“While traditional religions are capable of providing a stable foundation for spiritual growth, those that represent God as a monarch who punishes his or her subjects for their transgressions are not by any means empowering their followers. To the contrary, by rigidly adhering to such traditional religious beliefs, one is often motivated more out of fear than loyalty or love. For example, “I’’d better follow God’s commandments (rules) or I’ll be disliked by the other members of my church, or worse yet, be punished in hell for my sins.”
This fear works to get people mechanically altering their behavior at times, but it does not provide for true long-term shifts in a person’s beliefs and consciousness. In my experience, people simply aren’t inspired to delve into new ways of thinking and behaving when the motivation to do so is based on the threat of punishment. Profound changes usually happen when people see some form of tangible reward for undertaking the effort necessary to make those changes.
In many instances the fear-based motivation characterizing some traditional religious doctrines, can exercise control over an individual for an entire lifetime. For most, it is simply too intimidating to go against the immediate family, the tribe, or the church. So, they choose to accept the status quo and not deal with the conflict that would result from questioning that specific doctrine. While this approach is certainly much easier, ultimately it limits an individual’s spiritual growth potential, because it truly inhibits them from coming to a better understanding of “who they really are.”
Jeff Maziarek in, “Spirituality Simplified”
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Jeff Maziarek, author of Spirituality Simplified and Codi’s Journey, launched Pondercentral.com in April 2007 as a Web-based forum for “PONDER on THIS,” a series of weekday inspirational email messages he began sending to subscribers in March 1999. A FREE service since its inception, “PONDER on THIS” provides subscribers with meaningful content to assist them on their individual paths of spiritual growth. In addition, it benefits subscribers, authors, and publishers by including links to Amazon.com where subscribers can learn more about the book being quoted, and also purchase it.