Nikolai Berdyaev reminds us that fear is never a good counselor. On the contrary, he considered victory over fear to be “the first spiritual duty of man.”
To say that modern man has neglected this first spiritual duty is an immense understatement. It is closer to the truth to say that modern man no longer recognizes victory over fear as a duty of any kind, let alone a spiritual duty.
Duty connotes responsibility, commitment, faithfulness, and allegiance. Spiritual duty implies the same things, but a much deeper and “more real” level. Modern man has severed all connections to this deeper, “more real” level. Consequently, modern man’s only sense of duty is to react to external forces that exert pressure on him. If the external world informs modern man that he must fear, then he feels it is his duty to be afraid. When the external world offers modern man ways to alleviate the fear, he will consider it his duty to engage in those ways in an effort to ameliorate fear.
Rarely, if ever, does it occur to modern man that the problem of fear is internal rather than external. On the contrary, he appears convinced that the same external forces that generate fear can package and sell victory over fear. He applies this logic to all aspects of human life. Everything must come to him from outside; nothing can arise from within.
The pervasiveness of fear in our time and place is evidence of mass despirualization. By denying the existence of the spiritual, contemporary people deny the existence of their own spiritual nature - a spiritual nature that is utterly inseparable from and indispensable to what it means to be human. By rejecting the reality of God and their own divine selves, modern people reject the sources from which all positive human qualities, values, and dignity emanate.
Humans who deny that they are spiritual beings also deny the meaning, purpose, and ultimately, reality of the human experience in which they are immersed. Their core reality as spiritual beings cannot fully engage in the human experience they are having because the "human" aspect of the experience has been overly distorted, inverted, and muddied. They sink to the level of push-button automatons, incapable of much beyond the reacting to threat or pleasure stimuli derived from the external world.
Though many atheists believe otherwise, Christianity is not a push-button automaton religion. On the contrary, it is a religion of freedom and love, which implies that it must be a religion of victory over fear because the presence of fear hinders both freedom and love. Perhaps this is what Berdyaev alludes to when he insists upon victory over fear as the first spiritual duty of man.
I imagine Berdyaev’s victory over fear declaration draws upon Jesus’ teaching in John 4:18: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”
The message is a clear one: Victory over fear can only be won through love. Fear is punishment because any person who lives in fear has not been perfected in love. Thus, Berdyaev’s injunction of man’s first spiritual duty amounts to an injunction for love because the victory over fear can only be achieved through love.
I wonder if the reverse could also be true. Can victory over love be achieved through fear? Can perfect fear cast out love? That certainly seems to be the motivation fueling the 2020 global totalitarian coup, which succeeded primarily because it was able to generate something approximating “perfect fear” via the birdemic. The satanic elite was sure to infuse all sorts of altruistic, none are safe until all are safe statements of “love” into its “perfect fear” campaign, but even the most cursory of evaluations quickly reveal that these statements were flagrant inversions of Jesus’ teaching the Fourth Gospel. The “love” the satanic elite offer does not cast out fear – it exacerbates it.
Yet it is with this campaign of perfect fear that nearly all forms of organized Christianity willfully aligned in 2020 and remain committed to even now in 2022. Like the satanic elite, churchmen the world over rationalized their submission to the perfect fear campaign by claiming they were acting in the spirit of Christian love.
Some invoked the decree of neighborly love. Others turned to the “thou shalt not kill” edict of the Ten Commandments. Whatever the case, they were all fervent in their insistence that their actions sprang from love, not fear. At the same time, they showed no interest or inclination in banishing the fear. Instead, they actively stoked the fires of fear the satanic elite had lit around the world by shutting down churches and cancelling sacraments, all in the name of “safety” and Christian love.
Berdyaev’s instruction regarding the victory over fear as man’s first spiritual duty involves the victory of internal love over external fear. Christian churches abandoned this first spiritual duty in 2020, and they continue to neglect it, even today.
Instead of drawing upon the source of love, they made fear their counselor and remain committed to the evil machinations of “perfect” external fear. This commitment to perfect fear demonstrates that organized Christianity is perfectly happy to live in fear. Moreover, Christian institutions want to convince the world that this state of living in fear is somehow analogous to living in love.
Individual Christians need not follow a similar path. Unlike churches, individual Christians can remain committed to their first spiritual duty to cast out fear through love – but this commitment must not rely on what is outwith, but must emanate from within.