Thursday, January 05, 2006
Fundamentalism is dangerous
Almost invariably, fundamentalist movements are led by authoritarian males who consider themselves to be superior to others and, within religious groups, have an overwhelming commitment to subjugate women and to dominate their fellow believers.
Although funamentalists usually believe that the past is better than the present, they retain certain self-benefcial aspects of both their historic religious beliefs and of the modern world.
Fundamentalists draws clear distinctions between themselves, as true believers, and others, convinced that they are right and that anyone who contradicts them is ignorant and possible evil.
Fundamentalists are militant in fighting against any challenge to their beliefs. They are often angry and sometimes resort to verbal and even physical abuse against those who interfere with the implementation of their agenda.
Fundamentalists tend to make their self-definition increasingly narrow and restricted, to isolate themselves, to demagogue emotional issues, and to view change, cooperation, negotiation and othr other efforts to resolves differences as signs of weakness.
To summarize, there are three words that characterize this brand of fundamentalism: rigidity, domination and exclusion.
-- From fellow traditional Baptist and former Southern Baptist Jimmy Carter, in Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005), 34-35.
WHO DOES THIS SOUND LIKE?
--ER (who admits to sometimes being "angry and sometimes resort[ing] to verbal ... abuse -- I am, after, all a recovering fundamentalist and a redneck)
To me, fundamentalism is a system (religious, political, even athletic) that is based on a set of unchanging principles (fundamentals). There are many who take a stand and then go too far, usually breaking those tenets that their beliefs were originally set on. These are the people that give fundamentalism a bad name.
(I've got a meeting to get to. I'll be back later today. I think this is a good topic, ER.)
For example, sex before marriage is wrong is a fundamental designed to encourage people to not live loose and free lives. I can get behind it; don't necessarily agree mind you but I can respect that fudamental.
But when that fundamental gets out of hand--any sex that does not result in conception even within the confines of marriage, for example--that's when I start having a problem.
And then the fact is that a good number of fundamentalists who are hypocrites, which honestly is not a refelction of the philosophy but the people so never mind.
In short, most fundamentals are flexible and can change. Only few are rigid, and those that change should change for the best and not for the worse.
And as always, let's apply some rational thinking and logic to the changes.
ER what "brand" name did he have for it? If this brand of fundamentalism isn't you, then it does not need to be defended. All faiths, forms of government, cultures have "radical" fundamentalist as part of their populations. It is only when they take over, such as in the inquesition, that they are dangerous. Or perhaps when they are making enviromental policies for a nation based on the concept of the upcoming rapture.
Those that refuse to think beyond the fundamentals, when fundamentalism is applied to politics, sociology, religion, and even criminal justice have the potential to be quite dangerous indeed.
I believe some fundamentals:
There is God.
I am not God.
I was born estranged from God.
For me to get along with God, He must have provided a way.
I believe that Jesus is that way.
I believe that trusting in Jesus's death and resurrection, a faith naturally accompanied by "good works," is the nut of salvation.
I believe I could be wrong.
But, I trust in Jesus anyway, which is actually a very, very radical thing to do.
While I believe that Jesus is the only way, I do not believe that it follows that all those who are saved thereby must be aware of it.
I believe that the "age of accountability" is a misnomer. Age has nothing to do with it.
While I believe that Jesus raised bodily from the dead, I do not believe that belief in that is necessary for salvation.
I believe that there is nothing I could do that would be "good" enough" to warrant salvation.
I believe that there is nothing "bad" enough that I can do to lose my salvation.
I believe that we ALL see through a glass darkly. I believe that Jusaism, Islam and Christianity all have a measure of "truth."
Obviously, as a Christian, I believe that Christianity has most of the truth, and that it is this:
Love God. Love your neighbor.
I believe that virtually everything else that people fight over and argue about in the name of Christ -- from homosexuality to war to abortion even -- detracts from the real reason Christians are on this planet, which is this:
To love God. To love our neighbors. To go about doing good. TO tell others the Good News -- that through Jesus of Nazareth, humanity IS reconciled to God, and that by personal decision, individual human beings can begin the process of full reconcilation with God.
All this tumbled out of my heart and my head without much effort. I believe some other stuff, too, but not much of it matters, really.
There ya go, Rem.
Prayer in school, attacks on the judiciary, opposition to international relations, attacks on others who believe differently, etc.
("Kill them all; for the Lord knoweth them that are His.")
----Arnaud-Amaury, Abbot of Citeaux, 1209, when asked by the Catholic Crusaders what to do with the citizens of Beziers who were a mixture of Catholics and Cathar Christians.
Now this is fundalmentalism.
There are only two centuries in Western history in which the general population of non-combatants were targeted by the armies of governments. The 20th century, and the 13th Century. In both centuries the fundalmentalist were in charge and had the power to excercise their desires. Millions upon millions died in both centuries.
What do we do next?
