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What Religious Fundamentalism is

By HatetheSwamp
September 2, 2021 6:54 am
Category: Religion

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This is a response to a thread begun yesterday as a reaction to this statement by MSNBC's Joy Reid:

This is the real-life Handmaid's Tale. A true cautionary tale for the US, which has our own far religious right dreaming of a theocracy that would impose a particular brand of Christianity, drive women from the workforce and solely into childbirth, and control all politics.

Reid's sentiment was picked up on by a few others here who suggested that there is a right wing movement among Christians in America which does want to create a fusion Christianity and government: Dominionists.

Donna, in particular, admitted that this movement is a minority in America. My response to Donna is that it is a gross exaggeration to call this group even a minority. It would have to expand ten times, or more, to qualify to be thought of as a minority.

More importantly, that can never, ever happen.

This happens to be something I know about.

Religious fundamentalism is an attempt to purify a religion and to return to its ancient roots.

In its early days, Islam spread militarily. Muhammad was, essentially, a war lord. He believed that he'd received visions from Allah. He believed that he was empowered by Allah to spread truth by force and to blend compliance to divine truth inseparably with human government.

Early in its history, Islam spread rapidly, not through the efforts of traveling evangelists like the early Christians Peter and Paul and Barnabas but through its powerful conquering army.

Because of what Islam was in its most primitive form, when Muslims today seek to return to what the religion was when it was pure, they create an army to fight to recreate an Islamic theocracy.

When Islamic jihadists fight to overtake their nation's government, as the Taliban has done in Afghanistan, they are being perfectly true to the spirit of Islam because, in pure form, Islam is theocratic.

So, what in the Name of Christ, is Christian fundamentalism...what do Christians who seek to create Christianity in its pure, primitive form want to achieve?

Certainly not theocracy.

Jesus famously said that His followers should give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's. The Book of John quotes Jesus saying, "My kingdom is not of this world."

Christian fundamentalists have no interest in blending church and state. In fact, as I noted to Donna, the groups that are the backbone of the Christian right in America, began as religious outsiders and have always fought for freedom of religion.

Christian fundamentalists has taken two paths. One is to attempt to establish Christ's Kingdom, which is not of this world, in the world.

This type of Christian fundamentalist has two emphases. One is an absolute abhorrence of the institutionalized church. These people often refuse to have church buildings. They, most often, meet in so-called house churches.

The second emphasis of this type of Christian fundamentalist is to, as literally as possible, obey Jesus, particularly the Sermon on the Mount. Love your enemy, pray for those who persecute you, turn the other cheek. They also define the Christian life by Jesus's teaching in His story of the sheep and the goats found in Matthew 25. To be a true Christian is to feed the hungry, welcome strangers, clothe the poor, etc..

There's no kind of theocracy there.

The second type of Christian fundamentalist is the kind that makes the news.

These are the people who want to purify what they understand to be pure Christian belief. They're also convinced that the whole world would benefit from adhering to Christian principles. So, they'll fight as one example, for the strongest restrictions on abortion.

It's important to note though, that these people don't want the sort of theocracy that is natural to Muslim jihadists. These Christian fundamentalists thrive in representative republics, such as the United States. They'll define, as an essential Christian duty, the importance of voting for candidates for political office who will mold the government to what they understand to be Christian principles. But, they know that Christ's Kingdom is not of this world. They'll never seek to create a Christian theocracy.

So, Joy Reid is wrong. In one type of Christian fundamentalism, it's a good thing for a government to be guided by Christian belief but seekers of pure Christianity will never hope to seek a theocracy.

The Dominionists Donna described in the other thread are, and always will be, a
nano minority. There is no organic connection between what they seek and anything that is historically Christian. They'll only ever be wackos to be feared by the fearful. They will never amount to anything.

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Comments on "What Religious Fundamentalism is":

  1. by Curt_Anderson on September 2, 2021 7:22 am
    That is an interesting commentary. I don't know how how universal your opinion and assessment are but it sounds reasonable.

  2. by Curt_Anderson on September 2, 2021 7:22 am
    That is an interesting commentary. I don't know how how universal your opinion and assessment are but it sounds reasonable.

  3. by HatetheSwamp on September 2, 2021 7:28 am

    It's a tad simplified. Entire books have been written about this but this is the core of what they say.

  4. by Ponderer on September 2, 2021 8:51 am
    Know who else was a small minority...? Nazis.

    Read "The Family", pb. You talk a so-so game, but you don't have any idea about what you are trying to blow off as nothing.

  5. by Donna on September 2, 2021 8:55 am
    I'm aware of most of what you wrote, hts, but when I was a young person, if someone had told me that some day a person like Donald Trump would be embraced by Christians and elected president, I would have thought they were out of their mind.

  6. by Ponderer on September 2, 2021 8:58 am

    Yeah! What could we possibly have to fear from some organization with vast tendrils having wormed its way into all aspects of our government that is called "Dominionists"...

    [ duh-min-yuhn ]
    1. the power or right of governing and controlling; sovereign authority.
    rule; control; domination.
    2. a territory, usually of considerable size, in which a single rulership holds sway.
    3. lands or domains subject to sovereignty or control.
    4. Government. a territory constituting a self-governing commonwealth and being one of a number of such territories united in a community of nations, or empire: formerly applied to self-governing divisions of the British Empire, as Canada and New Zealand.
    5. dominions, Theology. domination (def. 3).

  7. by HatetheSwamp on September 2, 2021 9:13 am

    Donna and po,

    I'm merely trying to set your mind at ease.

    Let not your heart be troubled.

  8. by Ponderer on September 2, 2021 9:43 am


    You're trying to put your own mind at ease. You think that simply denying what is provably going on within elements of your religion will make them go away.

  9. by HatetheSwamp on September 2, 2021 9:47 am

    Ah! Good old fashioned po omniscience! What a blast from the past!

    Thanks for the memories.

  10. by Ponderer on September 2, 2021 9:50 am
    It does NOT take omniscience to see through your bullshit, pb. It's obvious to even a casual observance of your history of posts.

  11. by HatetheSwamp on September 2, 2021 9:58 am

    How could you possibly know? You're anything bit casual about both my wit and my wisdom.

  12. by Ponderer on September 2, 2021 10:09 am

    [ ob-vee-uhs ]
    1. easily seen, recognized, or understood; open to view or knowledge; evident: an obvious advantage.
    2. lacking in subtlety.

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