Fear of the unknown: part 2

by William R. Yoder on March 16, 2011

Fear and the belief in two powers

Fear is always based on an underlying belief in two powers


(Click here to read this series from beginning) The fear of the unknown, like every other fear, is ultimately based on a belief in two powers. As we saw in an earlier post, that belief can be stated in one of two ways—and both ultimately say the same thing.

The first way to express the belief in two powers is that there is another power besides love—another power, another cause, another source at play in our lives. The second way to express the two-power belief is that you are separate from the source of your good.

In either case, life is essentially fearful. When you believe in two powers, fear is at the very core of your own being. You are always vulnerable is having your good destroyed or taken away from you or withheld from you. From this perspective, life is fear.

An element of fear is always present

A core belief in two powers necessarily adds an element of fear to all of your thoughts and all of your experiences. Sometimes that element is hidden when you temporarily convince yourself that you know what’s going on and what’s going to happen next. But any time you realize that you’re facing the unknown, you feel a stab of fear. That second power may be lurking in the darkness just beyond your vision. After all, you are separate from the source of your good—and who knows what might keep you from getting it.

The “unknown” merely unmasks the fear that is always present

It’s not so much that the unknown is fearful, as that the very reality of life itself is fearful. The degree of fear that you feel in any moment is proportional to how much you focus on the essential fearfulness of your life. Most of the time, however, you hide the fear under some pretense of safety and security—you convince yourself that in this particular situation you know what’s going on and what will happen next. At some level, however, you know you’re only whistling in the dark. But when you face the unknown, you can no longer hide that fearfulness of life from yourself, because you know that you don’t know what’s going on.

That all seems rather bleak

This does seem to be a rather bleak vision of the human condition. But if you believe in two powers, you will necessarily introduce some degree of fear into all of your thoughts and experiences. You will always be afraid to some extent, in every moment and every situation. And you will fear the most when you are facing the unknown.

But the belief in two-powers is simply one possible belief choice. You’re probably unaware of having made that belief choice, because you simply inherited that core belief from your culture. But it is only a belief choice. And there is another one.  To be continued ….

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peter August 15, 2011 at 3:19 am

very true,we the one cause create this thing we call fear,it has no power only that we give it through our power,but if we know this it must dissolve

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