The Roaring Times

The Student Newspaper of John H. Pitman High School.

The Roaring Times

The Roaring Times

Fear Mongering In Religion

Fear+Mongering+In+Religion

Fear Mongering – the promotion of topics through fear and manipulation in order to gain control.

 

Fear Over Love 

When preaching the word of God to someone who is not religious what do you think should be the first topic you discuss? Oftentimes one would think to preach love as Jesus did, but what about those who decide to take a different approach. Fear is the main voice of persuasion in these people and they tend to throw around untrue claims in order to gain control. This is called fear mongering and is done because fear makes people think irrationally and just go along with whoever seems the least scared. 

 

Divine Judgment

The vast majority of religions believe that there is a life after death and that every soul passes a “divine judgment” that determines whether one goes to Heaven or Hell. Hell is the biggest and most used subject in fear mongering and leads many people to join religions and follow religious rules out of fear.

 

As no one really knows what happens after a soul passes, many become terrified of what will happen once they pass and this fear is very easy to manipulate. By using the excuse “If you don’t do ____ you will go to Hell.” As well as “If you aren’t apart of  ___ religion you will go to Hell.” Hell is constantly used to justify trying to control people.

 

Resentment 

Forcing something like religion onto someone from a very young age just makes them want to experience life without that major restriction. As a result of this mongering, many tend to actually grow further from anything religious. Children can not grow and be exposed to real life situations if they are constantly being pressured by the expectations of religion and fearing they may do something that will lead to Hell.

 

Having expectations of your child is not by any means a horrible thing to want, but understanding that forcing religious expectations onto them isn’t healthy for their growth is important. A child will learn and grow as time passes and as a parent you can decide whether or not you want to introduce them into a religion or if you want them to explore religion themselves. As soon as concerns are mentioned by the child, parents should take a step back and let their child decide if they want to continue. Forcing a religion onto someone by using the religious folklores of Heaven and Hell is wrong. Many times these children will actually grow up fearing religion and will not want to ever be exposed to religion again. 

 

This often creates many problems within a child as well.

 

Religious Trauma 

Many times fear mongering is directly connected to religious trauma. This trauma has many factors, but most are connected to this. Sometimes pastors will also use this fear to control their congregation.

 

Escaping 

I was unfortunately fear mongered into becoming a Christian at a very young age under the assumption that I would go to Hell once I passed. I would attend church every Sunday and pray every night and I hated it because it wasn’t who I was, but I was too scared I would go to Hell (even though I didn’t believe in a Heaven or Hell) to resist religion. Thankfully, when Covid-19 hit, churches were closed and I was given time away from religion to find out who I was and that was an Atheist (someone with no religious beliefs).

 

Finding out I was Atheist was one of the most freeing experiences in my life as I was taken away from the fear that controlled me. Although I still do get told I will go to Hell, I do not fear it anymore. Now it just upsets and disappoints me with how power hungry people are to have control over you. With someone even commenting on the fact that my boyfriend is Catholic and stating he would go to Heaven forgetting me because I would go to Hell for being an Atheist. The “break” provided me with time to process what fear mongering actually is and how disappointing it is.

 

Unfortunately this “break” isn’t possible for many as many families are much more strict but for those struggling with this identity of feeling overwhelmed and pressured by religion.