Friday, February 5, 2010

On Fundamentalism and Reconciliation

As you know, I am not a big fan of fundamentalism. To me, it's theological school yard bullying. However, sometimes my hatred of fundamentalism makes me do stupid things, like hurt people.

First, let me start with my definition of fundamentalism. To me, a fundamentalist is some one who thinks that their interpretation of the Bible is the infallible word of God. Folks who believe that they're always right and if you don't fit into their cookie-cutter image then you're a bad person. Those judgemental, holier-than-thou, authoritative, pious, "I'm right, you're wrong, get used to it" folks. In the words of Barney Frank, trying to have a conversation with them is like arguing with a dining room table. I'd much rather have a conversation, and rethink a lot of the things Christian culture usually takes for granted.

(Of course when I say "a lot of the things Christian culture usually takes for granted," I am NOT referring to the three biggies that are, to me, the fundamentals and Christianity: the Divinity of Jesus, His atoning death on the Cross, and His resurrection.)

Maybe it's just my rebellious punk rock nature, but I always like to question things. If I don't ask questions, how will I know that what I believe is legit? How can I separate what's really biblical and what's just a man-made doctrine? With fundamentalism, however, there is no room for questions. Either you accept everything they believe and fit into their little mold, or you're not a true Christian.

I'm the first to admit that I am not perfect. I know I'm messed up. I know I haven't gotten it all figured out. I'm still learning, and I'll always be learning until the day I die. Yeah, I make mistakes along the way, but I keep learning. Don't make me feel like a piece of crap just because I haven't gotten it all together.

Having said all that, though, sometimes I falsely accuse people of being fundamentalist nut jobs. Sometimes I get so angry that I say things that are mean, hurtful, and unfair. I'm so defensive that I refuse to let down my guard and really listen to what the other side has to say. Even though I'm always saying both sides should talk to each other, I secretly don't believe it.

I've been hurt by Christians in the past, but that doesn't make it right for me to attack people. It's like the bullied becomes the bully, and then the cycle continues. I need to learn how to stop the cycle, listen to the other side, and make peace with others.

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