Fun da mentalist - What is in a name?

wil

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From another thread the discussion started.

Some folks would think it Fundamental to talk about Love when discussing Jesus..

Others may point to turning over tables and telling folks to get a sword.

Others may decide that the fundamentals were decided post Jesus time on earth by the powers that be...and later interpretations of his works....(hmmm I guess that applies to all thought since none was innitiated during his life...all post Paul letters and Gospels)

We've had the same issues with definitions of liberal, progressive, radical....everything is so based on perception and degrees...

Would be interesting to entertain....what is the 'liberal' view of the vollowing words....that is, what do those that perceive this (liberal christianity forum) what do those that feel this as home...think definition wise...

Fundamental Christian-

Liberal Christian-

Progressive Christian-

Radical Christian-

Christian-

others?

Again, I don't really see us as defining anything, just getting an idea of the range of our viewpoints

wil

ps surely we can do this and be respectful as well....
 
Fundamental Christian-
I use the term "fundamentalism" to describe any approach (whether Christian, Hindu, Muslim or secular) to the world in which a person believes that their understanding of what is true to them is objectively the correct understanding. Thus, "fundamentalist Christians" appear to me to subjectively believe that how they define "Christian" for themselves is objectively correct for everyone and that all other notions are therefore incorrect.

A "Fundamental Christian" I might read as something different. That may be someone who personally adheres to a recognized creed because they find it true for themselves (not unlike InLove's understanding, I think, that she expressed in the "What/who is God?" thread). Thus, to me, a "Fundamental Christian" can also be a "fundamentalist Christian" depending on how they relate to the world outside themselves. And certainly not all "fundamentalist Christians" are "Fundamental Christians." ;)

Christian-
A "Christian" to me is someone who finds meaning and value for their personal understanding of who they are in the stories, teachings or traditions associated with "Jesus."

Liberal Christian-
Progressive Christian-
These seem to me to be the "yin" to the "yang" of "fundamentalist Christianity." The spinning wheel of love and righteousness is played out within Christianity, with each side alternatively creating and becoming the other.

Radical Christian-
This is not a term I have ever really considered or used. I'd like to hear what others think of it.

Great topic, wil. :):)




Disclaimer: This is what these words mean to me. Please do not assume that I am suggesting that I have the power to reorder anybody else's reality by offering my defintions of them.
 
Well allright! Finally someone who is willing to put the "fun" back into fundamentalism!:p

Since it is humans who express themselves within groups like religions, understanding their states of consciousness, intelligences (ala Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences) moral development and even their Myers-Briggs type indicator, is vastly important.

I have allways been facinated with the fundamentalist vs mystic mindset especially when it comes to discussion/debate. As I see it the average type indicator for the conservative and fundamentalist must be an ESTJ. (for those not familiar with Myers Briggs, Wikipedia has an excellent article on it)

The mystic sect seems to lean more toward INFP or even INTP.

M. Scott Peck divides levels of faith into four categories

1. Hedonism

2. Legalism or Fundamentalism

3. Agnostic or even Atheist

4. Mystic

It was his contention that these levels are in order of development though most people tend to stay in one level their whole lives unless moved through some type of transpersonal event.

Also I think it pertinent to point out that this psychology pertains to all areas of human endeavor as Abodado might tell us being in the legal profession. I noticed while in the Twelve-step groups that the fundamental vs. progressive conflict is there also.

Peace
Mark
 
One thing I've noted about many Fundamentalist Christains is that they tend to apply the term "Christian" only to themselves, and not, for example, to Catholics.
 
Jeannot said:
One thing I've noted about many Fundamentalist Christains is that they tend to apply the term "Christian" only to themselves, and not, for example, to Catholics.
And frequently, vice-versa, with "fundamentalist Catholics."

Ever seen a "Jack Chick" Bible tract? They used to sell them at the Christian book store where I worked as a teen ("The Evangel Book Center").
 
Thinking on what a radical Christian might be, and also, given that I only got a proper indication of what a liberal/progressive Christian is supposed to be from Wikipedia just yesterday; as well as always having had an affinity for mysticism, even while being grounded in fundamentals, I must admit I find it difficult to draw straight lines and class Christians variously as one or the other. It is nevertheless a thought-provoking exercise. Thank you, Wil.

Since radical is derived from "root" I have always considered a radical Christian to be one that is rooted in the fundamentals of the faith, and therefore extremely serious about the call on his life, his discipleship, and his devout life in Christ.

However, when I consider that the mystic seeks to be rooted in the Source, and seeks union with God to be made his conscious, present reality, also through devotion, he too might be considered radical.

