Fear and Spirituality

Jason - Goodyear, Arizona
Entered on May 28, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

Does fear motivate us to make changes in our lives (fear of dying, fear of failure, fear of not knowing human, religious or spiritual truths, or even on a more basic fight or flight response level)? We humans do not enjoy living in states of fear and will regulate our lives to great extents in an attempt to eradicate the real or perceived base(s) of consternation. Does anyone think that fear of death draws people closer to spirituality? Does anyone think that certain politicians use fear to advance their political agendas? Does this knowledge make you not trust in our government so much that we want to turn more towards religion or spirituality?

The world has been forever altered by terrorism, ethnic strife, and economic uncertainty. These and other occurrences lead people to question traditional paradigms (religious, spiritual, political etc.). For some, these incidences have strengthened their beliefs and made them seek spirituality at deeper and more personalized levels. For others, the turmoil leads them toward the path of powers of consoling nature. Sometimes negative world events create lasting positive affects.

Humans will attempt to construct logic out of a life that does not present itself as inherently rational. Many people look to places of worship to find meaning in seemingly purposeless life situations. The Churches, Synagogues and Mosques of America create, for many, a sense of belongingness and meaning, as well as facilitate a mending of much of the fear and dissonance. The fact that our country is the most religious of all Westernized countries might actually speak more to our collective unrest than it does to our sense of spirituality. Fortunately, America is in a constant state of growth and change. Our national values seem to influence some of our spiritual practices as much as our spiritual practices sway our national values.

Why do so many feel so compelled to find a place of religious practice? Is it that we are afraid of what we are witnessing in the world? Has our cognitive dissonance over being an American gone on too long in a time when American local, federal and foreign policy and practices do not enmesh well with our personal value and moral base? Have we become too cynical in a world that bombards us with products we do not want or need, with images of useless or horrific life events at home and abroad, with people who intentionally misconstrue and misrepresent the written word to forward agendas and, therefore, feel the need to achieve to a centering force? Is religion part of that answer? Are our personal struggles and spiritual endeavors intimately linked to the spiritual trends of a country, a country that values independence? The forces at work are many, and somehow we remain mostly grounded yet requiring more still.

We all share in this quest at different points on the spiritual continuum. We all share in the journey and eventual realization of spirituality, of oneness and of meaning.