Christian Fundamentalism 101

Trying to keep a discussion of Christian fundamentalism to a reasonable length is a very difficult task. There is so much material that could be covered. I do not want to write a book on this subject here. I just want to bring out a few salient points about Christian fundamentalism that will be relevant to our discussion of its role in American politics – tomorrow’s article. So, to provide the necessary background material for those who want to delve into this topic further, I will provide a short list of links at the end of this post to articles I recommend you read.

One of the main issues I personally have with fundamentalists of any ilk is their blind dismissal of any serious scholarship that contradicts in the lightest the fundamentalist world view. Fundamentalists claim that all necessary truth is found in the Bible and that science is the tool of Satan or something close to that. They even condemn historical research if it contradicts their so-called literal interpretation of the Bible

If we are supposed to take the Bible literally, then how do we reconcile the God of the Old Testament, who tends to be a vengeful and somewhat bloodthirsty deity, with the much more loving and merciful God of the New Testament? The Christian fundamentalists stress literal adherence to God’s laws. Then how come they do not keep the Sabbath? The Sabbath starts Friday night at sunset and continues until sunset on Saturay. There is NO commandment from God that changes the Sabbath to Sunday. That change was instituted by the early Church Fathers because Sunday was the day of the week of the Resurrection.

I watched a discussion of the Ten Commandments last night on the History International channel. The discussion reviewed the Commandments from a predominately Christian viewpoint but also included a Jewish and Islamic perspective. It occurred to me during that discussion how much we Christians violate the first two commandments.

I know the sophisms presented by the Scholastics of the Middle Ages and the neo-scholastics since then regarding the concpet of the Trinity. Bit, if one accepts that Christ is the only begotten Son of God, then they are two separate beings, not one. And if we accept the divinity of Christ as well, then we are worshipping two Gods, not one.

The seond commandment forbids graven images of any sort. That makes all those crucifixes found in many churches a sacrilege, or maybe blasphemy would be a better word.

The fundamentalists argue for what they call a literal interpretation of the Bible. But, even a little interpretation is colored by the cultural context in which the person reading the Bible lives. One of the main issues of the Reformation was to make Scripture available to all so all could read the Word of God for themselves in their own language. To me, that means that each of us is free to undestand the Bible in our own way, according to our own abilities. The Reformation wanted to give people that freedom. The fundTrying to keep a discussion of Christian fundamentalism to a reasonable length is a very difficult task. There is so much material that could be covered. I do not want to write a book on this subject here. I just want to bring out a few salient points about Christian fundamentalism that will be relevant to our discussion of its role in American politics – tomorrow’s article. So, to provide the necessary background material for those who want to delve into this topic further, I will provide a short list of links at the end of this post to articles I recommend you read.

One of the main issues I personally have with fundamentalists of any ilk is their blind dismissal of any serious scholarship that contradicts in the slightest the fundamentalist world view. Fundamentalists claim that all necessary truth is found in the Bible and that science is the tool of Satan or something close to that. They even condemn historical research if it contradicts their so-called literal interpretation of the Bible.

If we are supposed to take the Bible literally, then how do we reconcile the God of the Old Testament, who tends to be a vengeful and somewhat bloodthirsty deity, with the much more loving and merciful God of the New Testament? The Christian fundamentalists stress literal adherence to God’s laws. Then how come they do not keep the Sabbath? The Sabbath starts Friday night at sunset and continues until sunset on Saturay. There is NO commandment from God that changes the Sabbath to Sunday. That change was instituted by the early Church Fathers because Sunday was the day of the week of the Resurrection.

I watched a discussion of the Ten Commandments last night on the History International channel. The discussion reviewed the Commandments from a predominately Christian viewpoint but also included a Jewish and Islamic perspective. It occurred to me during that discussion how much we Christians violate the first two commandments.

I know the sophisms presented by the Scholastics of the Middle Ages and the neo-scholastics since then regarding the concept of the Trinity. Bit, if one accepts that Christ is the only begotten Son of God, then they are two separate beings, not one. And if we accept the divinity of Christ as well, then we are worshipping two Gods, not one.

The seond commandment forbids graven images of any sort. That makes all those crucifixes found in many churches a sacrilege, or maybe blasphemy would be a better word.

The fundamentalists argue for what they call a literal interpretation of the Bible. But, even a literal interpretation is colored by the cultural context in which the person reading the Bible lives. One of the main issues of the Reformation was to make Scripture available to all so all could read the Word of God for themselves in their own language. To me, that means that each of us is free to undestand the Bible in our own way, according to our own abilities. The Reformation wanted to give people that freedom. The fundamentalists want to take it away

A final comment: For those of you who are familiar with Church history, you will recognize some of my criticisms and questioning of accepted Church doctrine. These same questions and criticism have been raised in the past by individuals and groups that the Church condemned as heretics. As the old saying goes, history is written by the victors. I suspect there may be more truth to at least some of those heresies than the instutionalized Church is willing to admit. I proudly consider myself a heretic!

Fundamentalism
Fundamentalist Christianity
Dispensationalism
What is Fundamentalism and Why is It So Dangerous?

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