Does Christian Fundamentalism Cause Mental Health Issues?

Mental Health Issues and Christian Fundamentalism

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There’s been some great discussion on fundamentalism in the previous post about “Bethany,” who over time was able to see the relationship she was in as destructive and abandoned the relationship.  I thought it might be good to give the topic a post of its own, so I have copied some of the comments that represent the gist of the conversation and have added a bit more to the mix.

The underlying question I’m reading between the lines is does fundamentalism lead to mental health problems?  Or were the problems already there, and the fundamentalism ideologies accentuate existing mental health issues?

 

NJ writes:

When I think of the term fundamentalist, I think of not just the original “fundamentals”, but of a certain subculture within Protestantism. Think support of Prohibition due to teetotalism, denial of anything but young earth creationism, a complete eschewing of dancing, going to the movies, use of tobacco in any form, listening to the “devil’s music”, as well as a tendency toward insularity and negativism.

Missdaisyflower:

It may be that certain types of faith expressions or churches that hold to particular doctrines are more appealing to men already prone to be controlling or abusive (such as neo Calvinism, gender complementarianism, fundamentalism), so certainly single women may want to be on extra special guard if dating men from those backgrounds, but one thing I learned in all my reading about all these topics is that abusive men come in many shapes and sizes, and from many types of religious backgrounds.

Bike Bubba:

Regarding whether fundamentalism leads necessarily to Gothard patriarchy, girl doesn’t leave the house until she’s married, must homeschool, must try to do a family business, woman shouldn’t work for someone besides her husband, pastor/father is unaccountable authority figure, and the like, my take is that if we look closely at the Scriptures, all of this is either not stated in Scripture or flatly contradicted by Scripture. You will not find a requirement to homeschool in the Scripture (though my family does), nor will you see a command to have babies until the wife dies “be fruitful and multiply” does not mean “get your wife maimed or killed in the process”), and the like.

So my contention is that if one really values the first fundamental, the authority of Scripture, one will come up with some very different conclusions than most “fundamentalists” arrive at. I would guess that Keith (of our “shared peeve”) would agree and note that you will tend to find many of the most truly “fundamental” people outside of churches that identify as fundamental.

Make sense? I’ve personally been working through the issues of why many so-called “fundamental” churches deny their theology through their practice, and am convinced there are a number of reasons, historical and sometimes theological, but mostly historical.

Song of a River commented:

Hi everybody, sorry for my slow response. Long day here.
@Bike Bubba–you said earlier that you “treasure fundamentalism”. Here already you and I are different, but I respect the fact that you frequent and support a site such as this one. So far as causative factors of mental diseases and disorders are concerned, it is complex. Having experienced true fundamentalism interwoven with patriarchy, quiverfull and SAHD theologies, interwoven with Southern Baptist and Presbyterian theologies, along with emotional manipulation/abuse and neglect, it is difficult to remove one from the others in my mind. So I may be calling out the wrong villain, but in my experience, I have always seen fundamentalism as the root of other ideologies, and the full picture has been one full of destructive forces. In my mind, if a context brings out abusive or sick natures in people, then that context is a causative one. If someone could have lived outside the given context, in “normal” circumstances, and not become abusive, mentally ill, mental disorder, etc., then, wasn’t the context (church, cult, school, whatever) the causative factor? Of course, it is sometimes doubtful whether the person could have lived alone on the moon and not been an abuser.

Wheaton College has an article on fundamentalism and its roots in America:

Fundamentalism was a movement that arose in the late 19th and early 20th centuries within American Protestantism reacting against “modernist” theology and biblical criticism as well as changes in the nation’s cultural and social scene.

 

Since the 1940s, the term fundamentalist has come to denote a particularly aggressive style related to the conviction that the separation from cultural decadence and apostate (read liberal) churches are telling marks of faithfulness to Christ.  (Source)

I like the way David Pakman tears things apart and this video is an interesting find on the subject:

 

 

What are your thoughts?  This seems like a “which came first, the chicken or the egg” question, doesn’t it?

105 comments on “Does Christian Fundamentalism Cause Mental Health Issues?

  1. NJ,

    This is in response from the Update on Bethany post.

    NJ said:
    “No genuine fundie I’ve ever run into would deny justification by faith alone; their long lists of how every Christian must live are all about how we must live out our sanctification to avoid God’s displeasure or chastening.”

    The book of James rejects Faith alone. Faith without works is dead. In other words, you gotta put action behind your belief. Romans 4 and James 2 shows that we “live out our faith” (Love thy neighbor as thyself), and that is what justifies our faith. “DO”, or being a “DOER” is what justifies. Love is an action word, and that is our “good works”. You live what you believe. And that all stems from “Love thy neighbor”, not how to live a better life.

    Then when you see that in Romans 4 and James, it’s amazing that you see that throughout the whole bible.

    Ed

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Julie Anne asked:
    “Or were the problems already there, and the fundamentalism ideologies accentuate existing mental health issues?”

    I think that this is where it STARTS, and then the person gets married, pro-creates, and subjects his family to the ideologies, because now his mental illness is justified as something as good, and godly. Then it all just takes off from there. In this case, the ideology is patriarchy. Before the ideology of patriarchy, he was not in control. Now he is in control, and he likes the control.

    Ed

    Liked by 1 person

  3. chapmaned24,

    I don’t want to get into a Catholic/Protestant debate here; I’m pointing that out in relation to the fact that here in the U.S. fundamentalism in whatever form, has been identified with certain kinds of protestants. The kind of folks who would at least formally adhere to the 5 solas of the Reformation if not also the original list of “fundamentals” published around 1920(?).

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  4. I won’t comment, because none of my posts got marquee billing. Pouts. Stamps foot. Holds breath. Thanks for indulging my humor a bit.:)

    Liked by 2 people

  5. The tricky thing about fundamentalism, patriarchy, etc. is that it’s always comprised of a variety of people, isn’t it? You’ll definitely find the wolves there to take advantage of the flock, but also many sincere believers who are temporarily deceived, those who were raised in it, and other leaders who don’t have the spine to rock the boat when they start getting a clue that something is wrong, and need to repent for their inaction.

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  6. NJ, again there is a problem of definitions. Wheaton Colleges definition belies the institutions’s agenda when it uses quotes around the word modernist. Martin Marty included several non-fundamentalist groups in his “Fundamentalisms Obseved” book years ago, because of his own biases.

    My take is that most mental illness is related to problems of brain chemistry. If a schizophrenic person is from a religious background, their delusions for example, may be expressed in religious terms. But their religion did not cause the delusions.

    Narcissism is different form Schizophrenia, Bipolar and other mental illnesses, not least in that it does not respond to medications. To me it is a matter of character.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Funny, “chicken or the egg” is *exactly* what came to mind when I read your headline. I think we need to look at when fundamentalism takes hold. Children who are raised in this stuff are probably going to grow-up to be troubled, insecure adults. From teenagers onward, those who are drawn to fundamentalism are probably already lonely and troubled, and their problems are just going to get worse.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. All “leaving a cult” literature I’ve read emphasizes that those in cults are generally, perhaps surprisingly, intelligent people. There are some who are born into it, others who are impressed by something they see or are promised, but in none of these cases would I call these people mentally ill.

    A mental illness is something you can’t or have a very hard time controlling. It denotes something wrong with the brain’s function. Fundamentalists do not have anything wrong with their brains, they have very wrong beliefs and they choose those beliefs over reality.

    This is my story in a nutshell, and if you read the comments, you can see that a frequent reader of my blog was shocked that I could get wrapped up in a cult as I “seemed to smart for that”.

    https://llawrenceauthor.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/how-i-left-a-cult/

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Since Keith, my pet peeve buddy, did contribute mightily, I will also sulk! :^)

    Just kidding. But Keith is right; definitions matter. I would submit that theological fundamentalism offers a bulwark against abuse by those with (thanks Persephone) NPD. You won’t find support for a lot of what Doug Phillips or Bill Gothard said from the Bible, and to counter their message, all you have to do is to point out that there is a difference between description in the Bible and prescription. Would any of us use the story of David and Bathsheba as a prescription for how to find a wife, for example?

    That said, theological fundamentalism did give birth to cultural (rules) fundamentalism for a simple reason; the fundamentalists had lost the seminaries and colleges (e.g. Harvard, Princeton, Yale) in the conflict over literary criticism. That, in turn, gave birth to a general suspicion of book learning, leading to under-educated pastors (see our hostess’ twitter feed for examples) who really aren’t qualified to handle the Word of God.

    And since it’s easier to make rules than to learn exegesis, hermeneutics, Greek, and Hebrew, guess what happens? There is authority of ideas, and authority of person, and those without the former generally go to the latter. That will enable a degree of NPD and such. I’ve not seen numbers, so I don’t know if it’s worse than other movements statistically, but it’s at least a plausible hypothesis.

    Ways to tell the two apart;

    1. Ask what Jesus did at Cana. Was it real wine, or something else?
    2. Ask what the Hebrew or Greek means in a passage. Do they say “I can look it up”, or “my Hebrew is limited to matzo ball soup and insults I learned in Brooklyn”. (actual response I got once, BTW)
    3. Ask about those with whom they differ theologically. Do they say they’re “nuts” or “out there”, or is there a real explanation? (again, real examples)
    4. Is the passage used in sermons exegeted, or is it more of a launching point for what the pastor wants to say?
    5. Emphasis on moral passages of Paul vs. Gospels in sermons. Not that a pastor ought not preach from the Epistles, but over-emphasis on them is a hallmark of the “rules” pastor.

    The lines aren’t hard and fast–one gave birth to the other of course–but if I may dare to “draw” that fuzzy gray line, I would suggest that theological fundamentalism will not enable NPD, but cultural fundamentalism just might.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I’m not really sure if fundamentalism causes mental disorders and emotional problems, or if people who already have those issues are attracted to them.

