Taking the Fun Out of Fundamentalism

Fundamentalism is the belief in some old “sacred” literature—usually composed by authority-hungry authors—as being literal truth and factual historical record which commonly includes elements regarded as uncontroversial prophecy.  In Christian fundamentalism, stories from the Jewish Torah are used as a springboard for the doctrine of Creationism, blended with such “miraculous” accounts as virgin birth, the physical resurrection of a world savior, and his anticipated physical “second coming.”

With such unnatural and improvable assertions accepted as fact, there was set in place the basis for unswerving and unalterable principles of religious-philosophical belief.  Unfortunately, unswerving belief and rigidity of a doctrine does not insure its value as truth.

The Christian fundamentalism that we see today in the early 21st century America took root in the early 20th century as a movement to counter the Darwinian evolution theory and the threat of liberal (nonjudgmental) theology.  It was around 1909 that a group of protesters began circulating a publication called The Fundamentals that avowed five key points regarded as holy and fundamental.  1) The infalliblity of Scriptures, 2) the Virgin birth of the Son of God, 3) the physical resurrection of Jesus, 4) Jesus as replacement in atonement for mankind’s sins, 5) and the return of Jesus in a judgmental rendezvous.

By 1925 the frenzy of fundamentalism was so infectious that a teacher in the state of Tennessee—J. T. Scopes—was brought to trial for teaching the science-based theory of evolution.  In the so-called “monkey trial” the teacher was convicted for exposing his pupils to truth.  The fundamentalists took strength from the verdict and throughout the rest of the 1920s attempted to rid churches and schools of any scientific inquiry of what they regarded as the perverse modernism of evolution. 

Fundamentalists found their cause a bit more challenging than they liked and through the 1930s, with the broader public snickering at them as extremists and anti-intellectuals, they began to pull apart, settling into various independent churches or becoming splinter denominations.  In the next decade, however, the fundamentalists attempted a new tact to attract wider following: they would present their belief in a pseudo-scholarly way, and the movement became referred to as neoevangelicalism.  It was a tact that picked up steam to develop into the political steamroller that now flattens a broad swathe across rationality in 21st century United States.

If nothing else, the fundamentalists do know how to kick up a fuss and present a facade of righteousness—just as the “prophets” of the Old Testament intentionally disturbed the things as they existed and sought to change them for their own ends.  All this was obsessively indulged in and fertilized by persons with inflated egos (Billy Graham comes to mind), and in the 1950s they discovered television and the wealth it could siphon in.  By the 1970s the fundamentalists were worming their way into electoral and legislative politics, and waxing profusely against secular humanism and happily passing judgment on such things as communism, abortion, feminism, homosexuality, and the constitutional safeguard of separation of church and states affairs. 

The exercise of control is the fundamentalists’ aim, theocracy their goal.  In that pursuit they have found it convenient to discard many teachings of the teacher as presented in the earliest New Testament books.  They claim to be devoted to a government based on Biblical examples—Old Testament blood and guts style—being careful to stifle its many glorifications of inhumane conduct, wars, deceits, enslavement and injustices that allegedly met with God’s approval.

Advertisements

One Response to “Taking the Fun Out of Fundamentalism”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by C.M. Houck, C.M. Houck. C.M. Houck said: Taking the Fun Out of Fundamentalism: http://wp.me/psfRa-hK […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: