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fear vs Love


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#1 Avrham

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 08:19 PM

I was sitting in the testimony meeting the other week and it was the first time in 2yrs since I have attended any Church meetings and was paying attention(as always) to what was being said majority of the testimonies seemed to have a fear basis to it like ''I fear God so I do not disobey '' and it seemed that peoples motivation is out of fear which I find kind strange . I made the comment to my friend later on who gave his testimony, about this line of reasoning because I was always taught that we do things because we love the Savior and that fear does not come into the equation . My personal belief is the more I love God/Savior the more it motivates me to serve . It seemed on that day the fear of God was present in the testimonies given , However I have also found that other Christian/religions seem to follow this path my readings in the Old testament is that fear of God is not unusual . So should fear play a part in motivation for Obedience? just my thoughts :)

#2 Anddenex

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 10:48 PM

If fear is what keeps a person obedient, yes, then I would rather see a person fear God and keep his commandments, verses disobeying because they do not love him enough. Our primary motivation should be love. This is the hallmark of a disciple. Alma the younger's conversion first began with fear, so much fear that it caused him to faint, and he recognized his awful state. In time fear, was no longer a motivating factor, but his love for God and his fellow men, for he shrank at the very thought that any of his brethren would find themselves as he was.

#3 Eowyn

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 11:58 PM

Reasons for obedience are on a continuum, starting with fear and culminating in love. Everyone is in their own place. As long as we're striving for better, it's all good. :)

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#4 Avrham

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 04:20 AM

If fear is what keeps a person obedient, yes, then I would rather see a person fear God and keep his commandments, verses disobeying because they do not love him enough.

I find this interesting because we are ordered to love God and are neighbor If one just simply obeys an order because of fear then maybe that person has not yet developed a relationship at that point .

Our primary motivation should be love.

Yes I totally agree I believe Love is the only way too God because I also believe that without it everything else we do is irrelevant because change can only happen If you have love which causes the change of heart

Alma the younger's conversion first began with fear, so much fear that it caused him to faint, and he recognized his awful state. In time fear, was no longer a motivating factor, but his love for God and his fellow men, for he shrank at the very thought that any of his brethren would find themselves as he was.

I think it was Alma becoming aware of his sins and being honest about them with the Lord and not so much about him fearing God but the sins he committed and transgressed so yes He experienced a change in heart which all Christians are striving for and it was Love that brought this experiance about and not fear
but thank you for reminding me about Alma the younger's conversion and sharing your thoughts:):):)

#5 Connie

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 06:57 AM

See these links:
https://www.lds.org/...ng=eng&letter=f

https://www.lds.org/...ng=eng&letter=f

Edited by Connie, 18 November 2012 - 07:00 AM.


#6 Anddenex

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 03:06 PM

I find this interesting because we are ordered to love God and are neighbor If one just simply obeys an order because of fear then maybe that person has not yet developed a relationship at that point .


I would agree. In high school I kept the commandments partially due to my fear for hell. I did not have the relationship, nor did I have the understanding, I do right now.

It would be nice if people kept the commandments because of love, however, again, I would rather see someone keep the commandments out of fear, than not keeping them at all.

#7 james12

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 03:48 PM

I would agree. In high school I kept the commandments partially due to my fear for hell. I did not have the relationship, nor did I have the understanding, I do right now.

It would be nice if people kept the commandments because of love, however, again, I would rather see someone keep the commandments out of fear, than not keeping them at all.

If fear is an acceptable motivator for obedience I would then ask these questions:

1. Should someone be forced to obey?
2. If not, where then does one draw the line in order to obtain obedience?
3. Does the Lord use fear to gain obedience?
4. Is there really some continuum of obedience within the gospel of Fear -> Duty -> Love?

#8 Anddenex

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 08:32 PM

If fear is an acceptable motivator for obedience I would then ask these questions:

1. Should someone be forced to obey?
2. If not, where then does one draw the line in order to obtain obedience?
3. Does the Lord use fear to gain obedience?
4. Is there really some continuum of obedience within the gospel of Fear -> Duty -> Love?


I don't believe fear is an acceptable motivator, however if it is fear that motivates then that is a personal choice. It would have been better for me, when in high school, to act in obedience as a result of my love for God. Unfortunately, I was naive and allowed fear to rule my actions.

Although fear was a motivating factor for me, would it have been better for me to break the law of chastity, due to a lack of love for God? Or would it have been better for me to keep the law of chastity, even if fear was the motivating factor?

I believe, a person is better off to allow fear to compel obedience, rather than denying the judgments of God and breaking his commandments because people do not love him enough.

Force is an interesting word. The question I would ask in return, is it OK to compel obedience?

If so, is God the only source allowed to compel, or is this extended also to us?

People are in prison as a result of their personal agency and the agency of others to compel them or to keep them from committing other crimes. Is this OK?

Just to reiterate, I don't believe fear is an acceptable motivator, however I do believe that it is better for a person to obey, even if it is from fear.

Edited by Anddenex, 18 November 2012 - 08:34 PM.


