Come to Jesus, or go to Hell.
                                  -- Bumper sticker

     After the prospective Christian has been lured in by hope, they are 
driven further in by fear.  The refined effects of fear finally becomes a trap 
in which that fear, of damnation, becomes part of the horrid result of 
questioning one's new faith.  Fear is the key that fits the lock on the 
Christian's heart.  The more orthodox, or fundamentalistic, the Christian's 
faith the more this is true.  But the fear is almost universally denied by 
Christians.  They cannot admit this fear to themselves for to admit it is to 
be unsure of one's salvation, a sin.  If it weren't for biblical fear the 
fantastic and unreal hope would soon loose its ability to create an emotional 
fix.  Like any addiction, it's not so much that one feels better with the drug 
than that one feels terrible without it.  The grand promises made by the Bible 
fail in this life and need reinterpretation.  The next life is too distant and 
and the expectations for it, while grandiose, are vague and murky.  For the 
faith fix to work continually it must work against and suppress a fear 
inspired by the very same Bible.  The Christians created a problem, sin and 
damnation, and then they sold the cure.  
     The Bible tells the Christian that if you don't 'believe' you will be 
destroyed (Acts 3:23), damned to hell, tortured and burned for the rest of 
eternity.  While those who do believe can make mountains jump into the water 
on command.  There is no escape for more humanistic Christians, Jesus 
threatened people with Hell and no one who is truly humane can really believe 
in everlasting punishment.  His preaching about Hell comes in verse after 
verse in which he goes on and on about the wailing and gnashing of teeth as if 
he gets a certain pleasure from contemplating this horrid torture.  
     Christians do not wait for death like a child waits for Christmas, with 
giddy excitement waiting to tear open presents.  They fear death, deep inside 
they fear it as much, or more, than anyone.  No Christian funeral is a 
celebration, it's a mournful occasion full of tears.  Those that don't fear 
death seem to be simply weary of life.  Christians are unsure of their 
salvation in most cases, and deep within themselves they doubt the reality of 
their faith.  

     The Bible, for a person who merely suspects there may be some truth in 
it, is a horror trip.  It threatens them with possible damnation if they don't 
believe it is the truth.  How does the reader, who doesn't know if the book is 
honest and correct or not, judge this book?  He can't, not if he wants to be a 
Christian, for the Bible is suppose to be spiritual and impenetrable to all 
but those given by Holy Ghost to know.  The Bible offers few rational 
arguments for its propositions.  Instead the reader is told that it is God who 
'elects' the chosen and we can do nothing by ourselves but pray (John 14:6).  
Our reader is told that the truth is hidden from the wise.  "For since, in the 
wisdom of the God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God 
through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe" (1 Corinthians 
1:21).  The Christians around him are reporting experiences he doesn't have, 
experiences inaccessible to him and hidden from him by the Christian's 
inability to communicate what was experienced.  So he must distrust his own 
wisdom, read his Bible, pray, and wait for God to do his thing.  
     We can imagine that our agnostic Bible reader accepts the promises made 
by the New Testament, such as "ask and you shall receive," or those promises 
made in John 15:5-8.  But this faith, after all his asking, praying, and 
studying, never comes.  There is still something he hasn't done.  In fact, his 
doubts grow more sever and he thinks he sees psychological trickery in the 
Bible's words.  The fear remains however.  And the fear will remain until our 
agnostic Biblical explorer either sets out on a different, atheistic and 
psychological, course of study, or his mind, weary of worry and fear, breaks 
down and gives him the dreams and delusions he secretly desires.  For the 
secret thing which he is suppose to do to be a Christian is to pretend, to act 
as if he is one.  In the end 'belief' means 'obedience.'  If he does give in 
to the illusion and begins to act as a Christian, (for 'acting,' 'putting on 
the new man' is that invisible and secret thing required of the believer), the 
fear still remains, it is only covered over, and it will torture him when he 
doubts.  He will, for as long as he remains a Christian, need his fix of 
     Many Christians talk about having a personal relationship with God and 
needing nothing more, but the truth is that many do need more.  Their illusion 
needs constant doses of acting out and putting on, demonstrations of faith, to 
be maintained.  If their belief is not maintained by this actin out the fear 
comes rushing in.  Being a Bible reading Christian is a nervous condition, one 
in which the Christian is rarely content with keeping their faith to 
themselves.  Many gather in groups, meddle in politics, and demonstrate their 
religiosity in public.  Christians have a lot to fear from the end of 
Christianity and a lot to gain from creating more converts.  As their world 
becomes more and more secular their illusions become more and more fragile.
