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Christian fundamentalists are driving our country into the Dark Ages

By Dakota O’Leary | 1 February 2013
GodDiscussion.com

(Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian)

America has an infection. Whether it is terminal remains to be seen. The infection is that of anti-intellectualism, a steadfast refusal to acknowledge that one’s worldview is mutable, a worldview in which facts are only facts if they fit that worldview, and that anyone who disagrees with a Christian fundamentalist worldview is an “enemy” of God. The infection has taken hold in conservative politics, where it has spread to a significant portion of the American population, and even into a significant amount of the Canadian population. In Katherine Stewart’s article in the Guardian entitled “How Christian Fundamentalism Feeds Into the Toxic Partisanship of US Politics,” Stewart notes:

I don’t believe for a moment that this hysterical voice [Christian fundamentalism] that screeches in America’s political sphere is the authentic voice of religion in America. Most religious Americans want to mix it up at lunch! They want to make friends across party lines, and they want to help people who are less fortunate. A survey by the Public Religious Research Institute, released on 24 October, reveals that 60% of Catholics believe the Church should place a greater emphasis on social justice issues and their obligation to the poor, even if that means focusing less on culture war issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. Earlier this year, in response to the Ryan budget, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops joined other Christian leaders in insisting that a “circle of protection” be drawn around “essential programs that serve poor and vulnerable people”.

So why is it that the so-called “values voters” are urged to vote against the politician who supports choice, not the politician who wants to shred that “circle of protection” for the poor and vulnerable? Why is it that when politicians want to demonstrate just how religiously righteous they are, they talk about banning same-sex marriage and making contraceptives hard to get, instead of showing what they have done to protect the weak?

There is an obvious answer, and it is, in a sense, staring you in the face every time you watch a political debate or read about the latest antics of Focus on the Family and the AFA. The kind of religion that succeeds in politics tends to focus on the divisive element of religion. If you want to use religion to advance a partisan political agenda, the main objective you use it for is to divide people between us and them, between the in-group and the out-group, the believers and the infidels.

The result is a reduction of religion to a small handful of wedge issues. According to the religious leaders and policy organizations urging Americans to vote with their “Biblical values”, to be Christian now means to support one or, at most, a small handful of policy positions. And it means voting for the Republican party.

Christian fundamentalists are not to be confused with mainstream evangelical Christians. While Christian fundamentalists may be evangelical, not every evangelical Christian is necessarily a fundamentalist. The symptoms of the infection of anti-intellectualism are as follows:

1. Erosion of education — escalating attacks on teachers as bad citizens, teachers’ unions as greedy “takers”, the evolution vs. creationism debate, resistance to stem cell research (or any kind of scientific research that conflicts with their Biblical worldview), fundamentalist emphasis on voucher system to create taxpayer funded fundamentalist schools, fear of a changing, increasingly pluralistic society (the current face of which is the extraordinary power fundamentalists give to the LGBT community as the force eroding American morality and bringing down the entire nation), and a negative economy which is generating public support by those who consider themselves members of the Religious Right by demonizing public education as a “liberal conspiracy” to take their children away from God.

2. Biblical Literalism: The Bible is the foundation of “truth,” from science to social interactions, and anything that disagrees with a fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible is a product of Satanic manipulation, of which the by-product of Satan is secularism.

3. Oversimplification: The idea that there is a clear right and wrong (based on Biblical laws, or cherry-picked verses), the universe is either moral or immoral, and that so-called “assaults” on religious “freedom” of fundamentalists signify an invisible war between the forces of God (or “good”) and the forces of Satan (or “evil”).

4. Assertion of the patriarchal right to control women: To fundamentalists, women are second-class citizens, subject to a strict social hierarchy. This hierarchy can be observed in every stripe of fundamentalism, from Islamic fundamentalism to Christian fundamentalism and it goes like this:

God/Jesus is the head of the man

Man is the head of the woman, subject only to God

Woman is subjugated to a status which is wholly reliant on having “faith” that her husband will do the right thing because he is specially influenced by God by special decree of the Bible. Fundamentalist website after website counsels women that if her husband does wrong that the only thing she can do is pray that God will guide him to a different decision, that she is not to disagree with him publicly (or in front of children). She is free (sometimes) to give an opinion, but the ultimate decision is the man’s, because he has special dispensation by God to be in that position. The equal status of women is a threat to this hierarchy, and thus, a threat to God.

A gathering of evangelical Christians in Washington. (Photo: Mark Wilson / Reuters)

This is why America is seeing so many attacks on women, from trying to pass laws that undermine Roe v. Wade (personhood laws, restrictions on abortions, waiting periods, attempts to push laws to punish abortion doctors, restrictions on being able to get birth control, etc), to going to the trouble of redefining rape as being the woman’s fault, even part of God’s plan, while pushing to give rapists parental rights, to the unfortunate proclamations of Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, et. Al, that babies born of rape are blessings from God, that the female body shuts down its reproductive system when a woman is being raped, etc.). Controlling women’s bodies while at the same time denouncing “big government” is the popular meme of the fundamentalist mind. Women are simply not meant to destroy that Godly hierarchy set up by the Bible, and in their minds if you can control women, you’ve got half the populace conquered for God.

Fundamentalist anti-intellectualism often manifests itself in a sort of “pseudo-intellectualism” by which those with little or no educational background read a few articles or watch a few videos about a particular subject (usually published by their own religious compatriots, particularly about what a scientific theory is and evolution), and consider themselves “educated” because what they read agreed with their worldview, or, if being highly educated, usually get that education in a fundamentalist educational setting. They will then take that “evidence” and proceed to use it against empirical evidence that directly contests and even eviscerates the arguments they have carefully set up around what they have read or seen, and the argument invariably ends with ad hominem attacks against reason, facts, and education — because they have no actual evidence outside of the Bible to use to “win” the argument. A favorite tactic is to call the opposition an “atheist” (or a “liberal”) if someone disagrees with their worldview.

