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Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 06:02 AM
I'm reposting this thread from the Google Cache. Please be patient and wait until the whole thread is reconstructed before posting a new message. Thanks! (I'll tell you when it's done.)


I offer this topic with some trepidation in light of the last few days. Nevertheless, I think it might be a good bridge builder.

I have heard the term "Fundamentalist Christian" used here and on other AW forums recently, but it seems to me that the term has very different meanings to different people. To some, it has a very negative connotation. Yet others proudly take the label as their own.

Keeping in mind that you are defining a term and not describing people, what do you think of when you hear the term Fundamentalist Christian?

I'll start:

When I think of a Fundamentalist Christian, I think of someone who:

Believes the truth of God's word that:
Everyone is a sinner.
God loves everyone.
God sent Jesus to restore communication with humanity.
God gives everyone a choice whether to accept Him.
Follows the commandments of Jesus to:

Love God with all your heart.
Love others as (better than) yourself.
-----------------------------------------------------------
Please note: This forum is not Take It Outside. It is not a place to debate the correctness of another's belief. It's a place to explain what YOU understand the term to mean.

Rules of the Road: I will delete any post that is disrespectful of individuals. I will not delete a post if it has a negative view of the term. I will also delete any post that is disrespectful of what others believe the term means.

Examples:
I WILL NOT delete:

"I think Fundamentalist Christians are self-righteous bigots because..."
"Fundamentalist Christians walk on water because..."I WILL delete:

"Roger, you are a self-righteous bigot."
"If that's what you think, then you are an idiot."
"I am a Fundamentalist Christian, therefore I am better than you."
"I am NOT a Fundamentalist Christian, therefore I am better than you."Let's see if we can build some mutual understanding.

Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 06:03 AM
Part 2:



Just as a matter of curiousity, it may interest people to know that the "Oxford" or "Tractarian" movement leaders described themselves as "fundamentalists" in the eighteen hundreds. These were Anglican clergy, theologians, and devout Christians who sought a middle way between overt allegiance to Rome, the Pope, and the Catholic church, and a more formalized Anglican Protestantism that included an altar and auricular confession, among other reforms.

Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 06:04 AM
Part the third:



Roger: IMHO, you've nailed the definition quite neatly; it's how I describe myself. I'm also spiritfilled (much to the chagrin of my denominational brethren), but I tend to downplay that on writers' boards, as it always seems to cause problems.

But I thought, hey, you brought it up :D .

Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 06:04 AM
Number 4:


Roger, I'd agree with your post, as far as it goes; I think #1 also implies something that fundamentalist Christians believe, that the Bible as originally written is the inspired Word of God.

Although I think labels tend to be divisive, I'd say my beliefs are pretty much aligned with fundamental evangelical Christianity, though they are not limited to that. (I also tend toward the sacramental theology of the Anglicans.)

Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 06:05 AM
Again:



Quote:
When I think of a Fundamentalist Christian, I think of someone who:
Believes the truth of God's word that:
Everyone is a sinner.
God loves everyone.
God sent Jesus to restore communication with humanity.
God gives everyone a choice whether to accept Him.
Follows the commandments of Jesus to:
Love God with all your heart.
Love others as (better than) yourself.
This is also how I think of a Fundamentalist Christian. Unfortunately, many people hear the word "fundamentalist" and think of:

1. Hell-fire and brimstone, "You are going to Hell", shove my religion down your thoat zealots;

2. Intolerant, hate-filled, gay-bashing, book-burning idiots; and

3. Holier-than-thou, look down the nose at the sinners people.

Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 06:06 AM
More:



There's a disconnect between what the word means objectively and what it has come to be associated with in my mind.

Kind of similar to the word "jock." All it really should mean is "someone who plays sports." But it became the term that represents a lot of bad things. When I think of school bullies, I think of jocks. Of course not every athlete is a jerk, but at least in my school, there was a reason for the stereotype.

So, similarly, I know that "fundamentalist" should only mean "believes in the fundamental tenets of Christianity," but if I was going to play word association, the first word that would come to mind when I think of "fundamentalist" is "judgmental." Looking for reasons to believe they're favored and everyone else is going to hell. Picking and choosing Bible passages that seem to go against the overall teachings of the Bible (i.e., harping on scripture that classifies sins rather than focusing on the main message-- which, to me, is "love God, and love your neighbor").

That specifically does not apply to most of the people I've met here, but it is what I associate with the term.

Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 06:07 AM
Still more:



I think a fundamental christian must believe the bible...

...so in a discussion that involves God and the bible why do people become offended when you quote what it says. Even if it says something you don't agree with, it still says what it says, and a fundamental christian will agree with the bible at the end of the day.

James

Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 06:08 AM
Another quote:



Quote:
Originally Posted by pb10220
Roger, I'd agree with your post, as far as it goes; I think #1 also implies something that fundamentalist Christians believe, that the Bible as originally written is the inspired Word of God.

In my mind, that is something that I definitely associate with the term "fundamentalist". In addition that:

- the Bible is literally true

- all "real" Christians interpret the Bible in the same way

- if anything in the sciences appears to contradict the literal interpretation of the Bible, either the science is wrong, or a tortured interpretation of both the scientific data and Bible passages is right. This is coupled with the attitude that anyone who accepts modern science (biology, geology, anthropology, paleontology, astronomy, physics, etc.) is necessarily an atheist, or, at the least, not Christian. (Yeah, one of my pet peeves).

Also, I associate "fundamentalist" with a certain closed-minded attitude, in which there can really be no discussion of the interpretation of the Bible or the "whys" of their beliefs. Sort of a "I believe it because it's true and if you argue with me you are attacking God/Christianity" attitude.

My attitude has changed a bit recently, largely due to AW members who both consider themselves "fundamentalist" AND are willing to engage in discussion. It's unfortunate that often the loudest voices are the most intolerant and unreasonable.

Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 06:08 AM
From Rachael:


I like to think I have a happy medium between liberal and fundamentalist. I call it Grace Without Legalism or Apathy. :D I try to focus on God and obey his commandments, but I don't beat myself to death over my mistakes. I try to learn from them and keep moving on in my Christian walk.

God made each of us different, so it's stands to reason that each of us may have different views on issues other than Salvation. As long as a person believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died for our sins and rose from the dead, I don't think we should worry about who's a fundamentalist and who's not. I think that the reason there are so many arguments about 'what's right' is because a lot of times, in the little issues, God might say something is right for one person and wrong for another. Take drinking, for instance. A lot Christians don't drink, usually (hopefully!) because they feel like God doesn't want them to. On the other hand, some Christians feel no conviction against drinking. The same applies to a lot of things.

Some issues, obviously, are the same for everyone-- Salvation being one of them. But a lot of times I think these so-called 'discussions' tear us apart more than edify us.

Just my two cents.

Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 06:09 AM
james1611:



Why we think the way we think...


I think that the whole religion issue is so hot button, because of one basic truth that no one can really deny...

...and that is that we must all feel comfortable with our faith, whether it be Atheist, Christian, Judaism, Muslim, Wiccan, or any other. We all feel the need to be set and comfortable with that choice for our lives, because no matter what, death is coming for us all and the mystery will end and we will face our life's decision regarding what our faith rests in at that point.

And with no turning from that decision at that point, all people hope they have been right...but only some will.

I believe this is why religion is a blow up discussion, as has been seen, because everyone hopes...(Am I right?)


Rev. James

Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 06:09 AM
james1611:


Why?...some would ask why do those claiming to be fundamental christians seem to rant and rave about the bible and hell and so forth?

Since that may be the perception some people have...may i offer a parable of sorts that might help one to understand the mindset...


If a person saw a villian planting a bomb in the home of a family that slept...the matter might be open to interpretation, (was it really a villian or a relative, bomb or gift for the kiddies etc...), but if you believed it a bomb and the family in unrealized peril...then the compassionate person would cry out to them to wake up and escape the danger.

This concerned person might explain the danger and even if the family were groggy and tired and unwilling to listen, the caring person might continue to plead with them for their own lives, calling them to action rather than returning annoyed to their previous sleep.

If finally the family slammed the door in this person's face and told them they had no right to disturb their slumber, and that the appropriat authorities had been called to remove them from the premises, then that person may well be taken away, but all the while trying to affirm what they saw and all for the sake of that poor family.


of course no one may realize the actual danger until it is too late to act, but the person crying out the warning, had done what they had, not to seem all knowing, not to disturb someone for the fun of it, and not because they had nothing better to do...but out of compassion.

I would offer that this is the mindset of one who dogmatically believes the bible and is seen as a fundamentalist bible thumper etc...

What some call, thumping on the door obnoxiously, that person doing the thumping simply sees it as warning someone to action for their own sake.

This could just be the mindset of those called fundamentalist christians, but thats my view of it.

