By: Michael B.
Is the validity of that which I believe dependent on whether or not one or more others believe the same thing? How about thoughts or feelings, must others agree in order for them to be valid? No. These things are validated internally, within myself.
Is it healthy for me to "fear God"? Do I think that by fearing God it will make me more able to cultivate a healthy relationship with Him? Will it strengthen my faith? Will that bring me closer to salvation or allow me to better understand what His will is for me?
Maybe one chooses to fear God believing that by so doing he will be more worthy of forgiveness of the sins that he has committed in his life. Could it be that one might believe that fearing God is a way to humble himself before God? That humbling himself before God would make him "worthy" of receiving the grace of God. If grace is unmerited favor do I need to be worthy? I believe that as long as I am making an honest effort to live life the best I can without harming others, I receive grace freely.
I had a hard time, not believing that God exists, but trying to cultivate a relationship with Him that worked for me. As long as I had this idea that God was punishing and that I was doomed to go to Hell I was to afraid to open myself up, to look deep enough inside to find Him in the place he resides. It was nothing more than fear that kept me from finding Him. When I realized that I could have my own conception of God, that I could take away the punishment, the fire and brimstone, the idea of forever surfing on this eternal lake of fire that many organized religions would have me believe in, then, and only then, was I able to begin to honestly seek Him.
Today I don't fear God, it's not a requirement of my faith. Does that mean that my relationship is any less than or more than one who does fear Him. Not even a little bit. It's mine, it's the only one exactly like it. It works for me, and I believe it works for Him. I don't spend my time looking for "signs". When I do see a sign I know it for what it is. I guess you can say that generally, the meaning is revealed to me at the appropriate time.
Please know that these are my beliefs. They are based on my personal experience. They are not the doctrine of any organized religion as far as I know. My experience doesn't have to be yours. That's the beauty of a PERSONAL relationship.