Tuesday, December 02, 2003

The Fundamentalist Problem

The big problem with religious fundamentalists is their wishy-washiness. They simply aren't fundamental enough. The average Christian fundamentalist, for example, may think he* is doing pretty well in obeying his holy book as a word-by-word instructions manual for life today, but is he really succeeding?

At first glance it might seem so. He can proudly point out that his disapproval of homosexuality and nonsubmissive wives are justified by literal biblical interpretations. He can remind us that Paul and Timothy didn't like women who preach so why should he? And if he is very brave, he can even note that the Bible doesn't condemn slavery. All in all, he comes across as a real fundamental kind of guy.

Hogwash, say I. Doesn't the good book tell us to remove the beam from our own eye before we go hunting for specks elsewhere? And this is where the Christian fundamentalist fails dismally. Have you ever met an American fundamentalist who owns just one outfit? Yet this is clearly the most extensive wardrobe the Bible allows a literal believer (Luke 3:11).

And what about the camel and eye of the needle (Mark 10:24)? How come do we hear about so many fundamentalist millionaires? Don't they want to go to heaven? Or are they all secretly breeding miniature camels with their millions?

This won't do. A real fundamentalist must interpret all his holy texts literally. As one fundamentalist lady millionaire said, if we start picking and choosing, who's to know what is right? Granted, some of the texts seem to contradict each other, but that is only a problem for others of lesser faith. A true fundamentalist won't let such trivialities stand in the way of finding the truth.

Neither should he pick-and-choose among the ten commandments, especially if he wishes them to become the law of the land. Once they are prominently posted in all schoolhouses, even the smallest pagan child can tell when a fundamentalist breaks one of them. No more bearing false witness and getting away with it, then.

Suppose, for example, that a fundamentalist accused the U.N. of a secret plot to violently overtake this great country of ours. If he failed to prove his accusations, his words would brand him as a violator of the ninth (or, according to some, the eighth) commandment, a mere sinner no better than anybody else. And how could he then demand that others repent before it is too late?

The wishy-washiness of the Christian fundamentalists worries me deeply. What will be the lot of our poor misguided fundamentalist brethren who eagerly condemn the ways of the world, yet fail to obey the literal truth of the scriptures in their own lives? Could it be that they will be Left Behind?
*I call the fundamentalist a 'he' rather than a 's/he', because this seems more fundamentalish. Of course, it is taken as understood that 'the fundamentalist 'also embraces women.