Education is then “demonized” as being a covert movement to “indoctrinate” the masses in the secular worldview, and thus, part of the forces of Satan. Rick Santorum demonstrates this principle admirably. Although he himself is highly educated, with a bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree and JD from Penn State, his Biblical worldview clearly trumps his empirical education and allows him to disregard it as a fly in the ointment in the “light of Biblical truth,” which is, of course, only empirical in that it is in print, in black and white, not empirical that it can actually be proven. Faith is evidence enough, and reason becomes a threat to faith, thus, reason is from Satan, not God. A good case in point is the persecution of Copernicus and Galileo by the Catholic Church, regarding the revolution of the Earth around the sun. This old argument, which has been proven in favor of Copernicus and Galileo, has arisen once again to haunt us.

According to a recent National Science Foundation survey, over twenty percent of the respondents believed in the geocentric model popular during the 1500s, that the sun revolves around the earth instead of the other way around. This is old, disproven thinking that comes from the idea that since humanity is God’s creation, naturally, everything revolves around humanity, with humanity at the center of creation. Humanity is thus, special. Anything that challenges the idea that humanity is special is thus a threat against God. After all, you can’t feel the earth move, so it must be stationary. You can’t see the stars move (well, you can with a telescope, something called parallax), but you can’t see it with the naked eye, so thus, the earth must be stationary with the sun moving around it. This is an example of pseudo-intellectualism. You know what you see, but you don’t investigate to see if your assertions are valid under close scrutiny. Fundamentalists cannot afford to indulge in close scrutiny of their ideas, because close scrutiny would most certainly disprove most of what they believe, and they fear, more than anything else, of the erosion of their own faith.

In 1982, forty-four per cent of Americans held strictly creationist views, a statistically insignificant difference from 2012. Furthermore, the percentage of Americans that believe in biological evolution has only increased by four percentage points over the last twenty years.

Susan Jacoby, author of “The Age of American Unreason” and “Freethinkers” sums up the problem of fundamentalist anti-intellectualism succintly:

This mindless tolerance, which places observable scientific facts, subject to proof, on the same level as unprovable supernatural fantasy, has played a major role in the resurgence of both anti-intellectualism and anti-rationalism.

Copernicus and Galileo were persecuted by the Catholic Church for suggesting that humanity on earth was indeed not the center of the universe. Copernicus did not suffer much persecution while he was alive, but after he was dead, his hypothesis that the earth revolved around the sun certainly did. Galileo dared to revive Copernicus’ idea, and packaged it in a mock debate between characters in a book he wrote called Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo) in 1632. The Catholic Church’s militaristic arm, the Inquisition, caught wind of what he had written, and banned his book, and placed Galileo under house arrest.

Now, the Catholic Church’s disagreement with Galileo and Copernicus did not make their ideas less true, which the idea certainly was, and revealed to be true through empirical scientific investigation over a period of years. Instead, the Church deflected the facts as “heresy,” which is something fundamentalists are particularly adept at doing. Ken Ham’s Creation Museum is a testament to this deflection of scientific facts as heresy. By dismissing evolution as nothing more than a “theory,” (which goes to show pure, deliberate ignorance of what exactly a scientific theory is), we see again the application of the ad hominem attack Christian fundamentalists so love to employ when inconvenient facts get in the way.

The fundamentalists of today are a hardy lot, and they will use anything to win this battle for God — the Bible, which is the ultimate authority, the Constitution, revisionist science textbooks, and revisionist American history (a la David Barton) that “proves” America was a nation founded to be their brand of a “Christian nation.” Never mind they are not Constitutional scholars. The Constitutional scholars are a threat to them because even though scholars have differing opinions about interpretation of the Constitution, any opinion that differs from the fundamentalist worldview is a direct attack on God. Never mind that the fundamentalist that lives in the general population is not a scientist. They know better, because Ken Ham and the Bible tell them that there is NO WAY God would use evolution to create (even though the Bible says nothing on the subject of evolution. The Bible is black and white. God created the world as it is now in six days, and rested on the seventh.

You will rarely see a fundamentalist in a secular college or university because secular universities and colleges do not agree with their worldview. This is why for the most part they are homeschooled, and go straight from homeschool to fundamentalist universities that teach their worldview. These universities and colleges churn out fundamentalists who are schooled in law, but only an interpretation of law that fits their Biblical worldview. Lawyers or judges who disagree with them, particularly in Supreme Court cases are dismissed ad hominem as “activist lawyers” and “activist judges” (i.e. enemies of God). This lack of empirical education is changing American society into one that has eroded science education, particularly with their attempts to force the school voucher issue, which is nothing but a bid to get taxpayers to fund fundamentalist education, yet they object to taxpayer funded public education because “secularism” is persecuting them for their beliefs by simply disagreeing with them (because again, nothing they believe is based on empirical evidence).

Jerry Falwell Jr. has ambitious plans to affect life, law and culture in America, and it’s all being germinated at Liberty University, the fundamentalist bastion his father founded. (Source: Americans United)

The lack of empirical education is eroding American society in favor of a “faith based” education that has nothing whatsoever to do with facts that threaten their worldview. Liberty is something they interpret as the freedom to live in a society based solely on their Biblical worldview. Freedom of religion for others in an inclusive society is anathema to them, because such freedom threatens to sideline them to the fringes. Individual liberty does not exist except for them, because they have an inherent distrust of the individual to make reasonable decisions, unless those decisions are based on their interpretation of Scripture. Thus, mainstream Christians are not their brethren; mainstream Christians are simply misinformed individuals who have deluded themselves into believing they are of the family of Christ, and only the clear lens of fundamentalism can see that mainstream Christians have been deceived by the enemy of God which is secular society.

