Dude, I love George Carlin. So sad when he died.
Fear as a motivation to believe is horse shit. All it leads to is people that are terrified of anything that may crack, question, or challenge their way of thinking (hence your experience in the classroom) and a notion that I can somehow make myself more lovable to the big judge in the sky… that way he wont hurt me (as badly anyways.
Like I said. Horse shit.
It is actually possible to have faith in God and to believe the bible is true with out being motivated by fear and terror. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t be a believer. If I hadn’t had a few gracious people give me room to question, seek out my own answers, read texts from other spiritualities, etc… I probably would have ended up an agnostic my self. Couple the “shut up and believe hook, line, and sinker” mentality with the god you can only fear… if that had been my sole experience growing up I would probably be giving Richard Dawkins a run for his title as “biggest hater of religions… in the universe”.
It sounds to me like you were a thinker. Someone who wants to understand before they can take the blue pill (or was it the red one?). Believe it or not, being a thinker doesn’t preclude you from being a Christian (despite what the internet tells us). There is room for questions, answers, and some questions that remain a mystery. That’s one thing I really dig about the Jesus movement: it’s suppose to be something that leads us to find real freedom.
Unfortunately, our human need/tendency for order and ways to measure “how good we are compared to that guy… even Hitler was better than that guy…” has taken this Jesus movement, this relationship with the God who is love, and boxed it into an institutional religion. Religion doesn’t work. Religion is one of the many breeding grounds for fear based motivation. (Did I mention that’s horse shit?)
The phrase is totally cliche to me, but it still rings true: not religion; relationship. That dog will hunt.