Fundamentalism, Religion, and Violence A True Case Story

Fundamentalism

A Horrifying True Story

A friend of mine had a truly disturbing and horrifying conversation with an “ Evangelical believer” . . .

My friend was speaking to a strict Calvinist and a theonomist (Oversimplified: someone who believes the ills of society would be fixed, God’s blessing “released,” if civic society simply conformed to the laws of the “Bible,” especially the Decalogue). The topic of abortion came up. The individual said:

“I think every woman who gets an abortion should be executed,” and proceeded to quote scripture from the Pentateuch to justify his statement.

My friend pointed out how that was a very flawed argument and was a horrible proof text. The individual then said:

“I measure my standard by what God says.” [The spiritual smugness and superiority palpably hanging off the statement in my opinion].

My friend then wrote [brilliantly in my opinion] the following response:

“[No], You measure it by what the modern English translation interpreted by a renaissance Frenchman of an ancient near eastern language that hadn’t been in use for nearly 1,500 years when he did it says. CONTEXT MATTERS. “The Bible says so + zero context = nonsense.”

A few points:

  1. Charismatic believers are not the only ones who believe nonsense based on what they think God has “said.” Charismatics base their madness on what they think God has said to them inside their heads. Fundamentalists and Evangelicals  base their madness on what they think God has said to them through the Bible.
  2. It is truly painful that the gospel that should make followers more fully human according to the pattern we see in Jesus Christ ends up dehumanizing us. Of course, that is what religion will always do, especially religion based in violence. It is an abiding ache in my soul that for all our alleged “Bible knowledge” after 1,500 years of Protestantism, that we are less human. For all our alleged fidelity to the scriptures, we have missed the point entirely. We are so “biblically informed,” literally surrounded, drowning in,”Bible information in every shape and form, on every hand, yet and so utterly relationally and socially dysfunctional. It is the fruit of an abortive, cerebral, nontransformative gospel which in reality, is no gospel at all.
  3. This type of mindset, while perhaps extreme to some, is not out of the spectrum of the evangelical right that wants access to the corridors of political power. I pray to God that day never comes for people like the person who made this comment, and other types of similar ignorance. I PERSONALLY know fundamentalist/evangelicals who think and teach women should not get an education, that they should not go to college, and that they should not have jobs having to do with any facet of authority (police, judges, etc.). This is allegedly because women should stay at home and have babies and should never have authority over a man, in any arena of life. I know some who believe women should be denied the vote because that would be giving women jurisdictional authority over men in society. I am not kidding about this, and these are not isolated perspectives in evangelical fundamentalism. My own daughters were subjected to some of this nonsense (which we resisted at the time). The supposed “father/apostle” of a group were were with at one time would not write a letter of recommendation for my sexually pure, intelligent, good student daughter to go to college. because “the Bible says,” women should stay at home and bear children.  Yes . . . that stuff is still out there. Alive and well.
  4. People often wonder why I harp on things like context and culture in my Facebook posts and blogs. They don’t see the need for it. Well, I would argue that those folks aren’t exposed to the levels of idiocy on a regular basis that I am. I am exposed to nonsense like this on a regular basis. This is not an isolated case. It is symptomatic, emblematic of what is common in today’s evangelical Christianity, so-called.
  5. Some say: “But Steve, you should be more “positive,” after all, stupidity will always be with us.” Yes, and that makes my point. As long as this kind of idiocy and stupidity that distorts the scriptures and slanders my Lord, and compounds them both with smug self-righteousness and the veneer of biblical fidelity, exists and is perpetuated, I will continue to be “negative.” There are enough people out there preaching a vacuous and vapid feel-good, positive message. You can find them all over your TV channel lineup, ad nauseum. If that’s what you want, don’t bother reading anything I post. If it is “too negative” to constantly speak out against this sort of madness, I will continue to be “negative” as long as God gives me breath, so help me God.

If a doctor prescribed medication without proper diagnosis, that doctor would go to jail. Insistence on being “only positive” is like asking a doctor to ignore cancer. It is not “negative” to point out cancer. Only people in denial about the presence of cancer would consider focusing on it “too negative.” It is hard to be “positive” when the person in denial of their disease doesn’t value the cure. They would not  recognize being “positive” because they don’t think they need a cure. Therefore, any diagnosis is “negative.”

Take your liberty to unsubscribe from this blog, or “de-friend” me on Facebook if you think I am “too negative,” because I will not stop.

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Copyright 2014,  Dr. Stephen R. Crosby, www.stevecrosby.org. Permission is granted to copy, forward, or distribute this article for non-commercial use only, as long as this copyright byline, in totality, is maintained in all duplications, copies, and link references.  For reprint permission for any commercial use, in any form of media, please contact stephrcrosby@gmail.com.
 
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22 comments on “Fundamentalism, Religion, and Violence A True Case Story

  1. My own daughters, particularly one, were harmed by the supposedly Christian and biblical notion that women have lesser value in the eyes of God than men, and also that they have very limited and clearly defined roles that they must not step out of. And they got this notion in a charismatic church. I don’t think it is “negative” to point out error, which is driving people away from Jesus.

