I know this chap, he's a local, claims he's a Christian - belongs to all the "right" clubs and parties - supports the CDA, ACDP, CP, UCDP - in fact any political party in South Africa with a "c" in it - okay, except possibly for THAT one. This bloke hates gay people and loves to point out all the usual verses in his holy book that support his misogyny. On his more lucid days he claims he doesn't, though you can see it right through the beatific smile on his face. On his worst days he admits to his hate and promotes the death penalty for gay people and then shifts the blame by claiming "it's not my fault - the bible tells me so". This man is proud of - and even brags about - being a Christian fundamentalist.
We all know the name and the sort of people it represents. The sort of people who will take bits out of their holy scriptures and smash other folk over the head with them. Those who will put up with discussion and debate only for so long, but will not deviate from their views nor consider any reasonable compromise or take disagreement lightly. The sort of believers who will ignore any common sense and blindly follow their programming like a computer - and repeat the same errors perfectly, again and again. The kind of folk who can only be described as zealous, narrow-minded, passionate and utterly loyal to their perceived beliefs - and who unfortunately, will also happily pilot a jumbo jet through a building to prove it.
These are the folks who oppose gay rights at every turn, spread hateful and patently false material in news media, and set up websites peddling vicious lies and propaganda that incite more intolerance and hatred for people whose only crime as far as they are concerned is to want legal equality and the right to dignity and respect, to love each other and to want to marry who they love - just as they do.
It seems to me that many of the gay haters out there today call themselves fundamentalist Christians for it - and some of them even proudly so. But are they really Christians in the actual sense of the word? Many people will debate this point - are the Christians? But seldom do I see the question asked: Are they really fundamentalists?
You may well ask.
Of course they are - they stick to the fundamentals of the Christian faith! They promote a "biblical world view". Oh, really? Well anyway, that is what they claim. What are the "fundamentals" these folks are clinging to? Christianity or archaic ritual law?
It is my notion that these folks are neither true followers of Christ - nor true fundamentalists. It is possible that many of them may be "Christians" and are just misguided in their hatred.
First, let's look at the meaning of the word "fundamental" - meaning the most basic understanding, the most important principles, the bare essentials - a stripped down version of the bible, labelled "The tiny bit you need to know out of a book three thousand pages long".
Christ gave the true principles of Christian fundamentalism - and here they are:
The Bible, Mark chapter 12 verses 28-31:
"One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"
"The most important one," Jesus answered, "is this: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.""
So then, to sum up:
- Love God
- Love your neighbor as yourself.
- There is no commandment greater than these.
"There is NO commandment greater than these." He said. To me, as one who has dabbled in programming, that means point 3 above is really saying :
'Go to 1'
This indicates to me the true fundamentals of Christianity. Nothing about being born again or having warm fuzzy feelings, nothing at all in there about sexuality, persecution, stoning, hanging, "ex-gay", celibacy, "corrective rape", hate or making outcasts of gay or trans people. Nothing about having a "biblical world-view". In my humble opinion - those three points are the essense of the faith - and those who choose to practice it so, the true fundamentalists (I mean this in the nicest way possible, of course).
And thus I close with the poignant thought - are these people who call themselves "true" Christians and fundamentalists today either of these things?
- They claim to love God, yes - but do they? I suppose only they - and God - will know the answer to that one.
- They clearly do not love their neighbors. At any rate they do not live like they do.
- They elevate ritual law above these principles.
Based upon this assessment I would say that they fail the test. 1 out of 3. Neither hot nor cold, as the Good Book says - and they will be spat out.
Are they Christians? Perhaps. But clearly not very good ones. Perhaps they are fundamentalists after all - the problem is they seem to be grasping the wrong fundamentals - at least certainly not the ones Christ is supposed to have given them. But all this aside, they certainly do put the MENTAL back into fundaMENTALism.