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Not Happy With The Term 'fundamentalist'..


snookums
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the new definition coined by Walter Uhler in this fab article - has a nice 'ring to it'...

reminds me of this song...

"So now as I'm leavin' I'm weary as Hell The confusion I'm feelin' Ain't no tongue can tell The words fill my head And fall to the floor If With God on our Side by bob Dylan (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usab2PLfilE) but I'm not a huge fan of Bob's..

 

christmissle.jpg

 

Article starts here....

 

 

No one should decidedly adhere to an exposition of Scripture that with sure reason is ascertained to be false...in order that, from this, Scripture not be derided by the infidels. ?- St. Thomas Aquinas [from Lev Shestov, Athens and Jerusalem, p. 300]

 

With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil ? that takes religion. ?- Steven Weinberg

 

History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes. ?- Thomas Jefferson

 

Although he might not agree with my use of the term "Crackpot Christians," Kevin Phillips is certainly correct when he claims that "the radical side of U.S. religion has embraced cultural antimodernism, war hawkishness, Armageddon prophecy, and in the case of conservative fundamentalists, a demand for government by literal biblical interpretation." [American Theocracy, p. 100]

 

These Crackpot Christians are largely responsible for placing one of their own, George W. Bush, in the White House. Their astounding ignorance, unquestioning faith, war hawkishness, and fascination with the End of Time subsequently rendered them gullible to the Bush administration's lies and exaggerations about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (especially the apocalyptic "mushroom clouds") and ties to al Qaeda. Thus, they cannot escape responsibility for supporting an illegal, immoral invasion of Iraq.

 

Judging by recent polls, Crackpot Christians continue to provide the residual support that prevents the total collapse of the worst presidency in American history. Their insouciance toward the ever worsening daily horrors in Iraq - so vividly reported by Jeffrey Gettleman in the August 2006 issue of GQ ? is daily testimony to their moral degeneracy. And, by their refusal to repent and improve, Crackpot Christians become responsible for the precipitous collapse of U.S. moral authority now occurring around the world.

 

Yes, thanks to the moral degeneracy fostered by Crackpot Christians and the perverse "moral clarity" of their leader, the world now considers the United States to be a country more evil than it was when President Clinton merely disgraced the White House with immoral sexual escapades.

 

But, then, Crackpot Christians have a long history of moral degeneracy. Simply look back to America's Civil War and you'll find southern clergymen - clergymen! ? citing verses from the Bible (e.g., Exodus 20-21, Matthew 10:14 and Ephesians 6:5-6) to justify slavery. According to Martin E. Marty (perhaps, our foremost authority on religion in America), "The South especially cherished the most literal readings [of the Bible], because on these terms it could find biblical passages in support of slavery." [Pilgrims in Their Own Land: 500 Years of Religion in America, pp. 302-303]

 

"Scripture, the Confederate clergy advised, even justified secession." [Phillips, American Theocracy, p. 144] And even after Union forces delivered God's just retribution (speaking in Crackpot Christian terms) for the South's evil ways, southern clergymen soon were abetting their perpetuation ? which subsequently spread into America's southern Midwest and across America's Southwest ? by fostering the self-deception of "redemption."

 

Readers of Michelle Goldberg's new book, Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, can see Crackpot Christianity at work today, subverting America's liberal democracy in an attempt to impose Christian "Dominion" - essentially southern political and religious culture ? over the entire country. According to Ms. Goldberg, "Dominionism is derived from a theocratic sect called Christian Reconstructionism, which advocates replacing American civil law with Old Testament biblical law." [p. 13].

 

"?Dominion theologians,' as they are called, lay great emphasis in Genesis 1:26-27, where God tells Adam to assume dominion over the animate and inanimate world." Moreover, "dominionism...has been hugely influential in the broader evangelical movement," [ibid] thanks to the influence of the Crackpot Christian par excellence, Pat Robertson.

 

...More of this article can be found here:

http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_wa...christianit.htm

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i already commented on this article last week in the other thread...

 

i just don't think it's fair for a couple of "Yankee" journalists like Uhley and Goldberg to presume that the "Evangelical" or "Crackpot" Christian phenomenon comes just from the American South...

