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Is There A Monster In Your Closet? October 17, 2009

Posted by jetson in Personal.
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In a recent comment I made, I pointed out an analogy regarding the childhood fear of a monster in the closet.  There was even a blockbuster movie made about this, Monsters Inc.

The movie was fantastic, and my young son enjoyed it thoroughly! However, it points out the all too real experience that many children have at night when they are left alone in their dark bedrooms at night. It seems that some humans have some form of built in fear that is used for survival in times of fear.

I do remember this fear, and I remember exactly how real it was. I have remnants of this fear today, although my rational mind takes over immediately when the fear appears. My young son is afraid of the dark, and I certainly don’t blame him, nor do I waste much time trying to convince him not to be afraid – I think it is healthy. I do let him know that I am here to protect him, and that he is very safe inside our home. He doesn’t just accept my words and stop being nervous though – he is working it out for himself. He is learning about this fear on his own terms mostly, which pleases me. But what else are humans afraid of?

Certainly many of us are afraid of dying. But is this a healthy fear? I’m not really sure, but I tend to think it could easily distract us from living, depending on the level of fear we each have. If one has an extreme fear of dying, or fear of what happens when we die, then it could be argued that living a happy life would be literally impossible. To be certain, it is my opinion that most people don’t spend too much time concerned with death – until you consider their religious beliefs.

Do religious beliefs, particularly Christianity, espouse a healthy understanding of what death means to humans? I submit that Christianity is almost a specific dichotomy between life and death. In other words, while it may be important to live a good life and accept Jesus (God), it is also a specific goal to be accepted into the Kingdom of Heaven or rejected to the dark recesses of Hell. For many believers, this fork in the road of existence, is what drives them to hang on to religious beliefs, in an attempt to somehow make sure they are accepted into Heaven. I don’t think I need to back up my assertion that this fear is so real in the minds of many, that they suspend rationality in order to avoid the possible eternal fires of Hell.

Just as the fear of the dark suspends the rationality of a child, this same type of irrational fear grips many believers to such an extent, that they place their bets on God, attend church every Sunday, and hope for the best. This is called Pascals Wager. There are also many Christians who know with 100% certainty that they are going to arrive in Heaven when their earthly bodies expire. To me, such certainty begs the question – how do they know they are worshiping the correct God. Somehow, they just know – while the rest of us are left to wonder why we cannot achieve such certainty. Apparently, God made some of us capable of enough doubt to leave our eternal future up for grabs.

Fear of the dark is easily overcome by adding light, and by remembering that the absence of light does not automatically mean something evil is suddenly lurking. Fear of death is certainly understandable, but it is unavoidable because we all die eventually. If we add the concept of living forever in Heaven, it may bring us comfort, but it does not change the fact that we will die – we MUST go through that event regardless of our beliefs. If the idea of everlasting life in Heaven is so appealing, then why didn’t God just place us there from the beginning?

If you still have a monster in your closet, turn on a light and see that it is not actually there! If you still believe you will have everlasting life in Heaven, consider how many of God’s creation, humans, will be simultaneously burning in the eternal lakes of fire, and recognize how selfish it is to hold a belief that randomly harms most humans.

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