Alan Hirsch on Fundamentalism...

I found a great blog post from writer/thinker and emerging leader Alan Hirsch of http://www.theforgottenways.org/ dealing with his take on fundamentalism...

...I believe fundamentalism does NOT reflect the ethos or the pathos of the biblical idea of faith. It cannot hold paradoxical truth in tension, has a profound tendency towards violence, demonstrates an un-Christlike lack of grace/mercy, is deeply moralistic, and is normally quite nationalistic. The Bible on the other hand, deals well with paradoxical tensions and nuances that the fundie can neither see, nor tolerate, largely because of its childish, black and white, view of reality. And also because it is highly selective in its appropriation of aspects of the Scripture–curiously similar to its mortal opponent, theological liberalism!! Both sides ’see’ what they want to see, and each has enough truth to make it palatable, but both are in fact heresies. Having said that, I believe that liberalism is the more insidious of the two, because it is far more subtle.

Besides, in fundamentalism it seems that there is not a lot of fun and a whole lot of mental. In other words, it is toxic faith and creates profound unhappiness.


Click here to read more...

7 comments:

David Henson said...

What exactly does he mean by fundamentalism?

Existential Punk said...

So, where do we go since fundamentalism and liberalism are to sides of the same coin?

Existential Punk said...

David, probably for fundamentalism he means this definition at wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamentalist_Christianity

madcat said...

Yes I agree totally with the "childish, black and white view of reality" about fundamentalism.

Unfortunately, fundamentalism is prevalent amongst young people, ironically, because of apathy, because young people do not bother to find out the "truth", and to try to strike a balance on biblical disputes.

Most just want to "go convenient" but dong a black and white thing. :)

Just my 2 cents worth.

Peter said...

madcat, thanks for the visit! I think you're right - ultimately, most of us are lazy by nature. I think we also tend to tend where we always tend to tend. If we're 'hardcore' personalities pre-Christ, then we gravitate toward that same kind of Christianity. Beligerent before and after.

Adele - where do we go?! Good question! And I think that's the underlying question I'm asking every day on this blog and in real life. I don't know! I know that I personally see the Third Way as many ways - often many ways at once! I think that humility and uncertainty, partnered with faith, hope and love, is the best approach right now - at least it is for me. It allows me to hold multiple ideas - some of them directly contradictory - in tension. Like McLaren, you often talk about "both/and" vs. "either/or" and I think for this time and place, that's a wise decision.

Attending a very liberal church now, for the past two years, after attending VERY conservative pentecostal churches my entire life, has demonstrated firsthand to me that the language and certainty on both extremes sounds awfully similar. In some ways, both are right, and simultaneously, both very wrong. And so am I.

Peter said...

David, your question points out an important flaw with most language we use (one that C.S. Lewis agonized over) - words lose their meaning so quickly, and are so easily co-opted and compromised. Like "emerging," "missional," and Lewis' example, "gentleman."

I think Adele's link is right regarding what MOST of us are thinking of when talking about Fundamentalism. But it's not always the case - there are fundamentalists on both extremes - and there are many different kinds, degrees, theologies and attitudes that determine very different "brands" of Christianity that some may call fundamentalism, and others may not.

RickNiekLikeBikes said...

I think we often know more about what our church's book of order says than what God says about the body of Christ.

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