[DISCUSS] Genuine Fear

Let me start by saying that I have two phobias in my life: the fear of heights and the fear of drowning. Both of these fears are conducive to a loss of personal control about what my body is doing and where it is going. I cannot fully control my motion in the water, and so the idea that I will go under and have no way to right myself is a genuine concern of mine when at the pool. The idea of a free fall, of being in the air with no say in your ability to slow down or stop falling, terrifies me when in a position that I could lose my balance and fall from somewhere. These fears are not truly gripping unless I’m put in positions which are on the edge of possibility, such as at the top of a water slide ride at a water park on a very windy day. I have had a panic attack on a water ride before, and had to get myself back down the stairs and sit for about half an hour, just trying to catch my breath.

My point is, I know what it feels like to truly fear something. Today, while browsing the internet, I found something which put fear into me. I was genuinely afraid, petrified by what I was reading. I was on the verge of hyperventilation in my cubicle. I managed to calm myself down, basically by going back to work despite my steaming lunch in front of me, but just the notion that what I had read had scared me that much was enough to jar me for the rest of the day…

By now you’re wondering in anticipation what it was that froze me like this. It started out like any other browsing time for me, and every once in a while finding a thread to kristallnacht2comment on for my own interests. I came across an article which particularly caught my eye, as it was in reference to the anniversary of Kristallnacht and how the pope’s hometown was continuing his tradition of inviting all the Jewish and Protestant members of the community to the Metropolitan Cathedral in Argentina to mark the tragic beginning of the Holocaust in a solemn communal ceremony of peace. Upon reading the article, I discovered a far darker story. Apparently a group of ‘ultra-traditionalist’ Catholics (as they so called themselves) came up in the back of the Cathedral, and during the ceremony, began to belt over the congregation the ‘Our Father’ and calling the Jewish and Protestant participants, “followers of false gods who must be kept out of the sacred temple.”

Now this is not particularly what struck me to the bone, although the atrocious and sickening behavior of these people was certainly enough to get under my skin. Honestly, the Jewish Holy Book, the Torah, is part of the Bible. Jesus Christ was a Jew, and followed Jewish practice, calling the Jewish God his ‘Father.’ The insulting irony of their tirade against the Jews and the Protestants was more than enough to make me lose my appetite for lunch. But this was nowhere near the despicable, putrid aspect of the scum of humanity that I would come upon in the comments section.

In scrolling down, I believe I came across the most terrifying human being of this earth since the passing of Stalin. I am not exaggerating this in any way. And mind you, I did make a point in my response to this sick-minded excuse for a human being that he is welcome to believe whatever he wants to in life. However, the half-moment where I realized his sincerity, and so his malice and want to act upon this stated belief of his was enough to make me short of breath. Here is what this man had to say…

These FAITHFUL PEOPLE are NOT A “FRINGE GROUP” AT ALL – they are “hearing” GOD ALMIGHTY’S VOICE AND CONVEYING THAT TO THESE EVIL-INFLUENCED, MISLEAD JEWISH PEOPLE AND OTHERS.

“Kristallnacht” IS NOT A “NIGHT TO REMEMBER”, NOR COMMEMORATE.

THE HOLOCAUST WAS NOT AN ACCIDENT – GOD MANDATED THAT JEWS BE PUNISHED FOR THEIR EVIL-INFLUENCED, BLASPHEMOUS BELIEFS AND EVIL PRACTICES AND RITUALS.

PERIOD.

Yes, this is the apparently the will of God, a punishment for false belief.

Yes, this is the apparently the will of God, a punishment for false belief.

A man, in the name of Christianity and the ‘one true God,’ justifying not only war, but the genocide of 6,000,000 people. This is not a joke, this is not some silly story thought up in my head in order to debunk Christian belief. This is a genuine article comment by a man claiming to be not only Christian, but Roman Catholic Christian. And this man means every word. Dear earth and sky, this man wants to justify genocide in the name of his God. To say that this statement, upon reading, floored me is beyond an understatement. I provided him with only one response.

I typically say that people can believe as they wish. And I extend that to you. Believe what you want. That doesn’t make what you believe right, moral, or justified. Your words are proof of your interest in acting on those words to the detriment of those you deem ‘wrong’ in the name of your belief. It is sick and disgusting.

Your disrespect and lack of empathy under the false justification of your interpretation of God’s word is beyond disgusting. If you think God mandates the ‘punishment’ of those who don’t believe in Him properly, why don’t you take up arms and start shooting people like the Nazis did? Or the radical Muslims? Hmm? Why aren’t you following God’s supposed mandate and cleansing the world of evil people in the name of God, like you claim the Nazis did to the Jews? People like you are why World Wars happen. You use your personal perspective on the world to justify genocide and war. You are sick.

I apologize for nothing here. It is out of character for me to be this directly rude and insulting toward another human being, especially on purpose and directly associated with that human being’s belief, but this… this deserved every word and far more.

