What Are You Most Scared About and Why?

Jul 20, 2023 by David Fowler

What Are You Most Scared About and Why?
The great G.K. Chesterton, who influenced persons like C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, once remarked that the only thing worth fighting over is words. I made a poor choice of words in last week’s commentary about “climate change” relative to COVID, but I also believe the word is worth “fighting” over.

The “climate change” about which I previously wrote was the fundamental change that has taken place since the 18th century in most people’s cosmology, a word that encapsulates our understanding of the nature of all things, how they relate to one another, and how things work.

A reader called attention to the word “scared” in my opening paragraph, which I addressed to those who “got tired of follow-the-science government mandates during the COVID scare.” She rightly noted that the pandemic did scare a lot of people, and it killed or harmed large numbers of people.

I replied that it was a bad choice of words. I acknowledged that “[m]any were, indeed, scared, and indeed, the consequences were severe for many, including the loss of loved ones. My wife still suffers from the consequences [it brought to] an already compromised respiratory system, despite having been inoculated.”

But the reader’s observation raised a great question about the word “scare” and being scared that merits deeper reflection. It tells us how we see the world and what we most reverence.

Is Being Scared and Fearful Really “Normal”?

I submit that being scared and fearful is abnormal, and I think I can prove it. Its abnormality goes to the primeval climate change of all climate changes.

If the Bible is to be believed– which is what Christians profess– there could have been no fear in the Garden in which God had placed them. Even God said everything was “very good” (Genesis 1:31).

Being scared or fearful in that environment would have been abnormal. In sum, fear is not the climate for which we were created.

Proof That Fear is Not Supposed to be Normal.

A great story about fear in the New Testament is what happened when Jesus fell asleep on a small sailing craft while crossing a large lake.  It is found in Mark 4: 37-40.
And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He [Jesus] was in the stern, asleep on a pillow.

And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”

Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace be still! And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.

But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?

Jesus was not fearful, and certainly intimates that His disciples should not have been either. What “faith” did Jesus have during this storm that eliminated fear that His disciples did not yet have?

Cosmological Faith: Missing in Action.

The answer, I believe, is the kind of faith found in the cosmology Jesus set out in part of his Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 6:25-32, that I suspect is familiar even to many non-Christians:
Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

Therefore do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or What shall we wear?

The next verse explains why they should not worry about these things, and it demonstrates the great antithesis between those who have the kind of faith Jesus had and the kind I too often lack:
For all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. (emphasis supplied)
I took the several verses as a whole and in the sense of a command—don’t worry, trust God. After all it says “do not worry”!

But I did not pick up on the “Garden of Eden” type cosmology that preceded this final verse and its significance to Jesus telling His disciples (Matthew 5:1) that they should see God as their “heavenly Father”:

In other words, contrary to the evolutionary mindset Christians like me have tended to unconsciously absorb—that there are only laws of nature and everything really moves inexorably according to them—this world is still the Father’s Garden and he is still the Master Gardener, though the “climate” between God and those who are not His disciples changed with Adam. With the latter, it’s still a war over who gets to be God.

But when you know the heart of Father, who saw Jesus and his disciples through the climate change that took place on that lake, the “cosmological climate” around you changes, even though the climate change brought about by Adam’s transgression still rages around you.

Persons who have come to know God, “or rather are known by God” (Galatians 4:9), know that God is restoring normal in them, like that which was Adam’s before his transgression.

Therefore, they should increasingly be those who do not “consider that the sufferings of this present time are worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in” them (Romans 8:18).
Coming to know the love of that kind of Father “drives out fear,” as the Apostle John declares (1 John 4:18).

The Proud Person’s Fear and Its Consequences.

In an evolutionary climate of opinion, the preceding just doesn’t make sense. It is all about invisible things, and that doesn’t compute anymore. 

“We,” the modernist proudly says, are rational people. We believe only what we can empirically measure, though the rationality of that belief cannot be empirically measured and proved.

No, moderns would rather be their own God, even if that means they live in fear of what they consider an untimely loss of life or health. In such a climate of fear, they will give away their liberties to those who offer “salvation.”

There is no good heavenly Father who holds “their times in His hands (Psalm 31:15, “My times are in Your hand”).

What Fear Teaches Us About Ourselves.

The last part of the story in Mark about Jesus in the boat is verse 41. It is the most important. The disciples, having been scared of dying and then having seen the storm stilled upon command, had this reaction:
And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

What we fear most shows what we revere most—the disciples’ fear of dying was nothing compared to realizing they were in the presence of God! I suspect their cosmology began to change that night.

So, I ask: What do you fear most? What scares you the most? And what does that say about your cosmology?


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