    I suspect both could be true, I don’t see any reason why it has to be a mutually exclusive proposition.

    There’s been much in the media the last six months where journalists are asking, “Why would otherwise normal teens from the USA and Europe be flying to the Middle East to join ISIS.” I don’t even think all the teens trying to join ISIS are even Muslim? But there’s something about the extreme, violent nature of ISIS that appeals to them.

    I think that abusive people seek out environments in which they can hold power and abuse more people, or systems of belief that make it easier for them to keep abusing and not be held accountable.

    In that regard, maybe it’s similar to pedophilia – I’ve read in articles that pedophiles seek out teacher positions and Boy Scout jobs and such to have access to kids, for instance, so it’s not that Boy Scouts or teaching makes people turn into child molesters, but that those who already are such seek out such jobs.

    (continued in part 2)

    Liked by 2 people

  11. If I might–and I hope I don’t thread-jack here–I would like to point out something interesting on the other side of the equation. I noted above that the liberal-fundamental schism was more or less over the authority of Scripture, the liberal side generally arguing that any evidence of supernatural power was not part of the original documents This would be along the lines of Bishop Spong and his gang of professors marking up the New Testament with colored highlighters (real example) to indicate what they felt was the “real” autographs.

    The trouble with this, practically speaking, is that they’re effectively editing out God’s power and authority. This, in turn, leaves us with a nominally Christian but essentially secular priesthood of seminary professors and such telling us what “The Bible really says” about X, Y, Z, and such. Each denomination will have its own gang. of course, and then the pastor of each church will join them more or less in making it up as they go along.

    Now the details, rules, and personalities are different, but it’s worth noting that both systems, cultural fundamentalism and liberal theology, share a hierarchy of dominant individuals creating and enforcing the rules of men, and hence I’d have to guess that abusers would flock to both. Maybe different sets of abusers, but abusers nonetheless.

    Or, put in theological terms, when you walk away from salvation by grace through faith, you end up with law.

    BTW, a good book on the topics I’m addressing here is “Recovering Authentic Fundamentalism” by Pastor Douglas MacLachlan (a personal friend FWIW).

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  12. (part 2)
    Almost any time I have read of Christian fundamentalism causing mental problems, the person does not usually become an abuser and lash out at others, but rather harms him or herself, like they may become deeply depressed or suicidal.

    Julie Anne, if I can find the link (or links) about it, there was a story online several years ago about a teen boy who was brought up in what sounded like a very pious, legalistic, fundamentalist type family.

    IIRC, his parents were Pentecostal but were very legalistic. They called their church preacher into their home to go through their son’s personal space, his closet, dresser, etc. The preacher threw the kids’ secular rock music albums into the trash, as well as his video games.

    After years of this sort of behavior by his parents, the kid lost it. He denounced God, IIRC, I think he became an atheist, or a Satanist? I can’t recall what exactly. But he went on a rebellion spree, where he sought out to break every rule his and his church had.

    For example, he had sex with another man not because he had homosexual urges, but just because it went against his parents, church, and Christianity. He says he had sexual relations with an animal. He began doing drugs, cussing, drinking, too, I think.

    A woman who runs some kind of organization to help people leaving cults or Christianity tried reaching out to this kid on some forum he was posting to. She was going to help him.
    I think he later committed suicide?

    Come to think of it, this may be a case where fundamentalism did cause someone to act out against others, he may have shot others, too, I can’t remember.

    You also see a lot of this on blogs and forums for ex-Christians or for the spiritually abused. The extreme legalistic nature of their churches or families drove them to drugs, depression, rebellion, leaving the faith, whatever.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hmmm?

    “Does Christian Fundamentalism Cause Mental Health Issues?”

    Absolutly NOT…
    ————

    But, then again…

    Since I’ve been, errr… labeled… errr… often..

    When debating, challenging someone, referring to The Bible as a standard…

    A Fundamentalist. A Legalist. A Literalist. A Mental Case…

    Maybe these folks know something…

    And I gots to rethink that question… 😉

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  14. Bike Bubba, regarding your JANUARY 30, 2015 @ 10:43 AM

    It’s not just liberals who sometimes deny the Supernatural. Conservatives who are extremist about sola scriptura do so as well.

    I just wrote a post about it here a few days ago in an older thread and was talking to I think Ed and Brenda R about it. So far as I remain a Christian, I am somewhere between the cessationist and non-cessationist position. I’m neither fully on one side or the other of that debate.

    Your charismatics think the the gift of tongues is for today and so on, but the cessationists say no, the Holy Spirit does not work like that today, or not at all.

    As I said on the older thread, I find it odd that conservative Christians (and I’m pretty conservative myself) have no problem believing all manner of Supernatural stuff discussed in the Bible, eg, Jesus was raised from the dead, walked on water, bodily ascended into Heaven, etc, but then turn around and say God does not or will not work like that at all today.

    They also tend to be extremely skeptical about Near Death Experiences, claims of folks who say they met Jesus in person in Heaven (such as the Burpo kid, Malarky), etc.

    I really don’t see anything in the Bible that indicates that God would stop working in a Supernatural manner after the first Apostles died, but vehement cessationists (who scream a lot about sola scriptura) keep saying this is so.

    They don’t seem to leave any role for the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians today, for the possibility of the supernatural to happen for Christians today, they keep yelling that you must get any and all truth from the Bible, the Bible, the Bible, the Bible.

    And I totally dig sola scriptura, don’t get me wrong on that. I am on board with sola scriptura, but I question its application or extreme blind devotion by some Christians, or that they deny that God can and does work in supernatural means today.

    When I hear or read Christians who scoff at Christian NDEs and so on, they sound a lot like atheists to me. Atheists think it’s silly to believe that a God would heal people of cancer, send angels to help, or raise people to dead today.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. NJ said,

    I don’t want to get into a Catholic/Protestant debate here; I’m pointing that out in relation to the fact that here in the U.S. fundamentalism in whatever form, has been identified with certain kinds of protestants.

    Some Catholics hold positions very similar to Protestants on social issues and can be just as fundamentalist.

    For example,
    Catholic website says colleges aren’t for women: ‘Learn to be a wife and mother’

    IMO, some atheists are “fundamentalist.” They can be just as narrow, dogmatic, and rigid as any Baptist I’ve seen. (Some atheists are very laid back and don’t really mind what you believe, I am talking about the real pushy ones who despise theism and/or Christians.)

    I think fundamentalism can appear among just about any group or religion. I don’t think some expressions of Christianity own a monopoly on it.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Daisy; well said. I am referring to the phenomenon you’re referring to with the term “cultural fundamentalism”. Can’t reach hearts easily, so let’s make some rules instead! Throw out those Beatles albums!

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  17. Disagree…. but good challenging topic of discussion. liberalism diagnoses excessive ‘mental illness’ cases to produce big medical profits. Cure is simple psalms meditation daily and study nature more deeply (different uses of white pine etc). Fundamentalism is old and no man has ever seen stars ‘created’. Mental illness with spikes of wickedness and anger as described in a good old KJV bible is a liberal mental illness case basically. The guy who came up with ’round earth’ rather than flat earth was probably considered mentally ill by the ‘liberal theologians’ of Europe who did not like study of bible.

    Here is a good example of how science and bible coordinate under Qumraan calendar. It will cause ‘mental strain’ to think about, but it works. http://www.thecreatorscalendar.com/

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  18. Listening to the Pakman blurb now, and OK, a biologist and an MBA are diagnosing “religious fundamentalists” according to DSM-5? Might as well have a quality engineer accuse Pakman and Taylor of some mental illness that causes a disconnect with reality.

    Actually, while reprehensible, the latter (me being the QE, BTW) would actually be a step up from what Pakman attempts, which can only fairly be described as a pretty pathetic cheap shot. Ethical psychologists and psychiatrists do not claim to diagnose whole categories of people at all, and they generally abstain from attempting a diagnosis on people they haven’t met. Pakman and Taylor apparently haven’t gotten the memo.

    Now to be fair, I am not against pointing out that something appears very wrong with a person’s behavior, or that there must be something very different about the thinking of a group of people who, say, strap dynamite to their chests and blow themselves up in pizzerias and such. But that is not a psychological diagnosis!

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  19. Good discussion here, everyone. Unfortunately, my iPad just deleted a very long and insightful comment that I just wrote. 😛 I am headed out the door now, but I do appreciate the points made by everyone, and I have learned a lot about the history of Christian fundamentalism. I guess I have always been a little confused about the exact definition, and though I am sure that I would never call myself one, my impressions have been influenced by the abuses that I experienced under what I believe was true fundamentalism.

    I guess I would seek to remind everyone that, no matter what we call ourselves, the point is to live freely and graciously, and to help those who are hurting. Specificity is helpful, but sometimes we can lose ourselves in labels and forget the big picture.
    Psychological diagnosis is a complex thing, and again, I can only offer my personal experience in the matter. I feel pretty strongly that fundamentalism was the root of the ideologies that have made many of my family members, well, crazy.

    Just my thoughts, thanks for reading.

    Liked by 4 people

  20. I’ve been called a fundamentalist, a legalist and a bunch of other names over time. I have been reading all of this and still don’t comprehend what a definition of a fundamentalist is. Is there a real definition or does it boil down to all the psycho cults that are out there? I believe that there are certain beliefs should go without saying. Jesus is the Son of God and man. He is the creator. Love your neighbor as yourself or maybe better would be a good idea. I do not believe in polygamy or patriarchy. Basic stuff.

    I believe God can do whatever he wants whenever he wants. He may stay quiet for a century or 2 and then choose to reveal Himself loud and proud. He may allow people to vision Heaven to prove who he is. I am not entirely sure about the speaking in tongues thing because it causes confusion. Paul could speak the language of the Angels, but didn’t for that very reason. Why not say what the people around you can understand? That just makes since to me. Speaking in terms that all can comprehend probably has a better outcome with those you are trying to win for Christ.

