Thursday, June 14, 2007

Frustrations Part 2 - Fundamentalism

So my last post ended off with my frustrations that religiously inclined people are fanatics and what that word entailed.

I would now like to focus on the next stereotype people generally use to refer to anyone who seriously practices their faith.


Unfortunately this is a word that is thrown about without many people knowing what exactly it means.

The term "fundamentalism" and "fundamentalists" emerged in the early 20th century. It is a Christian movement that tried to get "back to the source" of Christianity, basing their beliefs on the 5 "fundamentals" which is where the name comes from.

These 5 fundamentals are:

  • The inerrancy of scripture
  • Christ was born of a virgin and is Divine
  • One is saved by faith alone through grace alone
  • Christ rose from the dead
  • Christ's miracles and life are all true events.
The problem, however, is that the term "fundamentalist" is not used in this sense at all. In a certain sense, this is quite unfair to Christian Fundamentalists.

I am of the opinion that the fundamentalists (not all though, this is my basic experience though of many) is that there is this idea of imposition of will and lack of dialogue that is in Christian Fundamentalism that is definitely present in Jihadist Islam.

This similarity leads me to the view of what people see as fundamentalism. Fundamentalism is seen as anyone who believes in what they see as obviously false views and is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that the entire world submits to this view. This is, really, though, fanaticism as discussed in the previous post and nothing else.

However, people look at Fundamentalist Christians now and paint them as fanaticists who, if they could, would lay siege to the whole world to ensure that everyone submit to Christ to be saved.

First, that is a false perception of Fundamentalist Christians that has been tainted by a false understanding of fundamentalism that has been attached to them through Jihadist Islam.

Secondly, Fundamentalist Christians that I have known, and I can really only speak from experience here, would not be the type to kill you if they could if you would not submit to faith as they have.

This brings me now to the view that all religious people who hold views contrary to the norms of culture are fundamentalists and bad.

However, as shown in the previous post, Christians and Catholics are not fanaticists. They want to propose their truth to the world. Christianity is about proposition through the aid of reason.

I bet you if you ask anyone who labels and devout Christian as a fundamentalist, they would be prescribing the word "fanatic" over "fundamentalism".

The other big issue is that many non-Christians believe that "fundamentalists" are dangerous because they don't think and base all they believe on a literal interpretation of the Bible.

First, I would like to point out that Catholics do not take the entire Bible literally. We do not think that God created the Earth in 7 literal days.

But this leads us to a deeper, perhaps the deepest, objection to Christians in a pluralistic society. Christians, they say, are people who don't think, they lack the true use of reason.

This will bring me to the 3rd topic which I hope to write on Friday. Are Christians reasonable?


1 comment:

Geoff said...

"First, I would like to point out that Catholics do not take the entire Bible literally. We do not think that God created the Earth in 7 literal days."

What you meant to say was:

Catholics are at liberty to believe that creation took a few days or a much longer period, according to how they see the evidence, and subject to any future judgment of the Church (Pius XII’s 1950 encyclical Humani Generis 36–37).

All interpretations are based on the literal, but not the literalistical. First, we must be attentive to the content and unity of the whole Scripture. This is necessary because of God’s plan borne out in Salvation History. This unifying plan unites the different passages and books of Scripture. Second, we must read the Scripture within the living Tradition of the whole Church… because Scripture was written in the heart of God’s covenant family, the Church, which lives and moves through time, ever retaining the Apostolic Tradition [all the Pope and all Bishops can trace their lineadge back to the Apostles themselves] in her memory. Finally, we must be attentive to the analogy of faith, which is the coherence of the truths of divine revelation. God does not reveal mutually contradictory truths
First, we must determine the literal sense of the passage at hand by taking into account (1) the conditions of their time and culture, (2) the literary genres in use at that time, and (3) the modes of feeling, speaking, and narrating then current. Inseparable from and built upon the literal sense of Scripture, there are three additional spiritual senses that we may draw from the sacred page: (1) the allegorical, (2) the moral, and (3) the anagogical.