Research on Fear

“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

Interesting question, right? Some might say inspiring. This post is a little different than my usual. I know things have been kind of slow lately, and my excuse for it is because I’ve been busy with some longer works and personal projects. And if I’m being honest, I’ve had this weird fear with writing lately. So between that and the fact it is now Halloween season, I am researching fear. This is basically a dump of stuff, so you all can see how my mind approaches a topic. Apologies up front for the following not making sense.


1. a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.
2. concern or anxiety; solicitude.
3. reverential awe, especially toward God: the fear of God.
4. something that causes feelings of dread or apprehension; something a person is afraid of.
5. anticipation of the possibility that something unpleasant will occur:

Bible Dictionary:

Care should be taken to distinguish between two different uses of this word. The “fear of the Lord” is frequently spoken of as part of man’s duty (Ps. 111:10; Eccl. 12:13; Isa. 11:2–3; Luke 1:50); it is also described as “godly fear” (Heb. 12:28). In such passages fear is equivalent to reverence, awe, worship, and is therefore an essential part of the attitude of mind in which we ought to stand toward the All-holy God. On the other hand fear is spoken of as something unworthy of a child of God, something that “perfect love casteth out” (1 Jn. 4:18). The first effect of Adam’s sin was that he was afraid (Gen. 3:10). Sin destroys that feeling of confidence God’s child should feel in a loving Father and produces instead a feeling of shame and guilt. Ever since the Fall God has been teaching men not to fear, but with penitence to ask forgiveness in full confidence of receiving it.


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1. a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it.

There have been debates over what qualifies as a “rational” fear versus an “irrational” one. But I don’t know if any fear is really rational. Having a knowledge of what is dangerous, and a desire to avoid those things, is common sense, not fear.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s with Audrey Hepburn is one of my all time favorite movies. It’s a movie about fear, but it is not a horror movie. It is about where we find ourselves when we let our fear rule our lives. On the surface, the story follows two prostitutes who fall in love. But really, the focus is on a girl afraid of commitment trapping her soul.

I think we watch it for some of the same reasons we would watch a horror film. The reason we inflict scary images on ourselves. I saw this post once about how fear of certain things is engrained on the human psyche over the ages. And how the reason we view certain physical attributes (pale sickly face, long sharp teeth, black eyes, etc) as frightening or monstrous could be because of some creature from the past, fought off by the human race. Intriguing and kind of creepy idea. But I think the thrill of scary movies stems from making an effort to discern the difference between what’s real and what’s fake. Even if that means sleeping with the lights on while we figure it out.

If you know me as a writer, you know I write a “good” amount of death scenes (I’m not sure if “many” is the same as “good”, but I’m going with it.) A psychiatrist would probably assume I have some deep emotional and psychological scars left from a troubled childhood. Yeah, I don’t think that’s it. I promise I’m not a murderer either. I don’t actually know why I always seem to lead my characters to their graves, it just sort of happens most of the time. But sometimes, I do it to make a point. To show what happens when you treat your life like it was penned by Shakespeare, when he was in a particularly angsty mood. If you live your life like a tragedy, you will die some awful death of self-pity. It is a rule of the genre.

If you skip out on an opportunity because you are afraid it won’t work out, then you are guaranteed it will not work out.

Fear is in the mind, fear cannot be trusted, fear is a liar, fear stops us from finding truth and pursing dreams. Fear is not of God. Fear and faith cannot exist together. Every person feels fear at some time or another. But overcoming it can really define not only a person, but a life.

Elder Bednar gave a talk on this subject I really enjoyed. Find that here.

So there is my train of thought. As it passes by, I have one question for you:

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?



One Comment Add yours

  1. Sydney Glenn says:

    I’m afraid of opening those packages of biscuits and cinnamon rolls, you know, the metal cans? I know that it is a completely ridiculous fear, but it’s there. Maybe it has something to do with the “contents under pressure” notice that all of those have printed on the side. I can’t help the rush of dread that I get every time I even see one of those cans. It is really very stupid.


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