Rev. James

Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 06:10 AM
pb10220:


Quote:
Originally Posted by Peggy
In my mind, that is something that I definitely associate with the term "fundamentalist". In addition that:

- the Bible is literally true

- all "real" Christians interpret the Bible in the same way

- if anything in the sciences appears to contradict the literal interpretation of the Bible, either the science is wrong, or a tortured interpretation of both the scientific data and Bible passages is right. This is coupled with the attitude that anyone who accepts modern science (biology, geology, anthropology, paleontology, astronomy, physics, etc.) is necessarily an atheist, or, at the least, not Christian. (Yeah, one of my pet peeves).

Also, I associate "fundamentalist" with a certain closed-minded attitude, in which there can really be no discussion of the interpretation of the Bible or the "whys" of their beliefs. Sort of a "I believe it because it's true and if you argue with me you are attacking God/Christianity" attitude.

My attitude has changed a bit recently, largely due to AW members who both consider themselves "fundamentalist" AND are willing to engage in discussion. It's unfortunate that often the loudest voices are the most intolerant and unreasonable.


Interesting perception, Peggy, and I think it's one that's shared by many. However, among my 'fundamentalist Christian' friends, there seems to be an almost unanimous opinion that the Bible is not to be taken "literally" throughout. Parts are prophetic and possibly symbolic; parts are metaphorical (such as Song of Solomon), and there is a wide variance as to their stance on the days of Creation (literal or symbolic of greater time periods).

Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 06:11 AM
A Unique perspective:



For me, what it used to mean and what it means today aren't the same.

The definition itself hasn't changed but there are so many individuals laying claim to the title 'Fundamentalist' that just don't act Christ-like that public perception of the meaning has changed.

So like it or not, my own perception of the word has changed.

Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 06:12 AM
reph:



This is an outsider's set of associations with the term "fundamentalist."

Fundamentalists are always Protestant, never Catholic. They belong to certain denominations (not Anglican, for instance). They're much more common in the U.S. than elsewhere, and particularly in southern states. They take the Bible literally. For example, they think Adam and Eve were real people, not symbols or anything like that.

Religion pervades a fundamentalist's daily life more than for other Christians. Fundamentalists interpret ordinary events in religious terms. If they get sick or get well, if they find a job or lose a job, it was because God made it happen. If they have a personal problem or a difficult decision to make, they "pray about it." (I never heard of "praying about it" until I got on the Web, but it seems routine in parts of the country.) They're very devout. They emphasize a personal relationship with God and Jesus more than the average Christian of other denominations.

By contrast, I'd define the larger category of "Christian" as anyone who belongs to a Christian church and/or checks the box labeled Christian on a form that asks for one's religious affiliation. A nonfundamentalist Christian would probably divide his or her concerns and activities into religious and secular ones. For a fundamentalist, nothing is secular.

Fundamentalists are politically conservative on some issues, such as abortion and school prayer, but they don't necessarily align with the Republican Party's whole platform in support of wealth and big business. Many of them don't agree that government should stay clear of religion.

They are authoritarian, at least on religious issues, where they subscribe to submission within a hierarchy, and possibly on other issues as well, such as wives' obedience to husbands.

They feel very certain about the truth of their religious beliefs. They think those beliefs are the only right ones, and they want the rest of the world to believe as they do.

Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 06:12 AM
Aconite:



In addition to what those above have said, the term has come to mean to me someone without much knowledge of the languages and history of the Bible and Biblical times. A stunningly high percentage of the self-proclaimed fundamentalists I've met actually believe the Bible was orignally written in English, and will vehemently argue against any suggestion that Jesus was Jewish.

Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 06:13 AM
Peggy:



Quote:
Originally Posted by pb10220
Interesting perception, Peggy, and I think it's one that's shared by many. However, among my 'fundamentalist Christian' friends, there seems to be an almost unanimous opinion that the Bible is not to be taken "literally" throughout. Parts are prophetic and possibly symbolic; parts are metaphorical (such as Song of Solomon), and there is a wide variance as to their stance on the days of Creation (literal or symbolic of greater time periods).

Thanks for sharing that, Pat. I should say that I haven't heard of anyone who takes the Song of Solomon literally, but I was under the impression that all 'fundamentalists' take the other chapters of the OT (particularly Genesis) and NT (particularly Revelation) word-for-ward literally.

Would it be fair to say that there are some "fundamentalists" who are literalists?

Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 06:14 AM
More from Peggy:



Quote:
Originally Posted by Aconite
In addition to what those above have said, the term has come to mean to me someone without much knowledge of the languages and history of the Bible and Biblical times. A stunningly high percentage of the self-proclaimed fundamentalists I've met actually believe the Bible was orignally written in English, and will vehemently argue against any suggestion that Jesus was Jewish.

Another stereotype is that fundamentalists are relatively uneducated (often less than a HS diploma), read only their translated Bible if anything, and live in rural areas, interacting almost exclusively with people in the same religious community.

The education/reading stereotype clearly isn't generally the case (at least among AW members), but, still, my general impression is that "fundamentalism" is more prevalent in rural America than in urban areas.

Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 06:14 AM
Roger:



Quote:
Originally Posted by Peggy
Thanks for sharing that, Pat. I should say that I haven't heard of anyone who takes the Song of Solomon literally, but I was under the impression that all 'fundamentalists' take the other chapters of the OT (particularly Genesis) and NT (particularly Revelation) word-for-ward literally.

Would it be fair to say that there are some "fundamentalists" who are literalists?

A great many believe in the literal truth of Genesis, but by no means all. Last month, my denominational magazine (Covenant Companion) ran two articles, one on Intelligent Design, and one straight up Christian Evolutionist article. Letters to the editor were split between praise and condemnation. Proves nothing since the editors were probably trying for balance. But I think it does show a growing belief that Science and Christianity are not mutually exclusive.

Revelation is different. I don't think anyone takes it literally. A beast from the sea with ten horns and seven heads? Another beast with horns like a lamb? Pretty much everyone assumes these are symbolic. Interpretations abound. It used to be quite popular to study "end-times" prophesy, but I've seen that diminish of recent years. Nevertheless, I think most fundamental Christians believe that there WILL be a return of Jesus Christ at the end of the world, and at that time, all the symbols will make sense.

Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 06:15 AM
Medievalist:



Quote:
Originally Posted by Peggy
I should say that I haven't heard of anyone who takes the Song of Solomon literally


The conventional Ecclesiatic interpretation goes back in Chrtistian terms to Augustine, but there are similar interpretations in Judaism, and Augustine was clearly aware of them.

That said, as a piece of poetry, it is firmly within the conventions of Summerian and Egyptian love poetry.

And it's one of the best pieces of poetry, ever, anywhere, in Hebrew.

Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 06:15 AM
HoosierCowgirl:



I actually thought "Oh, no," and felt a little queasy when I saw this thread. I was sure this was going to be an attack on conservative Christians. (Who, in my experience, come from all over the country and all ethnic backgrounds. In some areas, you just have to know where to look ;))

But it wasn't as bad as I feared.

When people make a lot of noise about an issue -- religious or secular -- we have to remember "Zeal without wisdom is folly."

In any disagreement over doctrine we have to ask ourselve if a question is really a salvation issue. For instance, we come from a Mennonite background but don't feel led to drive a horse and buggy and wear plain clothes. About 100 years ago our church branched off from the Mennonites in a disagreement over preachign in German because of tradition, or in English to spread the Gospel to people around us. In other churches, the tradition is not preaching in German, but using whatever Bible version or ritual or even what kind of music is OK.

Jesus Christ did not seem to have much patience for religion for religion's sake. In our interactions the question probably should not be what does the church say, but what would Jesus do. I know it's a cliche -- but a good one.

Ann

Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 06:16 AM
Dawno:


I don't have much to add to the definition part, but I would like to say that I have belonged to two very large "fundamentalist" churches. Both evangelical, both Baptist, and each with well over 1000 members. They were churches in suburban Southern California. One of the churches' demographic was very movie industry heavy with another large percentage in the Christian music industry. The people I knew were intelligent, thoughtful and gracious. We were encouraged to learn Hebrew and Koine Greek and many of us did study those languages and like me, bought tons of reference books.

The church and its members were what I would consider fundamentalist Christians - one way to salvation - through faith in Jesus, the Bible is the inspired Word of God (although we were challenged to find out what the real meanings of the Scriptures were and not just accept the English words at face value), pre-Millenialist and heavily evangelical. We used music and drama extensively to evangelize. I was very active in both areas.

If I were still living down there, I think I'd still be an active member. I had to move to a smaller town with a more rural attitude and joined the sister church that was recommended to me. I couldn't stand how I was treated as a divorced, single mom - somehow it was my fault? I won't go into the whole story but after two years of trying to feel accepted and getting nowhere, I gave up.

Over the past 15 years since I last went to church, I've watched with increasing sadness as fundamental Christianity has gotten a tarnished reputation. The bigoted, ignorant folk in the spotlight only remind me of those folk who would shun a baptised, "born-again" person and her small children, simply because she was divorced.