#9 Avrham

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 04:05 AM

Thought this was interesting one of the Seven gifts of the Holy Ghost from the Catchism of the Catholic Church as described by St Thomas Aquinas from the Summa Theologica ''Fear of the Lord (Wonder and Awe): With the gift of fear of the Lord we are aware of the glory and majesty of God. A person with wonder and awe knows that God is the perfection of all we desire: perfect knowledge, perfect goodness, perfect power, and perfect love. This gift is described by Aquinas as a fear of separating oneself from God. He describes the gift as a "filial fear," like a child's fear of offending his father, rather than a "servile fear," that is, a fear of punishment. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov 1:7) because it puts our mindset in correct location with respect to God: we are the finite, dependent creatures, and He is the infinite, all-powerful Creator.'' found this very interesting years ago when ever fear and worship was mentioned in RE(Religious Education) and puts a another enlightening perspective :):)

#10 RMGuy

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 10:47 AM

I always love (hate) the argument to pay tithing based on the fact that you won't be burned at His coming, or that tithing is fire insurance. It always strikes me as a mafia protection racket. -RM

#11 Vort

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 10:56 AM

I always love (hate) the argument to pay tithing based on the fact that you won't be burned at His coming, or that tithing is fire insurance. It always strikes me as a mafia protection racket.


I have had similar feelings, though of course God cannot extort people to pay him what already belongs to him. But I disbelieve the underlying idea, so I conclude that I'm not interpreting the verse correctly.
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#12 RMGuy

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:02 AM

Vort, I'm with you on this. I pay tithing for other reasons...not fear based. I understand though that for some that is their motivation. I am sure I am missing something in that scripture. -RM

#13 JayJ

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 05:20 PM

Fear motivates people to do a lot of good things in life. Fear of not being able to support a future family leads many to college. Fear of getting a speeding ticket often slows people down on the highway, especially when they see a police vehicle on the side of the road.

Fear of God on the other hand, cannot be a source of motivation if we understand the character of God. Fear of the consequences God has outlined because of our disobedience and may be a starting point for most who feel to be obedient. This often leads to a degree of repentance.

As we receive more and more from the Atonement, we see and understand with greater capacity the character of God. Our fear then transforms from a fear of God to a fear of disappointing our Father in Heaven.

In the early stages of our discipleship we are like a stray dog that is dirty, cold, and abused. The Lord took us in even though we may have been fearful of Him and hand-shy, yet somehow felt something in our hearts. In time though, we knew of His love and character and chose to be obedient because of that love.

#14 Guest_Thinker_*

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 07:11 PM

Fear motivates people to do a lot of good things in life...

Fear of God on the other hand, cannot be a source of motivation if we understand the character of God...

In time though, we knew of His love and character and chose to be obedient because of that love.


I like how you put that.

God is love...
Love is hoping & striving for what is best through trial & error - active faith.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but doing what needs to be done, in spite of fear.

#15 LittleWyvern

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 07:33 PM

Fear can be a motivator to obey, but in my opinion it's a crummy one and rarely works very well/very long. Obeying out of a sense of duty to God is better. Obeying out of a love of God is much better.

But... I'm not the best person to ask about how to get there. I've just barely got to the "duty" stage.

EDIT: I made a post about this same subject earlier that has some useful stuff, I hope. :)

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If the ocean were ink wherewith to write the words of God, sooner would the ocean be exhausted than the words of God, even if another ocean was added for its aid.


#16 missionary0204

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 07:40 AM

I agree with anddennex when discussing the subject of fear and motivation. When I was younger, I too obeyed many of God's laws because of fear. Of course I loved God, but I did not have a developed relationship strong enough or self discipline to bridal my passions on my own. Fear of hell played a large part as my motivator. I'm very glad that this fear was instilled in me. Had I messed around with the wrong temptations, I probably would not be where I am now. I consider it my personal safety net. Obedience by fear is not enough but it is a good starting point. In the end, "except a man have charity, he is nothing." Whatever helps me to develop this God-like love, then I'm for it.

#17 Avrham

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 08:19 PM

Fear motivates people to do a lot of good things in life. Fear of not being able to support a future family leads many to college. Fear of getting a speeding ticket often slows people down on the highway, especially when they see a police vehicle on the side of the road.

Fear of God on the other hand, cannot be a source of motivation if we understand the character of God. Fear of the consequences God has outlined because of our disobedience and may be a starting point for most who feel to be obedient. This often leads to a degree of repentance.

As we receive more and more from the Atonement, we see and understand with greater capacity the character of God. Our fear then transforms from a fear of God to a fear of disappointing our Father in Heaven.

In the early stages of our discipleship we are like a stray dog that is dirty, cold, and abused. The Lord took us in even though we may have been fearful of Him and hand-shy, yet somehow felt something in our hearts. In time though, we knew of His love and character and chose to be obedient because of that love.

this brings to mind the scripture in Proverbs 9>10 '' The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the holy is understanding''. Everyone has a starting point with Heavenly father and building up that relationship is the key to the Gospel to move beyond that fear I suppose that is the key which I found when reading scriptures especially the 10Commandments how it refers to your relationship with heavenly father and to everyone else:)




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