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Religion and Spirituality, Science and Philosophy Use this forum to discuss what you believe in. This is a place where everyone may share their views freely.

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Are fundamentalists killing Christianity? - March 25th 2015, 01:30 AM

I've been thinking about this a lot lately because theres this increasingly radical Bible study at my university. They believe everything in the Bible that fits their belief system, and then force it down other people's throats. Just the other day they gave me a pamphlet (wearing all smiles, of course) that said how God will destroy America the same way he destroyed the Native Americans (either with ebola, or the Russians or Chinese will invade us like Cortez invaded the Native Americans' land). It also denounced evolution as animal worship (condemning Darwin and Native Americans at the same time, somehow). I mean, no wonder people don't like Christianity. People who literally interpret the Bible here drive almost everyone away with their fear mongering, phobias, and implied racism. And then they try and justify it with texts that are apparently never wrong (including the creation story, Noah's Ark, the book of Job(which makes out God to be a whimsical psychopath)). Hell, they can look evidence, logic, and proof in the face and say, "Nope, not according to the Bible." Fundamentalists like them, as I have seen, tend to hate the sin and the sinner, and judge everyone who aren't like them. The problem is, they usually are the most outspoken people even though they are (maybe) a minority. They also preach that salvation is by faith alone, not works, which to me translates to "sit on your ass, read the Bible and pray your entire life." Why would anyone listen to Christians when all you have to do to be saved (according to them) is believe in Jesus?
What do you guys think? By the way, I am a Christian, just to put into context the fact that I'm on the inside criticizing the religion, not the outside.


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Re: Are fundamentalists killing Christianity? - March 25th 2015, 02:38 AM

You mean those people who don't understand that, while their mouth CAN open, it can SHUT as well??

Yeah, they're totally screwing up our religion bro.

They're probably the biggest/most modern reason Christians are looked down upon these days.

I absolutely hate those religious people who almost literally shove their beliefs down everyone else's throats.
There's this kid in my class. He had to do a project on any topic he felt strongly about, and he chose "homosexuals."
I was like, "Oh, cool! So are you fighting FOR getting them equal rights or.."
I couldn't even finish my sentence before he was like, "No, I'm 100% against it."
He then went on, blabbing verses from the Bible about how "wrong and unnatural it is."

Now, I've considered myself straight my entire life, and I used to share his same views, due to my sheltering Christian family.
But... as someone who had RECENTLY just discovered I had a small crush on another girl (she's so amazing and i just couldn't help it at all. that was when i FINALLY understood that it seriously is NOT a choice at all.) I wanted to voice my opinion.

So I said, "Well, that's what some Christians do think... But I for one would refer to the verse where it says 'Love thy neighbor as thyself.' I actually believe that God wants us to treat everyone EQUALLY, no matter their race, gender, or sexuality."

He then went on to argue with me about how "god wants us to spread his word!!1!"

But honestly, these people... they force their opinions on everyone and don't allow room for arguments in their tightly close-minded brains.


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Re: Are fundamentalists killing Christianity? - March 25th 2015, 07:03 PM

I definitely think fundamentalists in religions do alienate potential members. Personally, I believe religiosity is dying out for other reasons as well (such as increase in scientific knowledge providing other explanations for phenomena previously explained by religion or the ability to get social support in other areas besides churches) but that may be due to me being an atheist and that's really my own reasons that I've never been religious. I think that fundamentalism puts issues of religions on the forefront and doesn't represent the entire religion in a good way, which isn't good for the sane religious folks.


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Re: Are fundamentalists killing Christianity? - March 25th 2015, 08:29 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coffee. View Post
I definitely think fundamentalists in religions do alienate potential members. Personally, I believe religiosity is dying out for other reasons as well (such as increase in scientific knowledge providing other explanations for phenomena previously explained by religion or the ability to get social support in other areas besides churches) but that may be due to me being an atheist and that's really my own reasons that I've never been religious. I think that fundamentalism puts issues of religions on the forefront and doesn't represent the entire religion in a good way, which isn't good for the sane religious folks.
I think you're right, although I think it's linked in that these fundamentalists' views look absolutely ridiculous to the majority of people now because of the scientific discoveries. In the past, one could claim to be able to come back to life "because God" and it might have been accepted. Now, probably not something you'd do so much because we know it's impossible.

So, fundamentalists probably aren't killing the religion, but they're not helping its already shaking reputation as a force for good in the world.


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Re: Are fundamentalists killing Christianity? - March 26th 2015, 01:12 PM

Is it literally destroying Christianity? No... I still see many people who hold beautiful beliefs around Christianity.

Does it make Christianity look like a bad fucked up religion at times? Yes....

Fundamentalist views are a major reason why I will never be a Christian despite my ability to quote scripture and interpret the Bible and all that. I am extremely well read.... I just can't be a part of a religion where people try to force me to believe that being gay is wrong, or that evolution isn't real, or that science is bad or that shameless pre-marital sex means you'll burn. I'm not big on the whole "feel guilty for every perceived wrong" bit because I have seen the kind of self-hate it generates.

Most moderate Christians are not the problem, even if they themselves would never be gay because the Bible told them so, they accept those who are. Even if they themselves would never have sex out of marriage, they accept those who do. As long as what others are doing isn't going to harm anyone else (e.g. murder, abuse, theft, etc.) then most moderate Christians accept others different belief systems.

