The Strategies of Christian Fundamentalism

shadowman

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The Strategies of Christian Fundamentalism
Joseph R. Kiefer II
History is far too replete with the consequences of supposing that all mysteries have a final solution. - Galle, K. (p. 31).​
Humanity searches for meaning to the mystery of existence. Sentient awareness drives inquiries into our purpose, origins, and our eventual destination after this life. Religions attempt to answer these questions. Some religions hold absolute sway over those who accede to their dogma by establishing a frame of reality for them, a matrix of belief within which they define themselves and their affinity with the world. Such is the case with fundamental Christianity--a religion that controls its devotees through diminishing their human potential and promoting powerlessness in their lives. From its early days to the present, this particular strand of religion has employed the strategy of inducing fear and guilt into its followers and would-be-converts to generate a powerful belief system wherein the follower is forbidden by conscience to examine truth as presented by any other source. This incarceration of the human spirit crushes self-acceptance and incites intolerance of those who aren't captive to the same beliefs.



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It is always easy, especially with the web to find the nay-sayers. Negative points or perceived negative points are simple to point out and exagerate of any group.

To me this type of thinking is counter productive no matter what side is the butt of the abuse.
 
On the other hand, Perhaps it is good to examine both sides as not to be blinded by programmed teachings and beliefs from the past. Truth will withstand investigation but the use of fear and guilt is not the way to freedom. It wasn't all that long ago that the majority thought the world was flat and to say differently for the most part was ridiculed. Religion seems to be no different. It is to be examined. Truth does not change but mens ideas and expressions of it do and it is a wonderful thing that it does or women would still be forbidden to preach or have short hair. Just some thoughts on the subject to consider.

Love in Christ,
JM
 
It is always easy, especially with the web to find the nay-sayers. Negative points or perceived negative points are simple to point out and exagerate of any group.

To me this type of thinking is counter productive no matter what side is the butt of the abuse.

Do you disagree with this statement Wil?

From its early days to the present, this particular strand of religion has employed the strategy of inducing fear and guilt into its followers and would-be-converts to generate a powerful belief system wherein the follower is forbidden by conscience to examine truth as presented by any other source.

Sometimes the truth hurts.

Chris
 
China Cat Sunflower said:
Sometimes the truth hurts.

But what's this "truth" you're talking about? Who is guilty of it? What people? What religion? Is it the religion or the people?
 
Is this not a polemic of anti-Christian fundamentalism?

Some of its comments are inaccurate and self-serving; it certainly is neither reasoned nor reasonable - and seeks, by attacking fundamentalism, to attack the whole of Christian orthodoxy on the same basis.

Thomas
 
Such is the case with fundamental Christianity--a religion that controls its devotees through diminishing their human potential and promoting powerlessness in their lives. From its early days to the present, this particular strand of religion has employed the strategy of inducing fear and guilt into its followers and would-be-converts to generate a powerful belief system wherein the follower is forbidden by conscience to examine truth as presented by any other source. This incarceration of the human spirit crushes self-acceptance and incites intolerance of those who aren't captive to the same beliefs.

Following this argument, one should examine other similar beliefs - that lineal time is real, for example.

Belief in lineal time induces fear of death, guilt for not using it better, crushes self acceptance (when you look in the mirror and you're old) and incites intolerance of people that don't believe in it.

To summarise, belief in time is a very dangerous thing.

Also, belief that one's country is real does the same thing. There's no such thing as the United States of America, for example. You can't prove it exists, you can't show it to me.

What else can we not believe in?
 
I have noticed how it is a new trend to fold not just all Bible-literalists under the label of fundamentalism (which is not fair to start with), but that opponets of religion now include all orthodoxy, indeed all traditional mainstream Christianity, heck, even 'liberal' Christianity that dares still put faith in Christ as God, all under the fundamentalist umbrella.

While there is certainly (and sadly) too much truth to the fact that we have needlessly separated and hurt each other over our beliefs, it seems just as harmful to label all 'believers' as dangerous fundamentalists.