Individual Christians should continue to exercise their human rights, and U.S. Constitutional rights, to inject all their own brand of morality they want into the political debate and the process. The result, though, must be secular, and it must respect the rights of nonbelievers, as well as the dadgum heathen.
THAT's the mess that comes with liberty.
Robertson Links Sharon's Stroke to Wrath
By SONJA BARISIC Associated Press Writer
© 2006 The Associated Press
NORFOLK, Va. — Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson suggested Thursday that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke was divine punishment for "dividing God's land."
"God considers this land to be his," Robertson said on his TV program "The 700 Club." "You read the Bible and he says `This is my land,' and for any prime minister of Israel who decides he is going to carve it up and give it away, God says, `No, this is mine.'"
Sharon, who ordered Israel's withdrawal from Gaza last year, suffered a severe stroke on Wednesday.
In Robertson's broadcast from his Christian Broadcasting Network in Virginia Beach, the evangelist said he had personally prayed about a year ago with Sharon, whom he called "a very tender-hearted man and a good friend." He said he was sad to see Sharon in this condition.
He also said, however, that in the Bible, the prophet Joel "makes it very clear that God has enmity against those who 'divide my land.'"
Sharon "was dividing God's land and I would say woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the EU (European Union), the United Nations, or the United States of America," Robertson said.
In discussing what he said was God's insistence that Israel not be divided, Robertson also referred to the 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who had sought to achieve peace by giving land to the Palestinians. "It was a terrible thing that happened, but nevertheless he was dead," he said.
People For the American Way Foundation, which monitors "The 700 Club," criticized Robertson's remarks, calling them "an implicit reference to recent steps the prime minister has taken to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process."
"Once again, Pat Robertson leaves us speechless with his insensitivity and arrogance," the group's president, Ralph G. Neas, said in a statement.
The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said a religious leader "should not be making callous political points while a man is struggling for his life."
"Pat Robertson has a political agenda for the entire world, and he seems to think God is ready to take out any world leader who stands in the way of that agenda," Lynn said in a statement.
Robertson spokeswoman Angell Watts said of critics who challenged his remarks, "What they're basically saying is, `How dare Pat Robertson quote the Bible?'"
"This is what the word of God says," Watts said. "This is nothing new to the Christian community."
In August, Robertson suggested on "The 700 Club" that American agents should assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has long been at odds with U.S. foreign policy. Robertson later apologized for his remarks, saying he "spoke in frustration."
It'd be interesting to talk to you in person about your list of "Fundamentals" and "However's." :)
By the way is Armagedon in Western Iraq or Eastern Syria?
But I don't say that out loud very often, and I don't have an audience of millions. And, unlike Pat Robertson, I don't have any influence.
It's just that Robertson seems to blurt out whatever's on his mind, to millions, with no concern for how it makes him, other Christians, or this country look.
He sounds like a kook, people think because he is a "leader" that all Christians are fundies, and he makes the rest of the world rethink the concept of freedom of speech, religion and media.
But that's just what I think.
I actually did literally "stand with" Pat Robertson followers at a public gathering once:
A Ku Klux Klan rally that attracted the entire spectrum of right-wing kookiness outside the federal courthouse in Fort Smith, Ark., one day in the mid-1980s when some members of the Covenant, Swrd & Arm of the Lord were being tried or otherwise adjudicated.
I was there as a student journalist, with my camera, and because I lived less than 10 miles away in Oklahoma. I got some cool pics of some Confederate battle flags reflecting in the upper-story windows of the couthouse.
Anyway, of all the freaks at the freak show, Robertson's bunch were the ones closest to tolable to me.
Except this: Do not confuse fundamentalism with extremism!
Fundamentalism is the belief in the fundamental tenants of whatever religion the fundamentalists are adhering to.
Extremists take that fundamentalism and carry it out and over the line. For instance, in Jesus' day, the Pharisees were considered fundamentalists but in actuality were extremists.
As for Pat Robertson. He doesn't speak for me, nor does he speak for most Christians. With that said, he is fundamentally right, when he says that God doesn't want His land to be divided. But goes way over the top in his assertion that Sharon's condition is due to the wrath of God, in my opinion. Of course, I don't know the mind of God. Robertson mught be correct, but I sincerely doubt it.
Ok and ER. I think even your howevers are fundamental. I think you are a fundamentalist, my friend. That isn't a bad thing in the true sense of the word, as I explained.
Re, "Fundamentalism is the belief in the fundamental tenants of whatever religion the fundamentalists are adhering to."
That used to be the consensus definition of fundamnentalism. But these days all the dang politics has been added to it by the likes of Dobson, et al., bless their hearts: ID, school prayer, anti-judiciary, pro-war, etc. :-)
There is a huge difference between the Taliban "fundamentalists" and the 700 club "fundamentalists".
The 700 club doesn't murder innocent men women and children indiscriminately.
I understand the intent of the comparison but it just doesn't compare in reality.
