Archive for June 6th, 2008

06
Jun
08

The fundamentals by Miz Pink

So, I tripped on into another WordPress blog by accident yesterday called Mystery of Iniquity and it had a definition page that caught my attention as it defined the terms funamentalist and inerrancy. Both definitions set some small alarms off in my head so first let me give you the blogger’s defintions first before I do any ranting…

1. Fundamentalist: A religious fundamentalist is someone who believes that whatever scripture they adhere to is inerrant (see below) and not just inspired by God but transmitted to the writers without error. A religious fundamentalist is one who follows his/her (or her “head” or her pastor’s) interpretations of said scripture as if it were fact and not open to dispute. A Fundamentalist also believes that there are certain doctrines that must be believed in order to be saved although Jesus never required belief in dogmas.

and…

2. Inerrancy: The doctrinal position that in its original form, the Bible is totally without error, and free from all contradiction; “referring to the complete accuracy of Scripture, including the historical and scientific parts.” Inerrancy is distinguished from Biblical infallibility (or limited inerrancy), which holds that the Bible is inerrant on issues of faith and practice but not history or science.

My problems with those definitions is subtle. But I think they are important to point out anyway. And I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that I’m speaking for Deke here too. We talk a lot about how Christians are defined and we’re pretty much in agreeement on alot of that so I think he’ll sign on to this.

And really it’s the first definition that gets me, but it ties into the second one too. I don’t really like the way folks try to lump fundamentalism into such a nice tidy package that is so very narrow. Just like I don’t like the way liberal has come to mean left wing extremist and conservative has come to mean rightwing wacko for people (depending on your political leanings). I’m liberal, yet there are things that happen in left wing circles that totally dismay me. Christians get pigeonholed by the way folks define and refer to fundamentalists, evangelists and things like that. Because mostly when people refer to those two groups in particular, what they really mean is Christian nutjob. They assume that every fundie and every evangelist have the exact same script they follow slavishly.

I think that to say you have to believe in the inerrancy of the Bible to be fundamental is kinda silly. If I believe in things like sex before marriage is a sin and gay sex is a sin and you will go to Hell if you don’t declare Jesus as your Lord (and I do) I think people would say I’m a fundie, even if I don’t belive that the earth was created in 6 days and the earth is only several thousand years old and that all the historical stuff is accurate in the Bible. By the defintion above, I wouldn’t be a fundie because I only believe the Bible is infallible and not inerrant.

As liberal as my politics are my faith in the Bible is pretty fundamentalist when it comes to sin and redemption. I don’t believe that you get to Heaven just by being a pretty good person. I don’t accept the idea that we can pick and choose what things are sins in the Bible based on our political and social leanings. Yeah, my friends who go to the Unitarian Universalist church might get along with me okay when we talk politics, but we’ve agreed not to talk religion too much because they don’t like what I have to say about original sin, sexual morality, temperance and things like that. They have liberal to moderate spiritual beliefs and believe you me they would call me a fundamentalist without hesitation.

What really gets me about that first definition is this line though: A Fundamentalist also believes that there are certain doctrines that must be believed in order to be saved although Jesus never required belief in dogmas.

I suppose that one of those doctrines or “dogmas” would be that little thing I just mentioned about accepting Jesus as messiah in order to be saved. Dogma? But wasn’t it Jesus himself who said no one got to God except through him?

And wouldn’t that require a belief in dogma that establishes his divine nature, like the virgin birth, his sinless life and the fact he was the son of God?

Sorry, but Jesus followed God’s law to the letter to be an acceptable human/divine sacrifice on our behalfs to give us a way to wash away our sins. There’s some devotion to dogma for you. And Jesus is supposed to be our example, so I think that doctrines are important to him and something we should follow. It’s just that the doctrine changed a little after Jesus made his sacrtifice for us. So, by the example set by Jesus we must dogmatically accept that a lot of things are sins. We must dogmatically accept that we need to be forgiven those sins. We must dogmatically accept that Jesus is the one who allows us to be free of the punishment that comes with alot of that dogma. Dogma dogma dogma.

Woof.

Just a little joke God. Dont’ smite me.

My point is that funamdentalism isn’t as cut and dried as one might want to think. And dogma to a certain degree is indeed something we must accept and embrace. Okay, I guess that was two points. But I guess you get the idea.




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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