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Old 07-23-2001, 04:14 PM   #11
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Originally posted by Ron Garrett:
<STRONG>I used to think that the key to elminating fundamentalism was to highlight the difference between modern fundamentalism and authentic historic Christianity, except most fundies are completely ignorant of the history of Christianity and indeed believe it is irrelevant. Then I thought the means was to illuminate the internal conflicts within scripture so that fundies could see that they can authentically choose a non-Pauline, non-fundamentalist position in their faith that is focused on the "love thy neighbor" and 1st John kind of "love" focus where love supercedes everything else. I soon realized that I had completely misunderstood the attractions of fundamentalism, which are better understood in the context of a military or fraternal organization, as opposed to any actual individual pursuit of spirituality.

1. Fundamentalism offers exclusivity. Ever notice how Unitarian Universalists come in for particular scorn from fundies? Fundies can't stand the notion that God would save everyone. It is very important to fundies that they are insiders with God and others are outside and they view the world in this manner. You are either one of them, or you are an agent, even if unwittingly, or Satan.

2. Fundamentalism offers the security of always being in the right. All questions are answered, all truths are known or can be known. There are no grey areas.

3. Fundamentalism offers an all-encompassing all-enveloping life style. Fundie churches rule your life 24x7, and every minute you spend in fundie activity gives reassurance about your insider status with God. Since there is often no professional track for the clergy, you can rise through the ranks from parking lot attendant to assistant pastor if you engage in enough conspicous acts of piety and service, particularly to the pastor who is always inclined to surround himself with toadies to whom he grants power over the pliable. Thus those with self-esteem issues can feel better through lording over others and be admired for it.

4. Fundamentalism encourages the imposition of its world view by force and subterfuge because the fundies see themselves as agents of God almighty in a demon infested world, and as long as you serve Satan you have no rights and anything they do to you is justified.

Given the above, it's little wonder that fundies could care less about the facts of their faith. Actual spiritual exploration is not what it's about. It is about spiritual arrival on the cheap. It's much more about feeling smugly superior than it is about actually knowing God or about a "get out of hell free" card. Fundamentalism appeals to the smallness of people. They are the modern Pharisees, more concerned with their own status in the spiritual community than with the salvation of anyone else's soul.

To me these are the key issues with fundamentalism. It is not the belief in a spiritual mythology. It is the belief that outsiders have no value except as potential converts and that the freedom outsiders want is actually slavery to Hell, so denying those freedoms is not only right, but a divine command. They see outsiders as the enemy and they see themselves in a holy war. The only reason it doesn't regularly break out into open vioence in the streets of America is that they lack the political clout to get away with it. Make no mistake. If they ever gain real power they will drag us back to the dark ages.

Here in North Carolina the state legislature has just approved a bill allowing the posting of the Ten Commandments in the public schools under the guise of "historical significance." The toadies of the religious right that made this happen could care less about the religious diversity of the state or the establishment clause. They diasgree with the clause and think that the establishment of fundamentalist Christianity is the best thing that could happen to America. Unless we learn to act as a group as they have, we will end up living in a world made in their image. They would have done so already if not for the fact that fundies are not just intellectually lazy, but often politically lazy as well (requires too much thinking).

I encourage everyone with an interest in free thought to join American Atheists, the Humanists, Freedom from Religion, or all of the above and more. One thing we as aAmericans should know better than anyone, freedom demands eternal vigilance.</STRONG>
When I read the so-called justification
for the posting of the ten commandments in the schools in the Charlotte Observer,
I was totally amazed at the shear audacity
of those involved in the pressuring of the legislative process that went into this stupidity.

I have said it before and will continue to
say it over and over, if fundies cant get the legislation they want passed coming in the front door, they now have the resources and power base to simply go around to the back door.

There has been plenty of legislation that has been tied to other bills and codes in a
covert manner that have been passed without anyone being the wiser, and these are usually
Faith based programs and funding.

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Old 07-24-2001, 11:23 AM   #12
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Wolf wrote:
I have said it before and will continue to say it over and over, if fundies cant get the legislation they want passed coming in the front door, they now have the resources and power base to simply go around to the back door.
You see there is this part of me that won't let go of an expectation that religious people should want to be consistent with the tenets they espouse, but the fundies prove again and again that there is no sin they won't commit in service to their cause. They don't see the inconsistency between "thou shalt not kill" and assassinating abortionists or between "do not swear falsely" and lying their asses off under oath in a state legislature hearing. If fundies were at least Christians morally as well as nominally I could settle for peaceful coexistence.

[ July 24, 2001: Message edited by: Ron Garrett ]
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