If a congregation that knows how to walk as Jesus would have them walk finds me and shows me Jesus' love, I'll think about going back to church. Meanwhile, God and I just have to have an understanding.

Hope this wasn't too off topic Roger - if so, please feel free to delete or move.

Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 06:17 AM
pacwriter:



Jesus said to His disciples to teach, make disciples and baptize.

fundamentalists take the Great Commission serious. Each Christian is a disciple, each is to "make" disciples.

A man came to Moody's meeting in Chicago. He was an old drunk who was saved during a meeting. The next night he showed up with a man in tow who looked like he was hit by a truck. "What happened to him?" Moody asked. "Well last night you said we was to compel them to come in. It took a bit of compelling him to get him here."

Fire and brimsone? Yep - we believe every person stands in danger of God's judgement and those having lived without regard to God and rejecting His Son as the ONLY means of salvation will be sent to the place God PREPARED for the Devil and His angels.

The little story of the bomb is very appropriate. Fundamentalists believe they are under a DIVINE MANDATE (the Great Commission) to warn all of the danger. As a disciple they must be "in your face" if that is what it takes. The blood of those who die without Christ as Savior will be on the hands of those who failed to warn.

Somewhere, somehow the message of Jesus became so watered down it amounts to "all you gotta do is LOVE". Jesus said, "You will love God with all your heart and all your soul." It is so sad religious leaders have chosen to HEADLINE "love your neighbor as yourself". It is clear, if you read the Gospels without pre-concieved meanings, the real headline is LOVE THE LORD THY GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, MIND AND SOUL.

If you sum of what is a fundamentalist this is what you get - a person who loves God with their entire existence and seeks to serve Him with their entire being as led by the Holy Spirit of God.

There are no half-way Christians. Moderate or liberal, to the fundamentalist, is still lost. The fundamentalist quotes Jesus, "Why do you say unto me Lord, Lord and do not keep my commandments?" "The shepherd knows his sheep."

The funadamentalists identifies with the sinner in Jesus' parable of the two men in the temple. The pharisee - "I thank God I am not as that man." The sinner - "God be merciful to me a sinner."

The fundamentalist believes that when he stands before God in judgement that his mouth is "stopped". He can not justify himself or his actions before God for God knows all.

The fundamentalist believes that those who are moderate or liberal tries to justify their beliefs and actions rather than "live by faith alone". The literal interpretation of Scripture is more than saying "it is God's word without error." For, if there is error, the fundamentalist has a problem of faith - God is not trustworthy. Scripture has to be true, without the assurance of truth, salvation will be in doubt.

Life would be so much easier for all of us if God had said, Okay, live like you want, I still love you and I am not going to be angry with any of you no matter what you say or do. You can kill my son, kill each other, worship other gods, not believe in me - you are just children so I forgive you.

the fundamentalist believes this life, a gift from God with a purpose, is preparation for living with Him in Heaven for eternity. Yes, there will be mistakes - honest ones and forgiveness is sought and repentance is practiced. when the last breath is drawn, God welcomes home the weary traveler. "Well done thou good and faithful servant."

Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 06:18 AM
pb10220:



Quote:
Originally Posted by Peggy
Thanks for sharing that, Pat. I should say that I haven't heard of anyone who takes the Song of Solomon literally, but I was under the impression that all 'fundamentalists' take the other chapters of the OT (particularly Genesis) and NT (particularly Revelation) word-for-ward literally.

Would it be fair to say that there are some "fundamentalists" who are literalists?


Roger answered this so well, I'll just second what he said, especially concerning Revelation. Most fundamentalists take the story of Adam and Eve literally, but the "days" of Creation 'taken literally' could either mean days or eons, since the original word means 'a period of time.' I attended a well-known fundamental evangelical college and studied geology under a science professor who espoused the 'periods of time' belief, and had no difficulty reconciling science with Christianity.

Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 06:18 AM
KayCee:



Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger J Carlson
When I think of a Fundamentalist Christian, I think of someone who:
Believes the truth of God's word that:
Everyone is a sinner.
God loves everyone.
God sent Jesus to restore communication with humanity.
God gives everyone a choice whether to accept Him.
Follows the commandments of Jesus to:
Love God with all your heart.
Love others as (better than) yourself.-----------------------------------------------------------



I don't have my Dictionary of Theological Terms handy, but I believe the short definition of Fundamentalism is anyone who strictly adheres to basic set of principles. Those principles, of course, vary from faith group to faith group (as well as within faith groups).

It's usually a reactive measure - a returning "to" fundamentals of faith as opposed to a proactive measure.

Fundamentalism in Christianity began in the early 1900's as a reaction to modernism. (Interestingly enough, I'm working on a book that just precedes this period and deals with this subject tangentially. The daughter of Charles A. Briggs grew up in the house next door - and he was the founding Pastor of the church where I currently serve. Briggs became the target of tension within the Presbyterian church, and was eventually branded a heretic by the church. Of course, what was once heresy in his era has become doctrine in ours... but I digress!)

The key area, IMO, was the interpretation of scripture. Fundamentalists tend to view scripture as more than inspired and authoritative - but as inerrant as well. There are five areas in all - but in reality, they all hinge on the interpretation of scripture as inerrant.

Hope that helps!

Karen
"Clergy by day, Campfollower by night"

Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 06:19 AM
Peggy:



Quote:
Originally Posted by pb10220
Roger answered this so well, I'll just second what he said, especially concerning Revelation. Most fundamentalists take the story of Adam and Eve literally, but the "days" of Creation 'taken literally' could either mean days or eons, since the original word means 'a period of time.' I attended a well-known fundamental evangelical college and studied geology under a science professor who espoused the 'periods of time' belief, and had no difficulty reconciling science with Christianity.

My own perceptions of "fundamentalist" were partially formed by on-line discussions about science, where often the only ones self-identifying as "fundamentalist" are of the "7 days of 24 hours each" belief. I didn't realize that one could understand Genesis as describing "eon days" and still be considered fundamentalist.

Roger, thanks for starting this thread. My own impressions of fundamentalists are based on the ones who make the most noise. I appreciate the opportunity to learn about what a broader cross-section of "fundamentalist" believers believes. (And thanks to Pat et al. for the explanations.)

Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 06:20 AM
Peggy:



Quote:
Originally Posted by pacwriter
The literal interpretation of Scripture is more than saying "it is God's word without error." For, if there is error, the fundamentalist has a problem of faith - God is not trustworthy. Scripture has to be true, without the assurance of truth, salvation will be in doubt.

pacwriter, I hope you don't mind me asking, but do you feel that this is why some people who identify themselves as "fundamentalist" are unwilling to participate in discussions about translation and interpretation of scripture?

Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 06:20 AM
pb10220:



Quote:
Originally Posted by Peggy
My own perceptions of "fundamentalist" were partially formed by on-line discussions about science, where often the only ones self-identifying as "fundamentalist" are of the "7 days of 24 hours each" belief. I didn't realize that one could understand Genesis as describing "eon days" and still be considered fundamentalist.

Roger, thanks for starting this thread. My own impressions of fundamentalists are based on the ones who make the most noise. I appreciate the opportunity to learn about what a broader cross-section of "fundamentalist" believers believes. (And thanks to Pat et al. for the explanations.)


You're welcome! (I think it'd be difficult to formulate any kind of meaningful perception when you're being whacked over the head :).)

Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 06:21 AM
reph:



I left something out. I think an experience of being born again is essential in fundamentalist practice, but I'm not sure.

When we've all posted our opinions, is somebody authoritative going to sort through them and say which parts we got right and what characteristics really define fundamentalism?

Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 06:21 AM
KayCee:



Quote:
Originally Posted by reph
When we've all posted our opinions, is somebody authoritative going to sort through them and say which parts we got right and what characteristics really define fundamentalism?


Heh. That would be nice. Unfortunately, there really isn't a central power that speaks for what Fundamentalism is within the Christian faith. Even amongst Fundamentalists you have debates about what is truly fundamental. :)

Throw in that many (though not all) Fundamentalists belong to churches that are congregational and/or nondenominational in style, and you have a variety of opinion that can move from location to location. "No Creed but Christ" means just that.

Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 06:22 AM
pacwriter:



While a student in what was then deemed a "liberal" seminary, we studied Old and new Testament by the historical critical method. It drove the hard-core fundamentalists crazy.

If you ever watch the TV preachers who have their shows on everyday, they come off as dyed-in-the-wood fundamentalists but their words don't fit. They always have new interpretations or a "new insight from God".

The sitting on the pew fundamentalists is firm on on the WORD. No debate "it means what it says". Many a pulpit-pounder will say 'I believe every word of it right down to where it says genuine leather" on the cover. So in essence you have those who will not debate, discuss or consider another meaning.