    I was raised in church where dancing was not suppose to be allowed, but my mother allowed us to go ON WEDNESDAY NIGHT instead of going to church once in a while and wasn’t burned at the stake. Our ministers, for the most part, did not go to seminary. There were some who knew their stuff and one in particular that was IMO abusive towards his children. Paul believed his run right into Jesus Christ experience was worth more than all of the education he had. Considering some of the books and what they teach in seminaries, I wish a few more leaders would stay away from that mess. I heard a 12 year old boy preach when I was a teen, he wasn’t allow to pastor at that time, but he could preach. Called and chosen by God–I think so.

    I think there are people from all walks of life who can have emotional or mental issues. I think some are very smart and form cults for their own advantage. People raised in a cult are going to believe 9 times out of 10 that the cult is right teaching. Some are going to quit drinking the koolaid. Some, like me are going to realize at 50+ that they have been in wrong thinking and change a lot of their beliefs. Those raised in Christian homes will decide on Buddhism, Muslims will become Christians and so on. But what an accurate description of fundamentalism is, I don’t know.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Bike Bubba: David Pakman, political “progressive” and agnostic, and in support of all things fashionably Leftist doesn’t seem like an unbiased academic to me.

    Brenda R: A fundamentalist is anyone who does not agree with leftist politics and theology, at least to some. That is why the word itself is among my peeves. Well, me and Ed, certainly.

    Most mental illness is due to problems in brain chemistry. I hate to repeat this, but fundamentalism, however it is defined, doe not cause mental illness,any more than mathematics made John Nash a schizophrenic.

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  22. FYI – I posted Pakman because I thought his video could stimulate discussion – not that I endorse him or anything (except I must say that he did a great job summarizing the obvious from my lawsuit – – which was how I discovered
    him).

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  23. Keith,
    If this is true: A fundamentalist is anyone who does not agree with leftist politics and theology, at least to some. Then I’m not sure why I was ever called a fundamentalist.

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  24. Brenda R: I am being facetious. I do think that in order to discuss the question, the term needs to be defined.

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  25. Brenda, theologically, the fundamentals are the authority of Scripture, the Virgin Birth, the blood atonement on the Cross, the bodily resurrection, and the 2nd coming of Christ. Most evangelicals, fundamentalists, and even faithful Catholics can affirm them, though most would not identify as fundamentalists. You might be.

    These positions were chosen not because they’re a good summary of good theology, but rather because they were a good summary of what liberal theology did not believe. Back in the 1920s, it was a great dividing line. Probably still is today to a degree.

    Culturally, there are two different definitions. You have a broad range of “cultural fundamentalists” within Christianity characterized by cultural stands–“I don’t drink and I don’t chew and I don’t go with girls that do” and the like. Your no dancing church is part of that, to a degree, and the rules habit came out of Jacob Spener and the pietistic movement–though to be fair to Spener, the “holy rollers” are well beyond what he ever taught. Revivalism figures strongly in cultural fundamentalism as well.

    Then there is the media’s habit of calling any religious group with bad behavior (things like blowing yourself up in pizzerias, beheading journalists, polygamous camps in Utah) by that name.

    Confused? So am I. I count myself among theological fundamentalists, but not cultural or “media” fundamentalists.

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  26. Brenda R: I was not trying to diminish the points you were making. My apologies if it seemed that way.

    Bike Bubba: That summary regarding the media is a good one. The term “Fundamentalist” is just a political/theological swear-word for many on the left.

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  27. BB,
    the fundamentals are the authority of Scripture, the Virgin Birth, the blood atonement on the Cross, the bodily resurrection, and the 2nd coming of Christ. Yep, believe in all of those.

    I see huge differences between blowing yourself up, beheading journalist and polygamy. They may all be crazy thinking folks, but they can’t all fall under the same general terminology.

    Confused about the terminology–yep. Being called a fundamentalist for believing the basics listed above I feel is a compliment.

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  28. Brenda, let me join Keith in acknowledging that your points are good. I personally treasure the Scriptures, but am puzzled by those who would keep Christians away from the wedding at Cana because of the wine, or who would join Michal in condemning David for dancing as the Ark was brought to Jerusalem. Sound familiar?

    I would further agree with you that when people are bullied into submission, at least a “remnant” is likely to wake up and walk away. That’s what I think is at the core of allegations that “fundamentalism” causes or enables the mentally ill; it’s about providing places where the narcissistic get to call the shots without accountability.

    Terribly surprised how polite this all is….

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  29. Brenda R said,

    I’ve been called a fundamentalist, a legalist and a bunch of other names over time. I have been reading all of this and still don’t comprehend what a definition of a fundamentalist is. Is there a real definition or does it boil down to all the psycho cults that are out there?

    The word “fundamentalist” can change depending upon who is using it and why.

    Christian fundamentalism arose sometime late 19th century or early 20th to challenge the liberal theologians and scholars who were casting doubts on the Bible and central tenets of the Christian faith. Christians defended the virgin birth of Christ, the physical death and literal resurrection of Christ, and several other concepts that were being attacked. They referred to these several concepts as being the Fundamentals of the faith.

    To a lot of people on the left – whether they are atheist, agnostic, Christian, whatever religion – sometimes the word “fundamentalist” is used as a pejorative.

    People who disagree with conservatives will sometimes use the term fundamentalism in debates on blogs to mean that a person is narrow minded, judgmental and they often consider anyone one centimeter to the right (on politics or faith), who takes the Bible literally, as being a fundie.

    I think some of what has happened in the last few decades could maybe be termed “Neo Fundamentalism.” That is, there are some Christian groups who don’t just stop at teaching, believing and defending the virgin birth of Christ,but they make up and enforce a bunch of distorted biblical passages, or make them up whole cloth.

    For instance, many IFBs (Ind. Fund. Baptists) excel at this, they will insist it is not biblical or godly for women to wear skirts one inch above the knee, wear open toed shoes, men’s hair should not touch their collar. Some IFB churches teach that only the KJV is “God’s Word” and that all other Bible versions are Satanic or have been intentionally tampered with.

    The IFBs (and Christians like them) are the equivalents to the Pharisees in Jesus’ day. They major on the minors and insist everyone must or should follow their rules rules, or their interpretations of biblical passages.

    _Christian fundamentalism_ (link is to Wikipedia page, defines and explains fundamentalism, and gives history of)

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  30. BB,

    Yes it all sounds very familiar.

    I was raised on communion with actual wine, Go Figure. Drinking outside of communion was taboo. Then after an evangelist came through and spoke of 3 different terms for wine: actual wine, unleavened wine and grape juice. Then we changed to unleavened wine. I personally don’t see where the Bible is totally against any wine at all, but do see where drunkenness is an issue.

    I honestly don’t think Michal really cared anything for David any longer when he did his happy dance. I have heard those who believe that all David was wearing was that linen ephod. I find that very hard to believe. The king out praising God in his all together. I just don’t see that happening.

    I think anything that is shoved down one’s throat or beaten into a person can cause problems. If you can’t do it with love, what’s the point?

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  31. Daisy,
    I haven’t read the article yet, but I am going to. I didn’t touch a Bible other than KJV until about 5 years ago. Now I like to read different versions to see what I get out of them including the Geneva and Message versions, just for grins and giggles. This is one of the areas that my perspective has changed considerably. IF the KJV is the only version that is God’s Word, everyone in the world would have to learn to speak in Old English and we know that isn’t happening. It took me a long time to wake up to that fact.

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  32. Brenda, you can just skim over that Wiki article if you like. It’s pretty long, I wouldn’t expect you to read the entire thing (unless you absolutely want to!)

    I was brought up on the KJV as a kid but later got a NIV. My church as a kid gave me a “Good News” version (I think that’s what it’s called). In my 20s, I got a NASB. I use the NIV one most often.

    KJVOs (King James Version Onlyists) refer to any other Bible as being a “per-version.” They do not regard the NKJV, NASB, NIV, ESV, etc. as being actual Bibles.

    KJVOs teach all non-KJV versions have been tampered with modern scholars and/or Roman Catholics and/or Satan (they love conspiracy theories) to water down the Word of God in order to mislead people.

    The Roman Catholic paranoia by them is hilarious, because Erasums, who made the main text that the KJV New Testament is based upon, was a Roman Catholic! Hee. (They adhere to many hypocritical views like that.)

    KJV Onlyism is just one trait among some Baptist fundamentalists.
    Christian fundamentalists, get fixated on outer things that don’t always matter… like insisting that Christian music and secular rock music is evil.

    I have read stories of an Independent Fundy Baptist teacher or preacher finding a kid’s Janet Jackson CD in the church (this took place in the 1990s), and stomping up and down on it to break it, because secular dance music is supposedly evil.

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  33. Daisy, maybe say “cultural fundamentalists” if you will. I know what you’re getting at, but one sure way to annoy most non-KJVO and non-legalistic Baptistic fundamentalists is to lump them in with the KJVO crowd.

    A good resource on KJVO, also from personal friends of mine, is Beacham and Bauder, “One Bible Only.” It goes into far more detail about where the Textus Receptus came from, translation & textual issues, and the like.

    And I could go into disgusting detail about some of the things that I’ve seen out of KJVO advocates. I’ll spare y’all out of mercy, though. My Cliff’s Notes summary is that I’ve never seen a KJVO advocate go more than a couple of minutes without a personal slam of non-KJVO people. My favorite is when one author, David Sorenson, attacked Kurt Aland (editor of Nestle-Aland New Testament text) on the grounds that Sorenson had a picture of Aland smoking a cigar.

    I’m no fan of smoking, but it doesn’t prove much about the eclectic text, to put it mildly.

