Fear of DOG

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Man’s Best Friend?

Ella, the older sister, is my daughter.

Trystan, the younger brother, is my son.

Yesterday at my uncle’s house, Xander, a delightfully energetic yellow lab, came bounding out of the door when we arrived.

Ella is terrified of dogs.

Trystan loves all dogs.

Trystan squealed in delight at the sight of his new instant-best-friend.

Ella screamed in terror.

Let me ask you, my beloved, what would the best strategy I could recommend to Trystan to relate to his sister that she should try to love dogs, too?

Should he say to her:

  •  ”Don’t be scared of dogs. I know the dog is really big, and can seem really scary, but I’ve found that most of them are big bundles of slobbery love and fun. You just have to take a risk and extend your love to the dog and they love you right back!”?

Or, should he say to her:

  • “Don’t ever stop loving dogs, Ella. If you don’t love the dog, then it will eventually bite and attack you. And not just any attack, but it will go for the soft parts first, so the suffering really lasts. So, you should love the dog, because I don’t want you to get hurt.”

The first proposal, right?

The second sounds downright insane, right? Bordering on abusive?

Of course you’re right. It would be insane to use a “better do ______, or else…” on a child. Especially regarding a dog.


So why do we often find ourselves hearing “or else” reasoning regarding GOD?

Trig Bundgaard About Trig Bundgaard

Thanks for reading. I would love to hear your feedback, thoughts and ideas about what I've written. Especially if it's contrary to my views!

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Grace and peace to you!

Romans 5
"18. Therefore just as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man's act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all.
19. For just as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous."


  1. Terrific blog Trig! That’s a very good analogy. On a related note, yoga seeks to help people consider their “samscara” (patterns and typical reactions and ways of doing things), reflect upon which ones are helpful and serve us well, and which ones are dysfunctional and don’t serve us any more; and, through the means of intentionally moving the body through various asanas (postures), shift the body to help free up the neuro-pathways in our minds and bodies to help us release the ones that we chose to let go of.

    One of the most common ways of describing samscara happens to involve a dog. It goes like this. Two people have experiences with dogs. One of them had a great first experience with a dog and now whenever he sees a dog, his eyes light up with delight and he goes up to them thinking “Cool! A dog! Man’s best friend! I want to give him a hug!” The other person had a negative first experience with a dog, it bit him or… he saw someone get bit, or.. he heard about people being bit by dogs… and now, whenever he sees a dog, his fight or flight mechanism kicks in, adrenaline flows through his body, and he moves as far away from the dog as he can.

    Clearly, the 2nd proposal in your analogy would only aggravate this 2nd person’s problematic samscara and the 1st is the superior way. However, even more helpful than calmly talking to such people about dogs/god is our *being* dog/god for such people; i.e., unconditionally loving them, showing them grace, accepting them just as they are, and including them instead of rejecting them. People aren’t generally talked into belief/salvation, they’re loved into it.


  2. Simple and clear. I love it.

    Roger nailed it. “People aren’t generally talked into belief/salvation, they’re loved into it.” This is exactly what Jesus did.

  3. Helpful grandma says:

    Neither answer would be appropriate. One has to have faith that dogs will not harm them, or has to developed a need for dogs in order to trust in them more completely. Through experiences with dogs in life, by watching dogs live with others and not harm them, dogs can actually helping people to learn how to love more completely while on this earth. So neither answer will work for Ella, who will only trust dogs when she has more experience with them in none threatening ways. Or possible a friend will have a dog that she will be fond of someday and that friend will help her to see that dogs are not scary. Maybe a boyfriend that she wants to be with, but his dog is always with him too. In order to be with the boyfriend she would need to at least like his Dog.

    • And it’s sometimes a problem when she might like a different Dog than than her fiance’s family… then she has to switch breeds… all the while I am just delighted that she even has grown to like Dogs in the first place ! ; )

  4. I believe it to be a lack of wisdom Trig. Centuries of brainwashing that has been passed along. FEAR.FEAR.FEAR. Many people just deciding to believe what someone else has told them about God instead of seeking him for themselves.

  5. “Fear is the mindkiller. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.”

  6. Praisehizname says:

    Proverbs 1:7
    The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

    Luke 12:5
    But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.

