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June 2, 2006 | South Carolina Headlines


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Intelligent Ignorance - or Something Else
Robert from Morgantown, WV writes:
10/22/2004 10:42:36 AM
You're right John. You are a fundamentalist.

I've been looking through the New Testament and I can't find anything that says it's alright to protect your family by use of violence. I also can't find anywhere in scripture where God gives you a free pass on Jesus's teachings because a person is supposedly "called" by the government whether it be a public office or a draft.

Again I've read Romans 13 and I Peter 2 and have found no evidence of your conclusions.

It's typical of a fundamentalist to find a loophole for violence.

[ reply| Previous in thread ]
W. Andrew from Greenville writes:
10/21/2004 9:18:50 PM
JP...your question "Finally, how do you know your final paragraph is correct, can you look into the hearts of the people to which you want to attribute these intentions?"

Someone has said you can know a tree by its fruits. I am just calling them the way I see them. No doubt your perspective is different. I suspect the truth is somewhere in between...although perhaps not quite in the middle.

Oh yeah, when did God change his mind from being a supporter of the First Commandment to being a supporter of the First Amendment? The non-oracles among us have a hard time figuring out which commandments still should apply and which should not.

One last point: I am against making homosexuals second class citizens; against putting the interest of a 10 cell embryo over those who would benefit from the science; I am against posting the 10 Commandments; I am against forcing women who are raped or who have physical health issues or are carrying a fetus which has severe deformities to continue a pregnancy; I am against subsidizing FCs private education; and I am against FCs imposing on my Sunday choice to purchase a bottle of wine...which I do most other days of the week.

FCs' beliefs are not benign.

If you are still serious question: Abortion is murder? Do you support the death penalty of murder by abortion?

[ reply| Previous in thread ]
W. Andrew from Greenville writes:
10/21/2004 9:18:46 PM
Fundamentalist Christians (FCs) believe they are merely biding their time until Christ comes back, wages war, and slaughters his enemies (nonbelievers). The conflicts and wars with Islam and the Middle East are seen by many FCs as just a prelude to the REALLY BIG war. Until the Jesus Bomb descends on your enemies, daisy cutters will suffice. Jihad by any other name is still Jihad.

Absolutism is a cause of intellectual laziness and graduer. "Your argument is not with me, but with God" is the most arrogant of all statements a human can make. JP, you make yourself an oracle. (And it is not mere repetition of scripture, but involves interpretation...that has found a statute of limitations on the commandment to execute homosexuals and adulterers.)

Since it is fruitless in arguing (or negotiating) with an oracle. Such a mindset is pretty harmless behind protective walls and in vigourous debate on the internet. But, your mindset is the foundation for violent conflict...thus your story ends with Armaggedon. It is all or nothing.

I am absolutely not against FCs participating; but I am against FCs winning. Just because we don't want you to impose your religious values on us does not mean you can't try to impose your religious values on us.

You are only doing it for our own the Army of God will not have to slaughter us in the end. Time is ticking...and unless we break down and admit that you are right, the sea will turn to blood(Rev. 16: 2-3), the sun will scorch us with fire (Rev.16:8, biological agents will be released (plagues in Rev. 16:9), and we will gnaw our tongues in pain.

TERRORfying. And because we are either with you or against you, there will be no use negotiating.

Thanks for stirring the pot!

[ reply| Previous in thread ]
Jonathan from Greenville writes:
10/21/2004 2:37:05 PM
Here is this Fundamentalists (and those with whom I communicate) view on Robert's post.

Christians are not to take up violence against those who have rule over them - or those who simply disagree with Christianity. They are not to engage in civil disobedience either (such as blocking the entrances to abortion clinics) UNLESS they are told they may not share the Gospel. If the day should come that we are not allowed to stand in the pulpit and preach the Word of God or speak one-on-one with an individual about the saving gift of Jesus Christ, we must do so even if the government should prosecute us for it.

However, the Bible clearly teaches that the government has been given the responsibility to protect its people and to punish evil doers. If I then am called to join that government for the purpose of protecting the people under its protection, I have the duty to obey its call. So, being a soldier and fighting in a war on the side of my country is certainly allowed.

This would also be true for the self-defense of my family. If they are threatened with harm, I certainly have the responsibility to protect them - even if it entails force. However, to become violent for the purpose of advancing Christianity? To blow up an abortion clinics? To strike out and ill-treat my neighbor of a differing religion? The answer to all of those is no.

