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Fanaticism


Guest MadameX
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You become convinced that history, the universe, and the Almighty God behind it all are squarely on your side. You become convinced that yourself and a narrow elite circle of individuals like yourself are the only ones who truly get it, and therefore have a mandate to hammer everyone else with the truth. That aside, I guess it's a combination of personality factors, emotional issues, and other shit. Sociologically, I would guess that they don't have much else going for them, but one thing they can accomplish is to go out and kick ass for the Lord.

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What Vomit Comet said was good. A book I read awhile back was "Bondage of the Mind - How Old Testament Fundamentalism Shackles the Mind and Enslaves the Spirit" by R D Gold. While the book is directed towards Orthodox Jews, the principles are the same for fundamentalists of any religion. As far as "getting over fanaticism", it's a matter of deprogramming. I did tons of reading, and it takes time and thinking. It's not easy, but definitely worth it.

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I was extremely fanatic for many years.

 

The drive was that I wanted so much, from the deepest of my heart, to get as close to God as possible.

 

It didn't work...

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I was extremely fanatic for many years.

 

The drive was that I wanted so much, from the deepest of my heart, to get as close to God as possible.

 

It didn't work...

 

Do the reactions of people around you make any difference when one is in that kind of emotional state?

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Do the reactions of people around you make any difference when one is in that kind of emotional state?

What do you mean? Can you rephrase that?

 

Can anyone do anything for someone like that? What can people do when there is a fanatic in their midst? Is there any reasoning possible, or just get out of the way? I see the potential for danger in this kind of crazy!

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Can anyone do anything for someone like that? What can people do when there is a fanatic in their midst? Is there any reasoning possible, or just get out of the way? I see the potential for danger in this kind of crazy!

It is dangerous. And it is very difficult to show a fanatic that he or she is wrong. That's the problem of being fanatic, the person thinks he or she is always right.

 

Change has to come from inside. But it can be brought about by consistent information and facts. Most fanatics have a desire for the elusive ultimate truth, so if you present arguments, it will not show immediately, but hopefully in a few years the arguments will build up and eventually topple the fantasy.

 

Personally, I tend to stay clear of the extreme people. There are a lot of moderate and sensible humans out there, and I rather spend time with them than crackpot religious people.

 

I have several religious friends, but they're all very mild and very far from hardcore. We can talk about other things than just "Teh Bible is God's wurds!"

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I think that fanaticism of any kind is like a drug. You get hooked on ideas which feed into your ego. That "I" am right and most other people are wrong gives a sense of power. It is exhilarating to think you have finally found truth with a capital "T". Then you are able to ignore your real problems and don't have to look at them very closely.

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The same thing that makes someone a religious fanatic is the same thing that makes someone a drug addict; there is an intense emotional high that one gets when they are convinced they are right and have the direct line to their god.

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No, you can't reason with them. If you're tactful, you might be able to plant a few seeds in their mind that might eventually germinate.

 

What you're fighting against is not their doctrinal understanding, you're fighting against their "personal experience" with God. They've gotten "saved" and that emotional experience can rarely be contended with. So it doesn't matter what doctrinal contradictions you throw at them, they still KNOW God is real because of their emotional experience of getting saved.

 

This was the wall I had around me as a fundamental pentecostal. Whatever things I didn't understand about the bible didn't matter, since I *knew* God was real due to my salvation experience. When it came to supposed problem scriptures, I figured I simply lacked the understanding or interpretation of those scriptures. Also, the experience of speaking in tongues doubles the thickness of that wall, which makes it all the more harder to break through.

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No, you can't reason with them. If you're tactful, you might be able to plant a few seeds in their mind that might eventually germinate

 

This is true, but you seem almost hopeless in the rest of your post. The truth, even though they appear to be unaffected by it, won't go away. It simmers in them for a long time. Time, maturity and circumstance can have a profound effect. If they are honest and courageous, they will eventually return to those words in a quest for truth.

 

If not , so what - you've done your job.

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No, you can't reason with them. If you're tactful, you might be able to plant a few seeds in their mind that might eventually germinate.

 

What you're fighting against is not their doctrinal understanding, you're fighting against their "personal experience" with God. They've gotten "saved" and that emotional experience can rarely be contended with. So it doesn't matter what doctrinal contradictions you throw at them, they still KNOW God is real because of their emotional experience of getting saved.

 

This was the wall I had around me as a fundamental pentecostal. Whatever things I didn't understand about the bible didn't matter, since I *knew* God was real due to my salvation experience. When it came to supposed problem scriptures, I figured I simply lacked the understanding or interpretation of those scriptures. Also, the experience of speaking in tongues doubles the thickness of that wall, which makes it all the more harder to break through.

 

Yup this was me all over too. I was a fanatic, and looking back at some conversations I had in my earlier years, I could tell my family thought I was nuts, but I was sitting in my indignant little self-righteous box looking out on the world of darkness and sin and scoffing. I literally had no life for years on end living in that bubble. Im so glad to just be out of it now, to feel relaxed about life and people.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Is it possible to be a fundie and not a fanatic? Somehow, those two go together in my mind.

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What drives one with such religious zeal? And how did you get over it?

