There is a difference between respect and fear but in our society today, the end justifies the means. A man seeks respect by bullying and the use of the methods of intimidation and subjects usually fall. Take some savages in the Nigerian Army for example. They abuse the rights of the people they are meant to protect and next time the people ‘behave themselves’ to avoid the wrath of the uncivilized men. People hate to feel pain and the soldiers source respect from them by inflicting pain or threatening to. Any act of disobedience is handled with canes and severe punishments like rolling in muddy waters, sitting in dirty gutters, frog jump and even waving at passing vehicles.
These attempts are to build fear in the minds of their victim. To tell their victim that the Nigerian Army is not to be disrespected. Often times people buy into this fear and just like they treat restive madmen, they always let them have their way. This is not respect. Acting under the influence of fear doesn’t imply respect. The victim acts when that source of fear is around. The minute that source is removed, he goes back to doing wayward things or what his destroyer considers wayward. Nigerian Pastors also use the same method in brainwashing members of their church. Rather than preach love for God for God himself, they preach love and respect to God for fear of what God has in store for haters and children of the Kingdom. This is not respect.
If you worship or respect any God because you are afraid of Hell Fire then you are Afraid of that God and you don’t respect him enough. If you also worship any God because you want to make Heaven you are acting under fear. You ought to respect your God for being God. If as a boy, whenever your good parents are around, you do what is expected of you, but in their absence you fail to do the same thing, you don’t respect them and your behavior when they are home is a result of fear and not respect. You are a bad child. The Nigerian Pastor or Priest who uses fear to win souls for God needs support and doesn’t understand what he is doing. Respect shouldn’t come from fear or favours but from the desire to exercise responsibility. A boy who only helps with errands if there is a favour attached to it does not understand what goodness is. The same thing applies to a man who worships any God because he wants to make Heaven and avoid Hell Fire.
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Most times, fear comes from the stubborn neglect of the mortality of our existence. We are not the first on this planet and it doesn’t look like we will be the last. We are not the smartest and it doesn’t look like we are the dullest. It is safe to assume that some of our ancestors felt the same about life. We fail to see that we will all die and fearing death is fearing life itself. We felt no pain or displeasure before we were born. We were neither happy nor sad and death wasn’t in the lexicon of the lifeless but after experiencing existence, we begin to make up reasons to justify how nonexistence, the absence of life, is worse than existence, the presence of life. We assume an orange tastes sweeter than a certain fruit with attributes we can’t describe or see.
We have made this fear evident in every facet of our life. We want to read a book but it seems the book is full of evil and forbidden knowledge, we close it to avoid getting corrupted by the content. We think and imagine stuff and even though we are mentally experimenting and not physically creating, we shut our minds down to avoid wandering to disastrous thoughts. Fear chained us and made us victims when we were supposed to be victors. Rather than ask why, we pretend all is well so we don’t start a program that will destroy our existence. Rather than improve us, this has negated us and we have became tools in the hands of manipulators.
The political manipulators warn us of famine and death if they are not elected. They push their campaign on the media and we fall for their deceit. The Nigerian religious manipulator tells us our problems was caused by a family member whose goal is to see us dead and our homes are divided while the manipulator smiles to the bank. History manipulators teach us distorted history, project our weaknesses and inferiority as congenital, and prescribe modern slavery called loans and grants as solution. If we excised fear and accepted the mortality of our existence, if we knew that we are not too special or the last of the human race, if we can summon courage to look eyeball-to-eyeball into those things that strike us with fear, we will understand them enough and stop been afraid of them.
Almost all human actions are controlled by love and fear. The love of humanity, wealth, health etc., or the fear of pain, death, poverty, sicknesses, etc. In African countries today, the leading cause of fraud in churches and among Imams and Alfas is fear of imaginary and real demons. The sort of fear that consumes the carrier he or she blames supernatural causes for an ailment is what we have here. Where the person fails to make the blame, his neighbors suggest to him and if his neighbors fail his cleric fills the void. A demon is responsible for the state of Africa so rather than work for the progress of Africa we pray against the spiritual opponents of Africa. Our spirits gyrate with the will to revolt against bad governance but our coward bodies are too afraid of been first casualty or even any casualty. We are trapped in fear by the political elite who pay us to engage in fasting and prayers to destroy the Prince of Persia holding Africa’s prayers.
Fear of poverty is the reason our graduates fail to progress after leaving school. The fear was nurtured and watered before we graduated, it blinded our eyes and we lost sight of what should matter for tomorrow to matter. Graduates whose primary reason for enrolling in the school in the first place is to be rich (not learning) get in, rather than focus on learning their course of study and perfecting it, since that is the surest way to be rich, they focus on learning how to pass exams. The fear of failing exams becomes a headache and after they pass their exams and become graduate, they see that the skill required to acquire wealth in the field was not paid attention to. The fear of failing exams blinded them and they failed to learn what they need learn to make money. It is a nice thing to have an ‘A’ in a course you don’t understand but scoring ‘E’ or ‘D’ in a course you understand (except the lecturers marking scheme, of course) is a bad thing.
Fear and Respect are distinct. Men who act like brutes in the Nigerian Army are not respected but feared for the consequences of their stupidity. A man of God who threatens his flock with fear is a very poor advocate of any good God. Fear limits you and takes away your ability to make rational judgements. Fear blinds you from understanding reality or upgrading your life. Knowing the power of fear is a very powerful protection even if you choose not to directly use it. Fear shouldn’t be a reason when taking a logical decision on anything that truly matters. Power games and attempts to control and limit you is checked by an understanding of fear. Understanding fear and how people use it for their selfish gains protects you against dangerous people. Most importantly, it helps you understand things better, become better and act better.