To round out my theological education I earned a doctrate at one of the most fundamentalist-conservative Baptist Seminaries in existence. (In life, it helps to know how the other half lives.)

A liberal will read "Jesus wept" and then expound on how grief-stricken Jesus was over all the people who were GAY and pushed from society, and how saddened he was that these same folks would be stoned to death if they came out of the closet.

A fundamentalist will read "Jesus wept" and say "He cried". As they read on they would add also, He cried because the people were lost just like sheep with no shepherd.

It says what it says.

The problem the fundamentalist has with th liberal is that the liberal expands what the Bible says to cover situations and behaviors beyond what the text presents.

The fundamentalists reads "God is love." Ok, that's good. the liberal reads "God is love", He loves everybody no matter what they say or do.

the fundamentalist reads "The soul that sins will die" and worrys about the sin he has committed and has no professed, confessed and repented. The liberal reads "the soul that sins will die" and says "just a figure of speech in that day and not to be taken seriously."

It can be said that a fundamentalist believes with the heart and the liberal believes with the mind. Fundamentalists will say "Faith is not a debate".

Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 06:22 AM
KayCee:



Pac - I went to Union in NYC.

Although I went thinking I was a liberal, I learned that I was not nearly as liberal as I thought.

Imagine my surprise when I realized that in that space I was the conservative??

It's all relative.

Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 06:23 AM
HoosierCowgirl:



Quote:
Originally Posted by pacwriter
There are no half-way Christians.


That's a good point.

Ann

ETA -- As far as TV preachers claiming to have "something new" from God -- a new revelation, or a new word of knowlege -- a lot of Fundamentalists disagree with that. That tends to come from folks from the Word of Faith movement, which is a whole different kettle of fish. Not sure we want to go there.

Another concept is that Scripture interprets Scripture, and "context is king." When some of the WOF preachers take things out of context, or claim new knowlege specially revealed to them, things get messy.

Ann

Yeshanu
07-03-2006, 06:24 AM
That's it for now, folks. Feel free to carry on the discussion...

Ralyks
07-04-2006, 12:55 AM
When I hear the term "fundamentalist" Christian, I tend to think of Christians who (1) take the Bible highly literally, believing in things like a literal, 7 day creation and a young earth, and (2) who are very morally conservative, disapproving of activities other Christians may consider harmless, such as dancing, drinking alcohol, playing cards, and women wearing shorts.

I think a lot of people confuse "evangelicals" with "fundamentalists," and in the "outside" world (particularly in the media), most people can't make a distinction. Some evangelicals are fundamentalists, and some fundementalists are evangelicals, but not all evangelicals are fundementalists, and not all fundementalists are evangelicals. (Whew, that's a mouthful.) I consider myself an evangelical, but I am certainly not a fundementalist.

Of course, these are all just labels, applied differently by different people, and applied differently within the Christian world and without, and they can never be exact. But if someone tells me he or she is a fundamendalist, I'm going to assume (1) and (2) above until I learn otherwise. If a non-Christian tells me someone is a fundamendalist, I'm only going to assume he or she is a Christian who is at least somewhat conservative (and perhaps not what most Christians would call a fundamendalist at all).

M Paul
07-04-2006, 06:07 AM
Fundamentalism is a Protestant movement from the early 20th century originating for the purpose of refuting modernism (essentially a synonym for liberalism). It is noted for an emotional and radical use of logic, insensitivity toward others, and even outright abuse. The movement is essentially dead in the present time. It has some following through Jerry Falwell, but when he is gone, it will have virtually no significance whatsoever.

The two main Protestant groups since WWII in America are Evangelical Christianity and Pentecostalism. Evangelicals are a break-away movement from Fundamenatalism, on the basis it is too radical. Fundamentalism upheld at their conventions that Pentecostals are possessed by Satan.

However, liberals usually hold that a Fundamentalist is anyone who believes the Bible is inspired and inerrant. By taking this position they can easily refute and ridicule all conservative Christians by lumping them all into the Fundamentalist group. Usually, no amount of explanation or citation of religious authority will convice liberals that all conservative Christians are not Fundamentalists. However, that refusal is merely prejudice.

Galatians 4:16

M Paul

NicoleJLeBoeuf
07-05-2006, 06:46 PM
However, liberals usually hold that a Fundamentalist is anyone who believes the Bible is inspired and inerrant. By taking this position they can easily refute and ridicule all conservative Christians by lumping them all into the Fundamentalist group. Usually, no amount of explanation or citation of religious authority will convice liberals that all conservative Christians are not Fundamentalists. However, that refusal is merely prejudice.I think there are a lot of Liberal Christians (as evidenced by the Liberal Christianity thread) that would disagree with your definition of "liberal."

Somewhere between "the Bible is literally true in every verse from Genesis to Revelation" (which is how many liberals mistakenly describe every Fundamentalist's beliefs) and "the Bible means whatever I want it to mean" (which is how many Fundamentalists mistakenly demonize the liberals) is a huge spectrum of supportable interpretation, tradition, and history. That spectrum of respectable scriptural traditional has room for both Fundamentalists and Liberal Christians. It would be a shame to leave that part of the spectrum out for the sake of tarring people with the same brush used to paint the irrational extremes.

As always, Fred Clark, the evangelical Christian who writes Slacktivist (http://slacktivist.typepad.com/), has a relevant take (http://slacktivist.typepad.com/slacktivist/2006/06/you_aint_seen_n.html) on the idea of strict Biblical Literacy (the adherents of which he calls "biblicists"), which would be the "irrational extreme" of the Fundamentalist side of the spectrum. (I am happy to say that the Fundamentalists of my acquaintance do not generally fit the description.)


Most of us believer types, in every religion, tend to interpret our holy books through the lenses of reason, tradition and experience. But for these biblicists, reason, tradition and experience must all also "submit" to the dictates of the scripture. The meaning of scripture, therefore, has to be treated as self-evident and unambiguous -- two things which scripture tends self-evidently and unambiguously not to be.

Suggest any form of scholarship, textual, literary or linguistic criticism and the biblicists tend to get angrily defensive. These are all useful and important tools for determining what it is that scripture says and means and requires of its adherents. But the biblicists aren't interested in refining or clarifying their supposedly self-evident interpretations. They reject all such study as a potential threat to their own preferred interpretation.

And that, right there, tells you all you need to know about their supposed allegiance and obedience to their scripture. The scripture is not their true starting point after all. Their starting point is their own preferred interpretation, their own preference. They, and not their supposed Word of God, are the ultimate arbiters of truth, reality and meaning.

That's why whenever you hear someone say that the Bible is "inerrant" and "infallible," what they're really saying is that "My reading of the Bible is inerrant and infallible." What they're really claiming is, "I am inerrant and infallible."

What they're really claiming is, "I am God."I think that "I am God" is a mistake both ends of the spectrum can make, whether it's a Fundamentalists deifying his own rigid interpretation of the Bible, or a Liberal yanking scripture out of context to suit his purpose. Anyone who proclaims themself the final arbiter of what the God's word really means is attempting to take the place of God for their fellow religionists, and that seems to me to be the biggest mistake, one not unique to either Fundamentalists or Liberals.

M Paul
07-05-2006, 07:00 PM
I think there are a lot of Liberal Christians (as evidenced by the Liberal Christianity thread) that would disagree with your definition of "liberal.
I have no idea what you mean. I never gave a definition of "liberal," and if I ever did, it would merely be operational according to context of discussion. I said that in the context of my post, Fundamentalists viewed "modernism" as essentially synonymous with "liberalism." I noted this view only to establish the origin of Fundamentalism. If liberals disagree with that comparison, I would suggest they haven't had much review of Fundamentalism. Of course, 'liberalism" has many more extensive dimensions, none of which relate to the essence of my prior message.

In like manner, I don't see how your other comments under a quote of my post relate to anything I said.


M Paul

NicoleJLeBoeuf
07-05-2006, 07:01 PM
Hrm. If we're not sick of me yet (too late!) it looks like one of my posts got lost in the meltdown last weekend, and I'm a bit partial to it, so I'll repost it:


A man came to Moody's meeting in Chicago. He was an old drunk who was saved during a meeting. The next night he showed up with a man in tow who looked like he was hit by a truck. "What happened to him?" Moody asked. "Well last night you said we was to compel them to come in. It took a bit of compelling him to get him here."Is this anecdote presented as a positive example of Fundamentalism? It makes me very apprehensive.

I recall that in this thread's first incarnation, pacwriter's response to this question of mine got deleted, so obviously it's a controversial topic. This time around, I don't want to sound like I'm picking a fight with pacwriter, so instead I'd like to ask this question of anyone who considers him- or herself a Fundamentalist Christians:

How do you feel about this anecdote? Does it represent your beliefs? Does it teach a lesson? Does it demonstrate an acceptable form of evangelism? What do you think?