The sole aim of fundamentalists is to “obey” God in creating conditions favorable to the return of Christ–and this one thought, this one design drives American foreign policy with Israel (they believe that when the Jews all return to Israel and the 3rd temple is rebuilt that Christ will return, (but not without sacrificing 2/3 of the Jewish people in the process), then all the remaining Jews will become Christians. American fundamentalists are only interested in Jewish people and Israel insofar as it furthers the return of Jesus Christ. That is all.

Because fundamentalists are engaged in the idea that they are warriors in a fight for God, (something Christian fundamentalists hold in common with Islamic fundamentalists), they have the sort of mindset that if it came to it (which it has not yet, I do not think), they would not afraid to die for their faith. Proof of this idea was given a disturbing form by a video game “Left Behind: Eternal Forces,” which advocates killing anyone who doesn’t agree with them (i.e. can’t be converted to their idea of Christ):

Aimed at conservative Christians, the game’s story line begins in a time after the “rapture”, when fundamentalist dogma contends that Christians will go to heaven. The remaining population on earth must then choose between surrendering to or resisting “the Antichrist”, which the game describes as the “Global Community Peacekeepers” whose objective is the imposition of “one-world government”.

“Part of the object is to kill or convert the opposing forces,” Simpson said. This is “antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said, adding that he was dismayed by the concept in “Eternal Forces” of using prayer to restore a player’s “spirit points” after killing the enemy.

In the game, combatants on one side pause for prayer, intoning, “Praise the Lord”. A player can lose points for “unnecessary killing” but regain them through prayer.

But Simpson counters, “The idea that you could pray, and the deleterious effects of one’s foul deeds would simply be wiped away, is a horrible thing to be teaching Christian young people here at Christmas time.”

Troy Lyndon, CEO of Left Behind Games Inc., which is promoting the new video, has defended the game as “inspirational entertainment” and said its critics were exaggerating. The game is based on the popular “Left Behind” novels, a Bible-based end-of-the-world-saga that has sold more than 63 million copies.

Now, while this is a disturbing element, and the Left Behind books have genocidal scenes that seem to justify killing masses of unbelievers because they are incorrigible (not ever going to convert to the fundamentalist mindset), it should be reiterated that fundamentalists are not yet at the point in the US where they want to kill people, so let us not be alarmist. However, that being said, the way some fundamentalists are choosing to portray institutional racism and genocide (as punishment for sin and disbelief) to school age children is disturbing, and it is the belief of this scholar that the elements for radical action portayed in the video game are there–but would need utter desperation in order to explode into being. It is the opinion of this writer that fundamentalists are not yet this desperate, but attempts to normalize killing for God are disturbing, to say the least. The Guardian had this to say about the subject in May of 2012:

The story of the Amalekites has been used to justify genocide throughout the ages. According to Pennsylvania State University Professor Philip Jenkins, a contributing editor for the American Conservative, the Puritans used this passage when they wanted to get rid of the Native American tribes. Catholics used it against Protestants, Protestants against Catholics. “In Rwanda in 1994, Hutu preachers invoked King Saul’s memory to justify the total slaughter of their Tutsi neighbors,” writes Jenkins in his 2011 book, Laying Down the Sword: Why We Can’t Ignore the Bible’s Violent Verses (HarperCollins).

This fall, more than 100,000 American public school children, ranging in age from four to 12, are scheduled to receive instruction in the lessons of Saul and the Amalekites in the comfort of their own public school classrooms. The instruction, which features in the second week of a weekly “Bible study” course, will come from the Good News Club, an after-school program sponsored by a group called the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF). The aim of the CEF is to convert young children to a fundamentalist form of the Christian faith and recruit their peers to the club.

There are now over 3,200 clubs in public elementary schools, up more than sevenfold since the 2001 supreme court decision, Good News Club v Milford Central School, effectively required schools to include such clubs in their after-school programing.

The CEF has been teaching the story of the Amalekites at least since 1973. In its earlier curriculum materials, CEF was euphemistic about the bloodshed, saying simply that “the Amalekites were completely defeated.” In the most recent version of the curriculum, however, the group is quite eager to drive the message home to its elementary school students. The first thing the curriculum makes clear is that if God gives instructions to kill a group of people, you must kill every last one:

“You are to go and completely destroy the Amalekites (AM-uh-leck-ites) – people, animals, every living thing. Nothing shall be left.”

“That was pretty clear, wasn’t it?” the manual tells the teachers to say to the kids.

Even more important, the Good News Club wants the children to know, the Amalakites were targeted for destruction on account of their religion, or lack of it. The instruction manual reads:

“The Amalekites had heard about Israel’s true and living God many years before, but they refused to believe in him. The Amalekites refused to believe in God and God had promised punishment.”

The instruction manual goes on to champion obedience in all things. In fact, pretty much every lesson that the Good News Club gives involves reminding children that they must, at all costs, obey. If God tells you to kill nonbelievers, he really wants you to kill them all. No questions asked, no exceptions allowed.

Educating Christian fundamentalists simply doesn’t work. They do not accept any education that is in direct conflict with their worldview. What remains is to educate the rest of the American populace about Christian fundamentalism and dominionism, educating the American populace about the David Bartons of the world, so that when elections occur, an educated populace can reject the infiltration of fundamentalism on the rest of American society, which will, given the right opportunity (usually in a climate of fear like 9/11), erode American democracy entirely and push our nation into the fringes of the world into irrelevance.

Dakota O’Leary is a freethinker, and often sassy, scholar of theology and literature. She got her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Theology from the State University of New York College at Buffalo, and her Master of Arts degree in Theology and Literature from Antioch University-Midwest. Dakota is a co-host of the God Discussion radio show, offering insight to the news stories of the week.

