Sunday, June 7, 2009
My Friend Got Upset
Have a good (correct that, GREAT) old friend. We go back to the days of Jesus Freakdom, Christian communes, and being "dyed-in-the-wool" Charismaniacs. We sort of parted theological company about 30 years ago. Don't get me wrong. His theology hasn't been exactly "static." Nope. He has shifted around a bit. If we were both level 8 literalists "back in the day," he's probably a 5.67 now. We ARE still great friends. Only problem, and this rarely comes out, is that I now cruse at about a level 2.17. That means I'm about 38% lower on the absolutism scale than my friend. As I said, it rarely comes out, but....
Read the last post. When I called him and told him that I was doing a statistical study of fundamentalism and domestic violence and that involved classifying denominations as evangelical/fundamentalist or mainline/liberal, it really seemed to irritate my old buddy. I was rather surprised. I guess fundamentalism is a rather "dirty" word, and nobody in the "evangelical camp" much wants to own it. Yet, the web site of the National Association of Evangelicals reads like an updated version of the 1909 "name-maker" and "movement-maker," The Fundamentals.
Sad thing about it all is that statistical studies usually can't address individual cases (they cannot implicate any particular member of any particular church). If a movement such as evangelicalism/fundamentalism is certain that the fruit it has to offer is good and can only better others, why worry about a scientific investigation of the situation? After all, Barna Group has been using stats to "dig up dirt" on liberals for years. If the research is fair, honest, and scientific and ethical, I say, study what you will, and let the chips fall where they may. The only thing we all really MUST fear is ignorance.