It’s a fact that many religious systems are based on fear, “do this or you will go to hell”, “listen to me or eternal damnation”, “believe this or the unending eternal fires for you”.
Some are less dire, more business-like “If you displease God, then God will punish you for your sins”. Quid pro quo.
But God is not a bully. God is not insecure. God is not a sadist. God is not even a business-person!
God is Full of Knowledge, Full of Bliss, and is Eternal. No person who has those qualities can be petty, shortsighted, or vindictive.
īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ
anādir ādir govindaḥ
Kṛṣṇa who is known as Govinda is the Supreme Godhead. He has an eternal blissful spiritual body. He is the origin of all. He has no other origin and He is the prime cause of all causes.https://www.vedabase.com/en/bs/5/1
God is also our emanator, which makes Him our caretaker practically. Which parent wants their offspring to suffer eternally?
ईश्वर: सर्वभूतानां हृद्देशेऽर्जुन तिष्ठति ।
भ्रामयन्सर्वभूतानि यन्त्रारूढानि मायया ॥ ६१ ॥
hṛd-deśe ’rjuna tiṣṭhati
The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone’s heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine, made of the material energy.https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/18/61/
Schools and Universities give additional attempts, more chances to students who failed to make the grade. The judicial systems of many countries grant bail, parole, or pardon, in other words, a chance to live life inspite of having made mistakes.
So why on earth do most religious systems and their adherents relate to God in fear? Why are people “God-fearing”? Why are they not “God-loving”?
It is in part because most people know what is sinful and yet do not stop committing that sin. That is like a criminal who knows what they are doing is wrong but persists.
Yes, God is powerful, and God is practically distant, unknown even, to a materially conditioned soul. So, it may be somehow natural to fear this entity that has power over life and death. But remember, the jaws of a cat are death only to a mouse, they are happy and safe and comforting to her kitten.
To a criminal, the Police are to be feared. To an ordinary law-abiding citizen, the Police are no cause for fear. To many, the Police are even a cause of reassurance and/or relief.
God is Loving, and God is not very happy when the relationship is based on awe and reverence.
itīdṛk sva-līlābhir ānanda-kuṇḍe
sva-ghoṣaṁ nimajjantam ākhyāpayantam
tadīyeṣita-jñeṣu bhaktair jitatvaṁ
punaḥ prematas taṁ śatāvṛtti vande
By such childhood pastimes as this He is drowning the inhabitants of Gokula in pools of ecstasy, and is revealing to those devotees who are absorbed in knowledge of His supreme majesty and opulence that He is only conquered by devotees whose pure love is imbued with intimacy and is free from all conceptions of awe and reverence. With great love I again offer my obeisances to Lord Damodara hundreds and hundreds of times.Sri Damodarashtakam, Verse 3 (Padma Purana, spoken by Satyavrata Muni)
The origin of fear is in lust actually, because fear is an unavoidable factor of life in the material world, or more specifically, life in material consciousness.
It is lust that has brought us into this material nightmare and lust that keeps us here. When we can transform that lust into pure love we become liberated from the pangs of this material existence.Sankarshan Das Adhikari, Transforming Lust into Love
Lust means we want, gimme, gimme, gimme. What do we do when we really love someone? We serve them. And we don’t badger them for this, that, and the other. Instead, we just love them, cherish them, and serve them.
Yes, God is Great, but He is also incredibly Sweet and Loving. What can we do to actually Love God?