Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fundamentalists aren't the problem...

John Shore writes, answering a reader's letter...
Obviously, for fundamentalists it’s not really about critical thinking. It’s about a very conditional emotional security. Mainly of course through the influence of his culture and upbringing, the fundamentalist has ultimately surrendered himself to the considerable seductive powers of the simplistic.
It’s so easy not to think. It hurts to read, concentrate, analyze, logically process—especially if your education has left you without a lot of the tools for engaging in that sort of endeavor. No one enjoys riding in a car with flat tires and lousy steering. Better just to stay where you are.
Venturing outside the neighborhood in which you are comfortable can also take a bit more courage than most people are inclined to muster. It’s scary to wander away from everything you’ve known and been taught.
The fundamentalist goes: “Any fool can question and doubt. But you start using questions to punch holes in the house that is your belief, and pretty soon you might as well be outside. Others may not know what they believe, but I do. I know what I believe; I know what my family believes; I know what my pastor believes; I know what everybody at my church believes. Let others pick God apart, whittling Him down till He’s no bigger than they are. Let them set sail on waters so choppy they can’t do anything but get tossed this way and that, and go nowhere. My boat is sturdy; my waters are calm.
“Keep your endless questions; I’ll take God. And the Bible is the pure and uncomplicated word of God. Believe that—believe in the simple, righteous message of the Bible—and be saved. Doubt it, and good luck staying off that slippery slope straight down to hell.”
 The only problem is that in some parts of this, Shore is right. This is how some "fundamentalists" think and believe. I've met some of these folks. I'm from the South. It's pretty hard not to meet some of these people. However, Shore is also generalizing, as he usually does, and he usually comes out quite wrong in his generalizations. You see, I apparently fall into his mythical generalization of fundamentalism.

I do believe the Bible to be true in all it's words. I do believe homosexuality is a sin. I do believe that those who do not repent of their sins and trust in Christ as Lord and Savior are going to a real place called Hell for all eternity. By Shore's own definition of fundamentalism, whatever it is, as I have never been able to get him to answer me directly on it, I am a fundamentalist. If that is so, then so be it. Where John is wrong is that we do critical thinking. We do examine the Bible for what it says, and think logically about it. When I have confronted Shore on this, whether it's his blog or his Facebook group (of which I have been banned), he attempts to paint me as just another extreme fundamentalist who hates and is bigoted.

What else is wrong with Shore's response to the guy asking the questions about how can fundamentalists believe the Bible as literal? Simply put, Shore never brings faith into the picture. In fact, he rarely brings faith into anything he writes. It's all about being good for him. The homosexuals he loves to write about who have been so mistreated by us bigoted fundamentalists are good people and deserve God's grace. It's not about faith and trusting God. Grace, for Shore, is the answer. The short answer is that nobody deserves God's grace. We are all doomed for Hell, but...

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

(Ephesians 2:4-10 ESV)

Powerful words, spoken by God, through his servant and apostle Paul, to God's Church. We were created for good works to be done through the faith that God has given us. Shore chooses not to see that, because it destroys his concept of the homosexual "Christian." No, fundamentalists aren't the problem, as Shore is trying to paint it. Human beings are the problem. Our sin is the problem. All of us are sinners. None of us are good. We are dying and going to Hell. You erase Hell, you erase sin, you elevate God's grace. Grace is not to be taken lightly. Grace cost God the ultimate sacrifice. His life. Shore has cheapened God's grace by denying Hell, by denying sin, and elevating humanity. Try to confront Shore and people like him on that, and you too will be a backwoods, KJV-Bible thumping fundamentalist, who can't string two sentences together and who relies only what his pastor says. Yeah, I didn't put two sentences together in this whole post, did I?

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