A theology based on this fear seldom inspires great acts of compassion and service. When we live in constant fear of divine rejection, we focus all our attention on securing our survival. Sadly, this self-absorption only leads us further from love. Fear and love are incompatible. Fear indicates our distrust of the one who claims to love us. A child trembles when a parent threatens, “If you don’t behave, I’ll send you away.” A wife is terrorized when a husband warns, “If you leave me, I’ll kill you.” Human beings cower when God commands, “Serve me, or I’ll damn you to hell.”
Where fear is encouraged, love withers. Human beings cower when God commands, “Serve me, or I’ll damn you to hell.” Where fear is encouraged, love withers.
Gulley, Philip; Mulholland, James (2009-10-13). If God Is Love
I will admit up front that Philip Gulley is one of my favorite authors. His Quaker roots and belief align with my current worldview. There are some branches of Christianity that base their doctrine and dogma on the fear of God. I at one time found this theology to be somewhat enticing to bringing people to Christianity. Fear is one of the strongest emotions in humanity. Much of what our current political parties do is based on fear. They use it because they know how powerful it is.
As cited by Mr. Gulley above fear and love are in reality almost opposites when it comes to human emotions. It is inconceivable that a God who says he loves us with one breath would then condemn us to an eternity of torment with the next one simply because we might be too ornery to accept his love. I have thrown away the concept of fearing God for the idea that God loves us with agape love and will eventually, in his own time, take every one of us into his arms.