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What "is" Fundamentalist Christianity

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#1 Bad Wolf

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Posted 24 June 2004 - 01:24 PM

This could get hot and fast and I'm asking everyone to try and not let it.  I'm starting this thread because I thought I was reading a thread about arranged marriages and somewhere in the middle of it it got turned into something else.  Some contentions were made about a connection between Fundamental Christianity and racism and well, I chafe at that kind of generalization.  So I'm posing some questions to those who consider themselves Fundamentalist Christians or believe they are familiar enough with the concept to talk about what it means.

1)  What *is* Fundamentalist Christianity.

2)  Does Fundamentalist Christianity have as a component a belief in the inerrancy of the Bible.

3)  What does a belief in the inerrancy of the Bible mean?

    A.  Does it apply to both the old and new testaments?

    B.  Does it mean that a person who holds this belief believes the truth of every single word in the Bible?

     C.  Does it mean something else?

NOTE I'm asking these questions NOT of those of us (including myself) who are not fans of organized religion.  I want to hear from those who *are* because imo they're the ones in the best position to know.

Again, I *know* this kind of thing can be touchy so please, I beseach you, let's try to keep this civil??

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#2 Kimmer

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Posted 24 June 2004 - 01:42 PM

1)  What *is* Fundamentalist Christianity.

I posted this in the marriage thread, so here is my quick definition of a fundamentalist Christian:

A fundamentalist Christian is one who believes in the infallibility of the Bible; a Triune God, eternally existing in three persons--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit;  the deity of Christ, His virgin birth, and His substitutionary atonement for our sins through His crucifixion, that He literally arose from the dead and is ascended to Heaven; and that He will literally return at the Second Coming.


2)  Does Fundamentalist Christianity have as a component a belief in the inerrancy of the Bible.

Yes.

3)  What does a belief in the inerrancy of the Bible mean?

That the Bible is inerrant*, infallible and God-breathed, and therefore is the final authority for faith and life.
(*Free from error or untruths)

A.  Does it apply to both the old and new testaments?

Yes, all sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament are the complete and divine revelation of God to Man. I also believe that the Scriptures should be interpreted according to their normal contextual grammatical-historical meaning (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20-21).

B.  Does it mean that a person who holds this belief believes the truth of every single word in the Bible?

For me, yes.

C.  Does it mean something else?

Not for me.

#3 Bad Wolf

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Posted 24 June 2004 - 01:47 PM

Thank you for the response.  A follow up question if I may.

Does the belief in the truth of every single word in the Bible equate to an agreement with the morality of every thing that happens in it.  For example, one could believe that the Bible is an absolutely error free ACCOUNT of what happened back then and still not agree with the morality of everything in it.
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#4 QueenTiye

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Posted 24 June 2004 - 02:07 PM

That question can be confusing and misleading, I believe.  Perhaps it may be helpful to cite an example and ask what might be a Fundamentalist Christian interpretation?

Een Draght Mackt Maght


#5 gaius claudius

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Posted 24 June 2004 - 02:12 PM

My question would be about assumptions made about the text...where things aren't spelled out ver batim..

i.e....for years rascists have used the "mark of Cain" arguement..or the "land of Ham" arguement as a basis for discrimination...yet as far as I remember..no one's skin color is ever mentioned in those accounts...

I've also wondered where Fundamentalists stand on biblical translation arguements..ie..the version of the Bible we have in modern times may not have been properly translated from its original "greek/latin"..stuff like Red Sea where it should be Reed Sea
  Would you(they) take into account newer "more accurate" translations if it disagreed  with previous interpretations ..


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Edited by gaius claudius, 24 June 2004 - 02:14 PM.

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#6 Kimmer

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Posted 24 June 2004 - 02:13 PM

Una Salus Lillius, on Jun 24 2004, 11:45 AM, said:

Does the belief in the truth of every single word in the Bible equate to an agreement with the morality of every thing that happens in it.  For example, one could believe that the Bible is an absolutely error free ACCOUNT of what happened back then and still not agree with the morality of everything in it.
Here's an example of what I think you are asking:

God told the Israelites to take the land of Canaan. Not a portion, not some - but ALL of it. They failed to do what they were told and did not take ALL the land. They have paid the price ever since.