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  34. Daisy,
    The article was interesting. I still come to the conclusion that who is using the word makes it have a different meaning. The article mentioned: Fundamentalists have been criticized for presenting God “more as a God of judgement and punishment than as a God of love and mercy”. There has to be some balance. God is all of these things. There are those that teach too much judgment and punishment. Then you have the other side that teach too much love and mercy. He is all of these things. Folks like Westboro Baptist need to find the love and mercy side of God. Love is such an important part of God. I really don’t think He likes the judgment and punishment part, but God’s gotta do what God’s gotta do.

    As far as the One Bible Only. It would make it a little easier during a sermon to be able to read along without having to decipher later on what was said. I am not even saying the KJV should be the one to use. But being on the same page with the speaker would make it easier.

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  35. I am glad you quoted Wheaton College “Fundamentalism was a movement that arose in the late 19th and early 20th centuries within American Protestantism reacting against “modernist” theology and biblical criticism as well as changes in the nation’s cultural and social scene.”

    Following this train of thought one needs to point out that certain types of people are drawn into fundamentalism as a reaction to something they may have been involved in previously. Many I have met within the Christian fundamentalist movement came to it through their experience of the excesses from other movements such as the Word of faith Movement, Liberal theology and the like.

    While not trying to paint too broad a brush on the issue you can’t just assume that a pre-existing mental condition brought them to a fundamentalists position. The reaction against other false teaching may in part explain the move from one position to another that is diametrically opposed to it.

    What is significant and common between say the extreme end of the Charismatic movement of Kenneth Copeland,Benny Hinn, and the obvious error of Bill Gothard, Peter S Ruckman and Stephen Andreson, is that you can’t reason with any of them. That being said neither can you reason with some Atheists and evolutionists,

    As for David Parkman and his co presenter they are a pair of misinformed idiots. You can’t level the allegation or prescribe mental illness for one particular group without acknowledging the existence of the same etiology among other groups. Fundamentalism is a world view as much Liberalism is, Atheism is as much a world view as a child’s belief in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy is.

    Belief in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy has its own particular issues in that many parents who would not want their child believing in God the creator aid and abet their children to accept the existence of mythical creatures with supernatural powers that indulge greed and gluttony; but its perfectly okay. Can anyone see how pathological this all becomes?

    I am not a fan of fundamentalism I think it is anti-intellectual and I agree it has some very unhealthy elements, however those same elements are not uncommon in other world views or belief systems including some social sciences and skeptic movements.

    If I were to perform a psychoanalytic profile of people who were once part of the fundamentalist movement, Gothardism and others I might find a deep seated preoccupation with exposing one of the above. One day this also might diagnosed as a form of mental illness.

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  36. Cultural fundamentalism, as Bike Bubba terms it, may be one of those things that is difficult to define, but easy to recognize–at least in others. Still, I would argue that to the extent an individual, group or movement engages in thought reform, as identified and described by Dr. Robert J. Lifton, they are rightly called fundamentalists. As summarized in the Wikipedia article at http://tinyurl.com/pctqnap, Lifton describes the following methods by which people’s thoughts can be manipulated without their agreement:

    • Milieu Control – The control of information and communication.
    • Mystical Manipulation – The manipulation of experiences that appear spontaneous but in fact were planned and orchestrated.
    • Demand for Purity – The world is viewed as black and white and the members are constantly exhorted to conform to the ideology of the group and strive for perfection.
    • Confession – Sins, as defined by the group, are to be confessed either to a personal monitor or publicly to the group.
    • Sacred Science – The group’s doctrine or ideology is considered to be the ultimate Truth, beyond all questioning or dispute.
    • Loading the Language – The group interprets or uses words and phrases in new ways so that often the outside world does not understand.
    • Doctrine over person – The member’s personal experiences are subordinated to the sacred science and any contrary experiences must be denied or reinterpreted to fit the ideology of the group.
    • Dispensing of existence – The group has the prerogative to decide who has the right to exist and who does not.

    Although the terminology is a bit awkward for day to day wear and tear, these methods certainly bring to my mind much of what I have observe in what I would now consider cultural fundamentalism.

    And, by the way, doctrinaire political movements, both liberal and conservative, would and do attempt to control public opinion and individual actions by these and other manipulative and coercive methods.

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  37. As to the suggestion in the YouTube video that religious fundamentalism is a mental disorder that should be treated as in the case of other mental disorders, I’m pretty sure we don’t want to even think about going there–however much I might despise cultural fundamentalism. I might chuckle at the notion that cultural fundamentalism is a treatable mental disorder, but who is to say something in my own rather eclectic views and non-conformist ways of living will not be labeled as a mental disorder. There are just too many people out there who would be all too thrilled to see me put in a straight jacket.

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  38. As to the Wheaton College article on fundamentalism, I have to chuckle. In its 1969-1970 catalog, Wheaton described itself as a fundamentalist, non-denominational, Christian liberal arts college.

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  39. Brenda,

    You said:
    “the fundamentals are the authority of Scripture, the Virgin Birth, the blood atonement on the Cross, the bodily resurrection, and the 2nd coming of Christ. Yep, believe in all of those.”

    My response:
    I’m not normally a fan of “creeds”, such as the Apostles Creed, mostly because in that creed it mentions “holy catholic church”, however, when you said that…

    This to me is fundamental and it should go no further than this:

    Ed

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  40. Brenda R said,
    “Daisy, The article was interesting. I still come to the conclusion that who is using the word makes it have a different meaning.”

    Yes, I made that point above. The word “fundamentalist” can and is used differently by different groups. It depends on who you are talking to and how they define it or understand it.

    I think the historical use of the word is now confused and mixed up by lots of people with Neo-Fundamentalism.

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  41. As for David Parkman and his co presenter they are a pair of misinformed idiots. You can’t level the allegation or prescribe mental illness for one particular group without acknowledging the existence of the same etiology among other groups.

    I wouldn’t call Pakman a misinformed idiot – he was just bringing the topic up for discussion and bantering back and forth with the co-host. Pakman was discussing a study that that was going around in 2013 by Kathleen Taylor, an Oxford researcher.

    Here’s an article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/31/kathleen-taylor-religious-fundamentalism-mental-illness_n_3365896.html

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  42. As to the Wheaton College article on fundamentalism, I have to chuckle. In its 1969-1970 catalog, Wheaton described itself as a fundamentalist, non-denominational, Christian liberal arts college.

    That is funny, Gary!

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  43. Ed, This:
    ,
    You said:
    “the fundamentals are the authority of Scripture, the Virgin Birth, the blood atonement on the Cross, the bodily resurrection, and the 2nd coming of Christ. Yep, believe in all of those.”

    This was a quote from Bike Bubba. I was agreeing that these are basic fundamentals. I do agree with you that I don’t like creeds or confessionals for that matter. They are excerpts and there is more to it. They are lacking in many areas and I am fundamental (basic, primary) in the sense that I believe in the gospel of the Bible. There is more but these are very basic truths although I believe these are the greatest part. Jesus was born as God and man, allowed Himself to be taken to the cross where He died, arose again on the 3rd day and is coming back to claim His own. His Word, the Bible accounts what He would have us to know and build on Him a great relationship.

    The more I read of the fundamentalist movement, the more I disagree with it. The things that they proclaim to be truth are no where in the Bible and are controlling the lives of people who are not thinking for themselves. It seems like a form or works righteousness. Gothard proclaiming that you must have large families, while he was never married? What’s up with that”

    There was a song for children that was sung quite a bit years ago with verses that say: Oh, be careful little eyes what you see, little ears what you hear. feet where you go,tongue what you say. I think these things apply to adults and children. BUT, condemning all secular music is wrong and there are songs that are considered Christian music that I don’t really want to hear either. They send out a wrong message IMO.

    I didn’t allow my daughters to wear bikinis. My oldest daughter being very endowed and mature for her age, I had to beat older boys and young men off with a stick. Since jeans and t-shirts were “in” I didn’t have to worry that their skirts were too short. Wearing a dress at all was a Sunday thing. What other moms allowed or what the preacher had to say about it was not my concern. I made rules for my kids that I thought were appropriate for them.

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  44. i hope I am not wearing this out, but the point I was trying to make on the other thread is that the young man in Bethany’s article is at the age when certain mental illnesses first manifest themselves. His neglect of hygiene, declining appearance, and obsessiveness could be clues that he is developing mental illness.

    Mental illness can affect all sorts of people, gentry liberals are as susceptible as Appalachian coal miners. Inner-city residents and members of the Amish community can develop mental illness.

    The notion that “bad” ideas=mental illness is scary. The door is thus opened to those who are in power to engage in attempts at thought control via psychiatry. The concept of “sluggish schizophrenia” was developed in USSR for precisely this purpose. Thus when I see an attempt to establish that a poorly defined set of ideas termed “fundamentalism” leads to mental illness, my anti-authoritarian/anti-totalitarian alarms go off.

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  45. Keith,
    You really have some valid points there. That young man could have mental illness ‘but it wouldn’t necessarily have anything to do with the cult he was in. it could have been an imbalance in his own brain. I have been around those with a Lithium imbalance, Schizophrenia, Bi-Polar and Obsessive-Compulsive disorder. Many of these people are treated with medications. They all struck with a vengeance in adolescence to early adulthood. There were definite outward signs of illness that had nothing to do with their environment or religious beliefs.

    Bad ideas do not equate to mental illness. Not even the people who start these ridiculous cults are mentally ill, a need to control other perhaps. Hitler had a criminal mind and intense hate, but was he mentally ill? Probably not. Evil, most definitely.

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  46. Fundamentalism is not a mental illness. It its purest form it is a belief in protecting the truths of its faith in its purest form without compromise. That is an admirable thing to do. But fundamentalism can be attractive to people with mental illness because it gives them group to rally together with, it gives them cultural topics to feed into an already existing paranoia…and an us vs. them type thing. As it digs and digs and digs to try to find the purest walk with God, it CAN create and maintain certain unorthodox doctrine that feeds into a cycle of abuse.

