Sunday, January 25, 2009

Christian Fundamentalism and Domestic Violence: What Constitutes Abuse?

Elsewhere on this blog, I have dealt with the issue of Christian fundamentalism and domestic violence (see for example 1/15/09). In this post, I wish to clarify some types of abuse that might take place in the context of fundamentalism:

  1. The most obvious is physical abuse. As has been discussed in numerous postings on the blog, it is difficult to make a conclusive statistical connection between fundamentalism and domestic violence. However, there are numerous anecdotal cases of fundamentalist husbands hitting their spouses. Also, virtually all fundamentalist churches recommend spanking as a normal, frequent method of child discipline. Virtually all "fundamentalist experts" advise using an object to spank and spanking until profuse crying ensues. Recent research reported from Univ. of NC (Chapel Hill) has associated just such frequent spankings with cases of more abusive behavior.
  2. Another type of abuse is psychological. Here, the wife, for example, is put under constant pressure to submit to the husband. She is under constant scrutiny and always a candidate for criticism. She may be criticized for her style of clothes (too suggestive), her reading material (not religious enough), or talking to another man (hints of impropriety). The husband may go so far as to restrict her behavior or travel.
  3. A third type (but it may be part of number 2) is the spiritual. Here the woman is constantly reminded that she MUST submit to her husband because the Bible says that she must. If she fails to submit, she will be "out of God's will" and subject to God's punishment. This is beaten over her head on a regular basis-- at home, at church, and with co religionists.
All things considered, a fundamentalists home may not be a particularly happy one. There are many far reaching implications to the idea that a certain belief, notion, or person is infallibly correct and that is his opinion is beyond challenging.

To read the story of my abandonment of fundamentalism and why I find it intellectually and morally bankrupt, visit my book web site: http://www.therecoveringfundamentalist.com/ and read a sample chapter of my book.

Friday, January 23, 2009

What is a "Recovering Fundamentalist?"

This is an important question. My work (the book, blog, talks, etc.) is predicated on the existence of such a group. So, I want to carefully define the term so that the reader knows what I am talking about. It requires unpacking two words: Fundamentalist, and recovering.

As used in this blog and in my book, the word fundamentalist is pretty simple to grab. A fundamentalist is someone who makes absolute truth claims about things that cannot be proven. In Christian fundamentalism, usually the claims begin with the the PRIME claim: The Bible is absolutely true and without error in all that it affirms; theologically, historically, and cosmologically.

From this basic affirmation springs many other truth claims, varying by the group or individual. It might be affirmed, for example (it likely would, in fact) that all other religions are false. Another belief might be that Harry Potter is a book inspired by the devil. Perhaps one might (and many Christians do) believe that God supports the Republican Party. Many fundamentalists believe that children should be stoutly spanked for disbelief. Lots of fundamentalists hold that women should be subordinate to men. The list could go on and on with slight nuances related to the fundamentalist environment in which one was nurtured.

The next term, recovering, refers to the process of being in recovery. Here is the idea that one never quite gets "over" his/her additions (in this case to absolutism). Something about the addiction or our personality makes the tendency to our addiction an ever present possibility. Recovery must be lived out day-by-day. We don't "just get over it." It is a never ending process of growth, self-understanding, and healing. Still, especially at times it can be quite painful.

For recovering fundamentalists, it is painful because something about them yearns to have a simple life where the pain of uncertainty and decision is removed. Often, we (for I am certainly one of the crowd) remember how simple it was when we just rehearsed the latest phrase from church ("Doubt your doubts, and believe your beliefs," "God said it. I believe it. That settles it."" and so on). Still, in our most honest moments, we knew that something about all of that was disingenuous and that we were, as Karl Marx might say, "drugged" by our religion. That's why we gave up on fundamentalism in the first place.

So, as I think the foregoing demonstrates, recovery from fundamentalism is a developmental process. There are many setbacks on the way. Still, even as we struggle, we know that our pains are really growing pains and that we are becoming more authentically human each day.

To read the story of my abandonment of fundamentalism and why I find it intellectually and morally bankrupt, visit my book web site: www.therecoveringfundamentalist.com and read a sample chapter of my book.

Monday, January 19, 2009

When Conservative Churches Leave Liberal Denominations, What About the Property?

We are seeing a time of unprecedented fracturing of denominational churches. Here I am speaking of the mainline denominations-- you know, churches like the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), The United Church of Christ, The Lutheran Church (ELCA), and so on). The common denominator is that these churches are liberal, or maybe it is better to say, have a liberal leadership.