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56 Responses to Christian fundamentalists are driving our country into the Dark Ages

  1. kittybrat Reply

    February 14, 2013 at 1:39 am

    Dakota O'Leary, you have hit the nail directly on the head. Your examples come directly out of my past childhood indoctrination into fundamentalism. When reason is considered Satanic, there is little one can do, save for to educate everyone about them, and to try to rescue their offspring.
    NICELY DONE!

    • Anonymous Reply

      July 20, 2013 at 5:29 pm

      This doesn’t just apply to Christianity, there are also other religions that this applies to.

      • Daniel Taylor Reply

        March 31, 2014 at 8:46 am

        Yes, but none of those other religions are currently taking over your political infrastructure.

        • PJ Reply

          April 2, 2014 at 10:39 pm

          But, you should worry about them too. All religious fundamentalists, in all cultures, are not doing mankind any favor. I believe in a spiritual world and a scientific world, and they co-exist. Organized religion does nothing to further mankind.

  2. John Philip Reply

    February 19, 2013 at 11:39 am

    I recognise a lot of what is said here as pertaining also to 'churches' in UK and other countries. My one complaint about this article is that the author falls into the same trap as fundamentalists (and many more 'bible-believing Christians) by making assertions about the thinking of those being criticised. It is wrong for a fundamentalist to interpret inaccurately or generalise from the meaning or message of an individual opponent in order to bolster one's own view; it is equally wrong to do this of fundamentalists.

    One reason things have become so bad is that many more moderate Christians have fallen for the lie of biblical inneracy, something never claimed in the bible itself! Even quite reasonable people excuse fundamentalists on the grounds that they have simpy 'taken things a bit far'. They feel unable to criticise the flawed basis of the extremism, because to do so would raise contradictions in their own minds about the foundation of their beliefs. Never question the bible! even when it has been misused, cherry-picked, non-contextualised and abused. For more on this subject see my ebook, Fibs, Lies and Scripture. Pay what you feel right, or download it for free. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/142566

    Thanks, Dakota O'Leary for a thought-provoking and timely article. More please!

    • awain69 Reply

      March 3, 2013 at 7:59 pm

      In my defense, I'd like to say that I hope I wasn't making blanket assertions. Much of the thinking in my article came from my own background of 20 years as a fundamentalist myself, being raised in that milieu. Thank you though, for the constructive criticism and I will definitely keep it in the front of my mind next time I write about this subject. –Dakota O'Leary.

  3. Patrick 8200 Reply

    February 19, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    On the Family Research Council's fb page this weekend I saw some guy post. "I refuse to live in a Godless world, it's time to start killing those who follow the devil!" Really?

    FRC is one of the organization's that are anti-gay putting Christianity and the bible in front of everything to prove they are correct.
    Yesterday I called a supposed preacher out on spreading lies and proved exactly what he did and what he was doing was against the 3rd and 9th commandments. Today, I'm banned from posting. They deleted my response to his BS post…but kept his post.
    These people will lie, manipulate and contemplate murder in the name of God. They are getting dangerous.

    • craigvn Reply

      April 15, 2013 at 2:58 am

      On the Family Research Council's fb page this weekend I saw some guy post. "I refuse to live in a Godless world, it's time to start killing those who follow the devil!" Really?

      Clearly that is what Jesus would do! The fundamentalists really don't follow Jesus at all but have invented their own religion that is filled with hate.

    • Anonymous Reply

      April 15, 2013 at 8:40 pm

      I’ve had similar experiences with Americans for the Truth About Homosexuality. When I debated with them on one thread comparing homosexuality to smoking, I was flamed, banned from responding and – the worst thing in my view – the thread was selectively ‘edited’ to show me in the worst possible light. Very disturbing. I still follow them: we need to know what groups like this are up to…

    • Sara Reply

      April 17, 2013 at 4:27 pm

      Some years ago, I was the wife of a fundamentalist minister. We founded the local chapter of Christian Coalition, I belonged to Concerned Women of America, and received the AFA newsletter. Of course, we were registered republicans and badmouthed all those yellowdog democrat commies!
      That AFA newsletter was the "beginning of the end" for me. When I contacted AFA about a big fat LIE they were spreading, and boycotting a great company for….they said it didn't matter, the boycott stood and the lie wasn't important.
      That opened my eyes to the *HATE* and divisiveness they preached, and I finally realized – This whole conservative republican fundamentalist stuff is EVIL. Satan is the father of lies and confusion, and these organizations are working hand in hand with him.
      I'm out of that life now, Thank God!

      • Gloria Reply

        June 1, 2013 at 6:16 pm

        Good for you, Sara! So much of what the loudest loudmouths spread as ‘fact’ *is*, in fact, fiction! :) It’s also inflammatory and designed to divide (and conquer). But what bothers me most is that so much of the fundamentalist ‘doctrine’ is designed to keep a woman’s mouth SHUT, to keep her meek and compliant. Obedient. It’s also emotionally and mentally abusive to any woman who believes it. Good for you!

    • Alexander Reply

      May 29, 2013 at 10:27 am

      It is unbelievable, Jesus in the Bible went to great lengths and effort to dissuade people from such behavior, if they were actually "fundamentalists", that is believe what the Bible says, they would do what Jesus told them to do, such as love even those people who are considered "sinners" because they are most in need of help, "forgive and you shall be forgiven", "do not judge and you will not be judged", "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone". Now, these "fundamentalists" are the same people that crucified Jesus and stoned the prophets and saints, and would do so again if they had a chance.

  4. Mackinz Reply

    February 22, 2013 at 5:42 am

    I have just found this site, after recently coming to terms with my faith, and I would just like to say some things.

    First, thank you. This kind of thing appalls me to no end, and makes me feel like using my second amendment rights and buying a gun, just in case a Fundementalist decides to try to change the legislature of the schools in my area… Not that I would use it, of course. I'm quite sane, smart, know right from wrong, and know that doing so would end up with me spending more than a night in a jail cell.

