Secular Scares: What Rational Humanists Fear the Most

It’s that wonderful time of year when the nights get colder, the air is crisp, and the leaves turn a beautiful array of golden and red hues. October is also a great time for eerie scares, but what scares a humanist? Surely ghosts and witches hold little weight for us freethinkers. Perhaps real life is scary enough?

It seems that as time goes on, we have more and more to be scared of. Sausage and bacon have just been deemed on par with cigarettes as carcinogens. Ben Carson is not being laughed off of the political stageMega-hurricanes and earthquakes are striking the planet. The Big Bang Theory is still being broadcast. Tomatoes continue to be placed on sandwiches. Flat-earthers still roam the streets.

It’s horrifying stuff.

For Peter Bjork, AHA’s web-content manager, what really gives him a sense of dread is how frighteningly low atheists rank in national opinion polls. It’s 2015, but it’s still wildly difficult for a politician to be elected without professing belief in a God, “In God We Trust” still adorns everything from currency to Congress, and we still coerce our children into acknowledging a God in the Pledge of Allegiance. He considers himself “lucky to be part of an organization that works tirelessly to bring about positive change to these and countless other secular issues, but man—it can be downright spooky at times.”

Rachael Berman, AHA’s grassroots coordinator, has some very disturbing fears! Poor Rachael is deathly afraid of being trapped inside a Porta Potty. But her fears don’t stop there. Her mind continues down the long dark road of fear, bringing her to the nightmare of being inside a Porta Potty while someone tips it over… intentionally.

What frightens Development and Communications Director Maggie Ardiente? What if every haunted house you went to was a Hell House? What if Scientology became the dominant religion in the US, or became the only available online dating site? I think many humanists might agree with her terror at the thought of Donald Trump becoming president.

AHA Graphic Designer Jan Melchior’s fears seem to have a theme: violence. Experiencing terrorists acts, including being the victim of a dirty bomb on the subway, taking cyanide-laced Tylenol, or crossing a bridge as it explodes are all just a few of Jan’s fears. Jan would prefer to keep a substantial distance between herself and killers like Freddy Krueger or Michael Myers. She would basically rather not be killed fatally at the wrong place at the wrong time. She is also afraid of something many of us fear: going crazy.

Jennifer Bardi, editor of the Humanist magazine, finds listing her fears to be difficult. It’s kind of a freaky question to answer—you start thinking about what scares you, and the floodgates open and suddenly you’re oversharing. I’m scared of a whole slew things, oversharing being one of them, so I’ll just stick to what I’m certain of (hat tip to Ben Franklin): death and taxes!”

I can see how all of these fears would scare the pants off of most people. While violent acts are terrifying, my personal fears tend to be driven by anxiety and worry. Admittedly, I tend to fear things like public speaking, humiliation, or the loss of a loved one. Did we already mention Ben Carson’s recent gain in popularity? Really, can there be a scarier scenario?

What are some of your fears? Tell us in the comments section!