 

here's what I wrote last week about this article, I still stand by it:

 

"of course Ms. Goldberg, an NYC elite at Salon.com, would argue that the "Christian" South is trying to over run the country with a "dominion" theology that justifies "slavery" theologically. Kevin Phillips' use of some mutation of E. Franklin Frazier's tired-old hypothesis that "the South" (or African Americans) is somehow "more religious" than the rest of the country is joked about at all the academic conferences these days. Sure, Donald Matthews demonstrated back in his 1960's Religion in the Old South that Southern preachers (mainly the Southern Baptist Convention) did use the Bible to justify slavery, but Abraham Lincoln also used biblical arguments to justify racism and wanted to send all the African Americans on a big boats back to Africa because they believed them to be inferior.(Lerone Bennett, Forced into Glory) Christine Herymann's [/i]Southern Cross and Mechal Sobel's The World They Made Together also shows that Christian evangelicalism didn't even start to overtake the greater majority of the South until the early 1800's.

 

The spirit of American Christianity began in the North first, with some progressive Puritan "missionary" mentality that believed it was society's job to change people for the better... now we just call that crap "liberal," but it's just as "Christian" theologically speaking.

 

And city folk just want to blame all of America's social problems on "rural" and "backward" Southerners. In reality the biggest problems are happening in our cities, and institutionalized Christianities other than Southern Evangelicalism (Catholics, Mormons, "Mainline" Protestants) run the political machines of most of the country's cities.

 

Uhley's analysis ignores the notion that Northern evangelicals have been just as crazy and missionary oriented as these so-called southern Crackpot Christians. And that "heartland" Christianity is also very much a "Midwestern" phenomenon."

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pretty much now, the terms you can go for instead of "fundamentalist" are:

 

"ultra-conservative"

"Strong" Religion

"Robust" Religion

Religious "extremist"

 

In my opinion, these days nobody ever gets called a "fundamentalist" (a.k.a. Crackpot) unless the media doesn't like them or until they do something violent... so the term "fundamentalist" isn't helpful anymore.

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pretty much now, the terms you can go for instead of "fundamentalist" are:

 

"ultra-conservative"

"Strong" Religion

"Robust" Religion

Religious "extremist"

 

How about "religious fanatic" or "religious authoritarian"?

 

In my opinion, these days nobody ever gets called a "fundamentalist" (a.k.a. Crackpot) unless the media doesn't like them or until they do something violent... so the term "fundamentalist" isn't helpful anymore.

Some Christians proudly wear the badge of fundamentalism, however, so calling them by that term would be correct. I have a Southern Baptist relative who is "proud to be a fundamentalist" (his own words).

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Some Christians proudly wear the badge of fundamentalism, however, so calling them by that term would be correct. I have a Southern Baptist relative who is "proud to be a fundamentalist" (his own words).

 

I agree entirely. I know if I called my ex-wife a fundamentalist to her face she would just smile and say, "Praise Jesus, yes I am!"

 

:ugh:

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The phenomenon tends to appear in more insular and rural communities, so, while it happens everywhere, it does tend to occur with a higher frequency in the South.

 

As for terms, well, in addition to fundamentalist, religious reactionary, religious conservative, or more exactly religious neocon are more common ones for me to use. Then again, the most common ones when I am frustrated tend to be "asshole" and "fucktard."

 

Meh.

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I've taught religious history at public universities both in GA and PA...I have gotten just as many bible thumpers in both places.

The north has rural areas, too. The first "Great Awakening" happened in the north, in cities.

I live in Philly and in my immediate neighborhood (who someone told me was once touted in Newsweek--??--for being the most diverse neighborhood in the US in terms of ethinicity, religion, income, sexual orientation, blah blah blah), I live across the street from a pentecostal "praise and worship leader," one neighbor reads her bible on the front porch everyday and my street is empty of cars and dead quiet on Sunday morning.

 

I use the term "fundamentalist" when talking to most people, but the academic world fusses over details like that. I try to avoid it, and usually fail. I use "extremist" (when there's violence involved), "evangelicals" when talking about Christianity...I've not figured it out yet.

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all the terms "idiot" or "moron" or "fanatic" do is marginalize so-called fundamentalists the same way they treat us... it doesn't explain or clarify any of their beliefs or practices and offers no true critique.