NicoleJLeBoeuf
07-05-2006, 07:11 PM
M Paul, it is your characterization of the liberal response to Fundamentalism that I object to. You oversimplify the viewpoint which opposes yours, and you attribute that viewpoint to a wider range of people than is accurate. Thus you rather do the very thing you accuse liberals of doing: creating a strawman, and then lumping all [liberals/fundamentalists] under that strawman so you can easily dismiss and ridicule them.

It's not really a strategy that furthers the discussion the original poster had in mind, which was (as I understand it) simply to see what people think it means to be a Fundamentalist Christian--and not to start a "Fundy versus Lib'ral" war.

HoosierCowgirl
07-06-2006, 12:18 AM
Fundamentalism is a Protestant movement from the early 20th century originating for the purpose of refuting modernism (essentially a synonym for liberalism). It is noted for an emotional and radical use of logic, insensitivity toward others, and even outright abuse. The movement is essentially dead in the present time. It has some following through Jerry Falwell, but when he is gone, it will have virtually no significance whatsoever.

The two main Protestant groups since WWII in America are Evangelical Christianity and Pentecostalism. Evangelicals are a break-away movement from Fundamenatalism, on the basis it is too radical. Fundamentalism upheld at their conventions that Pentecostals are possessed by Satan.

However, liberals usually hold that a Fundamentalist is anyone who believes the Bible is inspired and inerrant. By taking this position they can easily refute and ridicule all conservative Christians by lumping them all into the Fundamentalist group. Usually, no amount of explanation or citation of religious authority will convice liberals that all conservative Christians are not Fundamentalists. However, that refusal is merely prejudice.

Galatians 4:16

M Paul

Hmm ... I'd like to see some attribution of the above. I think your timeline on 20th century movements might be wrong, but we could be tripping over terms, too. "Evangelicals" and "non-conformists" were known in 19th century Britain if I recall ...

Ann

M Paul
07-06-2006, 05:38 AM
M Paul, it is your characterization of the liberal response to Fundamentalism that I object to. You oversimplify the viewpoint which opposes yours, and you attribute that viewpoint to a wider range of people than is accurate. Thus you rather do the very thing you accuse liberals of doing: creating a strawman, and then lumping all [liberals/fundamentalists] under that strawman so you can easily dismiss and ridicule them.

It's not really a strategy that furthers the discussion the original poster had in mind, which was (as I understand it) simply to see what people think it means to be a Fundamentalist Christian--and not to start a "Fundy versus Lib'ral" war.

Do I have your word on that--that I have oversimplified the viewpoint that Fundamentalism is essentially a dead movement?? Do you mean a less simplified approach would be to admit, that the two largest groups of Protestants in America who believe in the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture also hold they are too radical and possessed by Satan?? Well, I'll agree that for those groups to believe they are radical and Satanically possessed is rather complex. As far as starting a war--no, I was just noting an indication of prejudice. But as I said in the initial post, usually liberals will not give up the advantage of the confusion that can be created with their own definition for the term "fundamentalist."

M Paul

M Paul
07-06-2006, 05:51 AM
Hmm ... I'd like to see some attribution of the above. I think your timeline on 20th century movements might be wrong, but we could be tripping over terms, too. "Evangelicals" and "non-conformists" were known in 19th century Britain if I recall ...

Ann
Yes, the word "evangelical" and "fundamental" have been a part of the language for a long time. However, "Fundamentalism" as a term for a movement that opposes "modernism" only came into use in the early 20th century. There were no "Fundamentalist" conventions before then with specifically outlined platforms. There were not churches and colleges that used the label "Fundamentalist" for self-designation, having a theology reflecting the same beliefs of those platforms. When in the 1940s some churches broke away from the movement on the basis it was too radical, they had to choose a name for self-designation, and so they picked "Evangelical," which determines the meaning of the term according to the context of identifying ths group. All of this is standard history and theology, except among those liberals, whose view actually reflects mere prejudice. Liberals who are not prejudiced note the distinctions properly.

M Paul

HoosierCowgirl
07-06-2006, 08:09 AM
All of this is standard history and theology ...M Paul

From where? Names? Dates? Meetings? Just seeing if you're on the right track ;)

Ann

M Paul
07-06-2006, 04:18 PM
From where? Names? Dates? Meetings? Just seeing if you're on the right track ;)

Ann

OK, I just picked up Church History in Plain Language by Bruce L. Shelly (an Evangelical historian and seminary professor) and he reviews the three groups at pages 451-458. He notes the Fundamentalists as "militant right-wing churchmen who oppossed all accommodation to contemporary culture." He notes the beginning of Fundamentalism with the publication of 12 small books refuting Modernism from 1910 to 1915. He cites William Jennings Bryan as serving as a symbol for liberals of fundamentalist stupidity in defending the Bible and supporting prohibition. Shelly continues to note that in the 1940s Evangelicals began expressing distress over Fundamentalism. Shelly also notes the distinction of Pentecostalism, as nonconventional Christians who believe in speaking in tongues and miraculous healing, but who unexpectedly reinforced the Evangelical perspective. However, Shelly's book was written in 1982, and he had no idea at that time, that the evangelistic success of Pentecostalism would make it virtually the main line of Protestant Christianity, which some people now speculate has numbers as high as 800 million adherents world-wide.

Viewing Fundamentalism, Evangelicals, and Pentecostalism as different groups is simply the normal distinction taught in colleges, seminaries, churches, and other Christian organizations. That's why churches use these different labels for self-designation. However, by lumping all three groups as being merely Fundamentalists, who have an established reputation for emotional and radical logic, as well as insensitivity and abuse, great fun can be created through the confusion and all conservative Christianity can be more easily refuted.

M Paul

HoosierCowgirl
07-07-2006, 01:07 AM
OK, I just picked up Church History in Plain Language by Bruce L. Shelly ...

Fundamentalists, who have an established reputation for emotional and radical logic, as well as insensitivity and abuse, great fun can be created through the confusion and all conservative Christianity can be more easily refuted.

M Paul

You did all right until the last graph. I'm glad to see you have some research backing up your comments.

However your last assertion seems a little over-wrought. "All" conservative Christianity can be refuted? Or merely disputed?

Ann

M Paul
07-07-2006, 06:35 PM
You did all right until the last graph. I'm glad to see you have some research backing up your comments.

However your last assertion seems a little over-wrought. "All" conservative Christianity can be refuted? Or merely disputed?

Ann

What I meant was, when the objective is to refute conservative Christianity, some people believe it is more easily accomplished by incorrectly blurring the distinctions between various sub-groups. However, doing so should not be considered a proper approach, and often indicates prejudice, although mere lack of knowledge or mis-information may also be involved.

M Paul

SeanDSchaffer
07-09-2006, 09:56 PM
I basically think that a fundamentalist Christian believes that there are certain essentials (fundamentals) to the faith of Christianity. If I remember correctly, these essentials are that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, and is always right; that Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven; that Jesus was born of a Virgin like the Bible says He was; and a few others that I do not remember.

That's honestly all I remember of the fundamentals of the faith. Basically, the fundamentalists I knew and worshipped with, believed that aside from the essentials of the faith, everything else was debatable and should be considered a non-issue when it came to being right with God.

M Paul
07-10-2006, 02:12 AM
I believe Merrill F. Unger was a typical example of a Fundamentalist. He is well known for having written Unger's Bible Handbook. However, he also wrote Biblical Demonology, which at the time established him as the leading academic authority on demonic theology. I believe it is an excellent work. However, then he wrote What Demons Can Do to Saints in a popular genre of explaining theology in everyday terms. At pp. 50-53, 91-94, 174-176, 203-206, he sets out explicitly why those who believe the Baptism of the Holy Spirit as evidenced by speaking in tongues, that is Pentecostals and Charismatics, are demonically possessed, a counterfeit form of Christianity actually representing the occult, teachers of the doctrines of demons, liars, blind in error, enmeshed like insects in a spider web of demonized religion, etc. etc. etc. Christians are warned to repudiate all vestiges of Pentecostalism to be assured of freedom from demonic infestation.

However, unfortunately, Unger's opinion as an academic expert is not actually based on an accurate representation of the Pentecostal view of the theology of the Baptism of the Holy spirit, but merely his own version of what they teach. Hmm--how could that have happened??

M Paul

HoosierCowgirl
07-10-2006, 03:25 AM
I basically think that a fundamentalist Christian believes that there are certain essentials (fundamentals) to the faith of Christianity. If I remember correctly, these essentials are that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, and is always right; that Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven; that Jesus was born of a Virgin like the Bible says He was; and a few others that I do not remember.

That's honestly all I remember of the fundamentals of the faith. Basically, the fundamentalists I knew and worshipped with, believed that aside from the essentials of the faith, everything else was debatable and should be considered a non-issue when it came to being right with God.

That sounds about what we were taught -- it it's not a salvation issue, it's probably not worth arguing about.