In both cases, the term radical has taken on to mean "very different" (and negatively a radical is seen as a stirrer, rebel, fanatic, or even odd) from the normal Christian experience, and of course, it is. Whether it should be seen as outside the norm, I doubt. Perhaps all true believers in Christ are progressively somewhere between being rooted in the externals, such as the teachings and the fellowship, and finding the connection with the source unveiled within. It is a matter of growth.

I have recently come across many testimonies of people coming from nominal or liberal Christianity, finding new life in Orthodox Christianity. And one would think that "progress" is always from conservative toward liberal.

The point is, that depending on your life journey, and God's purposes in your life, you may be all these things at one time or the other.

I certainly think that I have been.

Respectfully,

Learner.
 
Hi, and Peace:) . I am sure I have not welcomed you to CR yet, leastone, but I will say that now--and I like the handle!

I think you have nailed the way many Christians feel, including myself.

Thanks for the contribution.

InPeace,
InLove
 
Paladin said:
I have allways been facinated with the fundamentalist vs mystic mindset especially when it comes to discussion/debate
Hmmm... I don't see why someone cannot be both fundamentalist and mystic, if by mystic you infer a deep connection with the Source, as leastone replied. Perhap you think that a fundamentalist is limited to the mystic experience due to his strict adherence to the Scripture. But it is the very contemplation and meditation of those same Scriptures that enables one to draw close to God:

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. - Hebrews 4:12

If one regards the Scriptures as the Word of God, then you are in essence hearing from God. To me, fundamentalism means getting to the foundational basics of the faith. And once grounded in those, ever learning deeper truths of scripture in a lifelong process. Indeed, that means being "People of the Book" as our Muslim friends would call us.

But I have found myself in quite a mystical state when I have meditated on certain Psalms and other passages of scripture that seem to reach out and touch my head and heart. Those sorta "Eureka" moments followed by a closeness to the Presence of the Lord that seem to fill my being and the whole room. (Tell me if you know what I'm talking about!)
 
Here I use the word Fundamentalist in it's common usage, to describe a legalistic outlook on dogma and scripture. This outlook is common in every religion and usually eschews the mystic or the intuitive. Modern evangelicals such as Dr. James Kennedy, Dr. John Dobson, and others list the mystic endeavors as outside what they belive to be "true Christianity" Ergo the term liberal or mystic Christianity. Some even accuse the mystic as being part of the occult. Doing some research on the advent of the Fundamentalist movement in America is enlightening as well. This movement characterized by culitivation of political power, domination of women, and tromping on the religious rights of others shows parallels to the Islamofascist movements (in kind but not degree) in the middleast.

Christians throughout history, like Meister Eckhart, on up to Thomas Merton have been rooted in their religion but spoke a common language found in the writings and communications of mystics of all religions. What you speak of Dondi shows that you are in the company of those type of Christians rather than the "Fundamentalist" types. Rooted in the basics, but with a spirit that soars to the eternal to find understanding and union with God.

Peace
Mark
 
Paladin said:
What you speak of Dondi shows that you are in the company of those type of Christians rather than the "Fundamentalist" types. Rooted in the basics, but with a spirit that soars to the eternal to find understanding and union with God.

Yet many of my fellow fundy friends can attest to the same thing.

I suppose what needs to be clarified is that Fundamentalists emphasize faith based on facts of scripture before feeling (mystic), rather than looking for feeling as a confirmation of faith. In Pentacostal/Charismatics circles, the reverse is usually true.

Fundamentalists do not require mystical experiences as confirmation of their faith. The truths of scripture are suffice that in following those principles and precepts in obedience to God, the spiritual life is enabled in daily Christian living. They stand on the promises of God. If the mystical happens, it is a result of a trusted relationship with God through that obedience.

Personally, I am drawn to both elements. I believe a balance can be reached. It is the confirmation of Spirit with the Word, and vice versa.
 
Made me think....how about playng with some authors, some speakers...

Billy Graham
Rick Warren
Miester Eckhart
Spong
Ernest Holmes
Jesus

add your own...what category does one put them in.... that mystic example comes up a lot in the thought...and some of them blur the lines from speech to speech...

Or organizations...

KKK- seems they fit the radical christian mode....ie they deem themselves christian although many would deny...
 
leastone said:
Thinking on what a radical Christian might be, and also, given that I only got a proper indication of what a liberal/progressive Christian is supposed to be from Wikipedia just yesterday; as well as always having had an affinity for mysticism, even while being grounded in fundamentals, I must admit I find it difficult to draw straight lines and class Christians variously as one or the other. It is nevertheless a thought-provoking exercise. Thank you, Wil.

Since radical is derived from "root" I have always considered a radical Christian to be one that is rooted in the fundamentals of the faith, and therefore extremely serious about the call on his life, his discipleship, and his devout life in Christ.

