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nontheistpilgrim

Fundamental fundamentalism in all Christians?

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13 minutes ago, webmdave said:

 

In response to the original OP, I would say that yes, all "true" Christians at their core are fundamentalists. In this case I am not confining the use the word fundamentalist to its historical definition, but applying it in a looser, wider way to describe Christians who are convinced beyond question that the doctrine and dogma that defines their chosen slice of Christianity (the fundamentals of their denomination) is the purest and most accurate version of ultimate truth. And, these individuals are quite often self-appointed evangelists who believe their God has commamded them to share their "accurate" version of "truth" with "every creature." The quote above is a good example.

 

I hereby ‘like’ this post.  Evidently there is no ‘like’ button for posts made by our administrator @webmdave.  I wish there were, especially since you’ve been ‘coming out of your shell’ and commenting more lately!

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On 3/11/2019 at 4:14 AM, nontheistpilgrim said:

So my question is: do folks here agree that there is a fundamental fundamentalism underneath the surface of most Christians in the pews? And has this got implications for our attitude to curious people who come here?

 

I also am interested in any views about possible differences in this subject between USA and UK.

 

I would have to say no, believers of Christianity do have a common set of fundamental beliefs, but that commonality should not cause one to define them as fundamentalists. Basically, I see the question as two questions rolled into one when really they should be asked separately; Fundamentals versus Fundamentalist.

 

The second question I must say no, it should have zero bearing on your attitude towards people, in my opinion. I think you may be asking about our methodology of interacting with people, which may vary from person to person.

 

I have never been to the UK, so I cannot speak to any differences if any.

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41 minutes ago, Lefty said:

 

I would have to say no, believers of Christianity do have a common set of fundamental beliefs, but that commonality should not cause one to define them as fundamentalists. Basically, I see the question as two questions rolled into one when really they should be asked separately; Fundamentals versus Fundamentalist.

 

The second question I must say no, it should have zero bearing on your attitude towards people, in my opinion. I think you may be asking about our methodology of interacting with people, which may vary from person to person.

 

I have never been to the UK, so I cannot speak to any differences if any.

I like webmdave's viewpoint.

I would like to clarify in response to Lefty. I will maintain, for now, my original position.

It may be relevant that you have never been to UK. (I have never been to the USA which is why I added a proviso.)

I live in an English city and my time as a minister was amongst people who came from (or to a lesser extent were the offspring of people who came from) the Caribbean and Africa. You will know that these areas were heavily influenced by an evangelical / fundamentalist missionary push. I have witnessed the other end of this, to a small extent, in both the Caribbean and East Africa. As a minister I was continually 'battling' against what I perceived as a fundamentalist sub-ideology. Discussions about creationism, abortion, other faiths etc were not un-common. Many of these people watch 'THE GOD CHANNEL', as do some much more liberal Christians it seems to me.

Enough, I'm getting a bit angry and depressed!😨 Perhaps my fundamentalist upbringing is showing in a blinkered outlook?

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In my experience there are Christians that “say” they don’t take the Bible literally, but it seems to me they pick and choose what parts they acknowledge as myth and which parts they take literally. If they didn’t accept that some of the Bible is literally true and historically accurate, I don’t think they’d be Christians.

 

If they don’t believe Jesus was a real person/Deity why would they even claim to be a Christian? I think a person has to believe Jesus  and God are one and the same to identify as a Christian. At least that much seems to be required. 

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I have come to the conclusion that MANY people don't know why they believe what they believe.  It's just an assumption they got from someone else's assumptions, and is assumed to be the truth.  And if you question their assumptions, they may get angry and simply tune you out.  They don't want to do the work to figure out things for themselves, and don't want to admit they might be wrong about something.  They would rather live in their own fantasy world.

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6 hours ago, Weezer said:

I have come to the conclusion that MANY people don't know why they believe what they believe.  It's just an assumption they got from someone else's assumptions, and is assumed to be the truth.  And if you question their assumptions, they may get angry and simply tune you out.  They don't want to do the work to figure out things for themselves, and don't want to admit they might be wrong about something.  They would rather live in their own fantasy world.

Very true, I believe. Very sad, too.

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On 3/11/2019 at 10:16 AM, disillusioned said:

 

Its definitely the case that there are non-fundamentalists who take their religion seriously. A proper definition of "fundamentalism" may be difficult to pin down precisely,  but I'd agree that it has to do with more than mere engagement with religion.

 

 

 

 

Actually, Disillusioned, "Fundamentalsm" is a specific thing. In reference to Fundamentalist Christians, anyway, it refers to a new form of Bible Literalism that developed in the 1910s and 1920s in direct response to growing acceptance of Evolutionary Theory. The term "Fundamentalist" refers to a set of 12 books on theology called "The Fundamentals," published in 1911.

