Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Putting the "fun" back into "fundamentalism"

As some of you have noticed, I have been doing the rounds on some round-the-bend Fundie web pages recently.

Why have I done it? Well, I guess I've read through these pages simply because I've gotta laugh. Note, for example – in one of the web pages linked to below – that the writers desperately need to quote the bible to prove the world isn't flat …

"Now some say the earth is flat, but clearly they are wrong because of verse such and such"

Ooookkkkkaaaaaaaaaayyy. Like, "look at pictures of earth taken from space" isn't being scriptural enough I guess.

But my surfing has often also been quite frankly depressing - because of all the absurd, double summersault twisted and sometimes evil nonsense that has been paraded as 'truly Christian'. Believe me, anti-intellectualism is alive and well, and running amok among some USA based Fundie websites. It is frightening actually. And also believe me, in the first sentence of this paragraph I was just itching to type in a string of well considered expletives, but I guess I'm just still too holy for that.

I'd like to serve just one more helping of cunning Fundie reasoning from one of the web pages I recently discovered.

The author poses himself a series of questions that heathen unbelievers raise against those who maybe think the King James Version (KJV) of the bible might possibly not be the best.

QUESTION: If there is a perfect Bible in English [he means the KJV], doesn't there also have to be a perfect Bible in French, and German, and Japanese, etc?

Fair question wouldn't you think? After all, if the KJV is the only bible, what about those who can't read English? Well fear not, there is a simple retort for you to memorise:

ANSWER: No. God has always given His word to one people in one language to do one job; convert the world. The supposition that there must be a perfect translation in every language is erroneous and inconsistent with God's proven practice.

Now what amazes me is the presence of a long word like 'supposition' in the above. For me, either you can use long words like 'supposition' or you employ reasoning like that displayed above. But I was wrong, and so, it seems, this was my false supposition.

But hang on, listen to his list of directives, which, alarmingly, are embedded in the middle of other more reasonable comments (... which I will naturally leave out):

1. "If you have a “Praise Band,” “Worship Team” or other modernist [I think he means 'modern'] concoction you are wrong. You’ve just taken the worldly music that you like personally and found an excuse to justify it. Don’t corrupt your church just because you miss rock & roll."

2. "If you dumped your hymn book for a screen, you are wrong. The church has always been a place of “two books,” the Bible and the hymn book."

3. "If you use a computer instead of a Bible you are wrong. God inspired a Book not a disc. Imagine the abomination when our churches have neither a hymnal nor a Bible."

4. "If you want your church to go contemporary, you are wrong. You just want to be worldly and want your pastor to approve it."

And lastly, a real beauty:

5. "If you think having babies makes you spiritual or obedient to the Bible, you are wrong. Having babies is the result of carnal actions, not spiritual."

And just in case any doubts lingered in your mind after any of this reasoning, he adds …

"Say what you want, you’ll still be wrong."

And lest you are left with any questions …

"Don’t bother writing or calling to set me straight on anything I’ve said. You will still be wrong."

I've gotta stop reading this sort of stuff; it's making me depressed.


At 10/30/2005 11:38 PM, Anonymous Stefan said...

Hey man, soweit alles klar - aber die zuletzt aufgeführten Punkte scheinen mir doch eher eine Parodie auf das fundamentalistische Argumentieren zu sein...oder??

At 10/31/2005 9:03 PM, Blogger Chris Tilling said...

Hi Stefan,

And thanks, by the way, for your birthday greetings earlier!

And thanks two for this comment. It got me thinking …!
Regarding your suggestion that the last few points are a 'Parodie' of fundamentalist argumentation (I presume you mean the 'tell me what you want, you'll still be wrong' rhetoric), I have to sadly inform you that all quotations are genuine and 'cut and pasted' directly from an (admittedly extreme) Fundie webpage. I didn't make anything up.

However, as I was pondering your question it struck me that the man quoted in this post is probably just honest about what most of us are in reality. How many people do you know are honestly open to being corrected about deeply held beliefs? Sure, many will at least give time to hear a different position, the justification of a different worldview etc., but I suspect most will, without seriously engaging in honest dialogue, hide behind certain 'authority figures' (scholars, scientists, preachers and the like) - those who are supposed to have the answers, those who guard the borders of, to use the language of Berger and Luckmann, our various 'social constructions of reality'. You know, I think our Fundie friend is just being explicit about that which many of us are in practice implicit about. It doesn't make it any better, and I'm certainly not trying to justify such a closed minded strategy, but it at least shows me that in pointing a finger, I have three pointing back to me! (cf. my blog on the importance of reading heresy. My point there involved this issue)

Entschuldingung dass ich auf Englisch geschrieben habe – bloß faul. Tut mir Leid, es ist aber viel einfacher für mich auf Englisch zu schreiben, und es scheint dass du mich gut verstehen kannst.

Alles Gute!

p.s. kenne ich dich in real life??

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