. He gifted us with minds, souls and hearts to choose and accept or not the consequences of our choices. Blaming it on Him or stopping doing something out of fear of a Supranatural Repercussion is a strategy, no doubt, but with such a limited learning for personal growth impact. Is fear an ally to your growth? is a question with a very personal answer.
Fear and belief may go hand in hand. Up to a point though. The turning point is when the feeling of light is fading or, to the contrary, is brightening you, your life and the life of others.