 

Yes, Christians are the only ones who call themselves "fundamentalists." The term was actually coined by a Baptist journalist named Curtis Lee Laws in 1920 to describe a group of Christians who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, the sacrificial atonement of Jesus, the Rapture, the divinity of Jesus and the virgin birth of Jesus... or don't believe in "liberal Christianity." A group of English, Canadian and American protestant ministers got together and published a book of sermons entitled "The Fundamentals" and this is often looked back to as the source of the movement.

 

then in 1922 the famous liberal protestant minster Harry Emerson Fosdick preached a sermon entitled "Shall the Fundamentalists Win?" and his manuscript was distributed to every Protestant minister in America. From that point "fundamentalist" became a pejorative term and was eventually dropped for "evangelical" as soon as Billy Graham started calling himself "evangelical" instead of "fundamentalist."

 

Contrary to popular belief, fundamentalism is no more rampant in the American South than it is anywhere else in the country. I was born and lived my first 18 years in South Carolina as a fundy, then I moved to North Carolina for college and then I went to grad school at the University of Georgia and lived there for 5 yrs... total of 27 years in the South. Now I live in the Northeast, and I see just as many crazy Christians up here... if not more because of the pressures that urban living puts on people.

 

Ever heard of Salt Lake City? It's not in the South... What about Chicago? Didn't D.L. Moody evangelize the world through his seminary there? I understand that Orange County, California also has a disproportionate number of evangelical Christians but nobody calls the OC backwards. The city I currently live in is rife with religious expressions one may call "fundamentalist."

 

Here's what I think... non-Southern people seem to have this notion that the South is still backwards and unprogressive in contrast to the rest of the country. Non-fundamentalists have this notion that fundamentalists are backwards... so non-Southern non-fundamentalists conflate Southern culture with fundamentalism when in reality "American Fundamentalism" is a nationwide movement.

 

 

 

besides... most of the "rural" United States is in the Midwest.

 

"reactionary," "authoritarian" and "conservative" are also good terms!

 

 

here's a great site from the University of Virginia that's got a brief outline, some web sources and a bibliography:

 

http://religiousmovements.lib.virginia.edu/nrms/fund.html

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As far as terms go, "fundie" or "fundiegelical" work okay for me, because they're descriptive enough without interfering with other definitions.

 

I'm aware that Fundamentalists (with a capital 'F') are a particular group based on an early-20th century American religious movement that was attempting to return to "the fundamentals" of Xianity. Any given Fundamentalist may or may not be a "fundie", which is more of a derogatory term meaning "zealous nutjob".

 

I don't think it matters, really, what denomination or religious stripe a "fundie" is - Catholics can be fundies, Muslims can be fundies, Wiccans can be fundies. It's more of an attitude than a denomination. Similar deal with "fundiegelical", although in my mind that label gets a little closer to being used only for Xians, as it's a combo of "Fundamentalist" and "Evangelical", and is intended to imply the worst features of both of them.

 

If I need to be more specific I suppose I tend to use whole phrases, like "literalist psycho" or "YEC dipshit" or "narcissistic misogynist neocon backwoods uncle-fucking Methodist".

 

"Fundie" is a bit easier to spell. ;)

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Contrary to popular belief, fundamentalism is no more rampant in the American South than it is anywhere else in the country.

 

...

 

Here's what I think... non-Southern people seem to have this notion that the South is still backwards and unprogressive in contrast to the rest of the country. Non-fundamentalists have this notion that fundamentalists are backwards... so non-Southern non-fundamentalists conflate Southern culture with fundamentalism when in reality "American Fundamentalism" is a nationwide movement.

 

You seem like you know your shit, and yes, I'll agree with you that fundamentalism is a nationwide epidemic, but there is truth to the idea that it is more prevalent in the south. I'm surprised that having lived there for 27 years you don't automatically see it.

 

I lived in the south for at least a total of 15 to 20 of my 37 years and 10 of the last 12 were in the deep south...northeast Alabama. I moved to Los Angeles 2 years ago and let me tell you all about the culture shock.

 

You see, in the small Alabama town where I was imprisoned (of my own free but moronic will) for those 10 years, fundamentalism was the accepted norm. Sure, there were varying degrees, but if you were not praying before your meal at the local Ryan's or were seen leaving the local Ryan's as the church crowd poured in or, skydaddy forbid, were seen leaving the local ABC EVER, you were branded as a heretic and garnered the disdain and unwanted haughty prayers of every snaggletoothed, mullet-wearing, biblethumper in town.