Is it right or wrong to go in there to kill everyone? If you look at the Bible historically, they (the Canaanites, etc) had something like 412 years to repent and follow God. They failed to do so. So God's punishment was to send in the Israelites and kill them. Again, the Israelites failed to do this, and we still see the conflict today.

Was God wrong in His punishment? If you believe that He created everything, and that as the Creator He has the right to do with His creation as He pleases - then no He was not wrong.

So I guess the answer to your question for me is that no there is no moral conflict. I go back to my comment that the Scriptures should be interpreted according to their normal contextual grammatical-historical meaning and not viewed through today's morality.

#7 gaius claudius

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Posted 24 June 2004 - 02:20 PM

By the Way...I want to give a big shout  out and thank you to Pickles for being nice enough to answer these questions for all of uss who are truly curious


Thank you very much.....




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#8 Kimmer

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Posted 24 June 2004 - 02:20 PM

gaius claudius, on Jun 24 2004, 12:10 PM, said:

i.e....for years rascists have used the "mark of Cain" arguement..or the "land of Ham" arguement as a basis for discrimination...yet as far as I remember..no one's skin color is ever mentioned in those accounts...

I will take you back to the marriage thread where this was discussed and tell you that just because someone is a racist, does not mean they are a fundamental Christian; and the equating of racism to fundamental Christianity is repugnant and likely to cause all of us to get up in arms again. ;)

Edited to add: FWIW, the church I attended for over 18 years had members of all nationalities, skin colors, backgrounds, etc. No one was discriminated against, and all were welcome. We didn't look at the outer man - it was the condition of the heart that was - and is - important.

Also, people will twist the Bible (or any book for that matter) to mean anything they want it to mean -- so using Scripture as a basis for discrimination is going to happen. Doesn't make it right, but it will happen.

Quote

I've also wondered where Fundamentalists stand on biblical translation arguements..ie..the version of the Bible we have in modern times may not have been properly translated from its original "greek/latin"..stuff like Red Sea where it should be Reed Sea
  Would you(they) take into account newer "more accurate" translations if it disagreed  with previous interpretations ..

This is an age old argument that won't be resolved in my lifetime I'm sure. But that's okay, when it's all said and done and we stand before God, y'all will find that the version I love and believe to be the best translation from the best original scrolls, etc. is the correct one. ;) :p (that's a joke lest anyone not understand)

For me, I don't believe the newer translations are more accurate. I've read the King James Bible since I was a young girl and never had a problem understanding it. If needed, I'll tap my hubby's brain (he retains tidbits of this stuff better than me) for the info on the various scrolls and such and why most fundamental churches believe the one to be more accurate - although that's a discussion likely to mire us in swamp land. ;)

Edited by Pickles, 24 June 2004 - 02:31 PM.


#9 Kimmer

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Posted 24 June 2004 - 02:23 PM

gaius claudius, on Jun 24 2004, 12:18 PM, said:

By the Way...I want to give a big shout  out and thank you to Pickles for being nice enough to answer these questions for all of uss who are truly curious


Thank you very much.....




gaius claudius  

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You're welcome ... although I'm not the best source for all these answers. I can only share with you what I believe and back it up with scripture if need be.

My thanks for asking nicely, otherwise I wouldn't even be in this thread. ;)

#10 Cardie

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Posted 24 June 2004 - 02:29 PM

Quote

I go back to my comment that the Scriptures should be interpreted according to their normal contextual grammatical-historical meaning and not viewed through today's morality.

Does this mean that the Scriptures' failure to condemn practices that were of their time, like concubinage and slavery, does not necessarily preclude later decisions  by secular authorities to prohibit such practices.  To a fundamentalist, is someone who believes in monogamy and doesn't believe in slavery still in accordance with God's will, even though He didn't require that His people hold such beliefs in Biblical times?

