Monday, February 9, 2009

Christian Fundamentalists & Paranoia

Fundamentalists are paranoid-- at least after a fashion. I don't know how anyone can deny that. They are conspiracy-minded and believe the world is plotting to "get them" in one way or another. Consider just a few examples:

I have heard fundamentalists rail for hours on how sex education in public schools is really just a ploy to get kids sexually active. Yet, research seems to indicate that sex eduction delays the age of sexual intercourse, reduces the incidence of unprotected sex, and reduces the number of teen pregnancies. In our age of rampant STD's. how foolish not to inform children of the facts. Still, fundamentalists fear that information will undeniably lead to action. In 2009? Who isn't informed? But, the question is, Do we want the information to be correct? Yet, our fundie friends believe it all a malevolent plot.

Take the case of health care. Fundamentalists (as mentioned in an earlier post) see universal health care as a socialist plot to bring in mandated euthanasia. Although many fundamentalists are relatively poor (certainly not all), the fundie leadership has managed to maneuver them into a position of fighting against their own self interest. Dobson, Robertson, etc. know all of the buttons to push. Who suffers? The needy ones they have blinded to reality.

Or... Israel. There is no doubt that Israel has overstepped the bounds of propriety in terms of any sort of just war criteria. These have long guided Christians (even those of us who reject them). Let me review them here:

A decision to go to war needs to be addressed from the vantage point of the eight dimensions Augustine calls us to investigate: Is there just cause? Is the intention right (upright)? Is this the last resort in dealing with evil? Is there no other way? Is the action taken personal, or is it declared by a competent (please note the word) authority? In view of the cost of suffering and death on all sides, is there a real probability of success? Are the goals proportional? In other words, is the goal pursued really worth the cost involved? Are the means proportional? Is massive destruction, the possible escalation to a nuclear exchange, acceptable now or ever? Does the action discriminate between combatants and noncombatants, or perhaps even between the innocent and the evil? Is someone from the enemy camp automatically evil? Is it that simple?

I think it is patently obvious that Israel's past, recent, and likely continuing actions violate much of this. Still, the faithful are told that any step towards peace is opposing God's end-times plan. So, they are suspect of any talk of peace.

In short, fundamentalism is conspiracy-minded and pathologically paranoid. It cannot be reformed. The only really hope is abandonment of the fundamentalist position.

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

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