However, when I consider that the mystic seeks to be rooted in the Source, and seeks union with God to be made his conscious, present reality, also through devotion, he too might be considered radical.

In both cases, the term radical has taken on to mean "very different" (and negatively a radical is seen as a stirrer, rebel, fanatic, or even odd) from the normal Christian experience, and of course, it is. Whether it should be seen as outside the norm, I doubt. Perhaps all true believers in Christ are progressively somewhere between being rooted in the externals, such as the teachings and the fellowship, and finding the connection with the source unveiled within. It is a matter of growth.

I have recently come across many testimonies of people coming from nominal or liberal Christianity, finding new life in Orthodox Christianity. And one would think that "progress" is always from conservative toward liberal.

The point is, that depending on your life journey, and God's purposes in your life, you may be all these things at one time or the other.

I certainly think that I have been.

Respectfully,

Learner.

Jesus could be seen as a radical, in that he was someone who wanted to go to the root of religion, man's relationship to God.

BTW, mystics seldom, if ever, preach the superiority of their system of dogma, let alone talk about making war on other systems.
 
This is a very interesting conversation. As some or perhaps most of you know, fundamentalism is the focus of my study and research. I see fundamentalism as the enemy that fuels terrorisim and the on-going war against it. I see it as narrow and oppressive for the individual whose self-expression deviates from the norm. In my bitterness I find myself wanting to label for time and eternity the church I came from as fundamentalist. Yet it is really hard to just write off a whole community of people I've known all my life.

What some of you express on here about a fundamental Christian being one who lives closely to the fundamental Christian doctrine evokes the feeling I get from my former community. We did not see ourselves as rigid and dogmatic; just as normal human beings trying to make the best of life in preparation for the afterlife. As I see it, this does implicate the oppressive environment in which I found myself. Perhaps it is not necessarily so. This is something I don't know at this point.

I have written quite a number of papers for course assignments on my experience of that church and religion. And I have gotten feedback on some of them from people other than the course instructor. The question has been raised whether it is fundamentalism, evangelicalism, or pietism that I am dealing with. Or perhaps a combination, and if so, exactly what combination?

I've read some sociological literature on fundamentalism. Some of it combines evangelicalism with fundamentalism and some authors differentiate. At this point I have no clear-cut definition in my mind. But I am reading about pietism right now. And I find MUCH of what has passed for fundamentalism in the literature originated in pietism. This raises the question: Is fundamentalism just one more form of pietism?

Hmmmm. This is becoming rather academic for this forum. On the other hand, I have to differentiate between work and play if I can't talk about this academic stuff here. And I don't differentiate. I carry stuff from "play" into work and from work into play. Discussion boards are my play.

So anyway, Wil, every single one of your terms raises academic questions in my mind. And somehow I find it impossible to think in terms other than academic when discussiong categories of religious belief and its impact on everyday life decisions, which in turn translates into social patterns in the religious landscape of North America.

My apologies to those of you outside North America. While I am interested in the global scene, my focus in Canada and the US. In academia, for most intents and purposes I have encountered, Mexico is categorized with Latin America and not with North America.

Hmmm. Canadians are probably the only ones who talk about North America. The Americans don't acknowledge our existence and the Europeans barely notice us, either. My heart always does a special little flutter when an author outside Canada talks about the Canadian situation. I'm never sure if being noticed is positive or negative. I think Mexico belongs to North American from a geographical perspective, but not from a cultural perspective.

Christian. What qualifies as Christian. On one of the boards I'm on I have stopped calling myself a Christian because the only vocal Christians on there are fundy types and there is no way I classify as Christian by any of their standards.

I think from a linguistic perspective, a Christian is a person for whom Christ is of central importance. My mind and thought structure developed inside a strongly Christian environment. Thus, my unconscious thought structure always operates within the Christian theological framework on the level of archaic knee-jerk response.

I've been actively working on replacing whole sections of that framework with beliefs that I find more healthy for myself. I am not sure how successful I am at actually replacing; maybe I end up just building on top of. No matter, so long as I don't have a working definition of Christian I won't know if I am one or not.

This group confirms the idea that has been growing in my mind for quite some time that a new form of Christianity is emerging. I suspect the only reason it can be called Christian is that it grows out of the Christian culture. We don't want to just throw out Christmas and Easter. We don't want to replace the entire theological framework deep inside of ourselves that our ancestors for a thousand years have worked to put in place.

I've seen some really good descriptions of various types of Christianity and other religions at Beliefnet http://www.beliefnet.com/. This page speaks to our interests http://www.beliefnet.com/boards/boards_main.AllCategories.asp?Category=57
 
RubySera_Martin said:
I suspect the only reason it can be called Christian is that it grows out of the Christian culture. We don't want to just throw out Christmas and Easter.
That's kind of interesting when you consider that much of what we know as "Christmas" and "Easter" were borrowed from something that existed before Roman Christianity. The first official "orthodoxy" liked them so much they didn't want to get rid of them either.