    Second, I think that there is very little we can do about this. Though to every sane person out there, this Fundementalist mumbo jumbo is garbage spewed by the ignorant… unless the US Government makes it a crime to force religious teachings in a public setting, then nothing legal can be done. Even if the Supreme Court rules against every single attempt to put religious teachings in the classroom, moronic fundementalists are just going to keep pushing, never learning from their mistakes because they think that they are in the right, and everyone (with a brain) who disagrees is in the wrong.

    It makes me sick. Such blatant ignorance of truth, human rights and our own Constitutional rights, over a bronze age religion and a book written 1600 years ago.

    These people are not religious, in my eyes. They are a cult and a hate group, attempting to turn our country into another religious-controlled country, and are not afraid of condemning our population with their stupidity, nor are they afraid of genocide of "non-believers", just like the Islamic countries in the middle east.

    Something needs to be done.

    Please, Obama. You are not the anti-christ, but I'd like you to be, just to get these religious bigots out of our schools, out of our Senate and House, out of the media, and out of this country.

    - Mackinz, California

  5. Tom Reply

    March 3, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    The right wing fundamentalism is already in the UK with churches like "light and life" seemingly quite popular in Cornwall. Worryingly, they hold their meetings in school buildings to further confuse children whom they are indoctrinating. I think that these teachings should be considered a form of child abuse as these children grow into adults who are unable to think, analyse and evaluate. They are being denied the basic human right to an education.

    • Eddie Reply

      March 31, 2014 at 9:12 pm

      I hadn't thought of their indoctrination as child abuse but, of course, it is…for the reasons you give.

  6. Donald A. Collins Reply

    March 17, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Truly a worthwhile post. Religious fundamentalism's growth worldwide has dire implications for all aspects of our lives, but it is particularly dangerous when it crops up in advanced societies where progress away from such obselete views would hopefully be waning not gaining.

  7. SharonDymond Reply

    April 2, 2013 at 1:02 am

    I attended Easter services this past weekend to watch my grandniece sing. This was the takeaway (quoted verbatim): "What makes us unclean is disobedience." I despair.

  8. Connie Reply

    April 14, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    This was one of many reasons why I left the US eight years ago. I sim,y cannot stand all these snake oil dime store preachers screaming hell and brimstone at every street corner. I simply was tired of all of the wilfully rampant stupidity fundamentalists are still promoting, judging from what I just read. I know they do exist in UK (I live in Glasgow), but they are no where in as near abundance as they are in the US. There is one of these snake oil salesmen who likes to hang out at a nightclub I frequent, and despite numerous warnings he has received from the security staff and the police, not to mention the patrons, he continues to hang out by the door, although these days less frequently after I gave him a good dressing down several months ago. It started out as the usual diatribe about us sinners going to hell, until I pointed out to him that the only place where this is at is in the book of Revelation, which talks about eternal darkness and being cut off from God's grace. These people are dangerous, and they will justify anything including genocide to get their way.

    • Reynardine Reply

      April 15, 2013 at 5:39 pm

      I understand your reasons for leaving, and if I were young and had, or hoped to have, children to bring up, I might try to do the same. Yet it is my country, and so long as any might listen, I feel I must stay and speak. And its reach is long. If it falls utterly to wholly evil people, there will be no corner of the globe beyond their grasp. Therefore, those of us who can stay, must, and those who can speak, must; let those who are able see this thing through à l’outrance.

  9. Kerry M. Berger Reply

    April 14, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    Excellent post.

  10. Victor Reply

    April 14, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    Fundamentalist churchs are not regulated. Anyone who studied under some ‘bibilical college’ can expect to announce and start their own church. Most range good worthy institutions to those mega-for profit organizations that sell out and prey on those struggling with their faith.

    Something new to offer you was me experience with LDS missionaries. Mostly they were harmless and left my Anglician faith intact. Then came the wave of counter-political theological, unchecked Episcopal clergy who abandon their vows of obedience to the church and follow like-political clergy from Uganda, calling themselves anglicans. This new breed advocates killing and shunning those who don’t follow their dogma, (out lawed, by the Church of England, home of the Anglican world organization.

    Yes, american fundamentalists sent legal and training teams to Uganda to help set up the blasphomies. Teams from Pat Robertson’s Club 700 and Focus on the Family are in the forefront.

  11. Mark H. Reply

    April 14, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    GOD does not force anybody to believe in Him…it's a matter of free will to choose to open your heart and listen to that small comforting voice that's in your deepest inner being. GOD is talking to everybody but everybody is not listening.People are being distracted by every means possible including trying to figure out what we are doing here on this planet and where we came from.GOD is real whether you believe it or not. It's a matter of faith….HE will prove Himself to anyone who ask. I don't judge or point fingers at no one. But, I share this out of love for all of us who wants to know the truth.

    • david s Reply

      April 15, 2013 at 4:43 pm

      god doesnt force anybody to listen to him, you are correct. but his followers, people like yourself, enact social policies that ignore the foundation of religious freedom our country was founded on. the problem isnt with your god, whether or not he exists, its with you and people like you. are you against gay marriage? do you support YOUR religion being taught in all of OUR public schools? would you force your opinion on a person trying to decide if can/should bring another life into this world? if you answer yes to any of these, which come from a much larger list, then you, not god, are the problem.

    • gimpi Reply

      June 6, 2013 at 4:18 pm

      How do you know that? I can only speak for myself, but I only believe those things that can be proven to my satisfaction. I can’t simply decide to “believe” because I want to. Can you?

      I don’t have faith, period. Without evidence, I don’t believe things. That’s how my mind works. Since I became able to reason, I have always sought evidence. Has it ever occurred to you that perhaps the evidence presented for your beliefs isn’t very good? I haven’t heard any that offer real evidence or successfully appeal to reason.