     This need to witness and act out one's faith is because religious belief 
is basically a conscious-attitude activity.  For this acting out is the way 
they believe, the obeying of their biblical instructions out of fear.  It's 
not at all like believing one and one equals two, or believing in the 
existence of Black Holes, though many Christians claim it is like that.  In 
most cases those who need to act out their beliefs most energetically are 
those that are the most insecure about their salvation status.  They are 
trying to prove their worthiness to God by playing the role the New Testament 
has described.  It's this same need to demonstrate one's faith that fills that 
coffers of the churches and makes religion a billion dollar business.  
     For those who are indoctrinated from childhood, as I was, the situation 
is even worse.  When a child is young, and maybe even enjoying life, and not 
very interested in 'religious' concepts, the indoctrination process begins.   
We were required to commit to memory things like the Ten Commandments, the 
Lord's Prayer, just like we were to remember our multiplication tables.  We 
learned religion just like we learned history and english, by rote.  To the 
child each of these subjects is either an arbitrary but enjoyable game that 
they're good at, or a awful bore that they're bad at.  We did our job, or 
played our game, but most of us were waiting for recess and the real play.   
     When I was a child, going to church and Sunday school, I would never even 
have dreamed that one day I would be an atheist.  Atheists were characterized 
as stupid, dangerous, and even evil.  I didn't believe or disbelieve as a 
child, I just failed to question authority for awhile.  I didn't know what was 
what, or whether God existed or not.  I didn't care.  Later in life all I had 
to go on was my fear.  
     I grew into my early teens with a both fearful and hopeful expectation of 
having some kind of subjective religious experience, as so many people reported 
having, in which God, or the Holy Spirit did his weird and wonderful thing.  
It was happening all around me.  Something was suppose to happen to me too.  I 
began to suspect that it would happen, perhaps a dream or a vision or hearing 
God's voice, and I feared it and hoped for it.  I wanted to get it over with 
so I could finally judge the experience for myself.  Yet, it never happened.  
I talked to God, but he never answered back.  I don't know why it never 
happened because I wasn't that different from the others.  Perhaps they lied?  
     I recall one incident in my own religious upbringing that I think can 
effectively illustrate the place of fear in the indoctrination process.  When I 
was about 5 or 6 years old I was taken to church to hear my first hell-fire and 
brimstone sermon.  The pastor literally screamed as he described all the 
tortures of hell waiting for those who did not believe.  A few days later I had 
a nightmare about being damned.   
     I remember some of it still.  There was a manhole in the middle of a dark 
street, just like the one outside our old house, and fire, like a blow torch 
flame, was shooting out of the little holes in the manhole cover.  The preacher 
was there telling me to do something impossible, something I couldn't do.  He 
was telling me to see Jesus, but there was no Jesus where he pointed.  He told 
me if I couldn't do that, I might as well be thrown away.  The manhole cover 
was removed, flames shot up and then subsided into a campfire like flame.  
Suddenly I was struggling with the hands and arms that appeared out of nowhere 
to grab me and the hands started dragging towards the flaming manhole, which I 
knew was the doorway to hell.  I saw down into the hole, through a transparent 
fire and there were people thrashing and struggling about in some liquid 
medium, packed in like sardines, they squirmed and clawed away at each other 
trying to reach the surface so they could breathe, but the surfaces was 
blocked by something like a layer of glass.  They looked up at me with 
pleading eyes.   
     I was about to be thrown in to Hell when I woke up screaming.  My father 
came in to see what was wrong.  I told him how I was terrified because I 
suddenly realized that I really didn't believe like the pastor told me I 
should, and that I didn't know how to believe like that.  I was afraid I'd be 
damned because of it.   
     My father told me that I couldn't be afraid unless I believed.  So, the 
only explanation for my fear was my belief.  No more belief than that was 
necessary.  I would be saved and no need to be afraid.  Belief was equated 
with being afraid of a story?  As long as I knew I was afraid, I had nothing 
to be afraid of? I guess he tried to explain this the best way he could.  I 
was too confused to be afraid after that and went back to sleep.   
     Later, when I was a little older, my father and I would talk again about 
the nightmare.  I objected to the hidden assumption that equated fear with 
belief.  I tried to make a case for knowledge and certainty as belief.  My 
father told me I didn't understand.  I asked him to explain, but he couldn't.  
All my father could do with me back then back then was point me to someone 
else he believed could explain it better, a youth counselor at our church.  
