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PaulS

Anger Toward Fundamentalists

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I am okay with close-minded people. After all, i were one :blink:

 

Seriously, i think people have a God-given right to be close-minded. i think it is us the open-minded with the problem cause if we were open enough, the close-minded people would be welcome to come in. :rolleyes:

 

Really seriously, i think we are all open-minded, perhaps just some moreso than others. I have no anger toward those who identify as fundamental Christians. I have to think that if it were not for grace, or genes, or upbringing, conditioning , experiences, or a combination of all of these things, how would i be different?

 

Joseph

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I have no anger toward those who identify as fundamental Christians. I have to think that if it were not for grace, or genes, or upbringing, conditioning , experiences, or a combination of all of these things, how would i be different?

 

Joseph

That is a very relevant point, Joseph, and one which in a similiar way I often to substantiate acceptance of refugees to our country.

 

Us white anglo-saxon Australians were simply lucky to have been born here, so how would we feel about refugees if we had been the ones born in a country torn apart by war or dictators, savaged by famine, subject to fanatical relgious rule, and/or simply want a half-decent life for my children).

 

Similarly I should regard myself as lucky to be on the other side of the fence when it comes to fundy righteousness, with a sense of compassion for those not so lucky. Maybe that will help me along in dealing with things.

 

Cheers

Paul

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George wrote: I would argue for more tolerance of fundamentalism. I think that some people have a psychological need for certitude. A fuzzy, ambiguous belief system is not, IMO, suited for everyone.

 

Doing some thinking oin this. Maybe more to say on it later. But for now, I don't feel I'm intolerant of fundamentalist...I'm pretty much live and let live toward them or anyone else holding whatever beliefs they choose...

HOWEVER..

that is not to say I'm tolerant of, or think I should be tolerant of, behaviors and actions arising out of those beliefs that cause harm to others or seek to deny others the same respect in return.

 

Jenell

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Just a couple of thoughts from my real-life experiences:

 

As most of us already know, modern Christian fundamentalism grew out of a reaction to the Enlightenment. It was (and is) a defensive posture that attempted to state what doctrines within the Christian religion were non-negotiable, doctrines that could not be changed or let go of without also letting go of "the faith." But, of course, fundamentalism has grown into much more - a cultural, political, media movement that tries to define itself as either the only or the true Christians.

 

My wife's family is VERY Southern Baptist. My father-in-law is a deacon and my wife's brother is a deacon. I know from my conversations with them that they see themselves as protectors of the faith, guardians of the true Christian religion. This is the context in which my wife grew up.

 

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), she married me and I have been in transition away from fundamentalism for about 10 years now (though I have had "pebbles in my shoes" from it all of my life). So my wife has also been influenced by my foray into Borg, Spong, Crossan, Dowd, Paine, Channing, McLaren, etc. She is becoming "open-minded" about *some* things. But she also feels strongly that our children would do better being raised in the Southern Baptist church for the very reason that, in her opinion, children need structure, rigid framework, unchanging boundaries, lines that should not be crossed. Maybe she is right, I don't know. So we still attend the biggest Southern Baptist church in our area for "our children's sake." Again, I don't know if we are really doing the right thing or not as far as our children go. I would love to have the PC children's Sunday School material but it is too cost prohibitive.

 

In attending this church, I find that I simply have to keep my opinions to myself most of the time. While I know that my opinions are no more than opinions (no matter how passionate I may be about them), if I voiced them, they would be considered heresy, an attack upon this church's "true faith". Nevertheless, these people are my brothers and sisters, loved by God, and are loving most of the time. Therefore, I don't harbor anger against them any more than I would against my children if they expressed what, to me, seemed to be wrong or incorrect beliefs. If those beliefs manifested themselves as harmful actions, I would be much more confrontational. But I've found that, in my experience, God is moving even in this church (ha ha!) and that I never stop learning from others, even if they hold to a rigid set of beliefs that they at least give mental assent to.

 

What I do do on occasion is to gentle insert a question that I myself have struggled with that may possibly also be a "pebble in the shoe" of these other brothers and sisters, especially if it is on a topic that I don't think reflects the teachings or lifestyle of Jesus. For instance, on the subject of homosexuality, I can say, "If we believe that Jesus gives us the most accurate picture of God and what God desires of us, what did Jesus have to say about homosexuality?" My goal is not to change their beliefs, but to, hopefully, point them to Jesus. Despite leaving fundamentalism, when and if I call myself a Christian, it is only insomuch as being a Christian points to Jesus as a Way. But my overall desire in still mixing with these fundies is simply to love them as they are and to encourage them to be faithful to follow Jesus. I would be angered if they became harmful, but that seldom happens. As long as they express "the fruit of the Spirit", I don't feel the need to take a confrontational approach or angered stance against them. Love is a more powerful change angent than anger anyway.

