Fundamentalism Redux

First—why does the Cobb library have a sep­a­rate cat­e­go­ry for “Christianity—Controversial lit­er­a­ture” in their cat­a­log? Is that an offi­cial Dewey des­ig­na­tion, their own thing, what? I’ve nev­er run across it in any oth­er sys­tem before.

I’m into one of my peri­od­ic Christianity/theology/apologetics/church his­to­ry binges. “Bed­time read­ing” last night was Lost Chris­tian­i­ties: the bat­tles for scrip­ture and the faiths we nev­er knew by Bart D. Ehrman. It’s a fas­ci­nat­ing look at the var­i­ous scrip­tures used by dif­fer­ent fac­tions of the Chris­t­ian church in the first few cen­turies before the canon­i­cal Bible was assembled. 

I think the ancient lit­er­a­ture class kicked off the explo­ration this time. In any case, I always learn some­thing inter­est­ing. I was going to do my sec­ond pre­sen­ta­tion for the reli­gion & psy­chol­o­gy class on par­ent­ing as a spir­i­tu­al prac­tice, but I think I want to talk about fun­da­men­tal­ism instead.

The book I was try­ing to recall ear­li­er was Under­stand­ing Fun­da­men­tal­ism: Chris­t­ian, Islam­ic and Jew­ish Move­ments by Richard T. Antoun. Cobb does­n’t have a copy, so I’m going to look for it elsewhere.

The fol­low­ing are excerpts from a cou­ple of good arti­cles I found while look­ing for the name of Antoun’s book.


Why The “Fun­da­men­tal­ist” Approach To Reli­gion Must Be Wrong by Scott Bidstrup
Fun­da­men­tal­ism is var­i­ous­ly described by var­i­ous authors, but to me it real­ly boils down to a rather sim­ple test: In my view, a fun­da­men­tal­ist reli­gion is a reli­gion, any reli­gion, that when con­front­ed with a con­flict between love, com­pas­sion and car­ing, and con­for­mi­ty to doc­trine, will almost invari­ably choose the lat­ter regard­less of the effect it has on its fol­low­ers or on the soci­ety of which it is a part.


Reli­gious Fun­da­men­tal­ism As Men­tal Ill­ness by Jason R. Tippitt

This sort of reli­gion brings out the worst, not the best, in human nature. Instead of putting us “clos­er to God,” this sort of reli­gion reduces us to some­thing less than admirable. Here are a few exam­ples of what I mean:

* Appeal­ing to base instincts. Homo­pho­bia, racism, and sex­ism have all been giv­en the divine seal of approval by fun­da­men­tal­ist Chris­tian­i­ty. Prej­u­dice is approved; dis­crim­i­na­tion is promised a heav­en­ly reward. Hate is, blunt­ly, a sacra­ment in many Chris­t­ian sects. Revenge fan­tasies are fueled by the teach­ing that the redeemed will one day lis­ten glee­ful­ly to the screams of souls damned to eter­nal tor­ment — the souls not only of mur­der­ers and rapists but also homo­sex­u­als or mem­bers of oth­er reli­gions (even oth­er denom­i­na­tions of Christianity).
* Dis­cour­ag­ing achieve­ment and fos­ter­ing depen­den­cy. “He who hes­i­tates is lost,” goes the proverb. I won­der how many oppor­tu­ni­ties have slipped past peo­ple who were too busy wait­ing for divine inter­ven­tion? Many are the prob­lems allowed to spread because the faith­ful have opt­ed to pass the buck to God. With reli­gion offer­ing the prayer exit, why do any­thing? You real­ly don’t even have to be moral — you can do as you please dur­ing the week, then con­fess on the Sab­bath and have a clean slate.
* Sup­pres­sion of knowl­edge. The Big Bang hap­pened. Sev­er­al mil­lion years lat­er, evo­lu­tion start­ed to hap­pen (and still is). Peri­od. But fun­da­men­tal­ists are still try­ing to sub­sti­tute the Gen­e­sis cre­ation myth for real sci­ence. In the past, reli­gion just as firm­ly insist­ed that the earth (which was flat) was the cen­ter of the uni­verse, with the sun, plan­ets, and stars all orbit­ing it (this com­ing from the same self-cen­tered yahoos who declared us the pin­na­cle of all creation).
* Need­less suf­fer­ing of the ill. I list this sep­a­rate­ly from the Cre­ation Sci­ence idio­cy because while those peo­ple’s ideas are alter­nate­ly amus­ing and frus­trat­ing, this is a mat­ter of the (par­don the quite unin­ten­tion­al pun) gravest import. Jeho­vah’s Wit­ness­es are pro­hib­it­ed by their reli­gion from receiv­ing blood trans­fu­sions; Chris­t­ian Sci­en­tists can’t receive any med­ical care at all (believ­ing that since we don’t real­ly exist, our ail­ments are all an illu­sion). When you add in the peo­ple who’ve died after han­dling snakes or falling on coals or trust­ing faith heal­ers instead of doc­tors, you’d have enough dead bod­ies to declare reli­gion a plague. It would be easy to laugh at these peo­ple and say “They asked for it — at least it’s culling the weak from the gene pool,” except these damned fools invari­ably end up mur­der­ing their chil­dren through their negligence.

Cur­rent Mood: 😕curi­ous
Cyn is a proud Mommy & Mémé, professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
Posts created 4241

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Posts

Begin typing your search term above and press enter to search. Press ESC to cancel.

Back To Top