At this point in the game, many would begin to say this is the problem with religion, and with belief in general, that it breeds hatred and conflict in people. For the slightest moment, I felt I had tipped over the edge and said, “Yes, this is the evil of religion manifest.” But it was only for a moment. You see, people are always going to justify evil acts for their own gains. Somewhere in the sick side of the mind of any particular person, thoughts like this can arise. The thing is, that is all it is, a thought. Do not get me wrong, thoughts can be very powerful things. After all, one of my favorite lines of V for Vendetta is, “A building is a symbol, as is the act of destroying it. Symbols are given power by people. Alone, a symbol is meaningless, but with enough people, blowing up a building can change the world.” And what else is a thought but a symbol put into words? It is when those thoughts, those symbols of the mind, are ACTED upon that we must also act against that symbol manifest into action, not the symbol itself.

The symbol can be useful for the individual, providing needed hope, courage, and strength which some people do not feel they can get out of their fellow man. Fine. I can understand. When I was a child, I was bullied constantly, and being my parents’ child, I was not prone to complain to them about my ill fortune at school. I just gritted my teeth and bared down. At home, I did not confide in my parents or my far too older sister. I looked to a world beyond my bedroom, untouchable beings I could make into my friends at will, who understood me, who could see things from my side AND from the bully’s side. I learned empathy through making beings who would play devil’s advocate so I could cope more easily and be stronger the next day. Religion provides the same thing to people, and even incorporates community to further solidify one’s belief into a supportive reality. That’s fine with me. I get it. I really do.

But I’ve said it too many times to count now, and I will say it again and forever more, so as many people as possible can hear it and try to understand. Believe what you want. It is your right. Acting on that belief to the detriment of others, be it mentally, physically, or spiritually, is NOT acceptable. This man, however terrifying his statement is, has the right to have such a thought. He is human, and can think freely. He CANNOT be permitted to act upon this belief, lest he set in motion World War III and begin a greater genocidal expedition than Hitler himself. This man, and many with his line of thinking, including the ‘ultra-traditionalists’ of the original story, have the potential to becoming something horrifying, something genuinely evil. They are still human, and because of that fact, I will not make a judgment to deny them the basic human right of belief. However, these are people to be feared, people to be watched with great speculation and preparedness. These are dangerous people, of which I had not come to fully realize were still so readily among the general population until today.

And there is part of me that wishes I never had…

cheerful

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9 thoughts on “[DISCUSS] Genuine Fear

  1. Don’t mistake what religion offers as a justification for its broken methodology (in the way we a broken analogue clock can still be right twice a day, but that bit of ‘time-keeping’ hardly excuses the broken clock).

  2. Rana,

    This is EXACTLY why I say the things I do and treat religion with ridicule and scorn and contempt and hatred. People like that are my enemy. I hate their guts and I want to destroy them before they destroy us. The point of mutual respect has long since come and gone. This is pure evolutionary instinct – the ability to recognize the need to identify and destroy an enemy in order to ensure my own survival. Just think to yourself. Do you honestly think you could (or even want to) peacefully co-exist with a piece of garbage like that?

    • You know that this is the difference between you and me, Ashley. The idea of a human being as my enemy is not something that I even for a moment consider a possibility. I cannot and will not condone willful division of human beings into ‘us’ and ‘them.’ I will not consider the idea that, just because this person THINKS differently than me, regardless of what that thought is, that I am justified in acting against him. I wait for others to act first. I am reactionary, and commensurately so. If someone speaks their belief and I find it unacceptable, I speak my reasoning as response. I will not physically attack someone for calling me a heathen. If that person attempts to physically harm me due to my heathen state, then I will physically defend in equal turn. Yes, this man is a piece of immoral trash, but he is a human being, and in that I will coexist with him on this earth until he acts against me physically, threatens my human rights physically. Then and only then will I retaliate to such an extent as to deny his right to believe, for if he is willing to impede my human rights, then he relinquishes his own.