  2. And, I also have been shocked to witness people who identify themselves as Christians on politically conservative websites saying much the same thing you’ve described hearing about women who have had abortions. These same people would no doubt be stunned to learn that many of the women sitting next to them in the pew, who they think of as good Christians, would qualify for execution.

    • Staggeringly sad, Catherine, but thanks for sharing. People think I exaggerate this stuff. I don’t you. You are just another confirming voice for what the spirit of the far evangelical right truly is. My daughter worked for two of the biggest prolife PAC’s in DC for almost ten years. She has seen behind the curtain. It is foul, corrupt, hypocritical, double standard, cultural religious movement. If Jesus were here literally he would overturn the tables in both the places. Just dens of iniquity with a public face of virtue.

  3. Hi Steve,
    Reminds me of William Branham and his dogmas, concerning God’s daughters.

    Take care, stay blessed and rested in Christ….Darryl

  4. Well then, I would be executed because I did have an abortion. Thank Goodness I have a loving Heavenly Father who healed me through all the pain I went through, forgave me, taught me how to forgive myself for the choice I made. Stay “negative” all you want. Keep telling the truth and exposing the lies. In reading what you write and share, I have gone oh my, that system of belief in my own heart needs dealt with. Isn’t that the whole point. How can condemnation and shame do anything but crush ones soul, and put that very person in bondage. Ugh.

  5. Please don’t stop. You’re the only person i can count on to “tell it like it is.” It’s so important that we learn this. I so look forward to your blogs and really value your viewpoint. Thank you for taking your time to help us ” unlearn” and then re-learn through the lens of context and culture.

  6. Preach it Brother Steve!!!! Amen, hallelujah, glory to Goddddddahhhh!!
    Keep it coming, keep it going, keep speaking the truth.
    In my quest to speak the truth about the crazy things I have experienced within scarismania ( and yes I am a tongue talking believer), I have been labeled as “angry”. In my personal estimation yes, I was angry that once again I was deceived. I was warned early on though by the Holy Spirit and thankfully I listened to His admonition and got out. It has been one year today! Yahoo!
    I cannot say I’ve been spot on in how I responded, but again, the Holy Spirit spoke to me and I did what He showed me to do. Judge myself, corrected myself, repented and moved forward!
    It’s so awesome when you walk in relationship and in the word side by side!
    Steve, your posts are very ” truthfull”. Keep them coming.
    Your sister from frozen beautiful Canada!
    Janice

  7. Amen. That is about all I can say right now. Am unlearning so much …. am so full of my own hypocrisosy … and still seeking. Thank you for your studies, your posts.

  8. Excellent post, Steve! Was just listening to an audible book, Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller and he mentioned some of these very same things as the reason he left the first church he was part of. He felt like the church was just an extension of the republican, right-wing agenda. He mentioned in the book that he had a pastor who actually said things like, “I hate Bill Clinton”. I don’t think Jesus would be very happy about that stance. Disagree with Bill Clinton on some issues, Yes, but hate him, no!

    Add me to the list of those above who are very encouraged by your boldness to keep speaking the truth in Love. Blessings to you!

  9. Thanks, Steve. You give an articulate voice in the midst of a lot of craziness. When I first got save 40 years ago I went to a Four Square Bible study and was told by the teacher that if I was driving down the street and my kids were in the back seat, and I got angry and cussed at them, then crashed into a tree and died without repenting for cussing at my children, I would go to hell. Even then I was able to ask myself – if cussing sends one to hell, then Jesus must not have done enough on the cross. Someone else posted here – there’s a lot of “unlearning” to be done in the name of the Gospel. So true.

    Shalom, Debra

  10. Steve, as ever, brilliantly spoken!!! We all know them, we all meet them, we all suffer their blarrrr on FB. How you can be called negative for exposing this is a puzzler… these types of folk constantly criticise, decry and disallow so much it is like they want all around them to love the straight jacket they wish to impose on everyone and damn to hell those who disagree and DARE say so.
    We won’t be defending any time soon!
    Your posts are encouraging and insightful… that is positive and it is positive to expose false, corrupt and/or downright misquoted gibberish that is polluting the church.

  11. January 19, 12:12AM
    St. Lucia
    West Indies
    I have not been believing in God,the devil or the supernatural for many years. Although in very recent years, I have had this nagging feeling that there is a God. I thought of all logical reasons for my ‘God feeling’ – maybe it was just my days as a christian child which was re-emerging in my thoughts. I one day came across The Plain Truth Magazine website by Greg Albrecht; and now understand the ills of legalistic religion. I was just reading an article from the Plain Truth which was written by you and that’s how I connected to you. Must say, I have been tremendously blessed and inspired by the message of Christ that you and others like you preach. I think the World really needs your Grace endowed message. Do continue! Although I have been so long an atheist; I still get myself in moments of doubt but I am struggling along. Do keep up the good work.

    • Thank you for your kind encouragement, William. I pray your journey in faith prospers. Don’t be discouraged by the struggle. I personally believe that if we do not struggle, our faith is not worth to much. Like a chicken emerging from an egg, without the struggle, there would be no chicken, and because the chicken struggles does not make it any less a chicken when it is “through.” It is all part of the process.

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