Theophobia – The Fear of God or Religion

The Fear God Can Be Debilitating

Do you believe in God? Do you feel like His wrath will be let loose upon you at times? Do you feel a desperate need for forgiveness from God, not because of guilt but fear? If you do, then you may have Theophobia.

Theophobia is the fear of God or religion. Stories like that of Noah’s ark can make a person with theophobia fear for their life on earth! Being constantly afraid that God will judge you for everything you’re ever tempted to do can be extremely disheartening.

It must be extremely difficult to live with a fear like this day in and day out. If you have theophobia, you may find yourself avoiding anything that has to do with God or worship. To be able to deal with this phobia, we first need to understand it.

Decoding Theophobia

As kids, most children are taught about a God that created us and the world around us. And although for most people spirituality and faith may be crucial aspects of their lives, that is not the case for everyone.

Often, a person who has theophobia may completely isolate themselves from God or anything religious. Not only would this person avoid any form of spiritual activity but may also avoid people who practice religion.

If you have theophobia and it has started hindering your life, physically or even spiritually, it is important that you take the necessary steps before it’s too late.

What Causes the Fear of God Phobia?

Like all phobias, theophobia also originates in your subconscious. You may start to fear God without even realizing it.

It has often been seen that one’s upbringing plays a huge role in the development of fear. If you are taught to be fearful of god from childhood, it is possible for that fear to escalate as you grow older. For example, some children are brought up in an extremely strict religious environment. This can be highly detrimental as they grow up.

Sometimes, even certain traumatic events can cause an irrational fear of God. As kids, we often blame everything on God, and this can result in God being painted as someone to be feared in our minds.

For example, the death of a loved one, like a parent, could plant a deep fear of God in the mind of a child who has gone through that.

Symptoms of Theophobia

Theophobia is an irrational fear of God. However, sometimes it isn’t the fear of God exactly but fear of the wrath of God being unleashed. A person with theophobia would be terrified of even thinking about things like “judgment day” and understanding the concept of hell. Take a look at the following symptoms experienced by a person with theophobia.

Psychological Symptoms

A number of psychological symptoms are observed in people with theophobia.
● Constant thoughts about God’s wrath, or punishments
● Negligence or avoidance of going to religious places of worship like churches and temples
● Avoiding visiting houses with pictures or idols of worship
● Being repelled by religious activity
● Feeling agitated by religious encounters
● Panicking when having an encounter with religion

Physical Symptoms

● Religious encounters may cause severe panic attacks
● May experience nausea and vomiting
● The idea of religious learning or classes makes them run in the opposite direction
● Increased heart rate when they go to church or any other religious places
● Uncontrollable crying
● Urinating frequently
● Trembling
● Uneasiness

How to Overcome Theophobia?

The irrational fear of God would mostly affect your spiritual life. However, if you feel its effect seeping into every other aspect of your life, you may want to consider trying to address this phobia.
You may not be able to completely get over your fear of God, but you will definitely make great strides towards that goal.

Self-Help – How do You Help Yourself?

While you can reach out to a professional if the phobia feels too much to deal with, it is always advisable to try and help yourself first. No professional could understand your relationship with God better than you do.

Just because you are God-fearing doesn’t have to mean you are not God-loving. Most people may not be able to understand this. If you decide to try to overcome your fear of the Almighty, you may want to try with something as simple as breathing.

Keep yourself calm, meditate, or take long, deep breaths when your fears are triggered. If you are freaked out by church bells, for example, try to remain calm and not go into a frenzy. You can even try counting and using positive affirmations.

Another thing you can try is talking about it. You can choose to talk to a friend, family members, or even with a priest. Talking may help you get the weight off of your shoulders that you didn’t even know existed. You can even try talking to yourself by assuring yourself that you are okay.

Do NOT put undue pressure on yourself to live a sin-free life out of fear. While it is great to follow God’s teachings, it should be done from a place of love rather than fear. Putting yourself under immense stress will only make things worse for you.

Professional Help

If all the above-mentioned methods do not help you and you are still experiencing this fear, it may be time to visit a professional. There are several methods that are proven to be effective in dealing with phobias.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is generally the most effective with phobias and will probably be the first treatment a doctor or psychologist will try in order to help you get over your fear of God. Other widely practiced methods include hypnotherapy and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). Both of these methods are helpful in reaching the roots of your phobia and addressing them at the most fundamental level.

In some extreme cases, when it becomes too difficult for you to cope with theophobia, your doctor may prescribe you some anti-anxiety or antidepressant medication. It is important to know that these medications are to be considered in extreme cases only, and should in no circumstances be used without prescription.

Learning to Cope with Theophobia

Theophobia is a fear that is often confused with atheism, but that is not the case at all. Unlike atheism where the person simply does not believe in God, a person theophobia believes in and is distressingly scared of Him.
Deciding to try and overcome your fears is the first, and some would argue the largest, step in coping with theophobia. There is no need for you to freak out over the sound of church bells or cower in fear over the mere mention of sin.

Overcoming your fear of God can thus be a massive accomplishment. You may not be able to ever erase this fear completely, but having a handle on it is very important.
So the next time you have to go to church or have to attend a religious gathering, you can choose to do so because you want to, or because you love God and not because you are terrified of the power of God.
While there is no easy way to overcome a phobia, all you really need to do is find the courage to take the first step.

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