You might wonder why anyone would fear an afterlife that is thought to promise great peace and fulfillment…but the fear of heaven is very real. People who suffer from this phobia have a persistent and overpowering anxiety about heaven and what it is really like. They may fear seeing people who have passed on or fear an actual meeting with God. The fear of heaven is known by the Latin name, Ouranophobia.
Do You Believe?
The fear of heaven is dependent upon faith. There must be an inherent belief in the afterlife and in Heaven and Hell. If someone perceives the word of the Bible as a literal depiction of events, they may be more fixated on the world beyond death. Although heaven is viewed as a spiritual reward, there may still be some sense of unease about embarking on the next phase of existence. For many, the fear of heaven is linked with the fear of mortality.
Different religions have different models of spiritual ascension and reward. For example, the Buddhists believe that many lifetimes spent in spiritual growth and kindness will result in a bliss state known as Nirvana. The idea of reincarnation and eventual Nirvana is different than the idea of heaven as perceived by Christians. Nirvana denotes ultimate enlightenment, rather than a specific location or paradise.
Christians believe that a life spent in unselfish faith and the service of others will lead to a literal destination, heaven, where angels and Jesus are present. God presides over everyone and bestows happiness upon those who have lived a devout life while on Earth.
Christians also believe that people who have died and been deemed worthy of ascension will be waiting in heaven to reunite with them. In some cases, the depth and gravity of such a concept can be quite overwhelming, and it can trigger Uranophobia (another term for Ouranophobia).
The idea of an actual meeting with God is quite staggering. Seeing and speaking to the omnipotent force of the universe is almost inconceivable to most people as they go about their daily lives. While some would give anything to see proof of this divine presence, others may shrink away in fear at the very idea. After all, the Christian God as he is perceived in the Bible is all-knowing and all-powerful. He understands everything and everyone. He sees into the very soul, and he records good and bad deeds for all of eternity. Some trepidation about facing this Divine Being is understandable.
Even faithful Christians who have lived good lives may wish to hide certain acts or thoughts from God. While confession is a strong component of the Catholic faith, many Christians may still feel anxious about meeting God, who sees through everything. This tension and sense of guilt can provoke this phobia.
Angels Of Mercy
In heaven, angels with great, snowy wings act as God’s emissaries. Some people with Ouranophobia report fear of angels, who have human faces and bodies but also the wings of a bird. To them, angels who float over them may be frightening. They may seem to be magical creatures who terrify, rather than angels of mercy, who act out God’s will in their missions.
Typical panic attack symptoms tend to surface when someone suffers from Ouranophobia. Nausea, lightheadedness, intense terror, and racing heartbeat will be some common problems for those afflicted with the phobia.
Therapy and counselling can reap great dividends here. Whether the fear of heaven is discussed with a caring friend, a trained mental health care professional, or a priest or pastor, relief can be obtained through discussions and communication. In extreme cases, antidepressants can be prescribed to ease tension.