Commentary: Jesus & Fear
From Breitbart, an interview with Scott Adams, the persuasion filter expert:
Asked whether Democrats or Republicans have the more persuasive message heading into the final two weeks of the midterm elections, [Scott] Adams notes that Democrats’ claim that Republicans want to take away people’s health care was undone with a single tweet earlier Thursday, in which the president promised to sort out any Republicans who dared propose denying coverage for pre-existing conditions — a move Adams called “magically good.”
Republicans, he suggests, have a stronger message, in pointing to the “mobs” that the left have mobilized in protest around the country over the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and other issues. Fear is the most powerful persuasive force, he argues. That — and the sheer fun of winning bigly — could drive GOP voters to the polls.
Now, my point is not to focus on the politics of the above statement, which is irrelevant to my goal. Rather, I want to focus on what Adams says about fear being the most powerful persuasive force.
A common complaint against Jesus and the Gospels is that Christ speaks about Hell too much, and warns us about it repeatedly. Essentially, it is argued that He seeks to generate fear in us and that this is not a desirable trait. Hence the complaint. But if Christ does not want us to go to Hell–as He doesn’t–and if Adams is correct that fear is the most persuasive motivating force, then it seems that Christ was doing the very best thing: namely, using the most persuasive force imaginable, meaning fear, to help us avoid Hell. And this is precisely what someone who loves us would do. So far from undermining Christ’s loving character, His use of fear supports it.