The mere title of this post will probably garner some unfavorable reactions from the PTB, if they are looking in. Why should it, though?
These days, most people have heard or read the term ‘fundamentalist’ applied only to members of a certain religion — do I dare to mention it?
But even when the term is applied to what I call simply “old-time Christians”, it’s a pejorative, usually, meant to apply to what one blogger, whose post I just read, called ”fanatical zealots” or some such name.
I feel very defensive about the use of disparaging or outright hostile terms applied to fellow Americans who are nothing more than old-fashioned Christians who — imagine this: — actually believe in the Bible. I guess that is unimaginable to lots of people, after all it’s the current year, and nobody (that is, nobody that the critic considers normal or sane) actually beieves the Bible in its entirety. Yet just about every American of a Christian background has ancestors who did actually believe the Bible, including the miracles and other “unscientific” parts.
What does it say that we are willing to dismiss as ‘zealots’ and ‘fanatics’ our own ancestors, who happened, in most cases, to have been good and decent people, though these same critics tolerate many not-so-decent people, simply because they believe in the present-day ‘gods’ of Science and “open-mindedness” and all the rest?
At least they’re not ‘fanatical zealots’ like those awful Puritans, of olden time, right? Or those modern-day fundies who live in the past ,and believe absurd things?
I had a beloved Grandmother who was what the critics call a ”fundamentalist.” And what does that word mean? If you look in a present day dictionary you will probably see it defined as ‘fanatic’ because that seems to be the consensus among the ‘respectable’ people looking down on the ignorant “fundies”. Even some ‘Christians’ will use the word ‘fundies’ when talking of people who uphold the old-time Christian beliefs.
Incidentally, lest anyone think that the discredited TV ‘evangelists’ represent fundamentalism, they most decidedly don’t, in most cases. I am ashamed to say that most TV preachers represent the new Christianity that compromises unashamedly with the ‘world’.
My Grandmother had a deep influence on me, as did her whole generation. That generation, especially rural Southrons, were the last of their kind, I’m afraid. My Grandmother had been raised as a ‘Primitive Baptist’, another name that is being mentioned in a negative way — after all, the word ‘primitive’ is part of the label, so it can’t be anything but a backward group of people, right?
As for me I was baptized in another one of those churches that are more common in the South — and, like the Primitive Baptists, very Bible-believing. I guess that means I am in the ‘backward’ category, too, according popular wisdom.
As a people, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot by ‘drawing circles’ that shut each other out. It strikes me as a form of status-signaling, if not virtue-signaling, to go out of our way to make invidious remarks towards our own folk and their religious practices. Those of us who are Christian, and I mean Christian by deed and not just by name , are brothers and sisters in Christ, should we be found ‘othering’ each other, on grounds of our differing ideas of Christianity? And can we afford to do that?
I don’t object to being called a ‘fundamentalist’ because it originally did not carry such negativity. It simply meant those who accept the Five Fundamentals of the Christian Faith.
I ‘m not writing to try to impose my Christian beliefs on anyone, and I often refrained from mentioning my religious beliefs lest I alienate someone, though Christians are not to hide our faith, but rather share it.
Now, when it seems that we are up against some serious travails and troubles, faith is needed; ”Science” has proven itself to be dishonest and compromised; being only based on human perceptions, it is as flawed as its human origins. As we humans aren’t all-knowing or all-wise, where do we look for guidance? Do we put our blind faith in ‘Science’, falsely so-called?
I can’t write in the inspired way in which Cambria Will Not Yield writes. This post is simply to make the point that slurring Christian neighbors , our ancestors, and our fellow-Christians, is misguided, counterproductive, and not the thing that our side should be doing. We expect this from liberals and other nonbelievers, but from our own folk? Et tu, brute?
I realize many people out there do not share my faith, or my variety of Christianity. It isn’t my purpose to preach the particular beliefs in which I share, though I happen to believe that we need to rediscover the Faith of our fathers, and to cast aside all of today’s prejudices against that ‘Good Old Way’ which strengthened them so much. It seems that we lack the strength and serenity that I saw in the older generations. But those qualities can’t be attained by “positive thinking” or ‘self-help’ or any of the nostrums of today.
Ultimately that ‘fundie’ that is being disparaged is your kin as well as mine, and he is not a dangerous ‘fanatical zealot’; he is simply someone who does not chop and change with the winds, or the seasons, or the prevailing prejudices of our times.