Fear of Sermons

Many in the clergy preach about the value of living without fear. They speak words of comfort and assurance, and parishoners find solace in the words they hear. The lessons taught are designed to provide encouragement and assurance that God cares for the individual hearer and wants only the best for their life. There are, however, those who are inspired to fear at the idea of listening to a sermon. For these individuals there is a condition known as Homilophobia that they may be living with.

While it may seem out of place to fear a sermon that may have comfort as its core directive there are reasons for the fear that can be linked to personal and family experience.

What Causes Homilophobia?

For some a sermon offers the opportunity to look at your life through a mirror. You may listen to the words linked to a deity’s expectations and feel very inadequate. The words that assure others only serve to convince you that you are inferior and that you don’t deserve to be in a place of worship listening. More importantly this reminder instills fear because you aren’t sure how to make yourself better or more acceptable. Instead of seeking answers you seek escape.

Someone in your family may have faced a similar fear and their personal reaction may have convinced you that a sermon was a powerful fear inducer.

There have been churches that offer sermons filled with “hell fire, and brimstone”. These sermons describe an end for those who are not following their deity correctly and this, too, can instill an ample amount of fear in listening to sermons.

Symptoms of Homilophobia

As is the case with many phobias one of the big symptoms is avoidance. These individuals will not attend church and they will steadfastly refrain from listening to a sermon on the radio of watch one on television. These individuals may have a love for their deity, but they often feel so inadequate that they fear hearing anything that would place a measuring stick next to their personal acceptability to God.

Other symptoms may also include…

  • Dry mouth
  • Sweating
  • Air hunger
  • Trembling
  • Nausea
  • Screaming
  • Weeping
  • Sense of control loss
  • Elevated heart rate

Sermons are often seen as God’s directive to mankind. If some view this directive as something to be feared it can cause the above symptoms to amplify over time.

How to Overcome Homilophobia

Sometimes expressing your fear to your religious leader can allow them to offer any personal comfort their religious texts may have to offer. They may be able to explain much more about why there may be little to fear in their words.

Apart from this there is often help to be found in therapy where the root cause of the fear can be addressed along with ways in which you can confront and moderate the fear you experience.

Spiritual roots are important to most individuals so seeking help to allow you to listen to more about your faith can be a very positive step forward.

The fear of sermons is also referred to as:

  • Sermon fear
  • Homilophobia
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