PS Cast: God and Fear

A bit more religious than normal, this is mostly about Christians. It’s also a bit more confused than normal. I think I started talking before I had really thought this through. There’s some stuff in there addressed at non-Christians as well… and some stuff about machines.

Anyway, Proceed at your own risk while listening to God and Fear.

Transcript below:

Hello again, it’s Paul Spooner here on a delightful morning, and a more relaxed…

No! Actually it’s not more relaxed! There’s no point in speaking if I’m not going to speak like I mean it!

I was thinking this morning about how fear is the friend of the Christian. Not that we should induce fear, but that we love Love. We love God. God is love. Love is our friend. Someone who also loves God is also a friend; We can’t go wrong loving someone who loves God; They’re our allies. And Jesus even said this. He’s like, “Hey, you know, if they’re not against us, they’re for us! And, if their not for us, their against us. There’s only two sides. One side is Love.” (Editor’s note: obviously I’m paraphrasing a bit here) And another interesting statement that “Perfect love drives out all fear.” So anyone who is afraid, is not made perfect in love.

Which makes it a very useful sign for us! Anyone who’s scared is not perfectly our ally. Now, of course, there are shades of grey in there. The point is that if anyone is afraid of something, if anyone is in terror of something, then we can question whether or not that person is of God with good reason because if perfect love drives out all fear, then they can’t be made perfect in love at this point if they are in fear. It gives us a sign of the people that are not perfect. Not that there’s anything wrong with not being perfect! We’re all not perfect in some way. And I have my own fears! I fear death! I fear failure! I fear rejection! I fear all kinds of things. But, to the extent that I can, I try to quell those fears! I try to keep those fears out with love, with the assurance that God rules all.

I’m just kind of intrigued, with this in mind, that there are so many fearful antagonists of Christianity. And you see it all over the place! Once you start seeing it in these terms, it’s just everywhere! These people are like “Oh no! The Christians are, you know, gonna try to get us to stop thinking, and we’re, it’s going to be terrible!” and it’s like, “Man, you know, you’re not afraid of us. You’re just afraid. And we are the ones who you see that are not afraid…” And, so, people who are afraid think that the people who are not afraid have something over them. It’s so wrong headed! You don’t have to be afraid!

You don’t have to be afraid of anything!

And as I grow more perfect in Love, I find this more and more true, that anyone who is our enemy is, by necessity, fearful. Just overwhelmed with it. Because, in order to be the enemy of Love, you must reject the possibility that there is anything worth loving, that there is anything in the world that could possibly redeem you from your faults. Because everyone has faults, and to deny that you have faults is madness, and to say that your faults are acceptable is injustice (and both these things will destroy a person’s mind).

So, a Christian (a true follower of God) will be able to say, with the angels, “Fear not.”

It’s wonderful because if anyone does attack you, as a Christian (I mean, and certainly, they can attack you for other reasons. Maybe you’re also an asshole… (and I’m an asshole, so I… You know… I know about this) You can be a Christian and suffer for your own idiocy, or your own cruelty. But that aside…) If they attack you as a Christian then you immediately know that you’re dealing with someone who is incredibly insecure, who is incredibly fearful! That’s a huge insight into their psyche to be able to relate to them. A huge part of that is, “Oh. This person is terrified. Probably, for their whole life, they’ve been terrified. And maybe I’m the only person that they’ve found who’s not terrified… and they are terrified by that! Because they’re terrified by everything.”

It’s not you, it’s God. They’re afraid of God. And that’s a wise thing to be! It is incredibly wise to be afraid of God. But we don’t… we don’t have to be. God is Love, and perfect love drives out all fear. We will grow out of that as we mature we grow out of the terror, even though the terror is justified.

And, if you’re not a Christian, just be aware that being afraid of Christians does not somehow validate your oppinion. I see a lot of people who are like “Oh! I’m afraid of this person! And therefore they must be evil!” And… well… [sigh]… no. You can be afraid of someone for completely insane reasons. And if you’re going to be afraid of anyone, I would suggest to you… now of course, you can point to examples in history and say “Oh? Well Christians are evil too, and do all these horrible things, and we should be afraid of any kind of religious absolutism.” Or whatever it is that you have to say. But if you’re not a Christian, and you find yourself dealing with a Christian, or with anyone, (I’m speaking specifically of Christians because I know about our doctrine and our mindset) being afraid, and fear, is not a lever you can use. Christians are renowned, historically, for their lack of fear of death (Editor’s note: Yes, I am aware of the irony)! And what are you going to hold over someone’s head that’s worse than death?

I would advise you, certainly talk to Christians, but don’t (to the extent that it’s possible for you (and I know it’s going to be hard)) don’t be afraid of Christians, because that’s not going to… it’s not going to help either of you. It’s not going to help the Christian, because they’re going to see it as “Oh well. This person clearly thinks that they’re my enemy, because they’re afraid.” And it’s not going to help you because ultimately if someone is worthy of fear, then you should act like they are trustworthy. This shows that you respect them enough to believe that their oppinion’s value is worth more than your own. If you’re afraid of something, it means that you think that thing is more powerful than you, and that it is out to get you…

Oh my goodness! This is really cool. There’s a giant drilling site on the side of the road here. I was just looking out and there’s these huge tall machines…

Okay! So machines!

People are afraid of machines!

And machines are a concentration of energy and craftsmanship into something… but it’s for a purpose. A machine is always built for a reason. (and I would put this back into evidence that humanity was built for a reason, but that’s beside the point)

So there’s these big machines on the side of the road, and they’re black, and they’re covered in grime, and they’re tall and jagged, and they’ve got stuff sticking out of them, they’ve got these long cables, and they’re loud, and they’ve got these huge bases, and they’re just billowing out smoke… and it’s like “Oh, this is a scary thing! A terrifying thing! A thing to be fearful of!” But if you really love God, then you will love what God has made. And God has made, among other things, mankind, but also physics! And the fundamental laws of the universe on which machines operate! So a machine is a testament to God’s trustworthyness. That someone can spend time and effort working on, not only discovering the rules, but building a machine that exploits the rules, and lo and behold! It works! Because God hasn’t changed the rules on you! And I think the same thing about roads, and infrastructure, and power lines! Thank God for power lines!

God built power lines!

God built them because he built the laws that make power lines make sense. And it’s only reasonable for someone to construct a power line, or a road, or a water aquaduct (Editor’s note: Sorry for the redundance), or a highway, or a railway, or any other kind of infrastructure! Any other kind of machine! It’s a testament to God’s trustworthiness, first of all, because He doesn’t change the rules on us, and also His foresight, that He would make laws of the universe in such a way that they can be utilized in this way, that they can be employed by us for the betterment of everyone. So I think it’s great.

So the big scary machines on the side of the road? I love ’em. I think they’re awesome. I think they are… not necessarily beautiful… A lot of times machines are built with a kind of slapdash carelessness that you don’t see in a lot of other disciplines. I’m not sure why that is. Maybe it’s because they’re consumable? Maybe it’s because they are supposed to be purely utilitarian? But they should be beautiful as well. Even if they’re not beautiful, they are beautiful in the sense that they are testament to excellence. Both human excellence and in-human excellence.

Ahh… I’ve got to go. I’m gonna arrive at work pretty soon here… Allow me to sing you out!

This has been Paul Spooner, on the Paul Spooner Podcast.

[singing] Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak, but He is strong.

Yes! Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes Jesus loves me!

The Bible tells me so.

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