Fearful Little Lives

He was talking about sin, and about how society didn’t want to hear about it anymore.  He said, “‘Hell isn’t fashionable these days”, but he said it like he regretted it.

—  Overheard in a bar

A few days ago, Tom Rees posted on a sweet little study that suggests people who are scared of one thing, tend to be scared of many things.  Teach people to fear hell; they will end up fearing their own shadows.

But if that’s the case, then it might make you wonder about all those times you’ve heard someone complain no one gives a damn about hell anymore.  Basically — if the study is accurate — those folks are complaining the rest of us aren’t living the fearful little lives they think we should be living.

Strange world, maybe.

I figure the odds are excellent that anyone who complains about a lack of hell in your life must be an authoritarian.  What do you think?  Good guess?

14 thoughts on “Fearful Little Lives

  1. The test of real moral judgment is what you do when no one is watching. If you are incapable of acting decently or morally unless someone is watching you, you cannot be a moral or just person.

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    • That’s an excellent point, Karen. Thank you!

      You put me in mind of something I once heard: The mark of someone’s character is how well they treat those who cannot retaliate if they are mistreated.

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  2. It wouldn’t surprise me if there was an authoritarian connection.

    It works out pretty conveniently, doesn’t it? Chronically fearful people are easy to control. Fundamentalist strains of religion understand this all too well.

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    • That strikes me as an excellent and insightful question, Donna. Anytime someone turns religion into a means of social control they are creating a monster. They may start out with the best intentions of improving people, nations or societies. In the end, their dreams become nightmares.

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  3. Pingback: Sunday in Outer Blogness: Women and Men Edition! | Main Street Plaza

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