If you are correct and the "average-joe" Christian are willing to use violence as a means to advance the "cause of Christ", I too am concerned. But I have to add, in this strain of discussion, that has nothing to do with Fundamentalism.

[ reply| Previous in thread ]
Jonathan from Greenville writes:
10/21/2004 2:04:09 PM
You are following the line of reasoning and charges of Armstrong in her book, The Battle for God.

First, how is having an absolutist philosophy dangerous - when that philosophy makes it clear that while it may be the correct philosophy it would be wrong to forcefully disallow other philosophies? Fundamentalism says that people have a choice of what they want to believe, but that we want to maintain a strain of theology that gives people an opportunity to believe in a God who is not merely a myth and has revealed Himself to mankind through Jesus Christ and His Word.

Second, I am offended by your statement (However, unlike some, I don't mind being offended because it means there is freedom). It may be your perception, but I am not sorry to say you are wrong. Fundamentalist Christian theology tells its adherents that we will never need to nor will ever participate in the "slaughter" of anyone. It does point out that God will judge the world - those who reject Him. So, your beef is with Him, not the Fundamentalists. That judgement is completely out of the hands of any human being. It is also why there is a Gospel that Christians are supposed to be sharing with the world. NO ONE needs to be an enemy of God.

Third, whatever positions you want to attribute to Fundamentalists may not have their origin in Fundamentalist teaching but in other worldviews. There are non-Fundamentalists who share the same view you want to make a foundational doctrine of Fundamentalism. That has been my problem people like Armstrong. They keep hanging things on the movement that have nothing to do with its original intention. An instance is the whole Jerry Falwell movement. People want to say his foray into politics was a defining characteristic of Fundamentalism. Not so, Fundamentalists were warning against that corporate involvement in politics.

Finally, how do you know your final paragraph is correct, can you look into the hearts of the people to which you want to attribute these intentions?

I would agree that American Christians will sometimes cry persecution when in reality they just feel pressure - there is a difference between the two. However, it is also clear that more and more there are people who do not want Christians to participate in the public realm.

First, they trash on us for being separatists and then they trash on us for wanting to join the party. What they really want is for us to shut up and go away.

[ reply| Previous in thread ]
Robert from Morgantown, WV writes:
10/21/2004 11:59:24 AM
I've done some research on my own and I have come to the conclusion that a major portion of Christians in America would use violence if necessary to protect themselves and their beliefs.

One of the biggest excuses is the misinterpretation of Romans 13. Most of the Christians I have interviewed believe that sharing the Gospel and defending yourself through violence is two different things and both are equally acceptable under Jesus's teachings.

I also took into consideration denomination and whether these Christians believed themselves to be fundamentalist, Christian Right or just an average Christian. ALL the average Christians said they would use violence if they felt threatened. ALL the Christian Right people said they would use violence if they felt threatened. The only group that the use of violence varied was the proclaimed "Christian Fundamentalist".

My conclusion is that the average-joe Christian and the Pat Robertsonites are willing to use violence as a means to an end.

As a Christian I find this system of thought rather troubling...

[ reply ]
W. Andrew from Greenville writes:
10/21/2004 9:09:57 AM
I don't have much time, and will have more to say on this topic later.

First, Fundamentalism like any other form of absolutist philosophy does not allow for compromise. This is indeed dangerous.

Second, Fundamentalist Christians are waiting for their violent victory over sinners. Fundamentalist Christian theology tells its adherents that we are moving toward a armed conflict. Christians will slaughter their enemies in the end.

Third, just because Fundamentalist don't blow themselves up, does not mean that they are not engaged in violence. We are involved in a Jihad of our own in Iraq, and many Fundamentalist Christians are the ones who advocate wiping out Muslim populations with daisy cutter. Remember General Boykin?

However, one big difference is that Christian Fundamentalists in America have become corrupted by materialism. I doubt you would find many Christian Fundamentalist ready to march into battle and to give up their remote controls, their comforts, their wealth. Most Christian Fundamentalist are not willing to die for their beliefs...despite what they say. They whine and complain whenever there is the least hint of disagreement and are quick to see "persecution." They have no idea what true persecution really is.