David Kerr, former moderator of a large presbytery in California described the situation this way: Presbyterian conservatives have sat back and "let the denomination be hijacked." There may be some truth to this claim.

Currently, the "hot-button item" is gay marriage and gay ordination. This is certainly right in the case of the Episcopal Church. Back that up? Well, several churches and four dioceses have decided to exit the church. One would think this might be a cause for concern for denominations already in decline to the tune of millions of members.

Kerr estimates that about 20% of Presbyterians favor gay ordination. He goes on to delineate the problem. That 20% occupies the positions of greatest influence and decision making in the denomination. Something seems off kilter.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will agree that the position taken here is left of center. I would hope that gays and straights might dialog and reach some rapprochement. But, the point is (liberal soul though I am), it does appear as if there are some clever shenanigans being pulled. Agencies and ecclesial structures within churches should be representative of the membership.

Which brings us to property. Many denominations, such as the Episcopal Church have vowed (and are actually doing it) to set up legal teams and fight the battle for the church property. To me, this seems to be a poorly conceived strategy of dealing with the problem. The theory is that the money to build denominational churches was given in good faith by folks, some now gone to their reward, that intended to be paying for a church of that denomination.

If that 20% figure is anywhere right for mainliners in general, the "givers of funds" may not have thought they were giving to the denominations as the 20%, more or less, in control envision it. It seems wrong to sue for local church property, and it seems wrong to hold churches hostage to denominational affiliation by threat of property loss. There must be a better way. I don't think that mainline churches can afford much more "bad press"-- just to be practical.

It is a shame that churches are not accepting of folks where they are. But, it may be a bigger shame to find a small group of power brokers hiding behind ecclesiastical trappings.

To read the story of my abandonment of fundamentalism and why I find it intellectually and morally bankrupt, visit my book web site: www.therecoveringfundamentalist.com and read a sample chapter of my book.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Do All Religious Folks Make Absolute Truth Claims?

If the reader of the this blog has been following my brief series on my journey through Seventh-day Adventism (12/27/08. 1/2, 1/4, 1/6, and 1/9/09), s/he will note that I have listed Adventists in the aggregate as fundamentalists. In saying this, I do not intend to imply that Adventists are fundamentalists as the term is commonly understood, as referring, for example to Southern Baptists. I use the term for SDA's because SDA's share that one characteristic common to all fundamentalist religions: They regularly and constantly make claims to have the absolute or total truth about matters spiritual in nature. Although they may deny it, the bottom line is that, for one who has heard the "Adventist version" of the truth and and failed to accept it, salvation is not (or, to be charitable, likely not) a possibility.

SDA's tend to deny this, of course. This became clear when Spectrum Adventist Forum picked up the posts and various comments alluded to the fact that all religious groups and perhaps people, make absolute truth claims. But is this accurate? As I have stated elsewhere, this is not a blog or forum about Adventism, but, by way of example, I wish to employ the idea expressed by some Adventists (denied by others) that all believers make absolute truth claims, so what really matters is which absolute truth claim is "absolutely right."

Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias seems to agree that all religion and belief is based on absolute truth claims-- no relativism. This well known evangelical leader in an interview with Nowicki (Religious Scholar Asks: Need God? What if I Don't?-- McClatchy Newspapers), stated the following:

"Truth by definition is exclusive. It is so interesting that atheism that is basing itself on such a tolerant worldview has become so exclusive and would like to see religion annihilated. (One atheist) recently said, if it came to a choice of getting rid of rape or getting rid of religion, he would get rid of religion.

"When you believe something to be true, it excludes the opposite. Hinduism is exclusive. Buddhism is exclusive. Islam is exclusive. Bahai, which claims to include everyone, excludes the exclusivists. They say, all religions are expressing one. If you say that is not true, they exclude your view."


But is this correct? I have argued on this blog and in my book that the very heart of fundamentalism is intractable truth claims-- a court of no appeals. My answer to this is no, it does not follow that being religious means that one will be living in a world of exclusive truth claims. Something much humbler is possible. The wiser approach involves taking a much more nuanced stance. We might have a pretty reasonable confidence in what is empirically verifiable-- but even then we know that new information can change our views. On the level of the subjective (things like love, friendship, affection, etc.), we have even less certainty. When it comes to religious things, they cannot be verified. Here we are in the zone of faith, and as we all know, because all of us have changed the content of our faith to lesser or greater degrees from time to time, this is our area of least certainty.