    Fundamentalism is something most people don’t understand, and thus it is easiest for them to lump all they deem as fundamentalists into one group. But that’s not really fair, and its actually intellectually lazy, in my opinion, because some people don’t want to take the time to get to know an individual or a small group, so they quickly write them all off as one big group of wacky fundamentalists.

    That can be dangerous when you shove some innocent guy who just so happens to believe he should wear a suit and a tie and carry a KJV into the same group with Warren Jeffs or terrorists who want to blow up buildings in the name of their religion. They aren’t the same, and they shouldn’t be classified as the same, and fundamentalism shouldn’t be written off as a mental illness.

    Who knows when your beliefs will be labeled as fundamentalism, and therefore you get labelled as crazy.

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  47. Who knows when your beliefs will be labeled as fundamentalism, and therefore you get labeled as crazy.

    Larry, Amen. We won’t all fit in the loony bin.

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  48. Keith, much agree with what you say at 5:00 AM. Those who who would impose psychological and psychiatric methods as a means of “curing” politically objectionable thought are themselves engaged in the political equivalent of small “f” fundamentalism.

    Which leads me to suggest that a defining characteristic of small “f” fundamentalism is a demonstrated propensity to use fear, guilt and shame to manipulate and coerce, within the context of religion, conformity to what is deemed acceptable thought and action. It really is no different than what can happen in government, business, education, families, and so on. It’s just that we apply different labels to the same behavior in different contexts. In politics and government we call it authoritarianism and totalitarianism. In families we call it spouse abuse and child abuse. In education (and politics) we call it political correctness. Not sure what we would call it in business.

    Whatever the context, the manipulative, coercive, behavior will tend to be perpetrated by those we would call narcissistic, sociopathic and/or psychopathic. I would concur with those who suggest that narcissism, sociopathy and psychopathy are not mental health or even social disorders. Rather, they are species of character defects.

    It may be useful to investigate whether a shared etiology or root cause may be identified as to people who exhibit a particular category of character defect. For the most part, however, the ability to identify a shared etiology does not suggest a hope for successful therapy. It suggests the form appropriate sanctions should take. In the absence of sanctions, the characterologically defective will not even recognize the need for change.

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  49. Also, Keith, your reference to authoritarianism and totalitarianism triggered something of an epiphany for me. Not too long ago I attended a wedding at which I found myself reacting to the preacher with palpable revulsion. I have wondered why. I now see that everything about this man–his words, his tone of voice, his visage–projected a totalitarian, my-way-or-the-highway, authoritarianism. The man is “pastor” of a so-called Bible church. I’m readily concede that not every organization calling itself a Bible church is small “f” fundamentalist, but to the extent a definition of fundamentalism is still called for, I strongly suspect this man could be tendered as Exhibit 1.

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  50. And while I am at it: While I do not expect that small “f” fundamentalism in and of itself leads to mental illness, I do believe that “f”undamentalist pastors will, both by word and by example, encourage their male congregants to behave in authoritarian and even totalitarian ways. Men who are so influenced will leave a wake of destruction wherever they go, but they will very likely do the greatest harm to their own wives and children.

    I would go so far as to say that if a man is so influenced by the teaching of a “f”undamentalist “pastor,” author or teacher that he begins to apply authoritarian/totalitarian coercion to his wife and children, he has: 1) abandoned his wife and children, 2) effectively divorced himself from his wife (and children), 3) left the faith, and 4) left his wife with Scriptural grounds for applying to the courts for a decree of divorce or dissolution of marriage or whatever it is called in a particular state or country. Such a decree would simply recognize the substance of the de facto divorce her husband has already committed.

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  51. Again, great discussion. I think it’s great how nice everyone is being.

    I agree that fundamentalism should not be automatically classified as a mental disorder, nor should any other religious system. There are varying degrees of involvement in systems, and not everyone could be classified together in that. There are men like my former pastor, who are in for the long haul, sticking to their guns no matter what; then there are wives who follow because they think they must, but are skeptical–and there are young people like me, who were waiting for freedom and didn’t really know it. Also, as one of the gentlemen in the video mentioned, an overzealous government regulation on mental disorders could mean bad things for dissenters, such as libertarians or peaceful anarchists.

    I would also agree that certain types are drawn to certain ideologies, and cultural fundamentalism is not the only thing that abusers gravitate towards. Abusers can create their own, new system, like Bill Gothard did, or they can go to a system that is already in place, a church, a school, a business, or even a family context. Abusers do often need a system that enables them, and fundamentalism often creates a “right vs. wrong” system that is a good starting place for abusive ideas.

    I also think of the children born into anusive contexts, whatever label you want to apply to the context. I have watched kids from my former cult-church, kids who were born as innocent as anyone, who are now exhibiting symptoms of personality disorder/mental illness such as narcissism, OCD, and sociopathy. If these children had been raised in a “normal”, loving home, would these children have these symptoms at such an early age? Does this create a causative correlation?

    Honest questions, no snark.

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  52. Song, your question was: If these children had been raised in a “normal”, loving home, would these children have these symptoms at such an early age? Does this create a causative correlation?

    Not necessarily. There are kids born into cults who see the hypocrisy and find a way out. There are kids who are raised in “normal”, loving homes that cut themselves, do drugs and rebel or worse. IMO only, everyone is different and what might affect me, may roll like water off a duck’s back for someone else.

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  53. My thoughts and prayers are with the family of Mr. Kenji Goto today. Just an hour ago, I heard that the “fundamentalist” Islamist terrorists of ISIS claim to have murdered him, in retaliation for Japan’s support for refugees from regions under their control.

    His case has been in the news a lot in Japan lately. As I understand, Mr. Goto was a Christian (which makes it all the sadder for me personally), and had worked tirelessly to document the suffering of children and refugees in war-torn areas. I and many others had prayed so hard for his safe return, and hearing of his senseless death is heartbreaking.

    In one of ISIS’ recruitment videos, I’ve seen one of their fighters calling his fellow Europeans to join him in jihad. He claimed it was the best way to chase away the “depression” that so many Muslims in western countries feel. I wonder if this is what drives some young men and women into the arms of hurtful and destructive ideologies — running from pain or despondency, instead of facing it and looking for help.

    So sad and angry about this at the same time.

    Julie Anne, please feel free to delete this if you think it’s too far off topic.

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  54. Serving,
    These people are terrorist, extremist, murderers. There is no true religion in these people. True religion no matter if it is Christian, Buddhist or Islam revolves around peace and love in its truest form. Human life has no value to those in ISIS. Jihad is evil. Christians are being martyred at an alarming rate around the world. I am praying for this man’s family for strength and comfort in knowing where their loved one is tonight, with his Savior in paradise.
    I have no answers as to why westerners would go out of their way to join these murdering hate filled monsters. It is so unsettling. We know that it will get worse before Jesus returns for his bride. Sad and angry= grieving. We mourn the loss of a man that wanted to make a difference in the lives of the oppressed.

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  55. His case has been in the news a lot in Japan lately. As I understand, Mr. Goto was a Christian (which makes it all the sadder for me personally), and had worked tirelessly to document the suffering of children and refugees in war-torn areas. I and many others had prayed so hard for his safe return, and hearing of his senseless death is heartbreaking.

    It truly is horrific, Serving. I imagine it must be hitting so much closer to home for you since you’ve been living in Japan.

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  56. Serving,

    I know your anger in this. I was stationed in Yokosuka for 3 1/2 years from 1983-1986. I have such a wonderful respect for the Japanese people, and was fortunate enough to accidentally meet the general manager and his colleagues at the time of Panasonic National Corporation in a Japanese restaurant. There was no room for 3 of us US Navy guys at any table, except for one long table in the middle. He and his colleagues was at that table. Due to us being Americans, he bought us some Budweiser’s, and we in turn bought them some wine. Anyway, before joining the navy, I had watched Shogun on TV, and we also watched it in our History Class in High School. I loved the movie, and after I joined the navy, after finishing my schooling, a ship that was homeported in Pearl Harbor, USS Cochrane DDG-21 changed homeports to Yokosuka 3 weeks after I reported aboard. I had such great times in Japan. I really feel bad for the Japanese people having to endure this.

    Ed

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  57. I attended a Presbyterian Church in Australia for 15 years, quite enjoyed the small fellowship but had a few issues with some of their understanding of Scripture as I was brought up in a Baptist Church, which in Australia are very different to the Southern Baptist Churches in the States. However it wasn’t until I spoke out against the leadership of that local Church to the hierarchy of the Presbyterian Church of Australia did I come face to face with their patriarchal system of government. While I was in that Church I had no mental health issues but I now suffer from PTSD, claustrophobia, and I find it very difficult to trust people. So does Christian fundamentalism cause mental illness I cannot answer that but in my case speaking out against it certainly has.

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  58. @Brenda R, interesting thoughts. Thank you. I have never known of a case of a teenager being depressed, self harming, etc., without a direct cause, health-wise or emotionally, but perhaps my experience is limited.

    @rhondajeannie, I am so sorry to hear of your traumatic experience in church. I have my own trauma and know the pain. I hope you are recovering.

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  59. Thank you ‘Song of a River’ I too hope you are on the road to recovery. I am recovering with the help of people like Julie Anne. I had Christian counselling however I came away from that feeling judged. What is helping me the most is knowing I have a voice outside of the Church as I certainly didn’t have one inside the PCA.

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  60. Lots of good points here. Reflecting the Lutheran influence of Jeff Crippen and Chris Rosebrough’s Fighting for the Faith podcasts, I would summarize Christian fundamentalism as an emphasis on Law, to the detriment of the gospel.

    There’s a reason someone once referred to Gothard’s interminable rules as an evangelical Talmud.