The other fundamentals besides the ones you listed included that Jesus Christ suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried, on the third day he rose from the dead; he ascended into Heaven and will return to judge "the quick and the dead" or the living and the dead. Paraphrase from the Apostles Creed

Ann

HoosierCowgirl
07-10-2006, 03:31 AM
I believe Merrill F. Unger was a typical example of a Fundamentalist. He is well known for having written Unger's Bible Handbook. ...M Paul

Hmm ... Never heard of him. I'm no expert but his name doesn't ring a bell. Between the two of us, DH and I grew up in conservative Protestant and Mennonite backgrounds adn he graduated from the area Baptist High School.

In fairness, off to Google and visit C.A.R.M. We could very well not have heard of this character. If what you said is accurate someone should have probably mentioned that "zeal without wisdom is folly."

ysic
Ann

ETA -- My bad ... there really was a Dr. Merrill Unger, graduate of DTS, professor and archeologist as well as author of about 40 books -- 6 still available on Amazon. I'm not getting a good feel for where he was coming from as far as the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement.

Ralph Rinklemann
08-01-2006, 08:08 AM
When "The Fundamentals" appeared in 1909, its center of purpose was to establish a biblical inerrancy agenda for Protestant groups. The virgin birth was another big part of it. It was never terribly successful. Then, as now, few church laity took the bible as infallible. And fundamentalism is loosing ground at a great pace in America today (thank God) according to the last Gallop pole a few years back. In the year 2000, just over 25% of Evangellical Christians in America believed in biblical inerrancy.

I have a copy of that gallop pole along with the 2002 article I got it from in Scientific American available here (as a jpeg image). Should download in about 30-seconds via dialup.

Fundamentalism Gallop Pole 2000 (http://deep.phpwebhosting.com/~hackett/rc/fundy_decline_article.jpg)

The biggest problem with fundamentalists to me is that they drive so many intelligent people away from church, at least in America, and don't seem to care if they do. (You'll almost never come across a fundie in England). And its impossible to talk to them. You might as well not even try; they simply ignore the arguments and bury their heads in the sand, only answering simplistic questions (but seldom truthfully) and looking right past the main arguments. I have always found by and large a lack of integrity among them to the point of not even being honest with themselves. I really (and I'm not trying to sound flip at all) think that all fundamentalism (in any religion) has a certain degree of mental instability involved. I'm not talking about unintelligence but rather something that has them scared to the point of not being able to see straight. Maybe some notion that if they admit the bible isn’t so infallible, the one who loves them most will enjoy torturing them forever or some such thing. Its really a shame people fall for this stuff.

Pat~
08-01-2006, 11:39 PM
(But all this is YHO, of course.) :D

Ralph Rinklemann
08-02-2006, 12:04 AM
Actually, I don't think there's anything I said that isn't factual or personal experience.

Peggy
08-02-2006, 12:07 AM
Somewhere between "the Bible is literally true in every verse from Genesis to Revelation" (which is how many liberals mistakenly describe every Fundamentalist's beliefs) and "the Bible means whatever I want it to mean" (which is how many Fundamentalists mistakenly demonize the liberals) is a huge spectrum of supportable interpretation, tradition, and history. That spectrum of respectable scriptural traditional has room for both Fundamentalists and Liberal Christians. It would be a shame to leave that part of the spectrum out for the sake of tarring people with the same brush used to paint the irrational extremes. This is an excellent point. Unfortunately, the people with extreme beliefs seem to have the loudest voices (or at least the most coverage by the media).

Another, probably unfair, stereotype is that fundamentalists carry their literalism into all aspects of their life, making them relatively humorless and unable to differentiate between satire and sincerity. (Brought to mind because the Flying Spaghetti Monster hate mail page (http://www.venganza.org/hatemail.php) is making the blog rounds.)

Gravity
08-02-2006, 12:12 AM
Odd. I'm as smart as a whip. And yes, I believe the Bible...all of it. It was written by my best Friend. And I've never known Him to be less than truthful. Could be because He is the truth.

Oh well. Not my argument. I've been ridiculed before for my silly beliefs; it's nothing new. To each his own. Blessings.

Ralph Rinklemann
08-02-2006, 12:22 AM
At the risk of not getting a straight answer from a fundie (since I never have) I'll ask you anyway John; which bible and why?

Before answering please see my comments in this thread (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=35654&page=4).

I don't think its too much to ask that a fundamentalist sit down and explain exactly which bible is the one without error and why it must be that one and can't be another. Unless they can do that, any position on inerrancy is without merit.

I would also ask this, since Christ quoted from the Septuagint the vast majority of the time (actually I think his quotes were always from the Septuagint), then why is his bible not good enough for you, assuming that like most of Western Christendom, you have the Jewish Old Testament instead.

Gravity
08-02-2006, 12:39 AM
Okay, this is as straight as I can make it (and since I'm getting a real check in my spirit about how divisive this can be, I'll say it simply, and wish you Godspeed). As far as translations, my wife and I probably have thirty or more at various places in our house. At different times, each speaks to us in a different way. For instance, sometimes quoting nothing but the majesty of the 1611 King James can adequately express my love for Him out of my pain. Other times, the earthiness of The Message or The Cottonpatch Gospel speaks to my heart. For study, many times we'll use Arthur S. Way, the Jerusalem Bible, or the Amplified. And so on. The words in each are different, but each speak God's unchanging truth. And if that doesn't answer you, Ralph, I'm sorry. It's the best I've got.

Pat~
08-02-2006, 12:59 AM
Actually, I don't think there's anything I said that isn't factual or personal experience.

Yes, that second thing was what I was referring to. :)

Ralph Rinklemann
08-02-2006, 01:59 AM
John,

You never answered my questions though. I didn't ask you which translations, but which bible? Your KJV is not a translation of the same Old Testament as the Coptic or Ethiopian for example (although some translations of Hebrew texts such as the NIV will often consult the Septuagint when they realize that a Hebrew text is just plain wrong in some place). The Old Testament Jesus read and quoted from has much more in common with the Coptic than it does with any of the ones you mentioned. That's not to say that the Hebrew OT and the Greek OT are vastly different, but different they are. And I would encourage you to pick up a bible with the Septuagint sometime and read it. I think you'll find what so many others have, that it will clear up a lot of hitherto inexplicable passages in the NT that just never quite made sense before. And having the book of Enoch (which Jude quotes from and calls the words of a prophet that will come to pass) will also make many NT passages seem much more understandable. But all bibles and all translations have some obvious problems.

None of them claim to be the "word of God" or make a prophecy that there would ever be such a collection. That term which is so misused today probably meant the same thing to the Sumerians when they used. It generally meant something that God spoke to each person directly. Probably it was a sort of intuition a lot of the time. The Psalmist was correct in referring to the word of the Lord as being "a lamp unto my feet". No bible will tell you which passage to take if you're lost in a cave. But the word of the Lord will.

reph
08-02-2006, 06:07 AM
It may be worthwhile to repost part of the forum moderator's introduction to this thread.

Please note: This forum is not Take It Outside. It is not a place to debate the correctness of another's belief. It's a place to explain what YOU understand the term to mean.

Rules of the Road: I will delete any post that is disrespectful of individuals. I will not delete a post if it has a negative view of the term. I will also delete any post that is disrespectful of what others believe the term means.

Examples:
I WILL NOT delete:

* "I think Fundamentalist Christians are self-righteous bigots because..."
* "Fundamentalist Christians walk on water because..."

I WILL delete:

* "Roger, you are a self-righteous bigot."
* "If that's what you think, then you are an idiot."
* "I am a Fundamentalist Christian, therefore I am better than you."
* "I am NOT a Fundamentalist Christian, therefore I am better than you."

Let's see if we can build some mutual understanding.

HoosierCowgirl
08-02-2006, 08:44 PM
Thank you, Reph.

:)

Ann

SonoranWriter
08-04-2006, 12:54 AM
The basic tenet of the faith - that to gain eternal life in heaven, one must believe Jesus was the son of God, died for our sins and was raised again - is the same regardless of what "denomination" you are, so it can't be used to distinguish between fundamental and non-fundamental Christians.

So what the term "fundamental Christianity" means to me is someone who believes the the Bible is the literal word of God.

Regarding that basic tenet: the New Testament is not too clear about exactly how one is saved - as evidenced by the disputes among different denominations. This causes problems regarding the "inerrant" word of God. Some believe faith alone is sufficient, regardless of one's actions. Some believe good works are also required. Some believe baptism in the Holy Spirit is essential. Some believe that once saved, you're forever saved and that if you "stray" from the faith, you were never a "real" Christian to start with. Some believe our salvation is predetermined by God and nothing we do can change that.


That's why whenever you hear someone say that the Bible is "inerrant" and "infallible," what they're really saying is that "My reading of the Bible is inerrant and infallible."