So... what's the bottom-line? It is must better to say, "I believe" or "I think" than "I know." The absolute truth claim ("I know") is the source of a large majority of the problems in the world today. Time to do away with such claims. There is NO WAY to prove the correctness of rival religious truth claims.

To read the story of my abandonment of fundamentalism and why I find it intellectually and morally bankrupt, visit my book web site: www.therecoveringfundamentalist.com and read a sample chapter of my book.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Fundamentalism and Domestic Violence: Theoretical Perspectives

Readers of this blog know that I have taken this question up previously on this venue (search directory under domestic violence). In previous postings, I reported on a literature review that I had conducted earlier (some years ago) in preparation for what I (then) thought was going to be an empirical study of the evidence concerning the question. As my earlier blogs pointed-out, my review of the literature was inconclusive.

In this posting, I want to expand on what I think "inconclusive" means and doesn't mean. First, my review DID NOT deal with fundamentalism of the more cultic variety. I think there is little doubt about that one. Crazy, sectarian, fundamentalist religious groups (such as polygamous Mormons) are clearly wife abusers. (Read the book Under the Banner of Heaven for a chilling account.) They seem to be unrepentant about it. They think it's just part of life. Men in such groups seem to believe that they have the prerogative to abuse women.

But, my interest is elsewhere. My book tries to paint an accurate picture of everyday, garden variety fundamentalism-- like that of the James Dobsons and James Kennedys of the world, or maybe "the little church down the road," where your next-door neighbors attend. I have always been interested in that population, likely because I was once a part of it.

So, here is the evidence as I know it:
  1. In fundamentalism, men are seen as authority figures.
  2. Women are expected to "submit" to their husbands-- a promise my wife wrote into her vows when we were married 32 years ago.
  3. Women are, for all practical purposes, second class citizens.
  4. Men are encouraged to "take charge."
  5. Fundamentalist churches can hardly be called bastions of the principles of non-resistance and non-violence.
  6. Fundamentalists are quick to support coercive and lethal means of punishment such as corporal punishment for children and the death penalty.
  7. Fundamentalist churches take passages concerning a wrathful God at face value (and to the exclusion of many other images).
  8. Fundamentalists tend to support a position of civil retributive justice as opposed to distributive or restorative justice.
  9. Many of these principles are preached on a regular basis from fundamentalist pulpits.
  10. Sadly, somehow, fundamentalist churches, husbands, boyfriends, and preachers, manage to brainwash women into thinking this system is from God and that it is in their best interest.
  11. All of this leaves us with a look at a subculture which is male-dominant, rigidly authoritarian, obedient to religious leaders, and fairly accepting of violence as a method of social/personal control.
Taking the above observations as fairly accurate, it is easy to construct a theoretical model of wife abuse at the hands of fundamentalist husbands. Imagine that a wife doesn't go along with a husband's decisions. Or, imagine that she stops believing in the male authority point of view. You can see how that might cause a quandary for a fundamentalist husband.

He's been told repeatedly that he is "in charge." He has been told that this position is given to him directly on the authority of God. Likely, the wife has agreed to be submissive if the marriage took place when they were both fundamentalist adherents. Also, he is probably getting regular "booster shots" of the authoritarian dribble at church and from coreligionists on a regular basis. Divorce is taboo, or close to it.

Might not such a husband become very agitated, frustrated, and angry? Might he also not view his anger as a type of righteous indignation? In such a case, is it not possible that something just "snaps" and he lashes out at his wife? Perhaps physically, but if not, certainly with all kinds of psychological pressure and abuse?

This may be a phenomenon very difficult to document empirically because it depends on self-report regarding both behaviors and religious beliefs. I think it likely that many men (and women) would be rather guarded and reticent to "come clean" about it all. However, I do know from my history among the fundamentalists that such scenarios have been played out in tragic scenes of pathological religious devotion.

To read the story of my abandonment of fundamentalism and why I find it intellectually and morally bankrupt, visit my book web site: http://www.therecoveringfundamentalist.com/ and read a sample chapter of my book.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Seventh-day Adventism and Dishonesty

I thought I was all done with my "Adventist mini series," but guess what? I'm not. I have one more thing to say. If you really wanna put this deal in context, you've got to get into the directory and read the following post: 12/27/08, 1/2, 1/4, and 1/6. The last post of this series was my list of the seven things I didn't like about Adventism. It corresponded with an earlier one of 7 things I liked about Adventism.

