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Fundumentality

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Lerk

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I've said on occasion that I'm glad I was raised in a fundamentalist church (Non-institutional Church of Christ, to be specific). The reason I'm glad is that if I had been raised in a mainline Christian denomination, I might never have had a reason to question what I believed.

 

So what is it about "fundamentalism"? How am I defining that? Essentially, it's the belief that the Bible is the word of Yahweh, that every word, while written by people, was overseen by the Holy Spirit and therefore is exactly what Yahweh wants to convey.

 

The Bible itself does not assert such a thing anywhere. Peter does refer to the writings of Paul as "scripture" at one point, but that's about all you've got. The reason fundamentalists have this belief is that they assert that Yahweh could have made "his" book perfect, without error, and 100% consistent from beginning to end; because he could have, he would have, and therefore he did.

 

That's it! But to hold this belief, fundamentalists must impose whatever beliefs they've settled on, on top of every passage in the Bible, whether it really fits or not.

 

The truth is that beliefs of the Old Testament writers barely resemble the beliefs of the New Testament writers. And the writers of the first books of the OT had substantially different beliefs than the writers of the later books of the OT.

 

And all you have to do to figure this out is to start at the beginning and read it with an open mind. I say "all you have to do" as if it's easy -- it isn't. When you've spent your entire life being taught that it must all fit, and you have all of the "answers" to make it fit, it's pretty hard to read without imposing the things you've already been taught upon it.

 

But it can be done. If you're interested, start with these two things:

 

Genesis 3 -- There's no "Satan" here. Yes, Jesus in the NT says something that may lead you to believe that Satan is that serpent, but ignore that for a few minutes and just read the chapter. "The serpent was more subtle than the beasts of the field." Does that sound like Satan did this, or is it just that snakes are sneaky? No, you don't and I don't believe snakes are smart enough to be sneaky, but the author did.

 

Deuteronomy 32 -- Read this from the ESV. The ESV uses the Septuagint here, which is older than the Masoretic, and the Septuagint agrees with the Dead Sea Scrolls. (Oh, they told you the Dead Sea Scrolls didn't have any significant differences from the Masoretic? Not so! Especially here!) In this passage, we see that the Most High God divided the people of earth into nations based on the number of his sons. Each got a portion, or a nation. And the Lord's (aka Yahweh) portion were the descendants of Jacob. Yahwah/Jehovah/The Lord/Adonai INHERITED Israel. The rest of the chapter explains how The Lord is much better at leading his people than his brother gods are. The other Bible versions use the Masoretic text here, and that version of the Hebrew Scriptures came along several hundred years after the Septuagint and the Dead Sea Scrolls, and its compilers deliberately altered the text here to align with their belief that there was only one god.

 

Those two passages alone should be enough to disabuse anyone of the idea that the Bible is 100% consistent. And if you're a fundamentalist like I was, that's enough by itself to turn you into a non-Christian and allow you to start looking for the truth.

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I was an Elder in the Church of Christ, the less nutty version though, and my relationship with the c of c was the reason I began to study & research the Bible &  Xianity from a historical perspective, and that did lead to my exit from Xianity.

 

My wife & I were not born into the Church of Christ though. We became part of it through a Bible study. We were Southern Baptist, my wife born into that denomination. The c of c emphasis on Bible literalism, as well as their tendency to worship the Bible, undoubtedly contributed to my desire to investigate the origins & evolution of both the Bible & Xianity. 

 

I regret it took me 27 years to figure out the c of c is a cult before we got out. And then the years it took us both to reverse their indoctrination. I consider those lost years. In other words I'm not happy we ever got tied up with them. If I'd remained in the Baptist Church I think I still would have figured out the Bible is a collection of myths, legends, & folk lore, but that's water under the bridge now. 

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