[ reply| Previous in thread ]
Jonathan from Greenville writes:
10/21/2004 7:32:10 AM
What I object to is those who say that people are violent BECAUSE they are Fundamentalists - that such actions are part of being a Fundamentalist. Am I wrong that that is what you are intimating? Perhaps there are Fundamentalists who are violent (though I doubt it and wonder if any such case could ever be produced) - but it isn't the tenents of Fundamentalism that call them to such action.

Again, it starts with the definition. We are arguing two different things. You are arguing fundamentalism as used in the current vernacular. I am arguing for the movement that sprung out of the turn of the 19th - 20th centuries.

The two are not synonymous.

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Haywood from Greenville writes:
10/20/2004 10:54:39 PM
Just because they don't represent you personally doesn't mean they don't apply to a larger portion of the group. And I didn't say no other Christians around the world are fundamentalists but fundamentalists make up a tiny portion of all Christians. You wouldn't want me to characterize all fundamentalist Christians as being violent because some of them are, yet you think that your single example applies to the entire group.
[ reply| Previous in thread ]
Robert from Kaukauna , WI writes:
10/20/2004 9:34:36 PM
Amen and Amen. I wrote a letter to the editor of my local newspaper to straighten them out on this issue a couple years back.


[ reply ]
Jonathan from Greenville writes:
10/20/2004 8:56:49 PM
It goes back to your definition of Fundamentalism. How do you know the Christians in those countries aren't? I was speaking specifically of ones I know that are.

Again, you probably take the same definition that Armstrong uses. If so, I can see why you would agree with her. I can't help but question her because I know her analysis is wrong. It has nothing to do with belief. It has to do with the fact that her conclusions are plain wrong. I know because I am a Fundamentalist. Her descriptions do not represent me.

[ reply| Previous in thread ]
Haywood from Greenville writes:
10/20/2004 6:10:25 PM
"see the writing on the wall and don't want to wait until that time comes"

This is the kind of fear mongering I'm speaking of. There is no writing on the wall. Not in this country. And your comments about China and Islamic countries assume that those Christians are fundamentalists. I was speaking specifically of fundamentalists. Not the majority of Christians.

You're not going to agree with Armstrong because she's referring to your belief system. That doesn't mean she's being dishonest.

[ reply| Previous in thread ]
Jonathan from Greenville writes:
10/20/2004 5:23:09 PM
She may have given the history in her book but she ends up drawing a wrong conclusion in this speech. That means it is worse than I thought. She isn't ignorant. She is intentionally misrepresenting.

You are wrong about the move to violence. It can be seen in multitudes of countries - such as currently in China and Muslim countries (I am thinking of specific instances in Albania) - where Christians are persecuted even to death and they do not strike back. It is also kind of a stretch to equate the Islamic extremists whose goal is conquest with people feeling "threatened about their religious freedom[s]."

I praise God that we are not there yet. It isn't so much that Christians think they are having their rights infringed upon so much as it is that they see the writing on the wall and don't want to wait until that time comes!

While the system allows participation, it is the right - and I believe reponsibility - of every Christian to take part in it. It can be accepted or rejected, but the view of Christians has every right to be presented in the public square.

[ reply| Previous in thread ]
Haywood from Greenville writes:
10/20/2004 4:43:22 PM
Jonathan you claim she has not done her homework but in her book on fundamentalism called The Battle for God she gives the very same history of Christian fundamentalism that you do.

I have no doubt that if fundamentalist Christians felt as threatened about their religious freedom as fundamentalists Muslims, they would turn to violence in greater numbers than they have already. That's what's scary about the distortions and fear mongering promoted by people like Jimmy and Jason (and that guy who wrote that ridiculous letter to the editor a couple of weeks ago) and other evengelicals who work so hard at trying to prove their rights are being infringed when there is no truth to their claims at all.

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Jimmy from Spartanburg writes:
10/20/2004 3:15:16 PM
No matter how much you bang your head up against the wall with these nonsensical comparisons of these radical religious fundamentalist groups in the Middle East (i.e. terrorists) with Christians in the United States, it's still not going to change the minds of people who have an obvious disdain for anything involving God or religion. The comparisons will remain despite clear evidence that shows the fundamentalism of Islam is nothing even remotely close to the fundamentalist beliefs of Christianity. It's a lost cause trying to explain it to people who have no desire to listen.
[ reply ]

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