But, I realize there is an eighth thing I REALLY don't like. That is dishonesty. Whenever SDA's hold meetings to get more members (evangelistic meetings???), they usually do so by blitzing an area with junk mail advertising the meeting. Needless to say, the response is low. However, they send out so much junk mail that they are sure to get several folks.

Whenever possible, Adventists hold meetings in a conference center, civic center, hotel, etc. Small towns do hold meetings in churches. However, when it can be avoided, it is. Neutral places are preferred.

The trend when I left (about 11 years ago) was to have a satellite link-up and hold many meetings in different locations simultaneously. Usually they call them "Prophecy Seminars" or something of the sort. You can often recognize an SDA event because the advertisement will include a whole bunch of eye catching sensationalism, often in the nature of pictures.

They also have door-to-door sales folks (called literature evangelists in SDA circles) that sell books like The Great Controversy or Desire of Ages. These books were written by Ellen White over a century ago. They are very Victorian in style (read wordy), and are sometimes sold under other titles or other pen names (often her maiden name). There are many, many EGW books for sale. Modern (and I might add very useful) books on diet and health are often also sold. All of them (at least 10 years ago) sell, usually in sets, for hundreds of bucks. They can usually be bought at an Adventist Book Center in paperback for about $5 per book.

The thing is, in neither the seminars, nor the book dealing is the "consumer" told they are dealing with Adventists. The plan is to "hook" folks through a prophecy seminar or book and THEN disclose that the dispensers of information are SDA's. This is done because SDA's (at least the leadership) believe this mild "deception by silence" is necessary to prevent bias from shrinking the convert pool.

I always wondered, If there is nothing to hide, why hide it? I was never ashamed of being an SDA. I left for other reasons. Adventists seem to be shooting themselves in the foot-- even as they try to live down the title cult.

NOTE: THIS POST IS PART OF AN "ADVENTIST MINI SERIES." THERE ARE (or will be) FIVE POSTS IN THIS SERIES. WHEN THEY ARE ALL "UP AND RUNNING" THEY SHOULD APPEAR ON THE FOLLOWING DATES 12/27, 1/2, 1/4. 1/6. 1/9. THE 12/27 POST IS REALLY A BOOK REVIEW. IT PROVIDES SOME BACKGROUND. THE OTHER FOUR POSTS COMPRISE THE ACTUAL MAIN CONTENT OF THE SERIES. THIS BLOG IS ABOUT FUNDAMENTALISM. THE ADVENTIST STUFF JUST SEEMED TO HAVE FOUND ITS TIME FOR TELLING. THE BLOG IS NOT MAINLY CONCERNED WITH ADVENTISM, EXCEPT HOW IT FITS INTO THE LARGER PHENOMENON OF FUNDAMENTALISM AS EXPERIENCED IN MY LIFE.



Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What I Didn't Like About the Seventh-day Adventist Church

(To really get the whole picture, please read the posts from 1/2, and 1/4.)

I have written about the things I liked about Adventism. One might wonder, Whatever inspired you to leave? You seem to have so many good things to say about the church, why would you quit it? It wasn't easy. There are two reasons for that. First, to leave is to be an apostate. Both my wife and I had been employees of the denomination. I had served as elder in three different congregations. Although not an ordained SDA minister, I had preached a considerable amount. In short, we worried about hurting friends. Second, we had to plan our leaving when we made a move to a different state. Like all fundamentalists, SDA's can't take no for an answer. They would never have left us alone.

In my last posting (1/4), I listed my 7 favorite things about the SDA Church. In keeping with that pattern, I will list the 7 aspects of Adventism I like(d) the least below.

  1. They are fundamentalists-- Maybe not in the same sense as say, Southern Baptists, but they still are. The basis of fundamentalism is absolute truth claims. Not all Adventists claim that they are in the realm of the absolute. Still, I can't count how many times I heard statements such as "we have all the truth," or "we have the final truth." A court from which there is no appeal.
  2. Religious bigotry-- Although SDA's claim that they don't believe they are the only ones who are saved, they believe that being a "Sunday keeper" is having, or being precariously close to having, the "mark of beast."
  3. Strange literalism-- On one hand, you might say that Adventists don't take the Book of Revelation literally. In other ways, their "symbolic literalism" is as strange as any Left Behind book, with Satan faking Christ's second coming by coming to earth in a flying saucer, the US government enforcing Sunday worship, etc.
  4. Legalism-- Although SDA's talk a good "saved by grace," there is a pretty heavy works trip going on.
  5. Wedding rings-- Once, after I started teaching college, Irene was still teaching for the church. We had come from a fairly progressive conference to a more traditional one. They (the leadership in our new conference) told her to quit wearing her wedding ring. When she balked at that, they forced her to do so. I took this as a sign of a leadership that was stuck on silly little rules and in a ...
  6. Power trip-- Leaders are often quite power hungry and seem to be concerned with many things other than just spiritual concerns. For example, SDA's give a lot of money, which is laudable. However, it must be mentioned that they are always being "beaten over the head" to give yet more.
  7. Dead worship-- It seems that with some folks in the SDA Church, it is a religious principle that God wants churches to be dead. Whenever some "life" comes into the church or the worship, it is quickly stifled.