 

 

The fanaticism I experienced in Pentecostal churches was a cult of personality built around the pastors of the churches I attended. Although they operated under the guise of mainstream religion, everything was built on the pastor's charisma and his promises to work miracles. He had something we didn't and he strung us along with promises we could have the same gifts if we believed with purity and gave our money to God. Of course, in order to give to God, you have to give to the pastor. It's the classic cult scam. Empty promises aimed at raising money. Hardcore fanaticism is a result of the pastor's teachings aimed at controlling and fleecing his followers. It's all about control and the reason for that control is each follower represents big money. Even if that person is poor, if the pastor can get a weekly 10% plus offerings, he is making out like a bandit.

 

How did I get over it? Easy. Even the biggest suckers should eventually realize they're getting ripped off. This is why fundamentalists must make new converts rapidly. The vast majority of people aren't going to stick with the program for long, so they're forced to find new suckers every day. The push to bring in new converts is the same push dubious marketing schemes use. The cheapest and most effective way to gain a short term following is through referrals, so preachers hammer their audience to bring in guests just as hard as they hammer them for tithes and offerings knowing only a very small portion of new listeners will stick around.

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I was a fanatical fundy when I was in the cult of the cross. Nothing bolsters one's ego and helps convince you that you are god's chosen like hearing someone say 'amen' every time you quote scripture or you or blast someone's way of life in the name of the Lord, of course. This pretty much writes into stone that god is on your side.

 

When everyone stands around patting each other on the back for ridiculing someone's way of life in the name of the Lord, someone needs to step in and tell them that what they are doing is not right morally or christian-like. I think being a conservative nut-case fundy is what flipped me over to being a raving liberal lunatic. It took me a couple of years to lose most of that venom as a fundy. I felt like I had to still argue over everything, a carry over of apologetics I'm sure. I've tried to tone it down a bit over time. Sometimes I am successful and other times I am not. But the madness of a fanatical fundy is contagious, which is one reason so many fundies have weekend retreats to get a recharge of the Holy Spirit and get back out on the street with all that fundiness to share with the unsaved. Westboro Baptist Church is the best example I can come up with right now for fanatical fundies. Fanaticism will not go away so long as the fundy thinks god is their copilot.

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For me, I had an amazing conversion experience that I still attribute to God. However, I believe the church twisted my experience for the benefit of their own church. They used my zeal for their own ends. It took me 16 years to wake up. Constant disillusionment over the course of many years caused me to question what I was doing. However, the church explains much of this away and keeps a person in a confused state, parroting the mantras they are taught. They seem to make sense about 98% of the time until they don't and then you begin to wonder why it doesn't work 100% of the time. Some people are happy with the 98% and just keep going forever. Some say, "Hey, if this was perfect like they say, it would be 100%. Then, after you are out you realize the 98% was a lot of smoke and mirrors and even more percentage falls away.

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No, you can't reason with them. If you're tactful, you might be able to plant a few seeds in their mind that might eventually germinate.

 

 

"If you could have a rational conversation with a christian, there would be no more christians." ~~Dr. House

 

 

 

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Do the reactions of people around you make any difference when one is in that kind of emotional state?

What do you mean? Can you rephrase that?

 

Can anyone do anything for someone like that? What can people do when there is a fanatic in their midst? Is there any reasoning possible, or just get out of the way? I see the potential for danger in this kind of crazy!

 

 

I would say to honestly try and understand their point of view. Don't judge and don't argue.

 

 

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No, you can't reason with them. If you're tactful, you might be able to plant a few seeds in their mind that might eventually germinate.

 

What you're fighting against is not their doctrinal understanding, you're fighting against their "personal experience" with God. They've gotten "saved" and that emotional experience can rarely be contended with. So it doesn't matter what doctrinal contradictions you throw at them, they still KNOW God is real because of their emotional experience of getting saved.

 

This was the wall I had around me as a fundamental pentecostal. Whatever things I didn't understand about the bible didn't matter, since I *knew* God was real due to my salvation experience. When it came to supposed problem scriptures, I figured I simply lacked the understanding or interpretation of those scriptures. Also, the experience of speaking in tongues doubles the thickness of that wall, which makes it all the more harder to break through.

 

Yepper. I used to be fundamental pentecostal myself. It's a miracle anyone breaks out of it at all. I think they take legitimate experiences with God and use it to build their kingdoms.

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Is it possible to be a fundie and not a fanatic? Somehow, those two go together in my mind.

 

Yes, but perhaps you have to be raised in it to not be a fanatic. The experience of getting into fundamentalism as a teen or adult has a tendency to solidify it IMO.

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Is it possible to be a fundie and not a fanatic? Somehow, those two go together in my mind.

 

Yes, but perhaps you have to be raised in it to not be a fanatic. The experience of getting into fundamentalism as a teen or adult has a tendency to solidify it IMO.

 

This is most likely true. I was raised in a fanatical Christian church environment but I never went so far as to become what I would consider a fanatic. That is, I never participated in "soul winning", -I never tried to preach to anyone or convert them, although I felt guilty for not doing so.

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I would say to honestly try and understand their point of view. Don't judge and don't argue.

 

I agree with this. I used to argue and try to make them see what I see, but that is just as bad as them doing it to me. Now I try to understand their point of view without judgment, and I constantly remind myself I believed the same way not so long ago.

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