I believe this is the truest statement thus far on this thread. There is no "Word of God", ie. Bible, because we have no original documents. What we have are copies of copies plus centuries of conflicting interpretation. The idea that the Word of God actually refers to personal revelation makes more sense in light of this.

The problem there, of course, is that the personal revelation of no two people is the same.

SonoranWriter
08-04-2006, 12:58 AM
What some call, thumping on the door obnoxiously, that person doing the thumping simply sees it as warning someone to action for their own sake.

This could just be the mindset of those called fundamentalist christians, but thats my view of it.


If the family in the house has done its research and already knows that the bomb is a hoax, they'd be understandably annoyed by the guy thumping on their door all night.

Ralph Rinklemann
08-04-2006, 01:48 AM
Aint it the truth.

I basically see fundies as the new Pharisees, with the same lynch mob mindset, always looking to run roughshod over anyone that gets in their way. But the worst of it is—at least Jesus could sometimes manage to reason with a Pharisee. There's no reasoning with a fundie. I don't know what the answer is. I've gotten to where I usually just look past them. What's really annoying is the self-pity routine they use when you point out any flaw in their ideology that they can't explain away. As if, "I can't defend my arguments against this guy so... hmm... maybe I can charge him with picking on poor little me." Its like watching Ray's mom go into the same routine on Everybody Loves Raymond. "Well, I guess I'm just not appreciated around here". Yeah, boohoo.

Personally, I was taught that when someone corrects you, you should say, "thank you".

Roger J Carlson
08-04-2006, 05:01 PM
Moderator's Notes:

1) I have moved the discussion of morality and biology to its own thread (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=37263). This thread is specifically about what YOU BELIEVE fundamentalism is.

2) I would prefer (read that "demand") that you do not use the term "fundie" to label Fundamentalist Christians, just as I would prefer you not use the term k**e for Jewish people or ni**er for African American people and for the very same reasons.

3) Ralph: Your last post comes very, very close to requiring deletion. Please review the Rules of the Road on the very first post of this thread. Specifically what I will delete.

Ralph Rinklemann
08-04-2006, 08:47 PM
I would prefer (read that "demand") that you do not use the term "fundie" to label Fundamentalist Christians, just as I would prefer you not use the term k**e for Jewish people or ni**er for African American people and for the very same reasons.

Exactly what does an abreviation have to do with those other terms?

And please explain how anything I said came even close to what these these rules of yours are about? I would suggest you turn your attention to the fundamentalsit agenda that's hammering on this thread and the poor mannerisms that have gone along with it. I would also suggest that if you have anything further to say to me that you do it in person. I'll be only to happy to exchange addresses with you. I have always found that people tend to behave much more cordially with me face to face.

Roger J Carlson
08-04-2006, 09:03 PM
I would prefer (read that "demand") that you do not use the term "fundie" to label Fundamentalist Christians, just as I would prefer you not use the term k**e for Jewish people or ni**er for African American people and for the very same reasons.

Exactly what does an abreviation have to do with those other terms?

And please explain how anything I said came even close to what these these rules of yours are about? I would suggest you turn your attention to the fundamentalsit agenda that's hammering on this thread and the poor mannerisms that have gone along with it. I would also suggest that if you have anything further to say to me that you do it in person. I'll be only to happy to exchange addresses with you. I have always found that people tend to behave much more cordially with me face to face.Ralph, I am the moderator of this board and it is my responsibility to maintain order. To answer your questions:

1. Many people find the term "fundie" offensive so I am requesting (demanding) that it not be used here.

2. There is no funamentalist agenda here.

3. The specific rules of this thread are:
Rules of the Road: I will delete any post that is disrespectful of individuals. I will not delete a post if it has a negative view of the term. I will also delete any post that is disrespectful of what others believe the term means.

Examples:
I WILL NOT delete:
"I think Fundamentalist Christians are self-righteous bigots because..."
"Fundamentalist Christians walk on water because..."
I WILL delete:
"Roger, you are a self-righteous bigot."
"If that's what you think, then you are an idiot."
"I am a Fundamentalist Christian, therefore I am better than you."
"I am NOT a Fundamentalist Christian, therefore I am better than you."You were disrespectful to fundamentalists first by calling them "fundies" and then talking about their "self-pity routine". Calling them the new Pharisees falls under things I won't delete. Ridiculing them as a group is something I will delete.

4. I am the moderator here and not answerable to you. You are not free to instruct me or tell me what to do. Specifically, you cannot tell me how I can communicate with you. If you like, you can go over my head to Jenna, who owns the board.

5. To quote you: "Personally, I was taught that when someone corrects you, you should say, 'thank you'." You're welcome.

Peggy
08-04-2006, 09:18 PM
I basically see fundies as the new Pharisees, with the same lynch mob mindset, always looking to run roughshod over anyone that gets in their way. But the worst of it is—at least Jesus could sometimes manage to reason with a Pharisee. There's no reasoning with a fundie.
I would prefer (read that "demand") that you do not use the term "fundie" to label Fundamentalist Christians, just as I would prefer you not use the term k**e for Jewish people or ni**er for African American people and for the very same reasons.
Exactly what does an abreviation have to do with those other terms? The term "fundie" derogatory, and is only used when insulting or making fun of people who are fundamentalists. It's pretty clear that your statement was meant to insult anyone who identifies themselves as a fundamentalist, not to contribute to an ongoing conversation.
And please explain how anything I said came even close to what these these rules of yours are about? I would suggest you turn your attention to the fundamentalsit agenda that's hammering on this thread and the poor mannerisms that have gone along with it. The purpose of this thread is for people to talk about 1) how they view "fundamentalists" and 2) how people who identify themselves as fundamentalists view themselves.

If you've read the entire thread, you would see that many people who are fundamentalists don't fit into your "fundie" stereotype at all. I'm not saying that there aren't fundamentalists who are hypocrites or have a victim mentality or are ignorant. Sure there are. That doesn't mean that every fundamentalist should be tarred with the same brush.

reph
08-04-2006, 09:25 PM
Delete anything of mine kiddo and I'll be on your doorstep by the end of the week. Got it? Just try me.Ralph, using a message post to threaten a moderator is about as wise as using a query letter to threaten an editor.

Medievalist
08-04-2006, 09:35 PM
Ralph, using a message post to threaten a moderator is about as wise as using a query letter to threaten an editor.

Funny you should mention that Reph; I was about to connect Ralph with a university press looking for a Macdonald scholar.

No way am I going to do that now.

Birol
08-04-2006, 10:07 PM
Ralph will not be playing with us anymore. Threatening anyone on this board with retaliatory action, especially in real life, is completely unacceptable.

ChunkyC
08-04-2006, 10:13 PM
What Birol said, and then some. I have rarely seen such infantile behaviour. I do hope any of you here who consider themselves fundamentalists (or anyone else for that matter) are not too put off by this ... person. A big thank you to Roger and Birol for their prompt action in dealing with this.

Liam Jackson
08-05-2006, 05:59 AM
If Mr. "Meet me in person and I'll change your tune" Rinkleman does find his way back inside AW, as so many banned folk do these days, please do not feed the troll. Instead, direct him to my PM box. I speak "bully" in six different langauges.

Medievalist
08-05-2006, 06:36 AM
I've just been in touch with the acquisitons editor, and had to explain why I could no longer recommend Ralph.

The editor was shocked that an adult, and purported scholar, would behave in such an immature, stupid and asocial fashion, particularly on a public message board. He said authors like that are a liability, and best avoided.

I couldn't argue.

SeanDSchaffer
08-05-2006, 07:06 AM
One thing people--myself included--have to understand about Fundamentalism, is that the movement itself is not evil. It basically purports that certain essentials to the faith are required for faith in Christ, and the rest is debatable.

Like with any movement, there will be those who belong to the said movement, who do not live according to its beliefs. I admit that these cases were where I got the majority of any problems I've had in fundamental churches.

Last night, I thought about the main reasons I disliked, for such a long time, the fundamental churches I used to attend. It turns out, that the main reasons were basically three individuals in a total of two churches. Considering that each church had about 1,000 members, two problem individuals in one church and one problem individual in another is not all that much of a reason to--for me, anyway--give up going to that kind of church.

The thing that is the hardest to handle, in what experience I've had, is that the people who want their own ideas of how the church should be run, to be followed, have a tendency to be extremely vocal about it, to the detriment of others within the congregation. It is important to remember that just because Brother So-and-so and Sister Such-and-such are complete (insert insult of choice here), this does not mean everyone in the organization they belong to, believes or acts as they do.

Medievalist
08-05-2006, 07:14 AM
There are intellectual bullies who, while they don't resort to physical confrontation or threats of such, are bullies nonetheless.

SeanDSchaffer
08-05-2006, 07:27 AM
I know. Sometimes I wonder, Medievalist, (judging by how easily aggravated I get sometimes,) if maybe I come across that way. Such is not my intent, but I admit to having a pretty heavy temper sometimes.