But they couldn't explain it either.  The pastoral counseling I received 
merely tried to reintroduce the fear, telling me I really was at risk of being 
damned because of my attitude and my dream was a forewarning of that 
possibility should I not change my ways.   
     I was told that "I must accept Jesus." 
     "Okay," I said, "I'll accept him.  I don't know if it's true, but if he 
wants to save me from Hell I'll let him."  
     "You don't understand.  You have to believe."  I felt stupid, everybody 
was always telling me how much I didn't understand.  
     "But how can I believe it?"  
     "By reading the Bible."  I was told.  The world had to be designed by 
God, I was told.  History said Jesus existed, even his enemies admitted to 
that.  And so it went on.  At that time I hadn't heard of Pascal's wager but 
that was the essence of my concession, if God didn't exist and you behaved as 
if he did, then you and the unbeliever both wind up in the same place, 
nowhere.  However, if God does exist then you wind up in Heaven and the 
unbeliever one winds up in Hell.  It made sense to me back then, but it was 
the same equation, obey out of fear of what might happen if you don't.  I 
would not express my doubt openly again until I was in high school.  I learned 
to keep my doubts to myself because the arguments were such a nasty game.  
     I was afraid of Hell and belief finally meant obedience born out of fear.  
My problem was I couldn't understand exactly what kind of rules I was suppose 
to obey.  Jesus didn't make too many rules I could understand because he was 
always talking about internal and ambiguous things.  I felt no love for God.  
I hated him and I suspected he hated me.  I was always knocking, but he never 
answered.  I was always asking, but he never gave.  My doubts were suppose to 
be the work of Satan.  It wasn't Satan, it was me being me.  It was my own 
mental integrity that tortured me.  My doubts were caused by the incredible 
absurdity of Christianity itself.   
     Most people are revolted by the torture of the body, both of humans and 
animals, and feel righteous indignation towards those who do it.  But how many 
people even understand this torture of a child's mind?  All the conceptual 
structures on the Christian reality map, damnation, sin, the immortal soul, 
faith, and all its other absurd fictions are instruments of torture.  It's a 
cruel indoctrination process.  The purpose of which is to set the priesthood 
up in our culture as parasites.  They'll be there when your born, when your 
married, and when you die, and they charge for these unnecessary services.

     The sorriest cases of biblical belief are the hell-fire preachers and 
Bible-thumpers we see so often in the lower class, or poverty stricken, 
corners of the Bible belt.  Their illness is the result of deep biblical 
study.  These men are headed for psychological breakdowns.  The theological 
hypothesis that man is but a helpless creature dependent on God's love for 
everything, and that prayer is the key to getting what man needs, is a 
dramatically flawed hypothesis.  Man has but to ask this loving God for peace, 
health, and prosperity and they will be given to him.  Then why don't these 
men have these things if prayer and belief is the modest price?  Prayer fails 
and the excuse for its failure is our own lack of belief.  It is we who are 
blamed and theological mumbo jumbo attempts to explain away the failure of the 
promises made.  How do preachers, supposedly believers, remain authoritative 
when they too obviously fail to believe?  The mind is inherently too wise to 
continue to fool itself for too long.  The believer needs help to remain 
within the illusion.  The final source of religious authority in all these 
churches must logically be a closet atheist, whether he knows the whole secret 
or not.  Only a liar, or a lunatic, could claim authority in a situation where 
belief and study can only weaken the mind and its certitude.   
     Tell some Christians that their faith is nothing but an illusion and 
they'll know you don't understand.  They know there is more to their faith than 
that! It is something they feel.  To such a believer any attack on his faith, 
any doubt, will begin to unleash the repressed emotion, especially his fears.   
He experiences the benefits of his faith directly then, in the same way a 
heroin addict experiences the benefits of heroin when on the verge of going 
through the withdrawal symptoms.  Faith doesn't end the fear of death, it makes 
one afraid of life. 
     On some level the more liberal Christians sense these dark things in 
their Bible and that's why we find the phenomena of Christians who do not even 
read the book their faith is supposedly based on.  They can perhaps quote, or 
interpret into, passages about love, hope, or prayer something that seems 
quite positive and uplifting and yet these Christians seem completely unaware 
of the Bible's darker and more fearful passages.  They too are victims of 
'faith' and will feel it when it crumbles.  I was told by my more liberal 
teachers, who did see what I described to them about dreams and subjective 
experiences as crazy.  But I was then told that it was the ignorance, and even 
the insanity, of those people that was distorting the biblical teachings.  
