Though most dictionaries define this term as “earnestly religious” or “reverence toward God”, the words quite literally translate to a fear of God. Why would one want to fear their creator? Awe and revere, yes, but fear? I know the Bible, most specifically many verses in Proverbs, insist we fear the Lord. I find this term “God-fearing” to be incredibly archaic. What says you?*
In the time this was first written, fear was translated differently. The words used for what you call fear today were in essence, an act of respect or reverence as you say.
Fear is not to be under the control of another. Fear is not be abused by another (physically, emotionally, spiritually). Fear, then, was meant as awe. As a young child would even the most loving of parents. Yirah. A reverence of God will allow one to be open to wisdom. A reverence of the creator.
The creator must earn that reverence by showing benevolence and love, not through negative means (this also applies to the physical creators, your mother and father – they must show they deserve your reverence – though not through a fear of physical or emotional pain but through a fear of being apart from them).
The fear of God has been miscommunicated and mistranslated over many thousands of years. It is done to gain power over others.
Eons ago, when the Sun was God to the ancients, they had fear. They certainly feared when it would go away. They didn’t understand the cycle of the universe at first, and so they weren’t sure if it would come back every night when it left. In that respect, “fear” was reverence and awe of the unknown, missing the warmth when it was no longer there, and being enveloped in it as the sun rose again the next day. This is where the anima/animus of the Sun and Moon may come out to play. The Sun, in the morning, is the warmth of the mother, waking her children, bathing them in her golden light. Nothing can hide, no secrets or scary things are hidden, as she lights up the world. On the other hand, the Moon tucks them into bed at night. He says, “stay put for there could be something just around the corner, in the dark, that you are unable to see.” In this way, the feminine warmth of the “normally” fiery masculine Sun is shown along with the “powerful” (in the mind) masculine side of the Moon which chides us through “fear”.
God-fearing should be changed to God-loving, or better yet, All-loving. Moving from “God-fearing” to “All-loving” is not something most people can understand. Reverance and awe for “God” should easily translate to reverence, love and awe for all creation. Ego, the power of the SELF, as important as it is in the “grand scheme of things”, misinterprets the message.
At the end of the day (or the Universe), the message should be not to fear God, but to love all of Creation. Fear cannot reside where love lives.
Socrates is the name of the Higher Consciousness, or faster-vibrating universal energy, with which I am in tune. You may learn more in my Introduction to Socrates. *Italics represent my personal thoughts/questions when interacting with Socrates.