Sure, fundamentalism is a motivator behind specific acts of agression against others and we need to call these out when we see them, whether the 'fundamentalism' is coming from Christian Fundamentalism as the movement was originally defined, orthodox, mainstream Christianity, liberal Christianity, or from alternative Christiantiy or secular society. The 'strategies of fundamentalism' are not confined to believing Christians. It's already been mentioned that if you substitute the word nationalism for religion the exact same argument holds (if you question our presense in Iraq you are a traitor). I agree with wil that when we start making catgories, throwing 'others' into those catagories, and then demonizing them...that continues the brokenness we all long to heal.

luna
 
(snip)

Sure, fundamentalism is a motivator behind specific acts of aggression against others and we need to call these out when we see them, whether the 'fundamentalism' is coming from Christian Fundamentalism as the movement was originally defined, orthodox, mainstream Christianity, liberal Christianity, or from alternative Christiantiy or secular society. The 'strategies of fundamentalism' are not confined to believing Christians. It's already been mentioned that if you substitute the word nationalism for religion the exact same argument holds (if you question our presense in Iraq you are a traitor). I agree with wil that when we start making catgories, throwing 'others' into those catagories, and then demonizing them...that continues the brokenness we all long to heal.

luna

So true luna,
It is indeed not confined to a religion. Personally, I do not care much for labels. They are so ambiguous. Still, there is some to be gleamed even from the views of those using such things and examining what they have to say. Perhaps, in doing so, understanding can take place and some middle ground found for healing. Removing labels and generalizing more by speaking only of humanity seems to add more wisdom to the first post.

Love in Christ,
JM
 
a religion that controls its devotees through diminishing their human potential and promoting powerlessness in their lives.

On the contrary, it was Christ who gave me the power to become who I am today. I was on a path of destruction. God gave my life back to me, cleaned me up (I credit my smoking cessation to Him), and His Guidance has allowed me to grow as a human in my relationships with others (I used to be torridly shy).

I have a wonderful wife and two beautiful daughters, a great steady job, two cars, and a house.

My relationships with members of the evil fundamentalist church I attend have been an encouragement to me. Being involved with the church has opened doors where I am able to serve others in love and help lost people find God. I have formed new bonds with people I can generally trust (as opposed to the backstabbing friends I used to have).

People need to look inside the doors of the church before making rash judgements.
 
On the contrary, it was Christ who gave me the power to become who I am today. I was on a path of destruction. God gave my life back to me, cleaned me up (I credit my smoking cessation to Him), and His Guidance has allowed me to grow as a human in my relationships with others (I used to be torridly shy).

I have a wonderful wife and two beautiful daughters, a great steady job, two cars, and a house.

My relationships with members of the evil fundamentalist church I attend have been an encouragement to me. Being involved with the church has opened doors where I am able to serve others in love and help lost people find God. I have formed new bonds with people I can generally trust (as opposed to the backstabbing friends I used to have).

People need to look inside the doors of the church before making rash judgements.

Hello Dondi,

Yes it would be nice if people didn't make rash judgements but as you know, we were all guilty of the same at one time or another. I'm sure you remember that which existed before your great change.

It seems to me the important point here is not to judge what is written based on one misapplying labels. The intellect of man is extremely prone to ignoring data that seems to oppose its positions and only focusing on data that re-enforces its position. Therefore, perhaps it is well that we all examine conflicting views in hopes that in the least we get a better understanding of where the other is coming from. Truth can be relative to a persons perception and it is beyond that perception that we all seek to go. Patience, tolerance, and understanding open the doors for healing by God.

Love in Christ,
JM
 
Hi Dondi -

Spot on. Then there's the fact that saints, throughtout history, have been upheld by the secular as well as spiritual as being models of an ideal humanity.

Thomas
 
Following this argument, one should examine other similar beliefs - that lineal time is real, for example.

Belief in lineal time induces fear of death, guilt for not using it better, crushes self acceptance (when you look in the mirror and you're old) and incites intolerance of people that don't believe in it.

To summarise, belief in time is a very dangerous thing.

Also, belief that one's country is real does the same thing. There's no such thing as the United States of America, for example. You can't prove it exists, you can't show it to me.