 

Fundamentalist Christians, in general, believe in a 7-Day Creation, a literal Adam and Eve, etc., etc. etc. Every word in the Bible is to be taken at face value.

 

There is a big overlap between "Fundamentalist" and "Evangelical" Christians, but the two aren't synomyous (many Evangelicals are okay with Evolution, for example). And there is a spectrum of practice.

 

A couple really important things:

 

1) I said a "new form of Bible Literalism" because it was different from understandings up until that time. The Jews, for example, who actually wrote Genesis, always understood it to be symbolic and allegorical. And Christian Fundamentalism introduced a new emphasis on the inerrancy, not just of overall concepts, but of actual words. Frankly, they misinterpret and overlook 2,000 years of historical interpretation. 

 

2) It may SEEM like "Fundies" are the "strictest" or "most observant" Christians, but this is not the case.

 

The Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches hold traditionally allegorical and mystical interpretations of scripture, are not Fundamentalist. (In fact, the Vatican formally accepted evolution in the 1960s). Yet both churches have strong focuses on devotion and asceticism, much deeper than anything in Fundamentalist churches.

 

It goes the other way, too .... lots of Fundamentalist Christians believe "every word of the Bible," but aren't particularly devoted otherwise, like certain groups in Appalachia. 

 

I wrote this quickly. Hope it makes sense.

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1 hour ago, ScaryBlackKitty said:

Actually, Disillusioned, "Fundamentalsm" is a specific thing. In reference to Fundamentalist Christians, anyway, it refers to a new form of Bible Literalism that developed in the 1910s and 1920s in direct response to growing acceptance of Evolutionary Theory. The term "Fundamentalist" refers to a set of 12 books on theology called "The Fundamentals," published in 1911.

 

Fundamentalist Christians, in general, believe in a 7-Day Creation, a literal Adam and Eve, etc., etc. etc. Every word in the Bible is to be taken at face value.

 

There is a big overlap between "Fundamentalist" and "Evangelical" Christians, but the two aren't synomyous (many Evangelicals are okay with Evolution, for example). And there is a spectrum of practice.

 

A couple really important things:

 

1) I said a "new form of Bible Literalism" because it was different from understandings up until that time. The Jews, for example, who actually wrote Genesis, always understood it to be symbolic and allegorical. And Christian Fundamentalism introduced a new emphasis on the inerrancy, not just of overall concepts, but of actual words. Frankly, they misinterpret and overlook 2,000 years of historical interpretation. 

 

2) It may SEEM like "Fundies" are the "strictest" or "most observant" Christians, but this is not the case.

 

The Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches hold traditionally allegorical and mystical interpretations of scripture, are not Fundamentalist. (In fact, the Vatican formally accepted evolution in the 1960s). Yet both churches have strong focuses on devotion and asceticism, much deeper than anything in Fundamentalist churches.

 

It goes the other way, too .... lots of Fundamentalist Christians believe "every word of the Bible," but aren't particularly devoted otherwise, like certain groups in Appalachia. 

 

I wrote this quickly. Hope it makes sense.

 

Oh, it makes sense. The thing is,  though,  that the term "fundamentalist" is not only used to refer to members of the "Christian Fundamentalist" movement you describe. 

 

In particular, fundamentalism is present in many different religions (and elsewhere). The term really just means that certain basic tenets ("fundamentals") have been identified,  and are adhered to literally and dogmatically. It's this kind of usage that I was referring to. The "Christian Fundamentalist" movement is a type of this, but it isn't the only type.

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7 hours ago, disillusioned said:

 

Oh, it makes sense. The thing is,  though,  that the term "fundamentalist" is not only used to refer to members of the "Christian Fundamentalist" movement you describe. 

 

 

Ah, yes. That's why I bolded "In reference to Christian Fundamentalism." I see, now, that you lowercased "fundamentalism" in your original comment, so we were on the same page after all!

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On 3/11/2019 at 6:14 AM, nontheistpilgrim said:

Now to my point. This morning they sang ‘How blest are they, and only they, who in his truth confide'. Rubbish! This is a theologically middle of the road church. I would be very surprised if many of the congregation were thinking about what they were singing. But not for the first time I found myself thinking "scratch the surface of the average person in the pew and you will find a fundamentalist".

 

I'm way, way late to this conversation, but it struck me because the church I still go to recently sang a song called "The Army of the Lord." It's a terribly old song resurrected for a newish Church of Christ hymnal (published by R. J. Stevens Music), and one verse says "Our elders, long in battle years / Alas, begin to fade; / But from the ranks, young men appear / And lead their first crusade."

