Monday, September 09, 2013

Are you a Fundamentalist?

Time for a HUGE rethink after going back to the original rebuke of the fundamentalists.  I used to think that to be a fundamentalist, you had to believe certain fundamentals of the belief system.  This is quite wrong.  In actuality, fundamentalism is a step removed.  Thus, we have the original objection to the fundamentalist belief system as given in a famous sermon in 1922 by the pastor/theologian Harry Emerson Fosdick:

"It is interesting to note where the Fundamentalists are driving in their stakes to mark out the deadline of doctrine around the church, across which no one is to pass except on terms of agreement. They insist that we must all believe in the historicity of certain special miracles, preeminently the virgin birth of our Lord; that we must believe in a special theory of inspiration—that the original documents of the Scripture, which of course we no longer possess, were inerrantly dictated to men a good deal as a man might dictate to a stenographer; that we must believe in a special theory of the Atonement—that the blood of our Lord, shed in a substitutionary death, placates an alienated Deity and makes possible welcome for the returning sinner; and that we must believe in the second coming of our Lord upon the clouds of heaven to set up a millennium here, as the only way in which God can bring history to a worthy denouement. Such are some of the stakes which are being driven to mark a deadline of doctrine around the church." - “Shall the Fundamentalist Win?”  May 21, 1922

Fosdick's fury was that certain churches wouldn't allow it to be taught that Christianity did not believe that Jesus had risen from the dead!  He was offended that certain organizations would not permit it to be taught that Christianity declared that Jesus had not done miracles.  Thus, the offense is related to what is taught about what Christians believe, and not directly about what any particular person believes.

This is all a great relief to me.  It means that because I believe that Islam teaches that pork must not be eaten, and I would be offended if the contrary were taught about Islam in my church, I am a Fundamentalist Muslim at the same time as I am a Fundamentalist Christian!  With a bit of work, I could probably be a Fundamentalist Rastafarian too!  But taking this further, because I believe that Frodo Baggins was a Hobbit in the fictitious Lord of the Rings, and would be annoyed if someone wasted time teaching that he was a Klingon per the Star Trek fiction stories, therefore, I am a Tolkien Fundamentalist also.   What is neat about all this is that one can be a Rabid Atheist and a Christian Fundamentalist at the same time, if you merely believe that Christianity teaches that Jesus did miracles, died for our sins and rose from the dead.


Delirious said...

I believe that I am a true fundamentalist. I am not a fundamentalist as defined by the liberals. I am, by my understanding of the true definition, someone who believes in the fundamental truths of the Bible. I do not believe in the creeds that were formed (i.e. Nicene etc.), because in my mind, those are not the original fundamental beliefs of the Bible. Those are latter interpretations of the Bible. You really got me on a rant this time. lol ;)

Looney said...

:) I suspect that there is a lot in those creeds that you would agree with!

Max Coutinho said...

Hi Looney,

I really do not know what to say about this. People waste too much time ranting religion and trying to fight against the many religious managerial details - it's tiresome.

Am I a fundamentalist? Some would say that I am; others not so depends on perspective.


Looney said...

@Max, you have me wondering about the concept of "religious managerial details", but it sounds to me like something that would fall under the category of religious managerial details!

Max Coutinho said...

lol Looney,

By "managerial details" I mean the several different ways of reaching God, or the Divine (as many would prefer to call it).
By Religious managerial details, I mean that - in Christianity for example - we shouldn't be bothered by how denomination X or Y chooses to follow or praise Jesus (because ultimately, God is being praised).

Do I agree with everything some denominations (and here I include everyone of them in any belief system) say or do? No, I don't but since I don't belong to their group, I mind my own business. I serve God in my own way; but that's me. Other people serve in their own's their choice.

Now, when they try to invade my space and dictate my personal choices...then the problem may start - depending on my mood to put up with them or not.

I am sorry, if I sound a bit confusing but this week is being hectic (so I am typing in a rush).