    Actually, if someone were to do a book length treatment of modern fundamentalism, they’d have to include a whole chapter just for Gothard and his outsized influence.

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  61. So does Christian fundamentalism cause mental illness I cannot answer that but in my case speaking out against it certainly has.

    I have heard of many people with PTSD because of spiritual abuse. It may not have been fundamentalism per se, but the legalism, rigid rules/lifestyles added to it – – or abusive church authority in fundamentalist churches that caused the mental issues.

    Rhondajeannie, sorry to hear of your mental health challenges. You mention trust issues – I know that’s a big issue for most of us who have experienced spiritual abuse. PTSD is a tough one. Maybe it would be good to do a post on PTSD from spiritual abuse or church-related issues.

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  62. ‘Maybe it would be good to do a post on PTSD from spiritual abuse or church-related issues’.

    Julie-Anne, I think that would be a good idea. I know I am coping a lot better since I have been able to express how I feel to people with empathy.

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  63. NJ,
    “I would summarize Christian fundamentalism as an emphasis on Law, to the detriment of the gospel.”

    From what I know of Gothard and others like him I might add, “man made” Laws and to the detriment of the gospel “and the followers of Christ”.

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  64. rhondajeannie,
    I am so sorry that you came under the scrutiny of the PC in Australia. I don’t know your whole story, but it seems you must have had a lot of back lash and oppression from the hierarchy.

    Barbara Roberts who writes on ACFJ also was at PC in Australia and went through an abusive marriage while attending there. She spoke out against them and their support of the abuser. However in her case I think the fight eventually made her stronger and found the freedom to speak out for others in her situation.

    I don’t know if their is a correlation between oppressive churches and mental illness in itself, but I do pray that you are recovering and find peace and joy again.

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  65. Julie Anne,

    “I have heard of many people with PTSD because of spiritual abuse. It may not have been fundamentalism per se, but the legalism, rigid rules/lifestyles added to it – – or abusive church authority in fundamentalist churches that caused the mental issues.”

    Aren’t the issues with fundamentalism : legalism (Laws of man), rigid rules/lifestyles and abusive church authority? Or is there more that I am not getting?

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  66. Aren’t the issues with fundamentalism : legalism (Laws of man), rigid rules/lifestyles and abusive church authority? Or is there more that I am not getting?

    I haven’t really gotten into the definition of fundamentalism part of this conversation that began on the other post, but I guess what I’m talking about is I know there are churches labeled as fundamentalist churches – they adhere to essentials of the faith, hold to some stricter interpretations of Scripture, but the leaders are humble and try to guide the members. They don’t have iron fists and the issues of control are not present. However, when you get someone in the pulpit who acts like they are replacing the Holy Spirit in your life, I believe is when the problems start. Those are the tyrants who put themselves in a position of authority that is not theirs and use it to control.

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  67. Julie-Anne, I think that would be a good idea. I know I am coping a lot better since I have been able to express how I feel to people with empathy.

    I’m so glad to hear that, rhondajeannie.

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  68. Just like there are two definitions of “Cult” (theology & behavior), so there are two definitions of Fundamentalism (theology & behavior). And the difference between the two allow (behaviorially) Fundy Pastor/Dictator/Cult Leaders to slip through and do their thing. When accused/exposed, they shift the definition onto their home turf (from behavior to theology) and use this home-field advantage to confuse, confound, and crush their opponents/accusers.

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  69. One other interesting angle to all this is how Christians of different backgrounds, churches, or denominations view psychological problems and/or how to treat psychological problems.

    Some Christians deny there is such as thing in the first place. They attribute everything, and I mean, everything to “sin.”

    The ones who say it kind of exists, who admit it does, usually issue what I consider bogus advice or treatment, such just read your Bible more, just pray more. They will advise Christians to refrain from visiting psychologists or from taking medications.

    Speaking of PTSD (a few folks above mentioned it).

    David Barton was a guest on Copeland’s show, and both of them sort of deny that there is such as thing as PTSD.
    _PTSD Isn’t Biblical, Televangelist Kenneth Copeland And Historian David Barton Tell Veterans_

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  70. These same men that would have veterans with PTSD stop taking medications and say an incantation and they will all be healed are so terribly misguided or perhaps delusional. If the latter is true, they could use a few sessions on the couch themselves. I am sure that men that David had in his armies suffered from PTSD, they just didn’t know what to call it or how to handle it. Not everyone is going to see the things they do during time of war and be able to bounce back from it in 5 minutes, some may never get over it and others will be able to handle it. We are all uniquely made. What they are teaching here screams of faith healers that hit you on the forehead, knock you to the ground and all is well. Of course, the ones that they “healed” were staged actors.

    Why do people think that God would allow us physicians for the physical body but not the mind? That has been a question that has perplexed me for a long time. Reading the Bible and prayer are healing for the soul and can strengthen us, but God does not promise that he is going to totally heal all of our bodies or our minds.

    I do believe there are other reasons for PTSD beyond being in a war zone, but not all will be affected in the same manner, just as some will have cancer, heart disease or any other disease. Not all will have the same thing, but we are living in a fallen world and none of us will escape without some kind of ailment at one time of another.

    I do believe in God’s power to heal, the value of reading His Word and prayer, but he also allows us physicians. I believe that oppression can lead to PTSD or other mental issues. I don’t know how data could possibly be gathered to show accurately how many are affected.

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  71. Julie Anne,
    I guess having a paper cut is not biblical, either, since the Bible does mention paper cuts specifically (not that I can remember). Ditto on having allergies, lice, dandruff…

    Brenda R,
    Barton did release a statement about his PTSD comments later. You can read it _here_

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  72. Thank you Daisy for the update.

    There are so many things that we have to deal with today that were not mentioned in the Bible. I don’t believe that all that was needing to be dealt with then were mentioned either. There are things that we are to use common sense on, talking to God about and listening to the Holy Spirit. God gave us the most important and gave us a brain to figure out the rest. Come to think of it, since they didn’t have paper in biblical times, those lucky people didn’t get paper cuts. I get at least one every week.

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  73. I’m the daughter of a “fundamentalist” pastor…to whom that word simply meant that he believed in the literal nature of the Bible, and its inerrancy. Though that would have overlapped with some aspects of what has here been called “cultural fundamentalism”–particularly on issues like abortion or gay marriage–I had no idea until my teens that to some “fundamentalist” meant things like wearing long skirts and making women subservient to men. So I think it is problematic to have a discussion in which the main term is so undefined.

    I’d like to propose another term…”separatist”. It seems to me that the worst abuses occur among those that seek to separate themselves from the wider stream of humanity. They may be Christian conservatives, or Christian progressives forming a commune. They may be Muslims seeking to restore a true faith untainted by the modern world, or believers in aliens. I think it in the separatist movements that mental illness can first hide, and then flourish–away from those who might detect and check it.

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  74. L.J. I am sorry but I do not agree with you. Maybe we do not have a list that we check to say whether a denomination or a certain Church is fundamental but there are certain traits that would make us believe that they are. In my case I was totally unaware of what went on ‘behind closed doors’ until I made a complaint against the leadership of a local Church. This was not some ‘separatist’ Church like the Exclusive Brethren but the fourth largest denomination in Australia, the Presbyterian Church of Australia. Maybe as a daughter of a Pastor you are not privy to everything that happens within your Church because I was certainly excluded from meetings because I am female and had people who were trying to help me told they were not allowed. I believe they saw me as the ‘wrong-doer’ for making the complaint and they certainly made me feel like I was.

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  75. Miss Daisy Flower you wrote: ‘or that they deny that God can and does work in supernatural means today’.
    Have you read the 1st Chapter of the Westminister Confession of Faith that many Churches adhere too. Here is a paragraph from Chapter 1:
    ‘Therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his church; and afterwards, for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing: which maketh the Holy Scripture to be most necessary; those former ways of God’s revealing his will unto his people being now ceased’.

    I am wondering whether anyone has told God that His former ways of revealing His will unto His people is now ceased.

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  76. I am wondering whether anyone has told God that His former ways of revealing His will unto His people is now ceased.

    rhondajeannie,
    I’m sure not going to tell God what He can or can’t do. I have been told most all my life that God doesn’t work in the same way. We are to rely on His Word and pray. Although I do believe those things, I do believe that God can and will reveal Himself whenever He pleases and WE should be looking for it.

    The way your former church operated, behind closed doors is just plain wrong. Anyone in the body should be able to have their say. Leadership is not suppose to be an exclusive voting body. Everyone in the church is a part of the body not just the elders, pastors etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  77. To the assertion that the spiritual gifts have ceased now that we have a complete Bible, I respond that that the reason we have received no new Scripture for nearly 2000 years is that we have the gifts, including the revelatory gifts, of the indwelling Holy spirit.

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  78. I’d like to break down this list introduced by Gary; really, I would characterize most of these as more cultic than fundamentalist, even cultural fundamentalist in nature. I’ll explain why.

    Milieu Control – The control of information and communication.
    • Mystical Manipulation – The manipulation of experiences that appear spontaneous but in fact were planned and orchestrated.
    • Demand for Purity – The world is viewed as black and white and the members are constantly exhorted to conform to the ideology of the group and strive for perfection.
    • Confession – Sins, as defined by the group, are to be confessed either to a personal monitor or publicly to the group.
    • Sacred Science – The group’s doctrine or ideology is considered to be the ultimate Truth, beyond all questioning or dispute.
    • Loading the Language – The group interprets or uses words and phrases in new ways so that often the outside world does not understand.
    • Doctrine over person – The member’s personal experiences are subordinated to the sacred science and any contrary experiences must be denied or reinterpreted to fit the ideology of the group.
    • Dispensing of existence – The group has the prerogative to decide who has the right to exist and who does not.

    Now with Gary, I do not have much use for “cultural” fundamentalism. As NJ noted, it’s really more about creating a new Talmud for those of us who don’t know what to do with gefilte fish, to draw a picture.