Medievalist
08-05-2006, 08:18 AM
A bully is someone who only attacks those perceived weaker or somehow disadvantaged compared to the bully.

This is true of physical and intellectual bullies; bullies are fairly predictable.

First, there's the threat, then the boast, then taunting.

Moreover, the bully who resorts to physical threats and posturing, does so because he is intellectually lacking, and incapable of rational, reasoned, coherent response. He reacts with inappropriate levels of aggression, out of defensiveness and cowardice.

The intellectual bully dismisses an opposing point of view via invective, without making any kind of reasoned, intelligent response to the content of that opposing point of view.

For instance, aside from the clearly derogatory language, the negative assertions regarding all fundamentalist Christians as homogenous group are examples of bigotry, particularly because they are not supported at all. They are merely hostile assertions. This is a typical bullying tactic.

reph
08-05-2006, 09:19 AM
A bully is someone who only attacks those perceived weaker or somehow disadvantaged compared to the bully.

This is true of physical and intellectual bullies....

The intellectual bully dismisses an opposing point of view via invective, without making any kind of reasoned, intelligent response to the content of that opposing point of view.Medievalist, thou tempst me to stray onto the path of off-topicness.

The dismissive invective you identify – I never thought of that as bullying before, only as angry attacks by the closed-minded. I guess the parallel with physical bullying didn't occur to me because the latter requires superior physical strength, and intellectual bullies don't have stronger intellects than their victims do. If they did, they could win by debating reasonably. The ones I've known may have thought they were smarter than everyone else (this is where your "perceived...disadvantaged" comes in). They weren't.

To me, it looks as if people resort to dirty tricks in an argument when they're losing and they know it.

On another topic that has more to do with this thread as it was begun, is "fundie" always a nasty word? I thought I'd seen fundamentalists use it as a kind of nickname for themselves.

Medievalist
08-05-2006, 09:31 AM
The dismissive invective you identify – I never thought of that as bullying before, only as angry attacks by the closed-minded. I guess the parallel with physical bullying didn't occur to me because the latter requires superior physical strength, and intellectual bullies don't have stronger intellects than their victims do.
Keep in mind that the physical bully is actually a coward; he or she only attacks or threatens attack because the opponent is perceived as defenseless.

The intellectual bully is an intellectual coward, afraid to deal with the rigors of close analysis and argument.


To me, it looks as if people resort to dirty tricks in an argument when they're losing and they know it.

No argument here.


On another topic that has more to do with this thread as it was begun, is "fundie" always a nasty word? I thought I'd seen fundamentalists use it as a kind of nickname for themselves.

Well, it's sort of like me referring to myself as a Kraut; I'd object to someone who wasn't German doing it, because it was meant to be hurtful. There are, as I'm sure you know, similar terms that are accepted from within the group, but not from those outside.

It is almost always derogatory.

And, though I expect you know this, the word isn't an abbreviation.

SeanDSchaffer
08-05-2006, 10:00 PM
A bully is someone who only attacks those perceived weaker or somehow disadvantaged compared to the bully.

This is true of physical and intellectual bullies; bullies are fairly predictable.

First, there's the threat, then the boast, then taunting.

Moreover, the bully who resorts to physical threats and posturing, does so because he is intellectually lacking, and incapable of rational, reasoned, coherent response. He reacts with inappropriate levels of aggression, out of defensiveness and cowardice.

The intellectual bully dismisses an opposing point of view via invective, without making any kind of reasoned, intelligent response to the content of that opposing point of view.

For instance, aside from the clearly derogatory language, the negative assertions regarding all fundamentalist Christians as homogenous group are examples of bigotry, particularly because they are not supported at all. They are merely hostile assertions. This is a typical bullying tactic.


I think I see what you're saying now. So just getting angry with or becoming defensive toward someone else is not bullying; rather, blanket insults and innuendoes, threats, and taunting are some of the tactics used by bullies.

I never really understood that until now. Thank you kindly for your explanation. I do feel very much better about myself as I read your above quoted post.

Lolly
08-20-2006, 02:50 AM
This is an outsider's set of associations with the term "fundamentalist."

Fundamentalists are always Protestant, never Catholic. They belong to certain denominations (not Anglican, for instance). They're much more common in the U.S. than elsewhere, and particularly in southern states. They take the Bible literally. For example, they think Adam and Eve were real people, not symbols or anything like that.

Religion pervades a fundamentalist's daily life more than for other Christians. Fundamentalists interpret ordinary events in religious terms. If they get sick or get well, if they find a job or lose a job, it was because God made it happen. If they have a personal problem or a difficult decision to make, they "pray about it." (I never heard of "praying about it" until I got on the Web, but it seems routine in parts of the country.) They're very devout. They emphasize a personal relationship with God and Jesus more than the average Christian of other denominations.

By contrast, I'd define the larger category of "Christian" as anyone who belongs to a Christian church and/or checks the box labeled Christian on a form that asks for one's religious affiliation. A nonfundamentalist Christian would probably divide his or her concerns and activities into religious and secular ones. For a fundamentalist, nothing is secular.

Fundamentalists are politically conservative on some issues, such as abortion and school prayer, but they don't necessarily align with the Republican Party's whole platform in support of wealth and big business. Many of them don't agree that government should stay clear of religion.

They are authoritarian, at least on religious issues, where they subscribe to submission within a hierarchy, and possibly on other issues as well, such as wives' obedience to husbands.

They feel very certain about the truth of their religious beliefs. They think those beliefs are the only right ones, and they want the rest of the world to believe as they do.


Which just goes to show the variety of opinions even within fundamentalist circles. Going by Roger's definition, I am a fundamentalist. I also fit the description listed in the first few paragraphs above. However, there are several important ways I disagree with other fundamentalists.

I don't think the government has any business trying to promote religion. I'm not comfortable with the whole hierarchalist emphasis on women's submission. I don't believe in pushing my religion down somebody else's throat. And although I don't believe in evolution, I am not going to come down one way or another on the literal 6-day vs. thousand year debate.

Lolly
08-20-2006, 02:59 AM
Aconite:In addition to what those above have said, the term has come to mean to me someone without much knowledge of the languages and history of the Bible and Biblical times. A stunningly high percentage of the self-proclaimed fundamentalists I've met actually believe the Bible was orignally written in English, and will vehemently argue against any suggestion that Jesus was Jewish.


Unfortunately, that has also been my experience. As I indicated above, I believe in the equality of women within Christianity. You would not believe the negative reactions this brings when you mention it to certain segments of the Christian population, many of whom call themselves fundamentalist. It's too long to go into here, but the most common reaction I get is "It says right there in the Bible in plain English women can't do X, Y, Z." And when I try to talk about original languages, ancient cultures, etc. that just makes them angrier for some reason.

BTW, all of the Christians I know take the Song of Solomon literally. They (and myself) believe that there may be another, allegorical interpretation, but that the primary meaning is literal. I just finished reading an excellent book by a fundamentalist seminary professor examing the SOS, and he only mentioned alternate interpretations in the appendix. The whole book talked about the beauty of sex within marriage.

I also wouldn't be quite so sure about the waning influence of fundamentalists. Remember all the "values voters" who put Bush in office. According to statistics, they have a much higher birthrate than other, "liberal" Christians or non-believers.

veinglory
08-20-2006, 03:07 AM
Of course their children will make their own choices and find their own faith. My best friends in hig school were mainly children raised in Mormon, Christedelphinian and Jehovah's witness households. Only 2 of the 12 still follow that specific faith of their parents although most are still more definitely Christian.

SonoranWriter
08-20-2006, 09:15 PM
I also wouldn't be quite so sure about the waning influence of fundamentalists. Remember all the "values voters" who put Bush in office. According to statistics, they have a much higher birthrate than other, "liberal" Christians or non-believers.

And also a much higher divorce rate.

Lolly
08-20-2006, 11:31 PM
Yes, but those couples who stay together tend to have larger families. Remember, many fundamentalists don't believe in birth control. In fact, Christianity Today magazine just had a lead article profiling the move back towards large families among conservative Christians.

Roger J Carlson
08-21-2006, 12:20 AM
And also a much higher divorce rate.Moderator's Note:

Please review the purpose of this thread (in the first post) before continuing in this vein.

Thank you.

SonoranWriter
08-21-2006, 08:28 PM
What do you think of when you hear the term Fundamentalist Christian?

I believe that was the purpose of the thread. Fundamentalist Christians tend to frown on divorce. That a recent survey showed they are more likely to divorce therefore affects what I "think of when I hear the term Fundamentalist Christian".

Why would posts on this subject be deleted?

Roger J Carlson
08-21-2006, 08:35 PM
The post was not deleted, but move to TIO, here:
http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=743494#post743494

Please pursue the issue there.