In my very liberal Sunday School class, we have been studying Karen Armstrong's The Battle for God, A History of Fundamentalism. The question we have pondered lately is "How should we deal with fundamentalists?" Love them? Hate them? Associate with them? Try to change them? The only person in the class who has a definite, firm answer says simply that we should ridicule and make fun of them. Being that we live in Alabama, we have lots of opportunities. Any suggestions from any of you? Thanks.
that making fun of them will just alienate them. We all have our different cultures, world views, even our own physical needs that lead us to a particular faith or lack thereof. So I think respect is where you start.
After that, if you really want to bring folks to your side, it takes positive communication, hanging out together, listening. The more you listen the more brilliant they think you are. Then you ask questions. And listen some more.
And you teach by example. If you are a person of faith, don't be afraid to let them know it, pray with them, etc., so they can see that faith does NOT equal politics. But it's so important that they see you as a person of integrity and with no hate, even for your enemies. That level of charisma draws people to you.
When I read posts here on DU that are about hate, I often stop and rethink my level of commonality with those people. Because to me, that represents the extreme in the Democratic community, and it is no different, in my opinion, from the extremes in the right. Hate and intolerance are wrong and counterproductive whether it has a D or an R after it. It comes from the same negative source.
Or you can forget about them and make fun of them in private?
After all, Jesus said to worry more about your own shortcomings than your neighbor's (the mote and the beam parable)and to judge not lest ye be judged. The only time to tangle with them is if they are trying to inhibit your rights. Then use facts and the truth to explain why their position is wrong.
Being a northeastern, liberal atheist and never having had the opportunity to meet/know a Republican let alone a fundamentalist (how lucky/sheltered am I?), I often wish that I could ask them why they choose to ignore certain parts of the Bible in favor of other sections.
For example, the chapter in Leviticus that supposedly calls male homosexuality an abomination also outlaws wearing clothing woven of two fabrics (so no cotton/poly blends) and suggests death for people who work on the Sabbath. So, why ignore the other 20 or so "outdated" rules but base so much on hatred and fear of homosexuality?
Why "an eye for an eye" instead of "love thy neighbor"? And I know it talks a lot in the Bible about helping the poor but probably not so much about hating illegal immigrants.
I also remember wondering in 6th grade -- a year dedicated in my school to Ancient Greece -- why we thought that Athena being born from Zeus' head was so outlandish, but Eve being born from a rib made perfect sense.
I'd also like to know how they can use the Bible to hate the very thought of abortion but be perfectly OK with the death penalty.
I guess the theme here is the overarching hypocrisy of the religious right. Never could tolerate/understand that.
Maybe by asking honest questions, you'll get (a) some answers for me and (b) a few of those fundies to realize the disconnects in their thinking.
A cursory glance at Amazon shows Armstrong's book to be an interesting review of the growth of Fundamentalism in (mostly) Judaism, Islam & Christianity. There are reasons people turn to Fundamentalism--often as a reaction to very real problems. Are there other possible reactions? Of course.
Some Fundamentalists just want to live their lives. Wouldn't the Amish & Mennonites be considered Fundamentalists? Others want to tell everyone else how to live their lives--& make their beliefs into law, if necessary. In the US, we see the Religious Right & the Republicans locked in an obscene embrace; it's a dangerous situation, but not all Fundamentalists are involved. Here's one source of info: www.theocracywatch.org/
Expressing contempt for someone about whom you know very little will accomplish nothing. Except make you feel superior?
54. They CAN be fundie-ish, but they believe firmly in the
separation of church and state, because they were run out of several countries in Europe for not belonging to the "official" church. Fundie or not, they are our friends. They are also very committed pacifists.
you are stereotyping. Yes those are SUPPOSEDLY their values but that does not mean that's what they all follow. I grew up Mennonite, trust me. The scariest fundies I know are the Mennonites from my hometown. Some of them are indeed our friends. Others want us shot. By the way, the scariest Mennonites I've seen are those that leave the Amish church. I'm also well aware of the Anabaptist movement history from Europe. You are still wrong and are stereotyping.
