The irrational fear of God or theology
theophobia<psychology> Morbid fear of God.
Origin: G. Theos, god, + phobos, fear
(05 Mar 2000)
CancerWEB's On-line Medical Dictionary
So this is not the fear of God that is the beginning of wisdom as mentioned
in the book of Proverbs (OT, Bible). It is more psychologically
damaging and deeper rooted. As with so many phobias it is often a displacement
or a sign thereof. The most usual issues are deep seated guilt (which
itself might be a displacement or self blame or a real gilt such as the night
terrors as you remember the murder you committed), Perfection / imperfection
complexes, childhood punishment related trauma (including unattainable
performance complexes*), or trauma relating to Church institutions.
Due to the deep seated nature of the problems concerned friends should be prepared
to be loving and supportive but leave the psychology and treatment to a
Theophobia finds a modern incarnation as the counterpart to something best
called Atheophobia - the morbid and irrational fear of the absence of God or
theology, and believers therein. Atheophobia can also be no fear of God
("who obviously isn't there"), the complete absence of
fear. While not being fearful is good - proper respect for your environment
and the ways it can hurt you is still important.
For definition at this stage we shall say that Atheophobia is fear of atheists
and theophobia is fear of strong religious beliefs. This is not quite
the case but for what we shall now examine it might as well be.
I have encountered people the world over that act in the same way - they come
from a strong atheistic stance and react with a certain terror
that is worrying. They attack with berserker like ferocity any mention
of religion (but Christianity especially) with a great deal of (often poorly
informed) zeal and stock arguments. Their counter parts in zeal would be
the Billy Grahams of this world.
I do not mean to attack atheists in any way as I know many who are always
ready for a quality informed debate. Equally I know Christians who are
usually up for some open discussion. These people seem to be completely normal
and even happy with their view point and comfortable with others who differ.
I have, equally, found large numbers of (again mostly Christians) atheophobes
who attack the atheist (and other differing faiths) viewpoint with zeal using
equally large amounts of stock arguments. It would seem that phobic is
the right way to describe both these groups. It is as if they are
frightened to the point of utter terror that perhaps they might be
wrong. I am sure that sometimes it is a case that they attack what they
do not understand (fear, again) but why attack at all? If, after all, you
are wrong - better to admit it now than waste your life surely? To do
this, though, would require that the person, (so irrationally afraid of holding
an inaccurate world view), first recognise the fear within themselves.
It is a sad fact that being wrong is sometimes too terrifying a concept to
cope with. We would have to say sorry, admit we were in error and change
our lives accordingly. We don't want to because we are happy the way we
are. We often fear change because we feel safe with things the way they
are. We set up mental safeguards to stop ourselves thinking certain
thoughts we guard against the need to change our lives when we feel safe and
content with them. So instead we dig in and defend our position
(something we have all done).
Perhaps what we need is a word that describes both groups - a word meaning
fear of being wrong. Perhaps this word will do for now: Human.
* Performance "complexes" develop as a twisted version of behaviourism
therapy, where the child attempts to perform to higher and increasingly
unattainable standards in order to please an angry or (worse) inattentive and
uninterested parent. This can reach the stage where the child / young
adult can behave in no other way and attempts to please everyone. The
breakdown that will follow is particularly traumatic and nasty.
Lastly in accordance with my own definition of what a good write up on
phobia should contain:
(Some) Films to avoid for Theophobes
StrawberryFrog says: I find myself to be alergic to god(s) , but I liked time bandits when I saw it all those years ago. The other films that you listed would indeed bring me out in a rash.