 

I still go back on a regular basis to visit my children (imprisoned there unbeknownst to them) and get regular reminders of what I suffered through for a decade. You see, you can have lived in the south for your entire life, but once you're gone, you tend to forget what your were entrenched in. I'm disgusted by the way Christian fundamentalism leaks into every aspect of life in the south. The two DJ's of a popular morning show on the radio in Alabama pride themselves on being Christians and mention Jesus, God, and "Big Red", with every even breath but then crack off color jokes with the odd. I know a DJ on a popular radio show in Atlanta who is most definitely a liberal, but plays up to the conservative right all morning long. Sure, he has to make a buck, but isn't it intellectual prostitution? Fundamentalism is a major part of life in the south, no getting around it.

 

The problem is not that there aren't just as many fundies in other parts of the country as there are in the south. The problem is that the south welcomes them and revels in the fundamentalism. You'll be hard pressed to walk down the street in Hollywood and start spouting about "homosexual sin" and not be confronted by an angry mob. Do it in Atlanta and that mob will probably have you on their shoulders, cheering you on.

 

Yes, so I'm being a little dramatic, the point is still valid. Fundamentalism is far more acceptable in the south than in any other part of the country despite the equivalence of local populations of fundies around the country or even the world.

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Strong Religion is a book by R. Scott Appleby which is the culmination of Martin Marty's 1980-90's "Fundamentalism Project," and I think that this book pretty much sinks the term "fundamentalist"... unless by "fundamentalist" you mean Christians who actually call themselves "fundamentalists" (increasingly rare) and who subscribe to the so-called "Fundamentals."

 

I think they've shown pretty convincingly that "fundamentalism" doesn't work at least as a comparative term.. because if you look around world religions you can see "family resemblances" but you can't find a single criterion which all so-called "fundamentalists" share. What's a Hindu fundamentalist really, anyway?

 

Or, is the United States government fundamentalist... since we appeal to a central document for the rule of law or since we think uncritically that the equality of people is "self-evident" from "the natural law of reason"?

 

The thread behind this thread is the one which snookums started entitled "look what the fundy Jew is up to" so I have been primarily objecting to the term "Jewish Fundamentalist," because the Haredim don't really subscribe to the same type of beliefs that evangelical Christians hold. I would similarly object to the term "Islamic Fundamentalist," because I think the so-called movement is more of a political reaction to the colonialism of the West which just happens to wear Islamic clothes. Or, are all Muslims fundamentalists because they look to the Qu'ran as God's inerrant "word?"

 

i think all the term really accomplishes is to separate us "enlightened" types from the people we think are "backwards."

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agnostic,

 

I'm not denying that there aren't alot of "fundies" in the South... I just see them in equal concentrations just about everywhere I go in the US outside of the south too.

 

L.A. is totally a bubble with its own culture (although didn't the "Pentecostal Movement" begin there at Azusa street back in 1906 and still has a powerful following?), Seattle, D.C. along with NYC and Boston... but pretty much every other major city or town in the USA still caters largely to the evangelical culture. ATL is way more progressive now, btw, with a vibrant gay culture that's not afraid to express itself publicly. "New South," holla!

 

I'm just saying, also look in the Midwest for those "crackpot Christians": Oklahoma (Tulsa), Kansas, Idaho, Nebraska, Montana, the Dakotas, Utah, etc... I think there's just as many.

 

Why single out the South, or as the original article that started this post does, connect modern Southern Evangelical theology with ante-bellum, slave-holding Christianity... when "Yankee" Christians hated African Americans just as bad and were just as racist and used "liberal" policies also to create institutionalized American racism in the 19th century?

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Yes, so I'm being a little dramatic, the point is still valid. Fundamentalism is far more acceptable in the south than in any other part of the country despite the equivalence of local populations of fundies around the country or even the world.

 

With all due respect, I think that LA has also been accused of being it's own little microcosm...a culture shock for you indeed, coming from Bama!

 

I still disagree with you, though, I've not experienced anything different in Lovely, Diverse, "Integrated" Philly, and I grew up in a small town that has since been "swallowed" by ATL. There's still a church on every corner and large chunk of my students still argue with me over the infallibility of the bible. Hell, most of my colleagues in my dept. now have also been seminary students...in my program in GA? Nary a one.