      • Yes, that is the difference between the 2 of us. I would suggest that not being able to recognize an enemy when you see one could turn out to be a fatal flaw. Believe you me, he certainly considers you an enemy.
        Now when I say “destroy” them, I don’t always necessarily mean kill every single one of them. However, I certianly am for the killing of certain people, who in my opinion deserve it. For example, any member of Al-Queda. The diffence between them any myself is not one of just opinion. They have openly declared war on civil society and will stop at nothing to achieve their goal. They have already killed thousands of people in furthernce of their agenda. The time for bargaining with lunatics like that has long since come and gone. They’ve made the decision for me. It’s either them or us – there’s no 3rd option. Their idea of “peaceful” co-existence is “do what we say and you won’t get hurt”. Thanks, but no thanks. Not interested.
        Now as far that piece of trash goes – the one you were talking with – I don’t know his complete story. has he commited violence? Is he a member of a group that’s considered “terrorist”? I would tend to think that he’s just a sorry, pathetic loser that honestly believes that the holocaust was a good idea. Do I think he should be killed for what he says? No. Do I think we need to guard against people like that, certainly in the event that they try to organize themselves and turn words into actions? Yes, your approach is the safer bet in that you won’t ever be accused of being an “agressor” but the potentially fatal drawback to that position is waiting too long to act and not being able to respond when the threat is actually there. If they had dealt with Hitler in advance (militarily), there might never have been a second world war. All the bargaining and placating came to naught. All it did was buy the time necessary for Hitler to openly re-arm (in direct defiance of the Treaty of Versailles) until he had the forces and equipment to carry out his master plan. Now you want something to be REALLY frightened of? Think about what this world would have been like had Hitler WON the 2nd World War. It’s for this reason, that I truly believe that we will be very lucky to get through the next 20 or 30 years without some kind of confrontation with a middle eastern country (likely Iran) or perhaps North Korea. This time, they’ll be playing for keeps. They’ll have the thermo-nuclear capacity to do some real damage. I don’t know what weapons World War 3 will be fought with, but I think World War 4 will be fought with sticks and stones, if there’s anyone left around after WW3 that is.
        This is a fight that is NEVER, EVER going to end. If we abolish religion will it be completely finished? Most certainly not, but we will have gone a long way to ridding ourselves of one of our baser elements. There’s still lots of stuff to overcome, but have to start somewhere.

  3. Don’t have time right now to read your article – only the first paragraph. Let’s see… you have a fear of heights and a fear of drowning. May I suggest you take up cliff diving?

    • …The first two paragraphs of this are only a preface to the fact that I know what true fear can feel like, and how a post on a thread actually drove me to true terror, like what I feel when in the ocean and I’m getting taken out by the current. You really ought to read the rest of the post, RT.

  4. @Rana. Good people seem to find morals and selfish people seem to find excuses from their respective religions, but no god ever interferes in any of their behaviour.

    Stupid ideas of ignorant people should be met with explanations as to why such thoughts are stupid. This is problematic, as the stupid are often rather limited in their ability to understand what is wrong with their line of thought, but a lot of intelligent and empathetic people have been indoctrinated by religions and though they often live in a bit of denial, their ability to think straigth might be awoken by mere words.

    Ultimately the sort of people like the idiot you refer to, reveal what is wrong about religions. He is on a logical path and has simply taken it to conclusion, but his folly is, that his premises – given to him by some authority – were all wrong in the beginning. If one is to take the Bible as a description of the nature of the alledged one and only creator god, then divinely sanctioned genoside fits perfectly in the character of this male god. In the book this Middle-Eastern god is worshipped as an authoritarian who dictates what is right and what is wrong and if a person submits to such authority, then it is actually hypocritical to claim that a genoside is wrong, if the people who conduct it sincerely think they are acting upon the will of this particular god. If that god is nearly as mighty as claimed by the adherents, they should all admit to the fact, that any people sincerely doing what they genuenly expect such a god wants them to do, are infact only able to do so by the admission of their god. However, if these adherents have any decensy, they should also find any such god evil. And if they have half a brain, at that point (at the very latest) they might ask themselves what actual evidence they have, that their evil god even exists.

  5. Rana, you have identified a fear of mine as well. People that can find a means to justify atrocities by attributing them to some godly action, are despicable pieces of shit. Anyone that can rationalize away the horrific nature of these atrocities has the means availble to justify anything they feel like they might be capable of. I have said this many times, it needs saying again: “There ain’t nuttin scares me more than a bunch of good (insert religion here)” Singularly they are just disgusting pieces of work, banded together they are a threat to anything they despise. They despise everything that isn’t just like them.

    Witch hunts, machete murders in the night, suicide bombers, genocides, or just murdering anyone that doesn’t shoehorn into their definition of acceptable, is the norm for these people. What bands them together and gives them the justification to commit these acts? Religion.

    I predict RT showing up any time now with a “No true Scotsman” argument.

  6. Rana,

    I also forgot to mention this. I have a fear of heights as well. As a matter of fact, I have been noticing a growning general anxiety within me the older I get. I saw counselling to deal with my fear of heights (although I wouldn’t say I have completely “cured” myself, but have gotten mechanisms to cope with it) and I am in the process of setting up Cognitive Behaviour therapy to deal with the more generalized anxieties. My last resort it to go to medication. If you’d like some advice, you can start with a book called “The anxiety and phobia workbook” which you could pick up on Amazon for $20. Start with that, see if it helps and then consider counselling if required.
    The reason I did it was because it was starting to affect my work slightly. I would get anxious (I still do but can cope with it better now) if I had to go into an area of some plant that was high off the ground. Even being on a completely solid floor with grating (that you can obviously see through) would cause me to become anxious. Now I don’t know how badly this is affecting you but the longer you wait, the harder it will be.

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