      As to the “small, comforting voice,” I have never heard it. Not when each of my parents died. Not when I lost best friends. Not in moments of great fear or pain. Not upon receiving a medical diagnosis of a disabling condition that would greatly restrict my life. Never. I found the strength to get through these challenges from within, and from the support of my family and friends. And I don’t think I’m the worse for that.

      Also, just an aside, why is this blind belief a virtue? The supreme virtue, apparently. According to many people, someone can be a wonderful person-but unable to suspend disbelief-and be condemned. And someone can be vile and abusive, but a believer, and be saved. I’m sorry, but that’s just evil.

      • NatureWorld Reply

        October 3, 2014 at 6:29 pm

        If you hear the voice of god talking to you… then you are mentally insane.

  12. shannon rose Reply

    April 15, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    and here in North Carolina…. <a href="https://www.facebook.com/sharer/sharer.php?u=http%3A%2F%2 Fwww.cagle.com%2F2013%2F04%2Flocal-nc-taliban-and-talibubba%2F” target=”_blank”>https://www.facebook.com/sharer/sharer.php?u=http…” target=”_blank”>Fwww.cagle.com%2F2013%2F04%2Flocal-nc-taliban-and-talibubba%2F

  13. clifton pattee Reply

    April 15, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    here is a concept…let the teaching of these groups be taught in the schools that they build and not be governed by the other and let them only govern their own followers…. and let the world politics govern only the ones those who attempt to do harm through violence to oppress like groups on the world stage….If one shall attack another group because of their beliefs they would be subject to the kings law and those who live their life without violence to others shall live their lives as truly freemen…this says what it says and i will use this example if you believe that abortion is wrong you may govern this in your own group and not the others and if you believe that that guns are bad then govern that in your own group…but if you use these issues to harm another group without provocation or attack then you are subject to what the other group laws are and subject to the kings laws by doing harm to these groups….now if the kings laws attacks these groups with out provocation and try to dominate these groups than he shall be remove…and if God decides this is wrong then he will put the right king in this position….

  14. Dave Reply

    April 15, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Mark, The Flying Spaghetti Monster is real whether you believe it or not. Can't you see how ridiculous your statement is? Probably not. Never mind…

  15. Linda B. Reply

    April 15, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    God loves everyone so much that He made a way for all to spend eternity with Him in heaven! He sent His only son Jesus Christ to died in our place! John 3:16 ” For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” I say what love! He died in our place, for our sins so we would not have to. 2nd Peter 3:9 says: ” The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” True repentance is turning from our sin and turning to Jesus in faith to save us from our sin. He is gentle and will not force anyone to trust Him. My God is love! He gave me a mind to think for myself and to recognize truth!

  16. Linda B. Reply

    April 15, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    I simply believe God’s word The Bible. That is my right. It’s not a religion it’ a personal relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I love Him so much because of what he has done for me!! It is my desire to follow Him, to be like Him, which is to love everyone, not force my beliefs on anyone but to share the truth with anyone who will believe!

  17. Steve Dutch Reply

    April 15, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    Here's what you don't understand, and so many people I've talked to willfully refuse to understand. From their perspective, they are trying to reverse a slide into the dark ages. They regard the Bible as a thoroughly validated document. (That thing the Gideons left in your nightstand, with the squiggles on the pages? Looks like a document to me. You reject their document? Well, that's your problem, isn't it?) They regard homosexuality as harmful and as much deserving of suppression as smoking. From their perspective, they are not imposing their beliefs on anyone, any more than the FDA is when it cracks down on medical quacks, because they consider their beliefs to be objective facts.

    So in their view, your sentiments on gay rights or abortion, if they contradict the Bible, are ipso facto wrong.

    Now I'll say a sooth. I'll get a ton of wharrgarrble from people who will try to argue why they're wrong. Thank you for demonstrating once again the is/ought fallacy, and they don't care what you think. But I long ago ceased to be amazed at the number of self-styled "enlightened" people who seem to think understanding a viewpoint is tantamount to validating it.

  18. John Payne Reply

    April 17, 2013 at 5:29 am

    O my! Might I suggest a bit more focus? Lumping fundamentalists, evangelicals and Catholics together is interesting to say the least. Are you trying to write some sort of history book here? Lets tackle one topic at a time and invite honest dialogue. You’ve certainly whipped up the “yeah, let’s kill all the Christians” crowd.

  19. Country Gal 20 Reply

    April 17, 2013 at 6:23 am

    The reality is that any extremist religion is going to be problematic whether it be Christian, Muslim, etc. because they can not abide differing opinions and thus feel entitled to resort to violence. That being said, part of the problems in our world are due to a disregard of God and a loss of spiritual values. Too many people are fueled by greed and not by empathy or compassion.

    You also can not put the belief in the New World Order and the direction that many see our government and the world headed only in the laps of fundamentalist Christians. Any truly educated and thinking person, spiritual or not, should be able to see what is happening.

  20. Mel Reply

    May 28, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    My friends that are Christians are constantly trying to recruit me into their cult, even though they know I have a different belief.

    Growing up in a church that was full of backstabbing hypocrites and a youth group that shunned my sister and I because we were not "rich" like they were (not really the Christian way) not to mention the crazy Southern Baptist Grandmother (who told me I was going to hell for shuffling cards) and the Catholic Grandfather that divorced my Grandmother after 36 years & 8 kids decided to get an annulment, marry his mistress and had his children declared bastards, really helped me decide that it was not the religion for me.

    I believe in a greater power out there but I don't believe in the Christian Dogma. The bible is outdated, clearly sexist and has no place in the world today. It was written by a bunch of old men 2000 years ago, I think there have been a few changes and advancements since then. I mean am I really one of the only people who thinks the Dark Ages and the churches power was a time we should probably not go back to…I really don't want to be burned at the stake because I think Jesus was an amalgamation of people.