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#11 Kimmer

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Posted 24 June 2004 - 02:38 PM

Cardie, good question and I need to give my response more time than I have right now as I'm late for an appointment. I'll come back later and give you answer - unless someone else has already done so by the time I return.

#12 Godeskian

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Posted 24 June 2004 - 03:01 PM

Pickles, on Jun 24 2004, 08:11 PM, said:

Is it right or wrong to go in there to kill everyone? If you look at the Bible historically, they (the Canaanites, etc) had something like 412 years to repent and follow God. They failed to do so. So God's punishment was to send in the Israelites and kill them.
Kimmer, I truly don't understand, so please bear with me.

How is it ever good for anyone, divine or otherwise to say 'go forth and butcher every single man, woman and child in this land by bloody conquest, simply because they don't follow me'?

#13 Bad Wolf

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Posted 24 June 2004 - 03:44 PM

Handmaiden07, on Jun 24 2004, 12:05 PM, said:

That question can be confusing and misleading, I believe.  Perhaps it may be helpful to cite an example and ask what might be a Fundamentalist Christian interpretation?
I assume this is addressed to me (if I'm wrong I apologize).  Are you referring to my follow up question to kimmer?  If so well the thing is that I am proceeding from the assumption for purposes of this discussion that I don't know what Fundamentalist Christianism is.  And actually you know, I don't I don't think.  I mean I was baptized Catholic, received my first communion, attended some catechism then became pretty disenfranchized from the whole Catholic thing.  I have some family who are Born Again Christians and they're pretty hard core.  I got very turned off by their "my way or the damned way" attitude so what I'm looking for is for people who know better than I do about this.  I don't even know what I'd consider a Fundamentalist Christian (as opposed to a non Fundamentalist Christian) interpretation.  I mean we could go the homosexuality route but I don't think that would be terribly useful at this juncture and anyways, is many religions' stance on that issue consdidered "fundamentalist"?  See I'm getting all tied up here.  So I'm asking these questions to those who I think can best answer them.

I hope that helps.

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#14 Bad Wolf

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Posted 24 June 2004 - 03:47 PM

Cardie, on Jun 24 2004, 12:27 PM, said:

Does this mean that the Scriptures' failure to condemn practices that were of their time, like concubinage and slavery, does not necessarily preclude later decisions  by secular authorities to prohibit such practices.  To a fundamentalist, is someone who believes in monogamy and doesn't believe in slavery still in accordance with God's will, even though He didn't require that His people hold such beliefs in Biblical times?

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#15 DWF

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Posted 24 June 2004 - 03:49 PM

Cyberhippie, on Jun 24 2004, 03:59 PM, said:

Pickles, on Jun 24 2004, 08:11 PM, said:

Is it right or wrong to go in there to kill everyone? If you look at the Bible historically, they (the Canaanites, etc) had something like 412 years to repent and follow God. They failed to do so. So God's punishment was to send in the Israelites and kill them.


How is it ever good for anyone, divine or otherwise to say 'go forth and butcher every single man, woman and child in this land by bloody conquest, simply because they don't follow me'?
The Bible is a book of faith, that should ne remembered at all times, I think it's more important to understand the point of the story, which is one of faith. God also told Abraham to sacifice his own son, then stopped him before he could do it. ALOT of people can claim that, they're doing something in the name of God, horrible things, but don't always do it, or they do in the name of God, which may or may not have been true.

The Bible should also be read from cover to cover and not taken out of context, which happens alot with fundamentalists.

Of course the old Testament also says that, slavery is not only legal at that point in time, but there's laws set down as to rules of slavery. :wacko:
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#16 QueenTiye

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Posted 24 June 2004 - 04:23 PM

Una Salus Lillius, on Jun 24 2004, 04:42 PM, said:

I assume this is addressed to me (if I'm wrong I apologize).  Are you referring to my follow up question to kimmer?  If so well the thing is that I am proceeding from the assumption for purposes of this discussion that I don't know what Fundamentalist Christianism is.  And actually you know, I don't I don't think.
Yes - I addressed that to you... because I had some sense of how the subsequent discussion might go... I really just thought it best to have some examples to focus on.