It's weird...when I first moved up here, I was thinking "FREEDOM!!! No more fundies!!!!" I've been sorely disappointed and very surprised.

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I'm just saying, also look in the Midwest for those "crackpot Christians": Oklahoma (Tulsa), Kansas, Idaho, Nebraska, Montana, the Dakotas, Utah, etc... I think there's just as many.

 

Indeed, I can tell you that there's quite a few fundies in Minnesota. I grew up around them.

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I appreciate what everyone is saying about how it might be easier to identify a 'fundie'...by their environment......"now I'm sounding like Richard Attenborough - the English Naturalist who makes those great TV shows"

"I love the way he crouched down to the creatures level and whispers" ....(....)

 

anyway....I'm curious how American's view the fundie in places far and wide...outside of the States?

 

In AUst..we don't have a 'special' territory...at least not as specific as down south...the bugger's will 'migrate'...let me tell you.

:HaHa:

 

 

i love the title 'spiritual warrior'.....I enjoy the irony of the fundie labelling themselves in ways that show how loopy their 'cause' is.

At the same time..the label hints at the 'blood shed' or 'force' required to 'win'..

 

I'm also looking at it from the perspective of someone knocking on your front door...and says...'hello, I'm your friendly neighbourhood spriritual warrior...and I want to save your soul'......

wouldn't it make a person immediately step back...Whoohoa...!

Thats another reason I think a new title is needed....eveyone has become too famililar with the ol' fundamentalist that its almost a pet name.

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anyway....I'm curious how American's view the fundie in places far and wide...outside of the States?

 

In AUst..we don't have a 'special' territory...at least not as specific as down south...the bugger's will 'migrate'...let me tell you.

:HaHa:

I've heard that Queensland was pretty conservative, and had its share of religious nuts. Just didn't know how it compared to the rest of Australia. Maybe it's not as bad as in the US?

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Kristian kooks, Loopy Nuts, Toopers (A word made by me) loon, freakoid, gyn-hater (Another of my coined words) Dotty religious worshippers, Jesus-hags (Yet another of mine) and Groanbarks (Another word coined by me.) all doe sme nicely.

 

But fundamentalists is a classic word for religious crazies. This word will never go away for a long time, I feel.

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anyway....I'm curious how American's view the fundie in places far and wide...outside of the States?

 

In AUst..we don't have a 'special' territory...at least not as specific as down south...the bugger's will 'migrate'...let me tell you.

:HaHa:

I've heard that Queensland was pretty conservative, and had its share of religious nuts. Just didn't know how it compared to the rest of Australia. Maybe it's not as bad as in the US?

 

Yeah..I think we've chatted about this on Walkaway...

 

I'm a fairly new citizen of the state...but from what I read and hear......although Queensland appears fairly 'conservative'....its more 'corrupt' than 'conservative'......lots of dirt under the bed, lots of police & official rip offs, Queensland notorious leader- Joe BJelke-Petersen was at one point up on charges for perjury...read here Its interesting ...old bastard. :HaHa:

But I guess that's quite similar to what happens in the States....the 'religous' are often convicted or up on charges...! ($ ...the root of all....) :HaHa:

 

Its funny ...one Australia's MEga Chruch is not in Queensland...but further down the coast in NSW - Sydney. I htink the other one is on the Western Aust.

Imo........there isn't the same concentration of 'xian's'....of a peculiar bend (crackpots)...in the same kind of way as I read about ...in the States.

 

When I compare my current neighbourhood with my previous one.....'down south'...the North is definately more 'rednecky'......but not necessarily the chruch attendin' kind.

:shrug:

 

I've travelled way up North....to the top end.............there's very few chruches up there! Lots of backpacker's thou'....*hehe*

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Funny, I can't get the quote function to work...

 

Snookums said "although Queensland appears fairly 'conservative'....its more 'corrupt' than 'conservative'......lots of dirt under the bed, lots of police & official rip offs, Queensland notorious leader- Joe BJelke-Petersen was at one point up on charges for perjury...read here Its interesting ...old bastard.

But I guess that's quite similar to what happens in the States....the 'religous' are often convicted or up on charges...! ($ ...the root of all....) "

Yup, sounds pretty much like things in the States; conservative, sure, but also corrupt!

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