Why Is Fundamentalism Dangerous?

Why is Fundamentalism dangerous?

Religious fundamentalists, mostly Christian and sometimes Muslim, often say and do dumb things in the name of their religion. They thereby bring awful things into the world on account of their bad actions.

Secular people then insult the fundamentalists and proceed to lambast Christianity as a whole on account of the bad behavior it is being used to excuse.

The result is that most of the criticism against religious fundamentalists arises from the atheist portion fo the world, and the attacks atheists throw against it are also thrown against other Christian groups. These Christians are then left in an awkward place and are unable to reject the claims being made against them. So they can then find themselves defending the fundamentalists against the atheists because the atheists have equated fundamentalism with Christianity.

Yet Christian Fundamentalism is error.

So it is needful, then, that Christians know how to reject the claims made by both factions, the atheists and fundamentalists, in order to preserve the integrity of the religion.

So, why is Fundamentalism dangerous?

Fundamentalism is dangerous because it perverts the meaning of the Bible. This warping of scripture is then often used as an excuse for one to say, do, and believe evil things. In this way, Fundamentalism is a heresy that leads to further heresy and sin. It thereby destroys Christian credibility.

In the following sections, we’ll cover how Fundamentalism is an error and why Christians are meant to reject it.

What Religious Fundamentalism Is

The word fundamentalism is often used as though it were a synonym for bellicosity. Now, given the temperament of the common fundamentalist, this is not a surprise. Yet this association is misleading.

To be a religious fundamentalist is not “to act like a jerk in the name of one’s religion”; this merely appears to be the case because most fundamentalists are awful people.

No. Instead, religious fundamentalism is a method of interpreting scripture. Fundamentalists apply Occam’s razor to religious texts, and they accept what is produced thereby as the truth. This means that they keep their assumptions and interpretation of “hidden” or “implied” meanings to a minimum. This often creates either literal or near-literal understandings of the Bible.

An Orthodox Priest Explains Why Fundamentalism is Dangerous

This video depicts a renowned Orthodox scholar explaining why Sola Scriptura, the basis of religious fundamentalism, is false.

Why Christian Fundamentalism Is Wrong

Consider the New Testament. It is a collection of books and letters which were written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul and a few others.

Now… None of these people were fundamentalists.

They could not interpret the New Testament literally; this is because the book was not compiled until centuries after their deaths.

And we know that they were not reading their own scriptures literally, because they frequently refer to Jesus as “the stone which the builder refuse,” yet they do not mean that Christ was a golem. Moreover, they record that Jesus told Peter that Peter was His rock and that He would build His church upon him. So Jesus was certainly speaking figuratively here.

So Jesus would speak with metaphors, the people who knew Him understood this and used metaphors themselves, and they wrote the Bible with these metaphors contained.

Further, they were not interpreting their own scripture literally, and they did not intend that the people who read their own writings would do so.

So anyone who follows a fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible will then find himself in conflict with the people who wrote it.

In other words…

The Book of Matthew means what Matthew meant for it to mean because Matthew wrote it. If you disagree, then you are wrong. A similar framework si true for the other texts within scripture.

Why Is Fundamentalism Dangerous?

So Christian Fundamentalism is wrong. But that doesn’t clearly tell us why it’s immoral.

And that’s okay. We can explain why it’s evil in other ways.

The best Christian argument against Christian Fundamentalism is presented below.

The Best Argument Against Christian Fundamentalism

The First Commandment forbids Christians from valuing anything greater than God.

Therefore, God’s understanding of the Bible must be the correct one.

And the Bible is divinely inspired, so it says what it is supposed to say. If this were not the case, then divine inspiration would have produced falsehoods.

And the Bible includes metaphors.

So God did not intend for the Bible to be interpreted literally. If this had been the case, then metaphors would not exist therein.

And the authors of the New Testament, whom Christians believe were divinely inspired, used figurative language and included it within their divinely inspired work.

So divine inspiration, which comes from God, produces figurative language.

So a literal understanding of scripture requires one to reject divinely inspired figurative language in favor of a literal interpretation.

Yet if this happens, then the literal understanding is overruling the metaphorical, divinely inspired, one.

So the Fundamentalist human rejects divinely inspired metaphors. He thereby breaks the First Commandment and ceases to be Christian.

Why Christian Fundamentalism Arose

Christianity began to die after the Reformation, and large masses of people started to reject the faith altogether during the 19th century. This trend was sparked by the hatred the French revolutionaries harbored for the Catholic Church, and many of the revolutionary groups which followed their example adopted similar stances against religion.

Then, Charles Darwin produced his famous work, and this seemed to disprove the Genesis creation account.

And around this same time, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels were developing their own religious system and marketing it as a political and economic platform. This allowed people to convert to a new religion while at the same time claiming to hate religion and not suffer the cognitive dissonance that this confused behavior should create.

No! Socialism isn’t a religion! We don’t call it one!

So Christianity was disintegrating, and certain Christian groups arose in order to oppose those factions which were trying to undermine and destroy it.

The Fundamentalists were one such reactionary group. They were opposed to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, and they tried to reinterpret the Genesis creation account in order to maintain the credibility of Christian belief.

To this end, they flatly rejected Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, and they affirmed that the Genesis creation account meant what it said as it was stated.

The Fundamentalists then extrapolated this interpretation to the rest of the Bible and produced their own doctrine by this method. They needed to do so in order to maintain consistency with their first belief.

So Fundamentalism was truly just a bad response to criticism lobbed at Christian teachings. This bad response then produced a chain of worse responses that culminated in the horrific mess that we know and hate.

How People Should Have Responded

As a rule, when criticism is lobbed at one’s uncertain beliefs, then the wrong response is to double-down on them. Yet this was what the Fundamentalists did, and in doing so they placed themselves in an even more awkward spot.

Instead, the right response to the accusation that the Genesis creation account is unscientific is to agree with it.

Genesis, as well as many other books in the Old Testament, is a book of mythology. That’s why it contains things like demons, talking snakes, and giants. It’s true in the way that Aesop’s Fables are true. It conveys valuable insight which humans need in order to understand their place in the world around them and their relationship with themselves.

And this does not mean that the account is false, nor can it be the case that the fact that the story is unempirical would mean that it is. on that account, wrong.

This is because some truths must, necessarily, be unempirical. If this is not true, then all truth would have to be empirical.

Yet the assertion that all truth is empirical is itself an unempirical view, so it refutes itself and, therefore, cannot be true.

So if truth would exist at all, then at least some truths must be unempirical. It is among these then that the truth of Genesis is to be found.

Gene Botkin

Gene is the director of the Theosis Christian Project. He studied physics and military science before founding the Project. Gene is currently pursuing his doctorate in systems engineering at an engineering college in the Ozarks. The Theosis Christian Project is his attempt to expand Holy Orthodoxy in America.

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