Tuesday, May 29, 2007

What Do YOU Fear?

One might criticize me for going a bit afield on this post, but I do think it ties into the debate. However, my purpose has a wider scope, so I would appreciate as many comments on this one as possible. You might even want to post the question on your blogs and get me some additional thoughts on the subject.

The list of possible fears is long and varied, everything from public speaking to spiders and such. However, for the purpose of this survey, I'm looking for the big picture. I will list 10 that I can think of that should set the tone. If these are big for you, let me know. If there are other similar things that are bigger for you, add them.
  1. The US devolving into a dictatorship
  2. The rapture and God's judgment on earth
  3. Hell
  4. Global Warming
  5. Islamic extremism creating global conflict
  6. Nuclear holocaust
  7. Depletion of critical natural resources
  8. The US devolving into a socialist government
  9. Overpopulation
  10. Underpopulation
  11. Too few culturally "Western Civilization" in the population
  12. Pollution
  13. Nuclear power plant catastrophe - or nuclear waste catastrophe
  14. Aliens (from outer space)
  15. Avian flu or similar disease
  16. Scientific advance out of control (e.g. genetic engineering, nanobots, robots with AI)


Hey Skipper said...

Islamic extremism (although how closely adhering to the Q'uran amounts to extremism is something to ponder) combining with the possession of a few nuclear weapons.

Which would likely lead to either or both of destroying Israel and a coupe Western cities.

The second coming won't be the result.

But the massive irradiation of all Muslim holy sites, and the elimination of Islam, at the cost of millions of lives (nearly all on the Islamic side) might just be.

All because of a holy book that would be laughable where it isn't outright abhorent.

As for the rest of the list? I'm more likely to lay awake nights wondering what color to paint the ceiling.

Duck said...

I'm with Skipper. The only one of your fears I can answer yes to is #5.

Most of my fears are personal, not civilizational. Here is my top five list:

1. Something terrible happening to my loved ones (car accident, murder, rape, cancer, etc)

2. Something terrible happening to me.

3. Financial calamity happening to my loved ones (long term unemployment, poverty, homelessness, etc)

4. Financial calamity happening to me.

5. One of the current Democrat candidates becoming president.

Randy Kirk said...

I'm surprised more folks haven't been willing to step up to this one.

Duck said...

I guess my last fear is equal to your #8.

bernardo said...

I guess I don't think about this a lot. I know there are some bad things that could happen that are pretty much beyond my control, and (when possible) I take practical precautions against the consequences of those things. Beyond that, what's the use of worrying?

I recognize the possibility that my stuff (or myself) could be stolen by burglars, damaged in an earthquake, blown up by a terrorist with a nuke, smashed by a meteor, taken by aliens, or submerged by rising sea levels ;), but I don't really worry about it. Beyond locking the doors and living in a fairly sturdy single-story house, what can you do?

Most mature people have taught themselves to not worry about stuff they can't do anything about. So most mature people worry only when the worrying motivates them to do something about the things they CAN do something about. This means most mature people don't spend a lot of time being afraid of stuff. Right?

Of course, you COULD do SOMEthing about most fears, but it often isn't practical. I could build my house entirely with steel out of fear of earthquakes, on stilts out of fear of rising ocean levels, underground out of fear of terrorists' WMDs, or with a high-tech security system out of fear of burglars. But that would not be practical. Only extreme dangers call for such extreme measures.

The problem, as far as the role of fear in people's minds and in society, is that people are bad at judging what an "extreme danger" is. If two bad things could happen, one is pretty unlikely and would have pretty bad consequences, and the other is VERY unlikely and would have catastrophic consequences, people tend to want to invest a lot into preventing the second thing (very unlikely but catastrophic), while their effort would probably be better-spent (as far as preventing suffering) by working against the bad thing that is less catastrophic but less unlikely. Do you know what I mean? Like the way that "security" measures post-9/11 seem to be designed to make people FEEL safer, rather than to reduce the most relevant risks.

Anonymous said...

I do fear some of what skipper said.
I fear the current US government becoming even more conservative then they are presently ad turning into the Christian equivalent of the Taliban.
I fear a swing towards neo-nazi style attacks on homosexuals and non-whites.

BK said...

I don't fear any of these things. My salvation is certain regardless. But I do fear that many people will not come to a true knowledge of God. They're too busy fearing "the religious right" to come to that relationship. A shame, really.