So, if you have read the three posts concerning Adventism, what do I really think of it all? The SDA Church came along at a point in my life some years after I had abandoned fundamentalism. I was seeking community. It provided that. It provided a place, for a while, where I was nurtured as in the old days. But, a point came that I was going to have to leave or buy into the fundamentalist approach. I have many friends in the SDA Church still trying to "hang in there" in the face of a fundamentalist theology and an authoritarian regime. I just couldn't.

NOTE: THIS POST IS PART OF AN "ADVENTIST MINI SERIES." THERE ARE (or will be) FIVE POSTS IN THIS SERIES. WHEN THEY ARE ALL "UP AND RUNNING" THEY SHOULD APPEAR ON THE FOLLOWING DATES 12/27, 1/2, 1/4. 1/6. 1/9. THE 12/27 POST IS REALLY A BOOK REVIEW. IT PROVIDES SOME BACKGROUND. THE OTHER FOUR POSTS COMPRISE THE ACTUAL MAIN CONTENT OF THE SERIES. THIS BLOG IS ABOUT FUNDAMENTALISM. THE ADVENTIST STUFF JUST SEEMED TO HAVE FOUND ITS TIME FOR TELLING. THE BLOG IS NOT MAINLY CONCERNED WITH ADVENTISM, EXCEPT HOW IT FITS INTO THE LARGER PHENOMENON OF FUNDAMENTALISM AS EXPERIENCED IN MY LIFE.



To read the story of my abandonment of fundamentalism and why I find it intellectually and morally bankrupt, visit my book web site: www.therecoveringfundamentalist.com and read a sample chapter of my book.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

What I Liked About the Seventh-day Adventists

(For background on this post, I refer the reader to my post on 1/2)

There were many things about the Adventists that I discovered during my 10 year sojourn that I liked tremendously. Many of these things still stick with me and inform my belief and practice today-- even though I don't talk much about it all. Let me name my 7 favorite things:

  1. The people-- I met many people among the SDA's who were not conservative. They had read widely and were products of the fine Adventist higher education system. These folks could think for themselves. They were not afraid to challenge the old ideas just because they were tradition. Yet, they just didn't capriciously throw the old away. They found creative ways to understand the old in the light of modern scholarship and were not afraid to say that Adventists had made mistakes.
  2. Daring to be different-- Adventists are not afraid to challenge widely held (largely unbiblical, I might add) views concerning the state of the dead, hell, the soul, etc. They may not have always been right, but they were gutsy enough to buck the religious power brokers of the 19th century and today.
  3. A view of the Bible-- Some SDA's, such as Alden Thompson, have been quick to point out that an Adventist view of inspiration doesn't mean verbal, plenary instruction. God acted on humans to inspire them and made use of fallible human words.
  4. Going right along with this is one of my favorite thoughts from Ellen White, widely regarded by Adventists as prophetic: God and heaven alone are infallible.
  5. A sense of community-- It may be due to their sectarianism, but, for whatever reason, SDA's have a much clearer sense of being part of each other's lives than most Christians.
  6. The Sabbath-- I'm not at all sure that Adventists are right in their views concerning the Sabbath, some I am sure are wrong. But to give God 24 hours all in one connected piece without being distracted by commerce, television, eating on the run, and so on and replacing all of that with family, cultural activities, beauty, meditation, and quiet-- well, who can fault that?
  7. Giving-- Not just the token variety. Most mainline church members give less than 2% of their income to church. Per capita SDA giving exceeds 7% (if memory serves me correctly).
So, as you can see, there were (are) many things about the SDA Church I greatly appreciated (appreciate). Still, when push came to shove, I wasn't free of the strictures of fundamentalism as long as I remained in the Adventist Church.

