By Craig Funston
There are fears and then there are fears. Fear is very personal, private, and powerful. In fact, I won’t share mine with you, as I have, uh, the fear of being laughed at.
By the way, we could have a good time making up words (the art of “neologism”): Just add the suffix “phobia” to any word (preferably in its Greek or Latin origin), and you have a technically-sounding word about “fear.”
(So, Maurice, tell me what “calgaryflamesmaywinthecupsomedayphobia” means.)
There are real fears rooted in childhood experiences—you know, the old monster-under-the-bed thing, or the shadows-of-the-boogeyman-in-the-closet thing. Though a child may have a very vivid imagination, his fear often arises from a television show or scary book. Or from some bully sibling.
Beyond infantile fears, we may grow up in environments that inculcate fears—homes, neighbourhoods, schools, malls, holidays, etc. Something happens somewhere and we are scarred for life. Unlike the monster and creepy thing, these fears are based on reality, adding to their legitimacy.
The trouble is, if we don’t deal with them well, we may be crippled emotionally for life.
As adults, our fears are sometimes based on fantasy, sometimes reality. Many fear global warming, over-population, and harmful fossil fuels. It’s part fantasy, part reality. Confusion is the result. Those who stir this up won’t call it fear; they call it science, and that makes it sound all the more convincing.
As we continue to be fed dubious information from the media and politicians, we take their word for it and fear takes over. And then resentment towards others who don’t buy into it follows.
On the other hand, there are things to fear, to be sure. We should fear our politically-motivated chaotic economic booms and busts. We should fear certain political directions.
We should also fear the Muslim jihad that is popping up everywhere. It seems to be just a matter of time before we see Europe’s carnage over here. That fear, I believe, is based on fact.
And there are many other legitinate fears, not based on fantasy, but fact; not based on wishful thnking, but historical trends; not based on limited personal experience, but emperical evidence.
Somewhere in all the above scenarios there is a fear that I find, well, disappointing, even irritating. I have made up a word for it (remember—neologism?): christophobia. Because I made it up, I can tinker a little with its definition—mostly because I want to be really clear here.
I would define christophobia as the fear of anything to do with Christ, Christians, the Bible or the church. Pick your source: some misinformation from some crazy television show; some partial truths (which also means partial lies); some notion to not be confused with the facts, because one’s mind is made up; or from parts of all the above.
I think the above response to the Christian faith is ignorant at best, tragic at worst.
For instance, most people who resent faith-based lifestyles have never read the Bible. Or if they have, have never taken time to study it: their grasp of the Bible is cursory and superficial.
Or they may “know” a hypocrite here or a quack there, and thus they tar all believers with the same brush. Let’s say ay they have a bad experience with a dentist or mechanic: Do they write off all dentists and mechanics? Hardly. Do we do that with bad coffee? Blacks? Irish people? Of course not.
Why do people (maybe even you) suffer from christophobia? I understand genuine confusion or bad experiences when it comes to why non-faith-based people reject anything to do with faith-based people, and what they stand for. However, I just wonder why the adverse reaction overall when the facts, foundation of faith based people has not been examined.
When I think of the good that Christian schools and Christian publishing houses do, or what Christian agencies and churches do (in the form of community services), plus the majority of hospitals started as Christian, orphanages, scientific breakthroughs, moral foundation building, the Bible is the source of law in Canada, I am appalled at this resistance.
At best, live and let live. Tolerate that which is different from you. And best of all, don’t fear what you don’t know. It’s just another monster under the bed.