    Revelation 14:7
    He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

    • Bill, why do you need fear in your life to be a good person? \

      … I assume you do, because if you do not need fear to be a good person, then why inflict it on others as if it is a moral good to do so?

      • Praisehizname says:


        Hey, those are’nt my words, but Solomon , Jesus, and the angel of the Lord’s words.

        Even in your example above Trig, you must always respect (i.e.fear) a dog you do not know becuase of the potential it has to do damage to you.

        I tell my kids (teenagers – not sure if they are listening) that if you do things right, you do not have to fear repercussions from your actions. I speak from personal experiance. There is nothing worse then hiding your sin and hoping no catches you. Why is it any different with God?

        Fear is an inate emotion that is designed to protect us. In ancient times (and now) we feared wild animals that could do damage to us. Of course we see differently on the subject of God’s punishment of man.

        Finally, I do not believe in “scaring” people to come to God. usually people do not find Christ until they seek him. But I do believe in being frank about it. The subject of “fearing God” is probably only mentioned about a thousand times in the bible.

        So my question is…so why do some want to denounce fear of God as a non-issue? When it is mentioned all over the place in the bible? Maybe some are “following thier heart” but personally I will follow the words of God himself over man’s thought’s on the subject:

        “The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt: who can know it?” Jer 17:9

        • re: “the fear of the Lord/God” being “all over the Bible.”

          actually, greek and hebrew words that are often translated by our English word “fear” is actually closer to “honor, revere, and respect” than it is to “fear.” The word “fear” in early English (King James era for instance) meant those very things – not “to be afraid of” or “to be scared about.” Sadly, we still seem to use the word “fear” in many translations of the Bible… but it turns many people away from the God and the Bible. God isn’t something/one to fear, but to love.

          • Praisehizname says:

            I agree..fear can mean “respect.” We are talking semantics here. Bottom line…respect God and his power. Do not take God’s grace lightly. Revere God and his power.

            • Dwayne Dugger says:

              Yet respecting or honoring God does not mean the cowering posture of fear we know today. God is love. There is no place for “fear”.

  7. Fear and love are incompatible.

  8. Having spent most of my life as an evangelical, the sad thing is.. I think many Christians would rather have it the second way. They would rationalize that as love.

    I have 4 children of my own. I wouldn’t want them to love me out of fear ( as if that were even possible). If me as a mere human being does not want to be ” loved “out of fear, how much more so does God not want to be” loved” out of fear? Should an abused wife continue to love her husband out of fear? In essence we see God as an abusive husband who demands that his wife fear him expecting loyalty and submissiveness as a result. How sad.

    • Tragic. We I try to comment on that exact mindset, of the victim justifiying the abuser, like believers in Hell do, they always respond with, “Well, it is not for man to question God’s justice.”

      Can you imagine what society would do if a little girl came forward and revealed that her father had dug a deep pit in the back yard, filled it with gasoline, and whenever she didn’t behave according to his wishes he would hold her over the pit and threaten to throw her in?? We would take that child away so fast it would probably make the news! And yet, families all over the planet who are not themselves abusive parents, drag their kids to church every week, where the majority of them teach a “divine” variation of that scenario.

      “God loves you unconditionally… unless you don’t meet the following conditions, and then God is gonna hurt you, and forever. But remember God loves you!”


  9. ethan4gb ethan4gb says:

    The truly sad thing is many people have come to understand God this way thus they miss out on who God really is. They miss out on God being a companion in life. I am not one that believes God has my whole life planned out already, but rather God desires to be co-creators with us and finds complete joy in having that dynamic at play in our lives.

    Many people have left faith behind because it all seems like a game to them. And it in fact , much of it is.

    Being a Christian Universalist, my mom ( who is fundamentalist) asked me one time, ” Why live for God if there is no hell ” ? I’m like….. Really mom? Really? Just what God always wanted … followers that feel blackmailed and threatened into loving.

    According to traditional forms, we often are just pawns that God manipulates and moves around to usher in some great plan. What if there is no great plan. What if the plan is simple: simply to live in love as God lives in love?

    All games must come to an end, and for many palying the Christian game; I think it has.

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