    And there are a couple of things that cultural fundamentalists do do in the list. Cultural fundamentalists, like Jews, liberals, conservatives, orthopedic surgeons, and others, do develop a new language. There are–same as in Judiasm, …..orthopedic surgery and the like, some non-negotiable things. There is typically–that goyesh Talmud as it were–a demand for purity as well.

    Where I differ with Gary is in defining fundamentalism in terms of milieu control, mystical manipulation, confession, and dispensing of existence. Those are just plain cultic, and not all cultural fundamentalists–I’ve spent some time among them–do this. Hence we cannot define cultural fundamentalism in these terms, as they do not describe all, or even a majority of cultural “rules” fundamentalists.

    There are some who do some of these things, but really, the usual definitions fundamentalists use among themselves preclude most of this. They’re mostly non-charismatic, so you’ll find little mystical manipulation. Milieu control? Sorry, they don’t live on communes and in compounds for the most part. Confession? Only when the sin gets too egregious. Dispensing of existence? Sounds a lot like “murder” to me, Gary, and I don’t think you’re going to find too many newspaper articles proving that!

    (really, the closest thing I can think of to what Gary describes is Jonestown, and it’s worth noting that Jones was at his heart a Communist, not a pastor at all)

    I don’t mean to pick a fight about this; there is plenty to object to in cultural “rules” fundamentalism, but they’re not by and large cultish in their behavior.

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  79. Bike Bubba,

    Thank you for your well thought out response. I’m supposed to be working right now, so I will not be able to give your observations the full consideration they deserve. Still, I would argue that cultural fundamentalists do to some lesser or greater degree engage in the moral equivalent of each and every one of the practices described by Lifton.

    For example, when cultural fundamentalists shun, exclude, and engage in character assassination (all of which Julie Anne has experienced), that is the moral equivalent of Dispensing of Existence. (Doesn’t the Bible say something about being angry at a brother being the same as murder?)

    I believe that cultural fundamentalists are engaging in milieu Control when they do things like demand that congregants attend every church service, board activity, and every other church function, and generally consume a person’s every available waking moment. They are engaged in milieu control when they demand that congregants avoid association with “undesirables” and generally try to control how congregants are influenced. Sometimes, though not always, home schooling is promoted as a means of “protecting” children against influences most of us would deem perfectly innocuous.

    I dare say that the encouragement of the public confession of sin is quite common, and used as a means to manipulate guilt and shame induced subordination to preachers.

    Mystical manipulation may be more likely to occur in pentecostal and charismatic churches, but who says pentecostals and charismatics can’t be what we are calling cultural fundamentalists. Plus, it has not been at all uncommon, in my experience, to hear, say, a fundamentalist Southern Baptist preacher attempt to manipulate by claim to have heard from the Lord. Maybe sometimes they have, but why is it always in the service of getting people to accept and follow something they are promoting.

    So, while cultural fundamentalists may not apply Lifton’s methods to cultic extremes, many do seem to be following such methods to the extent they can get away with it. It is just a matter of degree.

    And, so long as I have already neglected my work for way to long, please know that I do not oppose to home schooling in and of itself. I’m even O.K. with wanting to protect children from the inevitable ungodly influences of public education. I have no doubt but what children might often get a better education at home than in the public schools. One thing I do have a problem with, though, is using home schooling in an attempt to impose life-long, unquestioning conformity with the precepts and practices of a control-and-authority based group or movement. We are called to freedom in Christ–not to submission to a Talmud like body of rules and regulations and precepts of men. We can trust our Lord with our children.

    Back to work.

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  80. Jonestown/People’s Temple were the epitome of Lib/Prog theology in the 70’s. They even had a relationship with a liberal denomination, the Disciples of Christ.

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  81. One other followup comment is that some have pointed to “Holy Roller” type charismatics as fundamentalists. OK, but let’s keep in mind that the core of the fundamental movement in Christianity really centers around those of the “baptistic” bent, and they tend to reject, rightly or wrongly, any hint of continuationism. So among what I’ve defined as the “core” of “cultural fundamentalism”, we would see few cases of mystical manipulation simply because the culture doesn’t make much room for it.

    But if one allows for a pentacostal/charismatic fundamentalism–and keep in mind that on the fringes of this, you’re really going to have trouble arguing that they’re holding to the authority of Scripture at all, so they’re not really theological fundamentalists at all–then you might see more mystical manipulation, because they do believe in prophecy and the like.

    But that said, since the “Holy Rollers” don’t put false prophets out of the church, I hesitate to call them fundamentalists, because their actions are working strongly against the authority of Scripture.

    Holy Rollers and cultural fundamentalists sometimes look like each other (and hence the former are pilloried on “Stuff Fundies Like”) in having long lists of rules, but there are some very different things going on under the hood.

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  82. Gary, the trick to your points is that everybody shuns. I could, with the right words repeated a few times, get shunned, and rightly so, by our gracious hostess. I don’t think I need to tell you what kinds of things I would have to say in order to do so! :^)

    Would that be her denial of my existence, or for that matter, what about when a professional is disciplined by his accrediting body–say like when a lawyer gets disbarred. Are the ABA and Julie Anne then cultural fundamentalists? The ABA could also be accused of “control of milieu” for insisting their members take ongoing education courses, and for disciplining members whose public writings and actions contradict their rules. Any group, even the Elks Club or Rotary, will have this. Heck, the public schools and parochial schools both use “control of milieu” pretty strongly, no? I guess I accuse Sister Ethelbert and the NEA….wait, yes, I am getting silly here, but I hope you see my point.

    So what you have is a set of criteria that apply sort of to everybody, which means in turn that it distinguishes nobody. I would therefore recommend that we keep to what actually distinguishes cultural fundamentalists–man-made rules supposed to lead to holiness–and then we can further point out that there might be a general reason, or a few of them, that we end up in this trouble.

    I propose that one big cultural reason that cultural fundamentalists get into rules, control, and the like is because all too often, the leaders have been unqualified to lead Biblically. Hence they lead with power, authority, intimidation, and the like.

    I’m open to other ideas, but I fundamentally disagree that Gary’s list defines the characteristics of cultural “rules” fundamentalism in any unique or semi-unique way. They just point to too many groups!

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  83. Bike Bubba,

    What I sad was that i would argue that TO THE EXTENT an individual, group or movement engages in thought reform, as identified and described by Dr. Robert J. Lifton, they are rightly called fundamentalists. Probably the term fundamentalist should be limited to the arena of religion. In the case of secular government and non-religious organizations we could use the terms authoritarian and totalitarian. In the case of individuals we could use the terms sociopath and psychopath.

    But it isn’t just a matter of attempted thought control. Fundamentalists (or tyrants or sociopaths or whatever) are also distinguished TO THE DEGREE that they, by any means, undertake to coerce desired behavior. It’s just that in the case of behavior we can distinguish between efforts to defend and efforts subjugate. So, yes, if you or I shun in an effort to get others to conform to our thinking or desired behavior, then to whatever extent we do so we are guilty of sociopathy/psychopathy (though maybe if we are not extreme offenders we will only be thought of as being bullies). If we, individually, engage in such conduct from the pulpit, or as pastors, etc., we are also rightly labeled fundamentalists.

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  84. Gary, the trouble with your claim is that Lifton’s work does not apply solely or even primarily to religion, but rather to any number of political and other entities who use coercion and confusion to “brainwash” people. It’s therefore, by Lifton’s own definition, not an applicable definition of fundamentalism of any type.

    Now it is, in some regards, an apt description of the methods that some fundamentalists use, but given that we see the methods used by more entities than one can shake a stick at, it’s by no means an apt description of any movement. It is rather what a movement does when they view coercion and confusion as more efficient at attaining their goal than legitimate methods.

    Honestly, there are plenty of ways to disagree with rules fundamentalism without accusing them of being uniformly like Jim Jones or the Hitler Youth, doncha think?

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  85. But, Bike Bubba, I DO contend that fundamentalists share a mindset and methods with Jim Jones and the Hitler Youth. It is just a matter of degree.

    I will give you this much: I would agree that not all who use the methods identified by Lifton are fundamentalists. However, I will take this much back: All fundamentalists do to some greater or lesser extent apply Lifton’s methods. Plus any other means of coercive control they can figure out how to wield.

    Which brings me to a truth I deem to be fundamental (sorry). Relationships between Christians are to be founded only on Love and never on the application of coercive methods. In the context of Christian relationships, the exercise of coercive methods may be necessary in order to protect from harm, but in that instance one party or the other is not Christian–or at least they aren’t acting Christian. Whether or not we agree that a particular group is fundamentalist, if and to the extent they resort to coercive methods, they are not Christian. I do not consider fundamentalist organizations to be Christian, although they may be populated to a certain, likely small, extent by those whose destinies are to spend eternity with Jesus.

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  86. Gary, even if you were correct in general (and I submit you are not), that would not make your list an adequate definition of fundamentalism. Don’t you see the difference here? Shared characteristics can never uniquely define a movement.

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  87. Well, I think I will agree with you. Lifton’s methods are not adequate to fully describe fundamentalism. And, there are people who practice Lifton’s methods who we would not characterize as fundamentalists. But doggone it, if a group calls itself Christian, and if they practice coercive methods, including but not necessarily limited to Lifton’s, and especially if they justify their their tyranical practices as being demanded by Scripture, you’re gonna have to show me why I shouldn’t call them fundamentalists. Same thing for any other religious group that attempts to impose their views and will using Lifton’s methods, and other coercive means, whether or not on the basis of supposed holy writ.

