Monday, 23 March 2009

Beyond Fundamentalism

I recognise and acknowledge that fundamentalism takes many forms. I went to a Christian missionary school in Paraguay. It was in many ways a warm cocoon of safety and loving community but some strange beliefs abounded amongst staff and pupils alike. I was told, amongst many other things, that the world was created in 6 literal days around 6000 years ago, that the Bible was inerrant and dictated by God, that rock music was of the devil and that if you didn't pray the sinner's prayer you were destined for eternal conscious torment in the fires of hell! Subsidiary beliefs held by some included the understanding that the Catholic church was in fact the whore of Babylon spoken of in Revelation. This strain of thinking sat uncomfortably with the the fact that a lot of my fellow pupils at school were Paraguayan Roman Catholics paying hefty school fees to learn English and subsidising my free place (Free because my parents were missionaries). So I have a strong radar for Christian fundamentalism in its multi-layered complexity.

In the last two years I have read books by Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Daniel Dennett that take aim at fundamentalism in general and faith in particular. I found myself nodding in agreement at many of the critiques they bring up. Something prevents me from joining their ranks however. Something at the deepest level in my pysche longs for their to be something more to this life then the material universe. I can't reconcile the profound longing of the human heart for justice and truth, with the idea that there is no such thing as ultimate truth. However, I seem to share little in common with people who claim they know and have experienced ultimate truth and yet hold beliefs that are demonstrably absurd (Like 6 day creationism). I have only scratched the surface here...I need to head for the depths....

1 comment:

  1. W'dup
    Your school is batting about .500, I don't really know. I believe the world is closer to 6000 yrs old. I also believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God. But Rock music is just rock music, the Devil ain't got nothing to do with it. And I don't believe that saying some magic words will get you to heaven either. But Jesus did tell Nicodemus that he must be born again. But that has more to do with what we believe, not what we say.

    That something deep inside your "Pysche" that keeps you from joining their ranks is this; Ecc. 3:11 "....God has set eternity in the hearts of men...."

    Keep searching the depths my friend, and it will all be good.

    Dueces, feeno