No offense intended... :)

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#17 Bad Wolf

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Posted 24 June 2004 - 04:33 PM

None taken at all.  One of my questions/concerns about the concept of nonerrancy is that it seems to me that for centuries upon centuries men and women have been arguing about what the Bible actually says.  So the whole question of it being one hundred percent lacking in error becomes even more difficult to me given that people don't even agree on what it says...

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#18 Kimmer

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Posted 24 June 2004 - 06:55 PM

Please understand that I can only share from my own beliefs. There are as many flavors of fundamental Christianity as there are flavors of ice cream.

Quote

Does this mean that the Scriptures' failure to condemn practices that were of their time, like concubinage and slavery, does not necessarily preclude later decisions  by secular authorities to prohibit such practices. 

I don't believe that the Scriptures fail in anything. To me, just as I find God logical, I find the Scriptures to be logical. Just because God doesn't say "Thou shalt not ... ", doesn't mean He condoned/s a practice. God gave man intelligence and free will. So while I know something is wrong, God allows me to go ahead and do it based on my free will. However, I will also suffer the consequences eventually.

To me, God set forth His perfect example of marriage in the Garden of Eden. He created Adam, and from Adam he created Eve - a helpmeet, partner and wife. God did not also create a Susan, and Freida, and Joanny, etc for Adam. He created one woman for one man. The Israelites knew God's perfect design, but did as they pleased. Yes, God eventually gave them rules to guide this behavior, but it does not mean that it was His perfect will.

Quote

To a fundamentalist, is someone who believes in monogamy and doesn't believe in slavery still in accordance with God's will, even though He didn't require that His people hold such beliefs in Biblical times?

Yes, I believe that a monogamous relationship is in accordance with God's will, and I've already said, I believe it always was His perfect design for mankind. We are no longer under the laws of the OT, we are now under the NT.

Quote

Kimmer, I truly don't understand, so please bear with me.
How is it ever good for anyone, divine or otherwise to say 'go forth and butcher every single man, woman and child in this land by bloody conquest, simply because they don't follow me'?

I believe that God is Holy, Righteous, without sin, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent.  Further I believe that man, while created in the image and likeness of God, fell through Adam’s sin, inherited a sinful nature, and became alienated from God. I also believe that there are many things about God that I do not understand and never will -- simply because my finite mind cannot comprehend the infinite mind of God.

So, I can only repeat what I've already said:
Was God wrong in His punishment? If you believe that He created everything, and that as the Creator He has the right to do with His creation as He pleases - then no He was not wrong.

Quote

The Bible should also be read from cover to cover and not taken out of context, which happens alot with fundamentalists.

This is a very broad generalization that neither applies to most fundamentalists, nor does it happen "alot". Yes, some do take things out of context. So do some Mormon's, Catholics, Presbyterians, Muslims, etc., etc., etc.

I do agree with you that the Bible should be read from cover to cover. :)

Quote

None taken at all. One of my questions/concerns about the concept of nonerrancy is that it seems to me that for centuries upon centuries men and women have been arguing about what the Bible actually says. So the whole question of it being one hundred percent lacking in error becomes even more difficult to me given that people don't even agree on what it says...

The best answer I can give you is that it is a matter of faith. Probably the best advice I can give you at this point, is to sit down and read it from Genesis to Revelation and decide for yourself.

===

May I tell all of you that this has been the most interesting discussion I've ever had here at ExIsle. I appreciate the courtesy shown in the questions and responses, and I had a blast hashing this over at lunch with my DH.

I think it's always a good thing to really question yourself and your beliefs, and look inside to see if you can back up what you believe or not. If you cannot, then I think it's time to look for answers.

#19 Bad Wolf

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Posted 24 June 2004 - 07:09 PM

{{{{{{{{{{{{{{kimmer}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}  Well  shoot.  That is a HECK of a compliment.  Thank you.   :love:
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#20 gaius claudius

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Posted 24 June 2004 - 07:11 PM

coolness...I think we're all glad the discussion is turning out to be civillized... :lol:




gc   :devil:

People can agree to disagree without beating hte crap out of each other....mostly
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