Let them argue with you, remain calm the whole time, and win every argument (even if they don't think you won). Let them see through your life that you worship the same God and have the same core values, and let them see that no matter how nasty they treat you, you will continue to see them as your Christian brothers and sisters. God CAN work in their lives and change their hearts and minds. Sometimes we forget that, but I've seen it happen. Sometimes it takes YEARS, but God can and will use you if you are speaking Truth. He always honors that. If it means attending classes at a nearby seminary, do so (but make sure the seminary is biblically based, of course). If it means buying an expensive set of Bible commentaries and reading them, do so, or borrow them from the library. You have to remember though that they are still your brothers and sisters, Christ died for them too, and He is working change in their lives as well. That doesn't mean roll over and play dead when they are being jerks for the sake of being "nice," but it does mean to speak the truth in love. Repeatedly. And make sure that what you are saying IS Truth. Blessings to you, it's hard to be Christian and liberal, but there are a few of us out there, and some of us, like me, are even aspiring ministers:-)
17. I think we try to tolerate them. But not let them force their beliefs
Democrats typically espouse multiculturalism and secularism. The former implies toleration of the rights of others to live the way they want to -- speak their languages, have their cultures, espouse their beliefs, and generally exist without interference. The latter separates God from State, church from government, and likewise imposes an obligation on those living in society to recognize the right of others not espousing your particular theism to live their own way secure in their own system of belief. There is obviously going to be a tension between the two and how that works out determines the contours of the society that we will have.
I have always thought that ridiculing the beliefs of others is wrong. We should tolerate them. Dems tolerate Zen Buddists, vegetarians, Hari-Krishnas, Moonies, the Amish, and atheists. Why do fundamentalists trouble us so much?
I think tolerating them, but insuring that they do not unduly interfere in the affairs of state to the extent of imposing their views on others is consistent with multiculturalist and secular values. In other words, don't mock or persecute, but don't let them mock or persecute us either.
Fundamentalists have the right to believe as they choose. Fundamentalists don't have the right to force their extreme views on others. Extreme views often mask or cloud the IMPORTANT actual message or idea.
And no... you are not the last Yellow Dog standing in Alabama.
I am a former fundie turned athiest. I've lived in Alabama all my life. True fundies are unreachable. They may eventually turn when the cognitive dissonance within their own minds becomes to much to ignore, but any outside attempt to alter their thinking just strengthens their resolve. Plus, if they identify 'liberal christians' as critical of their beliefs, they will consider you the enemy (hell, they already do) and oppose you on all fronts.
33. I have been a member for only a few months, but generally, the
answer to your question is no, we do not take most lessons from the Bible. When I joined the class, they were in the middle of studying a book about how science and religion mix (or not). Since then, we have been on the Armstrong book since it is quite long and complex.
36. We approach the Bible very differently than the fundamentalists.
I think most in the class would say that the truth the Bible speaks generally is not literal truth. The story of Jonah and the whale speaks a truth, but is not a factual story. I suppose the two approaches to the Bible is where our differences begin.
46. Hosing them down with scalding horse urine might
be a good start. It is a damned shame about the shortage of lions, isn't it? :evilgrin:
Perhaps the thing to do with the religiously insane batshit fundies, Talibornagains and Christo-fascists (normal mainstream Christians are not within any of those groups, so hold yer flames) is give them their own otherwise uninhabited islands somewhere in the middle of nowhere and then resume A-Bomb testing in the same neighborhood.
Because I've met plenty of pentecostal tongue speaking black democrats...in my opinion they're all crazy. But I'm assuming you are speaking of the white right wingers....careful, they pretty much believe in the same way.
40. I believe most in the class are thinking of white fundamentalists, but
I know what you mean about the black fundamentalists. My brother has had several discussions with some at his work, and they pretty much told him that if he did not believe the Bible literally, he was going to hell.
Here in my very blue state, the folks pushing the anti gay marriage crap were the democratic black fundies. Surprisingly they're still democrats, but they're really hardline conservative on social issues.
45. They have the right to believe what they want to believe. We all do here.
The problem is what do you do when they try to preach and convert you? I don't think that's right and I don't want to hear it.
But, if I believe that everyone has the right to worship the way they want and part of their religion is evangelicalism (spreading the word of God to everyone and converting others) then how do I allow them to practice this without violating my own right not to have to hear it?? It's a question my friends and I have debated before and haven't figured out yet. Quite the catch-22.
51. I think you should carry copies of the Scanlon memo
It isn't so much that they have irrational beliefs in talking snakes and stuff, it's that they have been made tools of a very wicked cabal.
Give each one of them a copy of the Scanlon memo, or at least this paragraph:
"The wackos get their information through the Christian right, Christian radio, mail, the internet and telephone trees," Scanlon wrote in the memo, which was read into the public record at a hearing of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. "Simply put, we want to bring out the wackos to vote against something and make sure the rest of the public lets the whole thing slip past them."
I've been sharing this with every fundie I run into, and asking, "did you know they talk about you like this behind your back?"
If you involve yourself in your community and share your philosophy with others as well as live by your convictions, they may just see how their negative believe system is hurting themselves. I know so many fundamentalist that are basically miserable people. They say they love Jesus, but it just seems to me they've never been shown how to love Jesus or themselves.
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