My problem with people who are fundamentalists (or coming close to being one) is that they are so rigid in their life views. Many of their views are wildly extreme, even in the context of the religion, because they interpret passages of the Bible in such an extreme manner. See, the difference with people who hold a mild- to moderate view is that they can understand when others hold different beliefs. The more extreme they get, the more they cannot understand why a person believes differently, and the more likely they are to condemn it all loudly and violently.

My problem carries on further in which condemning my behaviour and my lifestyle and showing such contempt towards beliefs that I hold near and dear to my heart is NOT warming me up towards "saving my soul" by converting. I am more likely to convert after talking to moderate friends because they have a much more open minded, loving view of Christianity.




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Re: Are fundamentalists killing Christianity? - March 26th 2015, 03:10 PM

Yeah, thats another thing... over the centuries, the entire gay persecution thing actually came from verses condemning "effeminate" men. When the Bible was translated and retranslated several times, it eventually came to be that the verses condemned homosexuality as a fault in the translation. But we're not going to actually condemn effeminate people, are we? Also, there is a lot of evidence in the text that King David (Jesus' ancestor) not only shattered a 20th century institution of marriage with polygamy, but possibly because he was having sex with his best friend Jonathan. I think there is also a verse that even suggests they were married. This link presents the argument for that, and suggests that gay marriage should actually be considered legitimate under God according to the Bible. http://www.gaychristian101.com/David-and-Jonathan.html
My thing with fundamentalists is, they don't listen to reason, they ignore logic, and they literally think that God wrote the Bible (either directly or indirectly, through inspiration). They think that any little thing that goes against the Bible goes starkly against God. In essence, they worship a book.


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Re: Are fundamentalists killing Christianity? - March 26th 2015, 06:41 PM

I definitely think fundamentalism puts Christianity in a bad light. Like Traci and Adam said, it's not the only reason that there has been an overall decline in religion. But, I think it can deter people who are looking for a faith that fits their belief system without a doubt.

When I was younger, I looked into Christianity as a potential religion because I appreciated many of the things that people claimed it was about. During my search, I ended up at a Christian university. The fundamentalists that I've met here have turned out to be some of the least accepting people in my life with some having the nerve to tell me that I am destined to burn in hell for being a lesbian even if I repent all of my other "sins", but that I can be saved from my "chosen" life of homosexuality if I pray enough and read the Bible more. I personally believe that the utter lack of acceptance that people can receive from fundamentalist Christians can really turn people off to the religion, especially when so much of the idea of Christianity is based on loving your neighbor, regardless of your view on the way they conduct their life. It's probably one of the most common reasons that Christians are so often viewed as hypocrites.

Another major issue that I have with fundamentalists is the fact that they think everyone needs to practice their beliefs in the same way. I grew up on classic rock, so it's naturally a part of my everyday music collection. I once had a friends mother tell me that I will go to hell for listening to ACDC and that the messages in their songs will cause me to go out and act immorally. She based this argument entirely on the fact that she had to stop listening to music like that when she was younger because of the different things it influenced her to do. I'm completely okay with the idea that some people have to take extreme measures to prevent themselves from doing something that they believe is wrong. If listening to certain types of music has a negative effect on your life that causes you to go against your beliefs, don't listen to it. But, don't assume that the same music will have a similar effect on my life. That's obviously just an example, but my point stays the same. What bothers me about fundamentalists is their ideology that everyone must interpret the Bible and follow Christianity in the exact same way.

Overall, they turn it into a set of laws rather than a personal religion. Any Christians here are free to correct me if I'm wrong (which I very well might be), but I've always been under the impression that one of the most important pieces of Christianity is a personal relationship with God. I just can't see how the two really match up.


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Re: Are fundamentalists killing Christianity? - March 26th 2015, 10:44 PM

Yes absolutely. While fundamentalists try to share their beliefs with as many people as possible- they are actually doing harm because they push more people away from God than they bring in.

1) Christian fundamentalists are often self righteous. They decry self righteousness and claim that everyone is equal under God- but they themselves act like they are the only Christians that have it "right".

2) Christian fundamentalism is anti-intellectual. They often openly criticize any objective viewpoint. They do not use sound arguments to "disprove evolution" or to show the Earth was literally created in 6 days. They push people away because they highlight where science is inconsistent with their interpretation of the Bible, and then claim that because their beliefs are right- science must be wrong.

It hurts Christianity to advertise it as being inconsistent with scientific consensus.

3) Christian Fundamentalism is political. Fundamentalists like to use their beliefs to justify political viewpoints and to criticize all other political beliefs.

Fact is that you don't have to deny evolution or to take Genesis literally to be a Christian. Many people grow up on Christian Fundamentalist ideas and then become atheists when they realize that none of their arguments hold any water.

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Re: Are fundamentalists killing Christianity? - March 30th 2015, 01:04 AM

Fundamentalism is not killing Christianity, knowledge is. All religions, mythology, superstitions come to end sooner or later because knowledge transforms the way we think. Eventually society will no longer feel the necessity of a deity, and religion will likely cease to exist. This will probably take several generations, if not thousands of years, but it seems to be the general outlook. I'd believe in it if data suggested otherwise, but there's no such data.
   
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