Gimme that ole time religion,
It's good enough for me...."
Fundamentalism was first defined in 1909 in opposition to Modernism in the Church. Fundamentalism is like the party of the Republicans, it has shifted drastically in the past two decades. So it has kept the same title but changed the fundamentals of fundamentalism.]
For example, a Fundamentalist Southern Baptist from 1970, would be considered a moderate, almost liberal Southern Baptist today.
Robertson, Iran's president say Sharon's illness deserved
By Alan Cooperman
The Washington Post
Salt Lake Tribune
WASHINGTON - The television evangelist Pat Robertson and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may not agree on much, but both suggested Thursday that the severe illness of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was deserved. Both men's comments were immediately condemned by religious leaders.
Speaking on his Christian Broadcasting Network's ''700 Club,'' which says it has 1 million viewers, Robertson said God was punishing Sharon for dividing the land of Israel. Sharon, who engineered Israel's pullout from the Gaza Strip last year, suffered a massive stroke Wednesday.
''Sharon was personally a very likable person, and I am sad to see him in this condition, but I think we need to look at the Bible and the Book of Joel. The prophet Joel makes it very clear that God has enmity against those who 'divide my land,''' Robertson said.
Sharon ''was dividing God's land, and I would say: Woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the EU [European Union], the United Nations or the United States of America,'' the 75-year-old Baptist minister said.
Robertson, who ran for president in 1988, has a history of controversial statements. In August, he called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, then denied the remark and, a day later, apologized for it.
Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, said Robertson's latest comments violated ''simple human decency'' and were ''profoundly offensive.'' Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said it is ''outrageous and shocking, but not surprising, that Pat Robertson once again has suggested that God will punish Israel's leaders for any decision to give up land to the Palestinians. His remarks are un-Christian and a perversion of religion.''
Ahmadinejad, elected in June, previously made headlines by calling the Holocaust a myth. ''Hopefully, the news that the criminal of Sabra and Chatilla has joined his ancestors is final,'' he said Thursday.
Although, in Pat's case, he seems to be jumping off the deep end so frequently lately that I can't help but wonder if there are physical or mental health issues involved, to put it delicately.
I mean, it's tough to separate the strokes that just happen to 77-year-old overweight guys and those you can chalk up to God's wrath. As a general rule, it's wiser to look to things that don't happen as often as strokes -- like plagues of frogs and people suddely turning into pillars of salt -- when you want to identify something bad that happens as the wrath of God.
I'm one of those "fundy" "righty-rights" who pervert the teachings of Jesus -- and even I think Robertson is off his nut.
But I don't think I said you pervert the teachings of Jesus. I think you ignore the most important ones for things that are much, much less important, you know, the cultural concerns of churches, religious folk and the Republican Party. Things like that.
My Christianity is not altogether defined by what I do for a living -- and while I'm not ashamed of what I do for a living, and believe I am smack in the center of God's will in doing it, there's a lot more to me than that (and it's in those areas, I think, you and I eventually get around to focusing on when we say we probably have a lot more in common, Christ-follower-wise, than we don't.)
For Pat it would have to be the "five hour rule".
You know Sharon started out as a terrorist himself as part of the Hagganah that bombed and sniped and killed the Brittish prior to 1949. If God were going to punish him seems as though maybe he would have not waited so long.
I don't think you pervert the teachings of Jesus.
And to fall into the very specific group of people Carter is talking about, you would NOT be emphasizing your common brotherhood in Christ with ER.
Instead, you would be insisting that he is NOT a Christian because he does not vote the way you do, or because you may disagree with him on certain interpretations of Scripture, or because your emphasis is on certain verses and he is more strongly attached to others, etc.
But when it comes down to it, you guys at heart realize that you serve the same God.
(And, for the record, I think he's wrong to believe it.)
Pediatricians Group Bends Truth
from staff reports
Signature-gatherers calling themselves "pro-family" are actually out to promote same-sex marriage.
A group of self-described "pro-family pediatricians" has gathered almost 1,000 signatures calling for the defeat of the federal Marriage Protection Amendment.
But Dr. Joseph Zanga, president of the American College of Pediatricians, said the signers are pro-family in name only.
"This was not a group that was trying to defend children or protect children," he explained, "but rather a group that was trying to defend and promote homosexual marriage and particularly homosexual adoption."
Zanga told Family News in Focus the traditional family unit of one man and one woman in a marriage relationship is the healthiest environment for children.
"Is it perfect? Not always," he said. "But it is so far and above any alternative that's ever been considered that to deny its importance for children shows ignorance of history."
Dr. Annelise Spees, a pediatrician and a Christian, agreed that the group's politics have questionable roots.
"I don't appreciate delving into areas that are really based on moral values that I don't agree with," she said.
The letter-writers, who are not endorsed by either the American College of Pediatricians or the American Academy of Pediatricians, did not return calls for comment.