Edited by sbnr1
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Thank you, sbnr1.

You and a few others here help me with comments like this, toward seeking a positive ground for contact and communication with people in that religious community.

 

Jenell

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An entire branch of my family is fundamentalist, southern, Baptist, missionaries. Wow! I could probably fill this whole forum with things I've been told by them over the years, but that wouldn't really serve the purpose. :blink:

 

I too find that I feel anger toward the fundy group, and my own family members in particular. My immediate family members are not particularly religious, but this branch I mention ("the missionaries," as we call them at home lol) can be very in-your-face and downright offensive. I don't feel one way or another about what other people believe, as long as they respect my beliefs in return. I was always confused by the way they would come to "visit" us, and spend a week preaching at the dinner table, while we all sat uncomfortably and avoided eye contact.

 

With the ones my own age, we have a non-spoken agreement to just not talk about religion or politics anymore, and I have a good relationship with all of them and love being in contact with them. With the older generations (their parents, grandparents) I just can't deal anymore. I had to unsubscribe from one of them on FB because every day my newsfeed was filled up with things I found offensive, and didn't want to read.

 

What has always made me sad though, is that as these people have had their kids and raised their families, they haven't allowed the kids a lot of experiences with outside people - non-Christians (other than to convert) or people from different branches of Christianity. The grandparent generation started the missionary fieldwork, and four generations later, the kids have all been raised in a bubble. I often felt the kids (even the ones my age now) were not given the opportunity to see what's out there for themselves, and make their own choices. They hate gay people, democrats, outspoken women, people who don't believe what they believe - for no other reason but because it's the only thing they've been taught.

 

However, I will admit a bit of envy of them from time to time. They belong to a close-knit church community, which is something I've always longed for. Their passion for Christ, though sometimes (in my opinion) inflammatory and/or misdirected, has a beauty to it that I can't always deny.

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Raven, i used to think that too....that last part you mention...but, no, I don't beleive they have that, really. Its all part of the show, the act, I've seen too many within their own midst get torn to pieces eventually...certainly any that dare to start to think for themselves, question...and vicious gossip in that community can destroy a person there faster than you can blink, all over someone just deciding they don't like another. It's a false, illusory image of all happy family.

 

Jenell

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Jenell,

 

You're probably right. Deep down I know that's probably true. I think sometimes, when forging your own way is difficult and lonley, and even maybe socially isolating, it's easy to look at those who aren't doing the same thing and see the easy-looking parts. Look at them! All the thinking is done! They're part of a community!

 

But yes - once they start asking the hard questions, they'll probably find themselves outside that fold too. Good point. A lot of these super-churches are likely warm and welcoming as long as you don't think or say anything different. Maybe not all of them (I hope not) but likely some, at least.

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I would just add that a theology that involves certitude, clarity and authority satisfies the needs of many people. Not everyone is comfortable with doubt, ambiguity and no authoritative sources for answers.

 

George

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George,

 

You make a good point. For some people, asking "Why?" leads to discomfort, because answers don't always come so easily. If you're in an environment that produces information as absolute, the worry disappears and is replaced by certainty.

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For some people, asking "Why?" leads to discomfort, because answers don't always come so easily. If you're in an environment that produces information as absolute, the worry disappears and is replaced by certainty.

 

This is why I propose tolerance, even for Fundamentalists, but with limits. We should not, IMO, tolerate hate and we should not tolerate someone imposing their views on the rest of us.

 

George

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This is why I propose tolerance, even for Fundamentalists, but with limits. We should not, IMO, tolerate hate and we should not tolerate someone imposing their views on the rest of us.

 

George

 

George,

 

If I say to you "I will tolerate your existance", what is your immediate gut reaction?

 

P.S. I hope you trust me on this one.

 

Myron

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Myron,

 

I meant 'tolerate' vs. 'condemn,' 'accept' vs. 'reject,' 'understand' vs. 'challenge.'

 

George

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Myron,

 

I meant 'tolerate' vs. 'condemn,' 'accept' vs. 'reject,' 'understand' vs. 'challenge.'

 

George

 

George,

 

Yes, agreed. That is a good place to work from. Thank's again.

 

Myron

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