 

It's literally a song from the time of the Crusades! I doubt that the song leader paid any attention to what it was about when he chose it... he just thought it sounded old and somehow "cool."

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On 3/11/2019 at 6:14 AM, nontheistpilgrim said:

Now to my point. This morning they sang ‘How blest are they, and only they, who in his truth confide'. Rubbish! This is a theologically middle of the road church. I would be very surprised if many of the congregation were thinking about what they were singing. But not for the first time I found myself thinking "scratch the surface of the average person in the pew and you will find a fundamentalist".

 

I'm way, way late to this conversation, but it struck me because the church I still go to recently sang a song called "The Army of the Lord." It's a terribly old song resurrected for a newish Church of Christ hymnal (published by R. J. Stevens Music), and one verse says "Our elders, long in battle years / Alas, begin to fade; / But from the ranks, young men appear / And lead their first crusade." The next verse: " Our brethren, dead beneath the plain / Whose spirits never died, / Rise up to march and shout again, / “O Christ, be glorified!”  /“O Christ, be glorified!”

 

It's literally a song from the time of the Crusades! I doubt that the song leader paid any attention to what it was about when he chose it... he just thought it sounded old and somehow "cool."

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On 3/11/2019 at 6:14 AM, nontheistpilgrim said:

Now to my point. This morning they sang ‘How blest are they, and only they, who in his truth confide'. Rubbish! This is a theologically middle of the road church. I would be very surprised if many of the congregation were thinking about what they were singing. But not for the first time I found myself thinking "scratch the surface of the average person in the pew and you will find a fundamentalist".

 

I'm way, way late to this conversation, but it struck me because the church I still go to recently sang a song called "The Army of the Lord." It's a terribly old song resurrected for a newish Church of Christ hymnal (published by R. J. Stevens Music), and one verse says "Our elders, long in battle years / Alas, begin to fade; / But from the ranks, young men appear / And lead their first crusade." The next verse: " Our brethren, dead beneath the plain / Whose spirits never died, / Rise up to march and shout again, / “O Christ, be glorified!”  /“O Christ, be glorified!”

 

It's literally a song from the time of the Crusades! I doubt that the song leader paid any attention to what it was about when he chose it... he just thought it sounded old and somehow "cool."

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On 3/11/2019 at 6:14 AM, nontheistpilgrim said:

Now to my point. This morning they sang ‘How blest are they, and only they, who in his truth confide'. Rubbish! This is a theologically middle of the road church. I would be very surprised if many of the congregation were thinking about what they were singing. But not for the first time I found myself thinking "scratch the surface of the average person in the pew and you will find a fundamentalist".

 

I'm way, way late to this conversation, but it struck me because the church I still go to recently sang a song called "The Army of the Lord." It's a terribly old song resurrected for a newish Church of Christ hymnal (published by R. J. Stevens Music), and one verse says "Our elders, long in battle years / Alas, begin to fade; / But from the ranks, young men appear / And lead their first crusade." The next verse: " Our brethren, dead beneath the plain / Whose spirits never died, / Rise up to march and shout again, / “O Christ, be glorified!”  /“O Christ, be glorified!”

 

It's literally a song from the time of the Crusades! I doubt that the song leader paid any attention to what it was about when he chose it... he just thought it sounded old and somehow "cool."

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It was my personal observation when I was attending services that folks did not seem to be too overly concerned with lyrics. They had a certain proclivity for morphing the meaning into what made sense to them at the time. 

 

I wonder where THAT comes from!  :rolleyes:

 

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On 3/11/2019 at 6:14 AM, nontheistpilgrim said:

So my question is: do folks here agree that there is a fundamental fundamentalism underneath the surface of most Christians in the pews?

My first inclination is to scream YES and run around the room crying "they're all complicit, they're all complicit." After I take a step back and admit that I was in fact scarred by fundamentalists I present you with this working theory:

 

A lot of people follow the ideological/theological lead of the majority of the persons that surround them.  There are a lot of Christians in the United States (I think less so? in UK - seems more secular, anyhow).  The larger the number of people in one main group/religion, the greater the likelihood that fringe groups or radical factions will form around said main group/religion.  Thus the bad apple fundies.  Most "normal" Christians are societal chicken shits that would rather just go along with things than really think about what they are doing. So the main-streamers don't ever really confront the fundies (unless someone shoots the abortion doctor, killing is wrong and all that).   To be clear, I view all fundies as bad apples, but they are the apples that fell first from the damned sacred tree, and all Christians are still looking at that same damned tree.  So are all Christians really fundies?  

 

 

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