An English professor in a Christian college asked her students to comment on a Biblical passage she read about the fear of the Lord. The students, as this professor wrote, "reacted negatively." Read it here - A College Instructor on the Fear of the Lord - and then read my discussion with a friend of mine who attended that same Christian college a few years ago:
Here is what my friend told me about the college:
"Viewing God as our buddy has been something many people of my generation have heard over and over and over again from our pastors, our parents, our youth pastors, pretty much everywhere. I think because we were always viewed to be the group getting away from God ... generation X ...... and to help bring us back, people painted God as this buddy of ours we can just chill with instead of somebody who will punish us, discipline us, or make us change. What ended up happening was that a lot of young people, these students for example, they have a mentality that God isn't one to be feared but one to just treat as a best friend.
It's kind of like, it should be a balance. God is to be our best friend. He is to be the one we can trust and pour our hearts out to, but He is also to be feared. But religious leaders tipped the balance [for the youth] in favor of the best friend side. When I was growing up it was way out of balance, although I didn't get it because I wasn't in an evangelical church, but those who were that are my age did.
That professor was one of few speaking on the fear of God. This very thing happened all the time at [name of college]. Many professors would speak to the students with this notion of God as our best friend, then somebody would challenge it by bringing up the factor of fear and students would have a debate. Typically what would happen is that most professors would speak on God as our best friend and most students would agree (like the students in this article). But then another professor or a student (it could be either one), would challenge it by questioning it and bringing up the subject of fear of which would be supported by a certain group of students .... then, the entire university would get together and have a religious debate where various professors would proctor the discussion between students, one side being in favor of the best friend factor, the other side arguing the other. Many did mention in passing that it was both [fear and friend], but give more importance and more focus on the best friend factor. Students were always encouraged to say what they thought. So, many of them were pretty firm on what they had learned about God being their best friend and were not hesitate to speak it and others were pretty firm on the other side of the line where fear was involved, and still a smaller view knew it was a balance between the two. It often just depended on what professor you had and what students you had."
Interesting stuff, huh.
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