Christian quickie

As an ultra-liberal person I’ve been glad to find myself not hating Christians. Thinking Christians are hate-filled nutjobs is pretty easy since a small group of fundamentalists took over the mainstream image of Christianity.

What I learned this week in the Drew Westen book I’ve been talking about non-stop is the a bit about the difference between “fundamentalists” and “evangelicals.” Sometimes people are both. But, if you’re like me at all and assume that both are driven by fear and hatred for people they don’t understand, driven by fear that what’s “theirs” will be taken away, driven by an unquestioning and freakishly disturbing willingness to submit to their authority figures no matter what those “leaders” say…?

Nope. That’s pretty much just the leaders and a lot of the followers of the Christian fundamentalists.* Think Pat Robertson.

The evangelicals aren’t likely to be anything like a lefty liberal, but they typically understand Jesus’ message as being about caring for the poor, loving your neighbor, and all those highly relevant Christian concepts.

Join me, won’t you, in moving the evangelicals into the “probably good-hearted people” category?

The fundamentalists, on the other hand, are the ones so often filled with fear and hate. Frightened lemmings following their wealthy selfish evil authorities off the cliff into a wonderful Disneyworld where everyone looks, talks, believes, sees, hears, sounds, tastes, smells, and shits like they all think they’re supposed to.

* As I was Googling, I came across some articles defending fundamentalist Christians, too. It sits right with me to not assume they are all scary fucking assholes. So, check this out as an example of how it’s possibly just a third of them perpetuating hate, fear, and selfishness: http://www.sullivan-county.com/news/

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Christian quickie

  1. While any group of individuals who may associate themselves with any church may or may not be “scary fucking assholes” at any particular point in time I’m not sure it is reasonable to stereotype their personality. Theologically the Evangelicals are a subset of fundamentalists; at least according to their own strict set of written principles: http://www.efca.org/about-efca/statement-faith

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  2. Your comment has me confused in about seven different ways.

    Are you disagreeing with something I’ve said? Are you correcting something I’ve said? Are you agreeing with something I’ve said?

    Was there something you were saying that I’m not understanding? What I “hear” you saying is “it’s not reasonable to stereotype” members of a church organization and you also shared the link to the statement of faith for the evangelical free church in America…

    Really, I’d like to respond but I’m just puzzled by your comment. Clear it up for me?

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    • Hmm…I’m not sure I was making one point.

      The evangelicals have become something very different from what they were when they unsuccessfully competed to become the official party of the German national socialists in the 1930s. The only thing they keep is the vague concept of being “marked by militant or crusading zeal”. This changed in the 1970s when Bebbington defined the quadrilateral of priorities for evangelical churches. Since that time the movement has done a lot to earn a capital “E” on their name. It is true that the fundamentalist doctrine I provided a link to is the current defining set of principles published by one group of churches which only boasts about 400,000 members (mostly in CA), but it is a smaller and easier document than the more comprehensive “Evangelical Manifesto” published by the National Association of Evangelicals. Here is a link to that: http://www.anevangelicalmanifesto.com/docs/Evangelical_Manifesto.pdf

      It may be important to distinguish modern evangelicals from historic evangelicals. By the nature of the principles the modern evangelicals served by the national body (NAE) in the US are fundamentalists. So one can say that all modern Evangelicals are Fundamentalists; this is a theological distinction and not one based on observations that one group may be” the ones so often filled with fear and hate. Frightened lemmings following their wealthy selfish evil authorities off the cliff into a wonderful Disneyworld where everyone looks, talks, believes, sees, hears, sounds, tastes, smells, and shits like they all think they’re supposed to.”

      I think the ideals come from core beliefs. Though most individuals will be vastly different from the mean in most groups (and who is different in what way will change with time) the basic thinking pattern of a group which proposes fundamentally flawed ideas will not be completely sane.

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  3. Ah, okay. I think when I wrote this (a while back) I was trying to understand how some individuals I knew could possibly even consider being a part of Christianity when it follows fundamentalist (and/or evangelical) guidelines.

    This is the trouble I have, and you say it well, “the basic thinking pattern of a group which proposes fundamentally flawed ideas will not be completely sane.” I suppose I go to other groups of beliefs that I tend to dismiss (though, now that I’m writing about it, I do distance myself from the individuals because of the same “not completely sane” quality) like the woman who told me she believed her heart palpitations came from the solar flares of a few weeks ago. I’m not suggesting we aren’t affected by all sorts of changes in our environment, but to believe we can identify one particular symptom based on one astronomical event just puzzled me.

    Anyway, thanks for the clarification. It was an interesting read. :-)

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