    Does anyone really think that God gives a shit as to what is going on with us mere mortals on a daily basis…I doubt it. I am sure the creator of the cosmos has something better to do than make sure you get all your hail Mary's in

    • Linda E Reply

      May 28, 2013 at 11:18 pm

      Mel just because you grew up in a church where the members were hypocrites doesn't make your faith wrong, after all we are ALL sinners aren't we or do you expect your church (or mine) to be filled every sunday with saints? Your Grandmother was a product of her time and upbringing who sounds terrified that you could actually go to hell for shuffling cards. Grandpa divorced because the marriage was not working with Grandma but no where in the Catholic Church did that make or declare their children bastards. That is a myth you apparently bought into. The building a Christian visits to worship does not make him a Christian at all nor does it make him better than anyone else. It is the belief only that Jesus was the son of God and died on the cross to save us that makes us Christians (aka Christ believers). The antiquated book written over several hundreds of years by men (and women) way after the death of Christ only contains what we need for salvation not a blueprint on what is right and what is wrong in our daily life. I know there is not a word about card shuffling anywhere just as it does not really address alot of other social issues that did not exist at the time. The most important thing to consider is that if it isn't addressed directly and specifically that is because it is not paramount to our salvation. God does not make mistakes and he being all knowing (most Christians would agree on this point) knew what we would need to know to find our way into his grace and thus salvation. Christianity is not a cult but is is a personal choice on how one chooses to live the life he is given. Life is Gods' gift to us and how we live it is our gift back to him…Just one Christian's viewpoint!

      • Red The Fister Reply

        April 1, 2014 at 2:04 am

        Faith is wrong by virtue of its acceptance od claims without evidence.
        Gaith is gullability.

  21. Chrysann Reply

    May 29, 2013 at 12:31 am

    Wow! So many people with so many things to say. I just got through reading the article and all of your comments and all it has done has given me a headache, really. It's too complicated for me. I do respect everyone's belief's and personal stories, whatever they may be because I consider myself to be a pretty open-minded person. I believe as long as you are not judging people, hurting (emotionally and/or physically) anyone or any living creature and have a good heart not filled with hate, you're a good person. A good spirit. Everyone has their struggles and "demons" to deal with throughout life but if you keep your head up and power through, you will learn from them and grow as a person. You can't control how people or situations treat you but you can control how you respond to them. I personally have learned this along my journey, and it has made me a much calmer, happier person. As far as religion? I believe that's nobody's business. That's between your heart and what you I believe in ^_^

  22. Michael R. Reply

    May 29, 2013 at 1:44 am

    Good article which I was happy to share on facebook and start a discussion around. However, your conclusion that educating Christian fundamentalists simply doesn’t work needs to be rethought. As a former fundamentalist, I can say from experience that education and perspective have caused me to leave fundamentalism, and I know that I’m not alone, even by reading some of the above comments. One only needs to look at the declining numbers of evangelical/fundamentalist Christianity to see that this is true.

  23. Mattia Thibault Reply

    May 29, 2013 at 11:58 am

    Good (and sad) article. I'm Italian and we don't know very much what's happening in US, generally. I would point out two little considerations of mine:
    - Galileo was comdanned by Chatholic Church for his disobedience. The problem wasn't really the form and the movement of earth (since ancient Greeks lot of people knew how it works). I lived in Rome, at the time the Saint State, and refuse to obey the Pope, who was like a king. Of course this doesn't mean that it wasn't a bad thing or anything. It has taken 4 centuries fo the Chatholic church to accept science (it appened with Jean Paul II who said "science tell us how, religion tell us why").
    - The second thing I would like to point out is how the internal organisation of a Church influence it strongly. In Sixteenth cenury and before the rigid organisation of Chatholic Church made it the worst in the world. Protestants and Muslims were much more tolerant and free thinkers. The fact that Popes had a lot of political power and very restricted view bring us mass murders of "infedels" and "heretics". Nowadays, on the other hand, it is quite the contrary. Even if Chatholic Churc is still aganist homosexuals the belivers are invited to love them instead of hate them. Chatholic Church is one of the few that says that you can go in paradise even if you are atheist or you believe to another religion. I'm not saying that Chatholic Church is perfect (absolutely not!), but that the control that bishops have on every priest makes a lot of fundamentalist shut up. If a priest start to preach the Holy War, his bishop put him to work in a place in which he could not communicate too much with people… That doesen't happen, for example with muslims, that have no clergy: thats why every fool who think to talk with god can become preacher.
    I'm not trying to tell what system is the best, they had given very differents results through history. But I find it interesting and I wanted to share it with you all!

  24. erictb Reply

    May 31, 2013 at 11:12 pm

    Yeah; very good and objective. This was a critique I so wanted to see 30 years ago. For decades, I hard conservative Christians beat up on nonChristians, liberals and evolution, and hardly anyone ever responded. When they did, (in recent decades, like around the Dover trial), it was a lot of invective attacking God and the Bible altogether.

    That part about violence is striking (the villains are the “Global Community Peacekeepers”, while the ones resorting to doing all the killing are the heroes). It's pure "shadow projection" (projecting one's own sin at others, and justifying it in one's self). I'm surprised the article doesn't even mention the gun craze, which fundamentalists are a major driving force behind. They tell everyone else "trust God; don't cling to this world"; but they get to defend their lives and possessions. The article covered this and many other points well.

    Overall, the problem with this group is they cannot admit the sins of the AngloAmerican world (namely the racism and colonialism it built itself up on, in addition to the economic injustice today), so they have to blame everyone else for all wrong, in defense of this "honor"; and God is basically just the mascot of the whole thing.

  25. Spiritual Reply

    July 20, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    "While Christian fundamentalists may be evangelical, not every evangelical Christian is necessarily a fundamentalist…"

    I'VE SEEN THIS COMMENT ELSEWHERE – IN MANY STATEMENTS ABOUT MUSLIMS.
    THE TWO SIDES OF THE SAME COIN BEGIN TO UNFOLD.