After all, people of the ancient near east and middle east were already celebrating religious birth holidays on December 25 and January 6 before Chrisitianity came along. Many of the customs such as Yule logs, Christmas trees, and supernatural beings delivering toys to children, were later incorporated in from ancient roots in Germanic and Norse myths and rituals not originally associated with Christianity. And you'll not find a lot of bunny or egg imagery in the Bible either.
 
RubySera_Martin said:
I have written quite a number of papers for course assignments on my experience of that church and religion. And I have gotten feedback on some of them from people other than the course instructor. The question has been raised whether it is fundamentalism, evangelicalism, or pietism that I am dealing with. Or perhaps a combination, and if so, exactly what combination?

I've read some sociological literature on fundamentalism. Some of it combines evangelicalism with fundamentalism and some authors differentiate. At this point I have no clear-cut definition in my mind. But I am reading about pietism right now. And I find MUCH of what has passed for fundamentalism in the literature originated in pietism. This raises the question: Is fundamentalism just one more form of pietism?

I looked up on the Net some info on pietism:

"Against the intellectualist and abstract understanding of God and of dogmatic truth, pietism set a practical, active piety (praxis pietatis): good works, daily self-examination for progress in virtues according to objective criteria, daily study of the Bible and practical application of its moral teaching, intense emotionalism in prayer, a clear break with the "world" and worldly practices (dancing, the theatre, non-religious reading); and tendencies towards separatism, with the movement holding private meetings and distinguishing itself from the "official" Church.
For pietism, knowledge of God presupposes the "rebirth" of man [i.e., a "born again" experience --web ed.], and this rebirth is understood as living up to the moral law of the Gospel and as an emotional experience of authoritative truths. Pietism presents itself as a mystical piety, and ultimately as a form of opposition to knowledge; as "adogmatism," in the sense that it ignores or belittles theological truth, or even as pure agnosticism cloaked in morality."

Source: http://www.philthompson.net/pages/library/pietism.html

While some of these things appear to have similiarities to fundamentalism (good works, daily self-examination, studying of the bible and practical applications), the last statement definitely does not, at least in the churches I'm familiar with. Fundys are stickler for biblical truths and aren't all that caught up in emotional experiences. So I would not say fundamentalism is a subset of pietism. Sounds more like the Pentacostal/Charismatic circles.

Ruby, I wonder if your ever heard of the Shepherding Movement? You might wish to read this article:

http://mb-soft.com/believe/txc/shepherd.htm

I was in an Apostolic church for a time that semed to have adhered to the "shepherding" principles. I was expected to attend all the services without fail and made to conform to strict rules. It wasn't long before I broke from that scene. I just didn't feel free in Christ at all.

But I just thought that this seemed like something you might have experienced, judging from what I read in your past posts.

Is this what you are lamenting?

 
Abogado del Diablo said:
And you'll not find a lot of bunny or egg imagery in the Bible either.

Exactly!!! It was not terribly hard for my mother to explain why our church did not believe in Christmas trees and Santa Claus, nor in Easter bunny and Easter eggs. They simply did not exist in the Bible.


That's kind of interesting when you consider that much of what we know as "Christmas" and "Easter" were borrowed from something that existed before Roman Christianity. The first official "orthodoxy" liked them so much they didn't want to get rid of them either.

Thank you. That is very nice.

After all, people of the ancient near east and middle east were already celebrating religious birth holidays on December 25 and January 6 before Chrisitianity came along. Many of the customs such as Yule logs, Christmas trees, and supernatural beings delivering toys to children, were later incorporated in from ancient roots in Germanic and Norse myths and rituals not originally associated with Christianity.

Any idea where I could learn more about this?
 
RubySera_Martin said:
Exactly!!! It was not terribly hard for my mother to explain why our church did not believe in Christmas trees and Santa Claus, nor in Easter bunny and Easter eggs. They simply did not exist in the Bible.

This reminds me of a Calvin and Hobbes comic strip where Calvin is complaining about Santa Claus. Why all the secrecy? Why has nobody seen him? How does he know who's been bad or good? And Hobbes says, I dunno, isn't this supposed to be a religious holiday? To which Calvins replies, Yeah, but I've got the same questions about God.
 
Fundamentalist to me is:

Jesus is God
Holy Spirit is also God
God the Father is also God
Faith in Jesus + nothing else = Salvation

I am a Fundamentalist:)

My wife says I am mental, that leaves the funda and ist parts out....Ha! Ha!:D
 
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