The Ignorance of Fundamentalists

There are none so blind as those who will not see. You can quote me on that. But seriously, they are an ignorant lot. I’d like to concentrate on Christian fundamentalists because they live in my neighborhood and I know more about Christian fundamentalists than I do of Islamic fundamentalists.

In the past 24 hours three examples of this ignorance swirled around me. One this morning appeared in the Letters to the Editor of the Toledo Blade. A writer known as Janet Hass penned this:

God is compassionate and not responsible for evil. He has promised to bless us if we keep His commands, but has promised to allow evil, sudden terror, and wasting diseases upon us if we reject Him.

When President Obama said in Turkey in 2009 that the United States does not consider itself a Christian nation, we may have lost the protection of the God who created us.

Sure. God no longer protects us. When did God begin to ‘protect’ us? Right after Pearl Harbor? Post Civil War? Right after 9/11? Or just before President Obama took the Oath of Office?

Then there was this unbelievable statement from a man who is a self-described apologist for the Catholic Church.  This was his first post for a local religious blog:

There’s been constant change since Jesus arrived 2,000 years ago and founded the church, fulfilling the prophecies of the Old Testament.

What? You are probably saying, “He never founded the Christian Church because he died a Jew and had not intention of abandoning his Jewish faith.” Of course, you’d be correct.

Finally, on this same local religious website, another self-identified Christian fundamentalist was asked if he had learned anything about the Gospels and the Old Testament beyond his Sunday School years. His reply:

Religious education is the problem! Nothing you read or learn can teach you that. Jesus rejected and criticized the “religiously educated” of His day.

Education is the problem? Indeed it could be THE problem for those who will not learn, will not see. I’m betting that the three local people quoted above haven’t the faintest idea that recent [4 decades] biblical scholarship has led to many different discoveries regarding these ‘holy’ scriptures. No doubt, many fundamentalists do not even know that the Old Testament writers used the technique referred to as midrash, making up stories that helped the Jewish laity understand more easily the lessons of the Torah. Yes, making up stories to wrap around the laws that the Jews needed to heed.

A second rather common bit of knowledge about the New Testament is that the authors of the synoptic gospels were not eyewitnesses to the life of Jesus. Rather, they wrote many decades afterward.  The man called John wrote 70 years after the death of Jesus. Yet Christian fundamentalists believe that these 4 writers walked beside and listened to Jesus and took notes on what he said.

A third common problem with reading the Gospels is that these authors, too, used the midrash technique. Mark, not Matthew wrote the original gospel and Matthew and Luke ‘fixed’ it and added midrash stories for embellishment. Mark never had a birth story because there was none, yet Matthew and Luke fabricate an elaborate one- the one we hear and sing around Christmas time.

Last, and most important, most of the words put into the mouth of Jesus are midrash- especially John. Scholars know that Matthew, Luke and John added huge amounts of narrative that Jesus never spoke in order to move forward their own agendas. Nonetheless, fundamentalists use the ‘quotes’ of Jesus to make their point.

Cracks develop with study; doubts arise with research, but the fundamentalist wants nothing of this because of the slippery slope hypothesis. As a result, they deny anything but the literal word printed in the book.  There is no gray area, no speculation.

As a result, false ideas, based on ‘Holy Scriptures’ becomes the law, the concept to follow, the ideal to strive for.  And surely, hate, boundaries, distrust and even violence ensues.

For the Bible says…


11 thoughts on “The Ignorance of Fundamentalists

  1. “…they are an ignorant lot.”

    Really now? We, looking into their belief world, may think so, but does
    that really impact them? My answer is that it doesn’t, as they are
    convinced by faith that the bible is the inspired world of their god and
    that his son redeemed them and will enter paradise for them through his saving grace. I don’t think any amount of education is going to change
    their mindset, M-R. We can to inveighle them is pointless.

      1. How about ignore? Well, let me clarify that, lol, if I can….Ignore them
        per se, but not their interference in the political sphere. We need to keep
        rellgion in the religious arena and not in the political. We need to
        vigorously call for the separation of church and state as the Founding
        Fathers suggested. There should be no office of religion in the White
        House. The Oath of Office should be as the Constitution says, and not
        sworn on a bible and conclude with “so help me god.” Secular affairs
        should be settled by secular means and not religious. But, good luck
        with that, huh? There is the question of tolerance again. Will we
        be able to stem the zeal of the missionaries? Can we put all these
        televangelicals back in the bottle again? Why should programs of
        alievating poverty, moving on climate, reproductive rights, marriage,
        gun control, immigration, financial reforms, education, jobs, you name it, be tied what this or that religious group thinks? How do we do that?

        1. How do we do that? By continually and doggedly pointing it out when it occurs here, on social media and in conversations.

  2. What do you guys believe is the human need to believe in a God? Is it the need to feel looked over? Or is it the fear of mortality, needing to believe that a soul inside of us lives forever?

      1. I think that the concept of god was a stage in the evolution of our consciousness. It’s a evolutionary protective conditioned response. How else could the evolving intellect and the evolving complexity of the human mind exist looking into the night time sky with out losing it with out the armor of mythology? Religion became the way societies grew and human activity was regulated. We, as humans in a society have to be able to define ourselves. We want to be controlled.
        As we evolve, our ability to comprehend evolves. We begin to realize that the real universe is bigger mor awesome than any mythology could contain. That is the beginning of our true adventure, our real destiny as a specie…We will become the mythology.

  3. Same here, M_R.

    Can I suggest egoism as a possible motivation? Mankind as a group has to
    have a higher existence than just hear and now. Doesn’t the bible say that
    god gave man dominance over all his creation. Mankind would not be so
    singled out if god intended him to be mortal.

    Another consideration could be as a means to keep mankind in check, rather bondage. Religion seems to be in most instances tied to the state. Example is that after the Revolution States still hand a dominant church. Broadly, christianity was the only recognized religion. Baptists, Jews, and
    Nones were left out. And, to some degree, Jews and Nones are still left out.

      1. I think the Baptists were left out because they were lousy guests at a party…they don’t drin, dance or tell dirty jokes…who needs them?

  4. “Why were Baptists left out? Aren’t they Christians, too?”

    MD has a point there, but I think it was because of the re-baptizing

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