"You have to use some common sense when reading the Bible," they told me.  
"Jesus said those things to people of a different time, different place, and 
different culture.  Interpreting what it means to us now is very difficult." 
The Bible contained some important truth for these liberals, but what that 
truth is exactly they can't say.  It has to do with love is all they know.  
What kind of nebulous and empty faith they must have who can't even understand 
what it is they have faith in!  
     Some Christian fears are quite real.  Can the great mass of mankind, 
which has been indoctrinated by religious institutions for thousands of years, 
who have not yet supplied much structure for their own lives and minds, take 
on real freedom?  Would they, as their preachers have been telling them all 
along, just fall victim to all sorts of deceptions and temptations unless this 
religious direction and structure is imposed on them?  Yes!  Many of them 
would!  They will be calling up those 9OO number telephone numbers, the 
psychic hotlines they once thought were the work of Satan.  They will get 
suckered by mystical scams, they will get sexual diseases, they will commit 
crimes, and there will be at least a temporary chaos.
     Whatever else the church may have done to the Christian it has taken care 
of him on some level.  Like sheep who are protected from other predatory 
animals by the men who will eventually fleece them.  Christianity would not 
have lasted 2,OOO years if it didn't take good care of most of its sheep.  
Without faith the Christian, if not damned, is at least "stumbling through a 
world of darkness, losing our way and our very selves," (Quote from 'Faith's 
Freedom,' by Luke T.  Johnson, published by Fortress Press).  If we could take 
a life long fundamentalist and turn him into an atheist with a snap of our 
fingers would he be able to function adequately?  No, he wouldn't, at least 
not for some time.   
     Will he need a support group?  May be.  Will the ex-Christians be 
victimized by some of these support groups?  Of course some people will 
continue to exploit them.  We must be realistic.  We can't turn people into 
saints by destroying Christianity.  Think of the unrealistic hopes that must 
be given up, the life in heaven after death, the belief that everything will 
turn out alright just because their is a God in heaven who loves them. 
     Churches, religions, and even ordinary social organizations impose a 
certain direction and structure on our lives.  One's role is clearly defined 
by others or by tradition.  The Christianity of the church is heavy with 
defined roles and traditions that eliminate one's need to think about these 
things.  We can expect society to get even more chaotic, with more ideological 
confusion and malaise, as Christianity dies.  
     Christians have a lot to fear from the end of Christianity.
     At some level we all feel that we will lose ourselves if we change our 
beliefs too radically.  The Christian is in the same boat there, and they will 
also have to contend with having their naked illusions exposed.  This is part 
of the price paid for one's illusory beliefs.  The longer one lives without 
rationalism and atheism the less competent one is at it.  Christian belief 
blocks mental capacities that would have otherwise helped one in getting past 
the rhetorical trickery in the first place.  Atheism, by itself, does not 
provide any structure or answer questions about what is right and wrong 
behavior.  Humanism does this, but atheism is only a lack of belief in God 
and tells us nothing about what is believed.  Atheism is only the freedom from 
theism and where you go from there is your own choice.  You may even stumble 
into something worse than Christianity.  One of nature's cruel dictates is 
that you cannot abandon reason and not fall victim to something irrational.  
     For me it's easy now to say "Well, if I'm damned, then at least I'll be 
damned for being what I really am instead of pretending to be something I'm 
not."  I have no other rational choice but find out exactly what it is I am 
and to create my own purposes, directions, and structures in life.  Learning 
as I go along.  When I became an agnostic I got sucked into things like 
Transcendental Meditation, a waste of time and money, as well as other forms of 
mysticism.  I was young and gullible, I was trying to confront and shape my 
hopes, dreams, fears, and anxieties the only way I knew how.  
     Cliches like "If it sounds to good to be true, then it probably isn't 
true," don't mean much when eternal paradise after death doesn't strike one as 
sounding too good to be true.  We all have to learn the hard way and we cannot 
trust our priests, teachers, politicians, writers, or other authority figures
to be either honest or correct.  


     The essay above, 'Fear is the Trap,' is intended to be part of a larger 
work that will also include 'Hope is the Bait.'  The intended title is to be
"The Dark Secrets of Religious Psychotechnology."  I will attempt to study 
the psychological purposes and intentions of the Biblical authors in light 
of Abelard Reuchlin's and John Duran's theory regarding Arrius Piso and his 
     Note, these files were converted to Dos ASCII text from WordPerfect.

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