  26. Trent Reply

    January 21, 2014 at 2:12 am

    “should be reiterated that fundamentalists are not yet at the point in the US where they want to kill people.”

    Yeah, tell them that in Oklahoma City; or an abortion clinic that has been the target of violence and vandalism; or somebody who lost their job and/or home due to their religious beliefs that did not conform, and winds up killing themselves or otherwise dying on the streets.

    • SilverKnight196 Reply

      April 6, 2014 at 11:16 pm

      They already been killing people for decades.

  27. CJ Reply

    March 3, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    This entire article should be applied to Secular Humanism – a religion in denial which has crept into the schools and education system – a politically correct form of atheism – it’s a religion that is tolerated by society yet it is intolerant of the true faith Jesus taught. Interesting how all sorts of religions and practices are wildly accepted yet once again Christianity is in the cross hairs again -Obviously the writer of this article has an agenda against what Jesus taught – using typical biased one sided intellect that is designed simply to appeal to other like minded practicing religious secular humanists – using tired old arguments which only emphasis the degree of hypocrisy the writer has been able to muster. As for evolution and big bang it needs to be thrown from the education system for lack of evidence. If you don’t like the truth too bad you reap what you sow and that is the fact – whining about Christians only shows your insane amount of misunderstanding on the entire subject – I would suggest staying on topics you actually understand because the true faith Jesus taught is simply something you don’t grasp at the moment.

  28. M J Spaulding Reply

    March 4, 2014 at 4:28 am

    I just want to say I am a creationist conservative Christian. I don’t accept the finding of science on origins of the universe, life or the variety of living things, but otherwise science if just fine. I am very liberal politically and do not want Christian ‘values’ made into law except for the values of helping those who cannot help themselves, the poor, handicapped, elderly. Everyone should have access to health care, education and a living standard. The difference between the richest and the poorest in our country is abominable.

  29. pmiministries Reply

    March 12, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    I've reached a conclusion after perusing the vacuous liberal diatribes in this thread; the real enemy here isn't Fundamentalism or even those of us who stand without apology to promote it. Their real enemy is Almighty God who gave us an inerrant, infallible, inspired Bible that unmasks their evil and warns them that if they remain unrepentant until death, they will be judged guilty of their sins and be cast into the lake of fire where they will suffer forever.

    Rev_20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

    Rev_20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

    Rev_20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

    My suggestion is simple: Instead of mocking God and His messengers, bow your head and ask the Lord Jesus to save you TODAY while you are still breathing God's good air. If you wait until death, Hell will claim your soul! DON'T WAIT!

    • Nathan Leinart Reply

      April 1, 2014 at 12:29 am

      How about you try putting up an actual argument instead of raving on about how perfect your collection of 2,000 year old desert scribblings are.

      The Christian god–were he real–would have to be the most petulant little shit in existence, and I refuse to bend the knee to such a disgusting little twit. Now take your crap and leave. It will never become the law in this country, so your mission was over before it started.

  30. Tracy Reply

    March 31, 2014 at 12:38 am

    Some of the responses here by the fundies are just stupid. Really.
    Domionism and reconstructionism…how you all think it is ok to tell others that they
    MUST live according to your bible is absurd. Go live in a theocratic society first to
    Try it out…somewhere in the middleast preferable and then tell us if that is really really really what you want for America. It's never going to happen here…never.

    My ancestors didn't fight in the revolution and for the formation of this country so the likes of you all can screw it up and send us backassward in time. We're marching forward while your religion and kind are being bred out. We're leaving you behind. And good riddance.

  31. Jerry Reply

    March 31, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    Whoever wrote this article is ignorant and needs to attend an evangelical college or university to gain insight into this matter.

  32. SilverKnight196 Reply

    April 6, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    I have said that Fundamentalists pine for the 7th Century. The solution may be to go 6 centuries further back and feed them all to the lions.

  33. cristina Reply

    April 9, 2014 at 11:08 am

    I can't believe there are so many people that follow these religious fanatics. In this day of age it seems crazy. How much further does the world have to advance to stop people from believing such trivial claims?

  34. Ralph W. Day, MD, PhD Reply

    April 19, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    It always amazes me that liberal progressives call anyone who disagrees with them “uneducated and fundamentalists.” I was age 51 before I came to know Jesus. I had two degrees, board-certified in a medical specialty, successful and thought I was educated. Then I studied the Bible and learned how ignorant I really am. Fortunately, praise God, I read that document BEFORE getting brainwashed by any denomination or by people like Dakota, who apparently reads only what agrees with her view. God created science and science has NOT proven that anything in the Bible is false.

    • jake eagleshield Reply

      September 28, 2014 at 3:43 pm

      And,there is nothing in the Bible,that disproves science. (humans and dinosaurs lived together?) Gimme a break. There is no reason not to believe that God did not create evolution,as a tool to achieve His ends. I have no issue with fundamentalists and their beliefs,if done right. I admire their zeal! But do not stand there and point the finger at me,and play God by condemming me because I have my own beliefs which do not jive with yours. Many fundamentalist churches are not anything more than personality cults whose leaders claim to be prophets,and have regular one on one conversations with God,who,(surprise,surprise) tells them exactly what they want to hear,every time. For me your credentials mean nothing. i know a lot of brilliant highly educated people,who cannot pick out a pair of socks without their mommy. Educated idiots my grandfather calls them.But guys like Falwell,Robertson,Parsley,Hagee,Reed,Tilton,Bakker,and Roberts,are in it for the money and the notoriety and little more.

  35. Clifford Reply

    May 11, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    If it is a choice between liberalism tor Fundamentalism as a Christian I choose Christian fundamentalism

  36. discipleofChrist Reply

    May 26, 2014 at 7:14 am

    And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

    And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

    That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

  37. Robinius Reply

    July 15, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    Islamic fundamentalists are okay, right?

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