What else can we not believe in?

we cant beleive in anything. beleif is a means to an end. a mind ame that can have "good" or "evil" effects
 
But what's this "truth" you're talking about? Who is guilty of it? What people? What religion? Is it the religion or the people?

Religious fundamentalism is dangerous, Salty. That's the truth. Look what's happened here in the U.S. over the course of the last several years. I'm not inclined to give the fundies a break. No kiss and make up from me.

Chris
 
Religious fundamentalism is dangerous, Salty. That's the truth. Look what's happened here in the U.S. over the course of the last several years. I'm not inclined to give the fundies a break. No kiss and make up from me.

Chris

The article in question has a Crystal clear agenda, while it says a lot of truths, imo it errs by placing the whole of christianity in the same bag.

My personal involvement with fundamentalism taught me that the main reason that it exists, it is because of personal needs.
The immaturity of not knowing yourself and your place in the world well enough, a strong need for security and certainty, and other psychological manifestations like the need for parental figures, belonging and identification.

I would first make a distinction between fundamentalist beliefs and fundamentalist heart.

In my view you will never get rid of fundamentalism of the heart, it is one of the natural human conditions, if we managed to eradicate all the religions and ideologies of the world we will soon invent new ones.
I experienced good and bad things, wasted time, money and effort, but I also gained wonderful experiences, and in the end I grew.

Unfortunately for unenlightened souls like mine, fundamentalism is a good binding agent, and sometimes it's your only life saver.
Think about it, it is one of those things that some people need to stay in one piece.
 
The article in question has a Crystal clear agenda, while it says a lot of truths, imo it errs by placing the whole of christianity in the same bag.

My personal involvement with fundamentalism taught me that the main reason that it exists, it is because of personal needs.
The immaturity of not knowing yourself and your place in the world well enough, a strong need for security and certainty, and other psychological manifestations like the need for parental figures, belonging and identification.

I would first make a distinction between fundamentalist beliefs and fundamentalist heart.

In my view you will never get rid of fundamentalism of the heart, it is one of the natural human conditions, if we managed to eradicate all the religions and ideologies of the world we will soon invent new ones.
I experienced good and bad things, wasted time, money and effort, but I also gained wonderful experiences, and in the end I grew.

Unfortunately for unenlightened souls like mine, fundamentalism is a good binding agent, and sometimes it's your only life saver.
Think about it, it is one of those things that some people need to stay in one piece.

Good post! The article shows a classic chip-on-the-shoulder view of fundamentalism. As Luna rightly points out, Christian fundamentalism technically, and colloquially are two very different things. Still, life is uncertain. Those who cannot come to grips with the uncertainty of life are attracted to fundamentalist thinking. It's a security blanket which relies on a cultivation of ignorance in lieu of honest intellectual effort. This is constantly reinforced. That's fine, whatever works. What irritates me is when fundies try to push their oversimplified, superstitious world view off on the rest of us, and use their silly, nonsensical, irrational, straw man arguments as if they were a viable substitute for reason.

I was once a fundamentalist, so maybe I still have that chip on my shoulder.

Chris
 
I tend to agree with you Caimanson. If I may use the terms Modes and Modalities to express the different approaches to Christianity, there are those whose needs are met quite nicely at all levels of understanding. The author of the article may have a chip on his shoulder, but he does point out some of the things we need to be mindful of as we practice our religion. We have all seen the results wrought by a religion out of control in Afghanistan, and Iraq.

People like Kohlberg, Maslow and others have mapped out pretty well for me that people tend to stratify in their roles within the religous arena, and let's face it. It is what it is. Telling a person who has security, social, acceptance needs to adopt another perspective is much like telling a tree or a rock, or a cloud that what they are doing is wrong.

Peace
Mark
 
The strategies of Christian Fundamentalism....

Do we think that someone is wringing their hands in the back rooms of churches...'what will we put them through next?'

How does one strategize these things?

While I can't claim any love for fire and brimstone, I do know that many folks were brought to find their way by 'that old time religion'. I do know that many folks live their lives quite contently within those boundaries.

It obviously isn't for all, me being one of them (in my current thinking...one thing I've learned over time is never say never)
 
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