This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.


← Effect of the concept of hell on children

QuestioningKat's Avatar Jump to comment 33 by QuestioningKat

comment 26 Fortunately, these night terrors are a thing of the past. Actually much of my healing from traditional Christianity occurred from attending a liberal church in which Satan does not exist.

Your comment helped me recall something that happened during one of these night terrors. I was screaming and praying for help. Nothing seemed to help and then a calmness came over me and I thought - imagine what terrible things that this "entity" went through in order to become like this. I felt great compassion and then said "I love you." Poof the dream ended. (Just a little side psychology --- this entity wasn't something outside of me, it was the troubled part of me expressing itself in my dream.)

Here is my point. Stuff that seems evil is scary to us because we do not understand it. When we don't understand something, we feel out-of-control and anxiety sets in. We feel as if there is nothing we can do about it and we are at the mercy of whatever it is that is supposedly evil. Notice how the characters panic in all the scary movies. Women and girls frequently act dumb and don't know what to do. This is not very skilled behavior.

At times we need to feel fear because it keeps us safe and from danger. Other times, our imagination works overtime. Let's say your sitting at a kitchen table at night when all of a sudden you see a reflection of something that appears to be a distorted face. You have a few options here. Be fearful and let your imagination run wild or find the cause. Maybe it will end up that a phone and a couple of objects on the table created a pattern on the window. Maybe the window has a flaw in it and reflects light in a distorted way. What is necessary is (as someone else put it) is to face your unrealistic fears to find out the cause. One by one you will see that much of what your feared, really has no substance to it anyway. Over time, you will build skills that help you deal with these issues, but rest assured that these skills will come and you will be better able to deal with your fears (the real issue - not Hell or the devil) more skillfully.

Oh by the way, when I became an atheist for the first time at eighteen, my fear of ghosts, spirits, the devil, etc. miraculously disappeared overnight. It was only until I transitioned into agnosticism that some of this returned.

Wed, 25 Jul 2012 03:39:36 UTC | #950015