NOTE: THIS POST IS PART OF AN "ADVENTIST MINI SERIES." THERE ARE (or will be) FIVE POSTS IN THIS SERIES. WHEN THEY ARE ALL "UP AND RUNNING" THEY SHOULD APPEAR ON THE FOLLOWING DATES 12/27, 1/2, 1/4. 1/6. 1/9. THE 12/27 POST IS REALLY A BOOK REVIEW. IT PROVIDES SOME BACKGROUND. THE OTHER FOUR POSTS COMPRISE THE ACTUAL MAIN CONTENT OF THE SERIES. THIS BLOG IS ABOUT FUNDAMENTALISM. THE ADVENTIST STUFF JUST SEEMED TO HAVE FOUND ITS TIME FOR TELLING. THE BLOG IS NOT MAINLY CONCERNED WITH ADVENTISM, EXCEPT HOW IT FITS INTO THE LARGER PHENOMENON OF FUNDAMENTALISM AS EXPERIENCED IN MY LIFE.



To read the story of my abandonment of fundamentalism and why I find it intellectually and morally bankrupt, visit my book web site: www.therecoveringfundamentalist.com and read a sample chapter of my book.

Friday, January 2, 2009

My Journey Among the Seventh-day Adventists

I guess it was my posting on 12/27/08, a review of a recent biography of William Miller-- predictor of the end of the world on October 22, 1844--that has made it clear to me that it is time that I "come clean" on my journey through Seventh-day Adventism. It wasn't just a little "foray"-- though I rarely mention it to anyone. Nope. I was an elder in the church and was employed as a teacher (as was Irene) in SDA church schools. As a (at that point former) preacher, I was often drafted to preach from SDA pulpits, and most of my "audience" considered my "visiting preaching" a treat. All told, we (the whole family) were Adventists for about ten years.

So... Why don't I talk much about it? I guess it is just too hard to explain. I was in "no man's land." What fundamentalism had provided for me was a community. It provided a close group of like-minded folks. When I gave up on fundamentalism, I kept looking for that same community without the political conservatism, the forbidding of the asking of questions, and the cocksureness about everything. I guess I kind of drifted into Adventism because 1.) They were conscientious objectors; 2.) They very much supported the separation of church and state; 3.) They seemed to offer that "sectarian" closeness that I so much wanted-- the relationships it hurt not to have any more.

You might ask, Weren't they just another variety of fundamentalist? That is a sticky question. Since the early 1980's, SDA's have been in flux. Some are pretty cultish and unorthodox, but usually, they live on the fringes of the church. A second group, seems to me to be pretty conservative evangelicals in many ways. A third group, which I call the progressives, would be somewhere on the conservative-liberal theological spectrum where one might find the likes of Tony Campolo or Brian McClaren-- minus the social justice emphasis. This group tends to be middle-aged and younger folks and are represented by Spectrum Magazine. A final group are actually quite liberal and free thinking. These folks are also "fringers." I would say the SDA Church is mostly made up of a mixture of groups 2 and 3. Though they don't ever say it, most SDA's could likely subscribe to the Apostle's Creed.

Why did I leave several years back? I guess I saw that the "we've got all the right answers folks" had all of the "real" power. Though it was a different kind of fundamentalism than I knew among the Jesus Freaks, the absolute truth claims (held to by most, certainly not all) still had me in a strangle hold. I had left all of that and I couldn't go back again.

NOTE: THIS POST IS PART OF AN "ADVENTIST MINI SERIES." THERE ARE (or will be) FIVE POSTS IN THIS SERIES. WHEN THEY ARE ALL "UP AND RUNNING" THEY SHOULD APPEAR ON THE FOLLOWING DATES 12/27, 1/2, 1/4. 1/6. 1/9. THE 12/27 POST IS REALLY A BOOK REVIEW. IT PROVIDES SOME BACKGROUND. THE OTHER FOUR POSTS COMPRISE THE ACTUAL MAIN CONTENT OF THE SERIES. THIS BLOG IS ABOUT FUNDAMENTALISM. THE ADVENTIST STUFF JUST SEEMED TO HAVE FOUND ITS TIME FOR TELLING. THE BLOG IS NOT MAINLY CONCERNED WITH ADVENTISM, EXCEPT HOW IT FITS INTO THE LARGER PHENOMENON OF FUNDAMENTALISM AS EXPERIENCED IN MY LIFE.



To read the story of my abandonment of fundamentalism and why I find it intellectually and morally bankrupt, visit my book web site: www.therecoveringfundamentalist.com and read a sample chapter of my book.