Posts Tagged ‘fundamentalism

09
Oct
08

Christians Are Scaring Me – By Mrs. Blue

I’m almost scared to be around Christians anymore.

And I’m a Christian. Born again, believing in Jesus as the virgin-born and resurrected son of God. Daughter of a preacher. Reader of the Bible pretty much every morning and every night (which is actually more than I can say for my husband…so why is he doing this blog and not me? 😉 OK, he knows stuff, too, I kid him mercilessly about more than his Bible reading habits)

But seriously, I am kind of frightened of Christians these days because I’m never entirely sure what I am facing. Am I looking at someone like me, who keeps faith and critical thinking both very handy? Am I looking at a “sheeple” kind of person who needs to be (and allows him/herself to be) led by a pastor instead of “studying the word to be approved”? Am I possibly looking at someone who would do me harm for not agreeing with their outlook on Christ and the world at large?

I did a guest post here some time back called Faith Gone Bad where I mentioned my friend Mrs. Eager and her desire to move to the Bible Belt, for no other reason than to find a church she likes and greater numbers of really churchy people. Of course, maybe I shouldn’t call her my friend anymore because we don’t talk hardly at all now. No falling out or anything like that; it’s just that we don’t see eye to eye on things. Hell, we don’t even see eye-to-navel. I think we’re looking off in two different directions.

So why am I scared?

Well, let’s look at VP candidate Sarah Palin. She has a pastor praying over her for finances and political success (pretty self-serving, particulary since this pastor fired up a mob…and police…to run a woman out of a town in Africa because HE thought she was a witch). She has said she believes dinosaurs and people were around at the same time. She has said she expects the End Times and the Rapture to occur during her lifetime. She keeps painting the campaign as a battle of “us” vs. “them” at a time when we’re all up the creek without a paddle. She’s trying to make the working class think that somehow their plight is difference from those “elitist” middle class folks and she’s winking and flirting with conservatives and good ole boys like a madonna-whore tease.

And people are eating her up. And a lot of men, including so-called fundamentalist Christian men, want to eat her out, it seems. They are lusting after her even as they claim that our country’s moral fabric is unraveling.

Too many people seem to think we’re waging a holy war on God’s behalf over in Iraq.

Too many people are voting on issues like abortion, stem cell research, church-state issues, teaching “intelligent design” in school and other stuff related to religion, and all of this at a time when our foreign relations are in the dumper and our economy shudders on the brink of the abyss.

I don’t even want to call myself a Christian anymore because too many Christians are showing their hypocritical and ignorant asses. Sometimes I just call myself a follower of Christ.

I don’t want to call myself an evangelist because a lot of the scariest and most conservative Christians label themselves as such, and so everyone else assumes that evangelism means berating people and judging people, when it just means that we share the good news of of the gospel with people. I don’t know what to call myself here, since I do consider myself evangelistic. My dear hubby has suggested we try “ambassadors for Christ.”

This is bad. I don’t like to get into discussions with many Christians I know about current events or world events or politics because it seems like too many of them want to spout off about what their pastor told them they should think or what Sarah Palin thinks.

Why aren’t they using the brains God gave them?

People are being fired up, both under the banner of patriotism and faith, to get nasty. People are shouting “kill Obama” at campaign rallies now. What the hell is up with that? When did Jesus call upon us to kill anyone? Or judge anyone? Or use him as an excuse to do nasty things?

I see my faith being co-opted by a bunch of freaks, and it sickens me. Because while I don’t believe Christianity is simply the bastion for the weak-willed or ignorant, the fact is that savvy people are using it to lure in and herd people who are both of those things. Christianity has been turned on its head for real now, to the point I can’t hardly go to most churches in my area because it’s clear that they are taking sides and would rather have leaders who institute a church-based set of laws than to have leaders who can interact in a healthy way with the world and promote issues like healthcare, economic stability for everyone and tolerance.

It’s scary, I tell you. Scary as hell. It’s like I’m in a zombie movie except that all the zombies are wearing crosses around their neck and I’m afraid of two things:

That those zombie will get me because I’m not one of them.

People who are sick of those zombies will get me because they fear I’m a zombie too.

(Photo by Edd Sterchi, from eBibleTeacher.com)

(If you want to read any of Mrs. Blue’s other infrequent posts around these parts, go here)

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.

01
May
08

Truth of the matter

Soon, I’m going to begin periodic posts about the Old Testament that are designed to dispense with some of the likely nonsense and put many of the stories from that part of the Bible into a more realistic context. I won’t post every day on this subject, but it will likely be a very long series overall, given how much ground I have to cover.

Before I get to that, let me be clear about something: While I believe that the Bible is the Word of God, I don’t subscribe to the notion that every single word is literal, particularly in the Old Testament. I don’t have my head in the sand. Much of the Old Testament is thousands upon thousands of years old and derives from documents and/or oral traditions that don’t survive today. Unlike the New Testament, the consistency and accuracy of which is supported by thousands of existing ancient copies of the documents in multiple languages—and which also benefits from having been written in a time when historian was actually a legitimate and respected job—the Old Testament has clearly had to go through a lot of changes over the years.

Bible purists may lambast me for that, but wait. Yes, there are portions of the Old Testament Bible that are prophetic and those I readily accept as being God’s word spoken directly through that prophet. And there are historical books like Kings and Chronicles that, while not always 100% accurate on numbers and other things, are likely to be accurate about the larger points. Genesis, however, is one book in particular where I think that while God may have passed the stories on through Moses or someone else, the bulk of it is symbolic. And there are others as well, though Genesis will probably be mostly what I tackle.

Did a Great Flood occur? Probably, but I don’t necessarily think it covered the whole world? Did Adam and Eve alone spawn the entire human race? Not so sure about that either. And so on.

So, what I will do is try to give some of my musings and theories on what might really have happened in some of the more mythological-seeming Old Testament stories and how they might really be brought into a more realistic context.

None of this dilutes the truth of the Bible. That some of the older things may have been symbolic is hardly surprising, as people of the time would have been hard-pressed to understand things the way they were presented, much less be hit with information the likes of which we have access to—and comprehension of—these days even with an elementary school education.

There is truth…and then there is TRUTH. The Old Testament is mostly about explaining where we come from and why we failed God and how we chose over and over to reject him. It sets up the need for the Messiah and is meant to be a lesson for us. That, my friends, is truth.

The TRUTH in big bold letters is the New Testament, because it’s the current and future covenant with God and a key to finding the path to salvation.

I hope the clear up some of the truth, so that the TRUTH will come easier to you if it isn’t already part of your life.




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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