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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Howie’s Definition of Fundamentalism

I believe that I have Christian brothers and sisters who love God and believe the Bible is true, yet believe that Paul’s statements about women were culturally conditioned, just like his statements on slavery. This does not mean they don’t believe the Bible and are going to hell.

I believe that I have Christian brothers and sisters who love God and believe the Bible is true, and believe that women should not be pastors. This belief does not mean that they hate women or that they feel that women are inferior.

I believe that I have Christian brothers and sisters who love God and believe the Bible is true, and hold that homosexuality is a sin. This does not mean that they hate homosexuals.

I believe that I have Christian brothers and sisters who love God and believe the Bible is true, but they believe that statements in the Bible about homosexuality being a sin are based upon ancient views of sexuality and are not valid today. They are not trying to destroy American and they honestly believe that God is OK with homosexuality.

I believe that I have Christian brothers and sisters who love God and believe the Bible is true, and believe that evolution is a scientific fact. They do not hate God, but believe that the main purpose behind the Bible is theological, not scientific or historical.

I believe that I have Christian brothers and sisters who love God and believe the Bible is true, and believe that the earth was created in six literal days. They are not ignorant persons who reject reality or modern beliefs and are not anti-intellectuals.

However, I believe that some of the stereotypes described above are sometimes accurate.

I believe that Christians are called to love God, one another, and their enemies. Thus, I believe that name-calling and insulting brothers and sisters in Christ over these issues is un-Christian and destructive to the body of Christ and our witness to the world.

If this post ticks you off…you are a Fundamentalist. I love you any way, but that’s how I define a Fundamentalist. As Sally McFague wrote, “any one who fails to acknowledge his or her own limitations is a Fundamentalist." Therefore, if you think all who believe homosexuality is a sin are hate-filled idiots---I call that Fundamentalism. If you think those who believe in evolution are non-believers and God-haters----you are a Fundamentalist.

I pray for Fundamentalists of every stripe to learn to love one another. Please pray for me too. I need the prayer and you need the practice!


At 10:45 PM, Blogger Elle said...

Ah, Sallie McFague... she changed my ethics and made me care about a lot of things I was taught to disregard, namely the environment.

At 7:13 AM, Blogger SpookyRach said...

I really like what you say and how you say it. Glad to have found your site.

At 7:26 AM, Anonymous RaeLea said...

Yes, me too.

At 6:35 PM, Blogger D.R. said...


At first, I agreed with a lot of what you said, but as the day wore on I realized that the original need for you to define fundamentalists was due in some respect to me saying you mislabeled those to whom your referred in your previous article. Also, I made a point pretty much in agreement with you that you had been mislabeled as well. My point was undergirded by the fact that these terms have a generally definate, fixed meaning. Fundamentalists defined themselves in the decades past, as well as did liberals. However, today we see both groups lumped in with others that feel the labels are either derogatory or misleading to how they really believe. That was my position. But what you have done in this article is not to point out what Fundies are, but rather you have put a subjective definition upon them (". . . if this post ticks you off", what McFague said, etc.). Thus, what you have done is once again set a precedent that would enable people to regard you as liberal because they too could propose such a test and a subjective definition.

But wait, this is my point. I applaud you for pointing out that Fundamentalism in your definition would reside on both sides of the aisle, so to speak. That makes great sense. What I think however, is that the term is still problematic, since when you say Fundamentalist people hear their own definition of the term (and rarely would any equate it with liberals). Hence, I support the use of Extremist and still ask that you separate that from Evangelicals.

One last thing. As long as you are consistent with your use of whatever term, I can deal with it. In the article you posted on Sunday, you used Fundamentalist to encompass pretty much all the SBC or anyone who would affirm the change in the BF&M 2000. That to me is a betrayal of your use here in this article. I wasn't ticked at your article and I certainly recognize my limitations, but I do affirm the changes and think they are indeed good for the document. Hence, that classification is what I reacted to in the first place. I am not a fundamentalist. I am an Evangelical. And to me and millions of others, that is a big deal.

I hope you are not reading this and thinking I am being picky. You should know by now that I do emphasize precision and I do not like being stereotyped, just as you don't from your rejection of the term liberal. In the end, let's use reasoning, not unsubstantiated rhetoric to make our points. That includes resisting the temptation to stereotype and misuse language to confuse, stimulate, and enrage. Thanks for listening.

At 1:09 PM, Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Interesting thoughts.


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