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  88. Gary, the simple reason you shouldn’t call a Christian group that practices coercion “cultural fundamentalists”, “rules fundamentalists”, or the like is what I noted around the beginning of this thread. Theological liberals are also vulnerable because they do not have a fixed point of reference–the Bible–but rather must form a consensus around the dominant person or view. Here is my original comment:

    If I might–and I hope I don’t thread-jack here–I would like to point out something interesting on the other side of the equation. I noted above that the liberal-fundamental schism was more or less over the authority of Scripture, the liberal side generally arguing that any evidence of supernatural power was not part of the original documents This would be along the lines of Bishop Spong and his gang of professors marking up the New Testament with colored highlighters (real example) to indicate what they felt was the “real” autographs.

    The trouble with this, practically speaking, is that they’re effectively editing out God’s power and authority. This, in turn, leaves us with a nominally Christian but essentially secular priesthood of seminary professors and such telling us what “The Bible really says” about X, Y, Z, and such. Each denomination will have its own gang. of course, and then the pastor of each church will join them more or less in making it up as they go along.

    Now the details, rules, and personalities are different, but it’s worth noting that both systems, cultural fundamentalism and liberal theology, share a hierarchy of dominant individuals creating and enforcing the rules of men, and hence I’d have to guess that abusers would flock to both. Maybe different sets of abusers, but abusers nonetheless.

    Or, put in theological terms, when you walk away from salvation by grace through faith, you end up with law.

    See what I’m getting at here? Coercion, brainwashing, and the like are what you have to use when you don’t have a fixed point of reference and clear lines of authority. Hence you get it on the theological left as well as the right.

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  89. Yes, as the word fundamentalist is commonly used nowadays, we have to find another word for liberal religious bullies, authoritarians and totalitarians. The difference being that they cannot credibly be said to base their abuses on holy writ. They have replaced supposed Divine authority with, I guess, reason. And maybe not even with reason.

    Could we agree that one of the markers of “cultural fundamentalists” is that they appeal to Scripture to justify themselves?

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  90. Gary; well, yes, cultural fundamentalists do refer to Scripture to justify themselves., but hey–so does President Obama, so does Sojourners, for that matter so do the Communists and even theological fundamentalists. It doesn’t differentiate between the camps terribly well, to put it mildly.

    And again, one big reason this is true is because when you fall away from grace–salvation through Christ and His blood atonement, forgiveness for sins and all that–you will necessarily end up with law and human lawgivers. Different groups have different laws and lawgivers, but it is law nonetheless.

    So let’s build off the basics; cultural fundamentalists start with theological fundamentalism (which forms the basis for evangelical faith, it’s not a bad thing per se), but adds hyper-pietistic analysis to come up with lists of rules and principles that are defended as if they were Scriptural.

    Really the same thing you’ll see among theological liberals and a host of others, but differentiated by their starting premises. And when we differentiate the method from the starting position, I think we can arrive at root causes much more quickly.

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  91. Bike Bubba (if you’re still paying attention),

    For the sake of argument, lets just assume that everything you say is correct and everything I say incorrect. Why is it that so much of what claims roots in capital “F” Fundamentalism differs from, say, Islamic fundamentalism, only in the degree of outrage they perpetrate. Really, I dare say that the small “f” fundamentalists that show up to protest at soldiers’ funerals would be burning gays in cages if they could get away with it. It is only with the ascendance of the secular state that supposed Christians quit perpetrating just such outrages.

    An outrageous argument? Maybe. But if I am engaging in a sin-leveling-up argument, I am only reverse-mirroring your sin-leveling-down argument.

    Seriously though, I no doubt qualify as a capital “F” Fundamentalist. I believe the same 5 things you say are the foundation of “F”undamentalism. It’s just that all the years I spent thinking it was oh-so-important to defend propositional theological truths were years of moral failure for me. The “F”undamentalists just didn’t seem to have anything transformative to offer. Now, I certainly will not say that I have arrived, but it was only when I began to renounce my devotion to right theology as the center of my spiritual life, and began to turn to Jesus as the one and only be-all and end-all, that I began to experience some modicum of moral and spiritual victory. I’m not saying that the pursuit of theological truth is unimportant, just that it is secondary to, and dependent upon, the pursuit of the One Who is Truth.

    Lest there be any misunderstanding, I really do respect you positions on these matters, even if I don’t fully concur with your perspective.

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  92. Gary, just took a look, and the response I’ll give you is really the same one I gave you at the first; your dividing line identifies everyone, hence it identifies no one and is of no use as a gauge. There are great ways to identify rules fundamentalism, but LIfton’s identifying marks of totalitarianism are not among them.

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  93. BTW, Gary, I’ll agree with you fully that theology sans relationship is dead, BTW. James wrote a bit about that, didn’t he? The trick is that my experience is that the deadest relationships–people praying to God in the third person and all that (real example)–I’ve seen are when (generally unwittingly) the leadership emphasizes the rules of the movement (club rules I guess might be a good way of putting it) and thus downplays the theology.

    Come to think of it, referring to God in the third person during prayer probably is a decent sign that the person’s relationship with Him needs some work, eh? I know my wife would never refer to me in the third person when talking with me….

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  94. Fundamental churches do not cause mental illness. The very nature that a church community fosters is surely a hunting ground for narcissistic men and women. The strict rules allow for controlling without others questioning as well as naïve children used to being made to feel ashamed for things like feelings..that just ARE created by the I AM.

    It goes deep. its a church culture of shame. the rules are shame based. If you go to a Christian school they reserve the right to expel a student for “embarrassing” the school even after hours same goes for the churches. It makes my heart skip a beat when I think about it. I would never sign a contract like that based on such an elusive word as embarrass. how about saying don’t do this or that because it goes against scripture.

    I know from experience these people are just like any other. There are still cool kids. It couples, bullies and the like. Its just that they measure these things with a different ruler.

    Affection is discouraged. Especially between young men and women. A guy cant respectfully show his affection for the young women he goes to church with. I remember Pastor Kohl at a tristate youth fellowship saying he would rather have his youth group fighting like cats and dogs and brother and sister than flirting. That was the end for me. So some people may make bad choices and get carried away in love lust whatever. baby ..bath water?! how about teaching how to really love and show affection and the rest will fall in line. as it stands these fundamentalist leaders continue to assume the worst in an almost pitiful display of self loathing and shame. 100% hands off policy its like obama’s if we could just save one life bull gun control rhetoric for penis’. somehow they always think the worst. because that’s what they did or would have done. Anyone involved in these shaming tactics is either backslidden or an unbeliever adopting a belief system that suits their selfish heart.

    The protestant church fell apart when it refused to bend. instead we are left with legalistic fundamentals and their hurt children the assembly’s of God/ community churches. both still producing believers and Christian families but both leading people astray. one side is angry and the other places such an emphasis on doing nothing but “loving” people that then forget to share the gospel…

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  95. All I have to go on is personal experience.

    When I was involved with the IFB movement I turned into a complete Pharisee.

    Up near the beginning of the comments a guy called ‘Chapmaned24’ says this:

    “The book of James rejects Faith alone. Faith without works is dead. In other words, you gotta put action behind your belief. Romans 4 and James 2 shows that we “live out our faith” (Love thy neighbor as thyself), and that is what justifies our faith”.

    I cannot read the above and not comment.

    To anyone reading this:

    James 2 is not saying that faith without works is not saving faith.

    For faith without works to be dead, the faith has to exist to BE dead.

    That is, faith without works is NOT ‘non existent’ faith.

    Faith without works IS inactive (dead) faith, in that it is useless.

    The word dead in James 2 DOES NOT means non-existent.

    Salvation is NOT BY WORKS.

    I’ll repeat.

    It is NOT.BY.WORKS.

    If what Chapmaned24 says is true and faith without works is not real faith then one is left to ask this question:

    How many works do I need to do in order to be assured that my faith is genuine?

    The Lordship Salvation crowd LOVE to have people working.

    work work work.

    Jesus says REST.

    FROM YOUR LABOURS.

    ALL OF THEM.

    they are filthy rags.

    James 2 is an appeal to BELIEVERS to put to WORK their FAITH (which saves) so that they are benefitting others.

    James 2 is not a TEST of salvation.

    Stop questioning your FAITH based on your works.

    Pharisees are OBSESSED with works. Especially those of others.

    Look to Christ. Be fixated on Jesus.

    Stop obsessing over works!

    Mental ilness.

    Ugh.

    I have anxiety which manifests in many super fun ways.

    Panic attacks, sweating, hot flushes and hair pulling. (I’m serious).

    Despite the fact that I have memorized the “be anxious for nothing” verse and near tattooed the thing on my bum, I still struggle with anxiety.

    Going to CHURCH makes my anxiety worse.

    Since walking away from religion I have felt FREEEEEEE.

    I read my Bible, talk to God and share Jesus with others.

    Should someone be converted… I would open my home ANYTIME to ‘have church’.

    God gives the gifts to men for the benefit of his own body (THE CHURCH HE’S BUILDING!).

    That’s all.

    Thanks for reading.

    (I’m not having a panic attack now, in case you were wondering).

    🙂

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  96. I find this interesting:

    “I’m the daughter of a “fundamentalist” pastor…to whom that word simply meant that he believed in the literal nature of the Bible, and its inerrancy”.

    You can interpret this is so many ways.

    What parts do you take literally?

    What about the part where it says that all chubby Pastors should take a knife to their throat if they are gluttons? (Proverbs 23:1-2)

    Or only verses 13-14 regarding beating a child with a rod?

    What I think when I hear the word fundamentalist:

    “Everything I believe is true and right and holy and good and I am definitely correct and everyone who disagrees with me is highly likely unsaved. Oh, and I read the KJVO because that’s God’s true Word (not Jesus) and I love Steven Anderson”.

    If you’re not the above person then you’re either:

    A liberal (nothing worse than that. Those Jesus quoting, homeless loving, wife helping, public school using, NIV reading liberals!) I spit on you!
    Unsaved. You’re only ‘in church’ for the free biscuits. mmm.

    Yeah.

    Love free biscuits. 😀

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