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Christian Fundamentalism -- The High Cost of Being Sincerely Wrong

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Goodmorning...I used to be one of you. I know how you think and the Biblical brainwashing you have been through that makes you think the way you do about world events, Biblical prophecy, the Second Coming of Jesus and the Kingdom of God on earth. I know how ministers and pastors, most well meaning, but full of sanctified ignorance and misunderstanding of the intent, origins, errancy and the historical inaccuracies of much we read in the Bible, have filled your minds with misguided zeal. I know how you read and understand the prophecies of the four kingdoms of Daniel and the dreams of Nebuaccanezzar, King of Babylon. I doubt you know they were written after the fact which is why they seem so amazingly accurate. I know you won't like what I know.

I know how you read Daniel 11 and 12 as just how things will be "in the end times." I know how some of you think "a thousand will fall at your right side, and ten thousand at your left, but it will not come nigh unto your dwelling." I know how you read Matthew 24. I know some of you think that you will be "born up on eagles wings" and taken to a "place of safety," maybe in Petra, Jordan to wait out the end time carnage that you see in the Trumpets, Vials, plagues and Horsemen of Revelation. Some of you have already left and some left years ago, only to return and get back to work.

I know you read the Book of Revelation as if it was a newspaper and see these times as those times and that book as revealing all that is about to happen so Jesus can return. I know you have forgotten that 2000 years ago the opening of the Revelation says "to show unto my servants, things which must SHORTLY, come to pass." I know that you view "shortly" differently than most people understand "shortly." I know some of you think you are part of the exclusive 144,000 thousand. I know you don't understand Gematria or the 12 signs of the Zodiac but I spare you.

I know that even though you know Paul said Jesus, for sure, would come in his lifetime, and that he was among the "We, who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall be caught up together with the Lord, and WE shall be saved,"  Paul was wrong. I know you know that later in his life, Paul gave up on Jesus coming for him in his lifetime and said that he had fought a good fight, kept the faith and would have to settle for a crown of righteousness that he'd get later, but not soon anymore.

 I know you know that Paul motivated the church to not marry the loves of their lives, give lots of money to the church and be ready to go at a moments notice, in vain. I always wonder about the people who believe what Paul said about the times being short and it being better to not marry and be like him. Did they get really bitter when their lives passed and Jesus didn't return, nor did they get to be intimate with the ones they loved because Paul said not to? I bet they did anyway, just like today in all churches who try to regulate relationships. The minister gets to rant about such things, but most just sneak around and do what they want anyway. You can thank Paul and his misquided view of the immediacy of Jesus return in HIS lifetime for the skepticism of most today.  The scoffers of the last days were created by the mistaken of times past.

I know that you know Jesus said in Matthew 24 that "this generation shall not a pass until all these things be fulfilled" and that since we now know it was not the generation of Jesus this happened for, Jesus was not ill informed, but rather meant that the generation that these things happened in, would see it through. This allows you to motivate others by drawing your attention to all that is happening in your world as proof of this being all about YOU. That's the apologetic, but that is not what Jesus, who was mistaken about this meant, when he is alleged to have said it.

I know that you know "no man knows the day or the hour, but the Father only," but choose to ignore that and predict, predict, predict to put fear, fear, fear, into each other. Or as one said, "Just because we don't know the day or the hour doesn't mean we can't know the month or the year." Right..

I know that the gayness of some people, the lack of belief of others, the movies, TV and all the events going on in the Middle East are proof that you won't have to wait much longer for Jesus. Little does the Pastor know that out of every 100 members of his church, about 10 are going to be gay by nature and that the same would be true for the 100 of the clergy he got together with at his last ministerial conference where they condemned it. I know you know that all fundamentalist college campuses have a normal number of gay students in attendance. Or maybe you don't. I know they are in denial on this topic but I spare you. Oh, and this would include the faculty of course.

I know you believe the nation of Israel is the most special of God's holy nations and that as one man said to me, "anyone who picks on Israel, is challenging God himself." I know you don't believe that anyone who picks on Afghanistan is picking on God. I have to say that meme has gone a long way to insure the safety of that small rather troublesome piece of the planet. The tales of the Old Testament have insured that the rules and ways of an obscure deity, on an obscure mountain, in an obscure land, speaking to an obscure people about obscure and dictatorial and controlling obcure practices, are relevant to today. They mostly aren't. My experience is that when a nation, government, president, church or group "can do no wrong," wrong is all they get good at. I know you know that too but don't apply it to the group you associate with. You should.

I know you are told you are special and that others are not. I know that you are told you are chosen and called, while others are not chosen and not called. I know you believe you have special saving knowledge while others are lost. I know you are told that you are true and others false. I know you are led to believe that your thinking is correct on all topics biblical and prophectic and all others are wrong. I know you can't imagine you are wrong about a hundred biblical ideas and speculations, but you are.

I know you think that this President was put in power by God himself but I am not sure that you know that even he says he hears the voice of God, which is why he went to war. I know when others hear the voice of God in your local congregation, you marginalize them and think they are weird and strange or may need help. But on a national scale, you seem to accept the voice of God in the heads of men who can start a war that leads to everything BUT the Second Coming. I know you can't imagine having to clean up after such a mistake because I know you can't imagine any biblical or prophetic mistakes being made. But they are being made big time and cleaning up after the sh*t hits the fan, may be all you get to do, and of course, be asked what went wrong and where is Jesus?

I know you are afraid to die personally, just as every human being before you has. I know you, like Paul, prefer to be "changed," at the sound of the trumpet and not die at all. After all, Paul said "we would not all die." I am not sure you realize he had to retract that later in life. They all had to retract it.

I know how you feel about "God's Law" and how much better off we'd all be if we kept "it." But I also know you aren't real sure which ones to keep. Sabbath over Sunday? Passover over Easter? Holydays over holidays? I know some think parents should still get to stone rebellious children. I know you are nuts if you think that. I know you know that "God's Law" means different things to differrent people and I know that you tend to confuse what to keep from the Old Testament nation of Israel and drag it over into the New and the Church... well, except tithing of course.

I know how you think we are all spiritual Israelites, but how would you feel if someone kept calling you a spiritual Zulu in order to be saved? How about a Spiritual Sioux? Actually I'd love that but that's my preference.

I also know, because I was one of you, that you don't know near as much as you think you know. You're knowing is, at times, wishful thinking, or sanctified ignorance based on the sole fact that it's what you have always been taught. I know that learning new perspectives is not something you are encouraged to do. I know that admitting you are wrong is not something you are often able to do. When science makes a mistake, it admits it and uses whatever information was good for future studies. When religion and churches make mistakes, they kill the people who point it out. That's how it goes.

But I also know that over zealous pastors and fundamentalists need to be cautioned about your zealotry gone wrong. Zealous and sanctified ignorance can provoke all the Vials, Trumpets, Trombones and Beasts of Revelation and you will get everything promoted in the Book of Revelation EXCEPT the Second Coming. What you will get is one big mess to clean up, if you survive along with the rest of us. You'll get a place in history as the reason why the next generation wants nothing to do with organized religion or ministers and pastors who can't admit they are wrong and it's not all about them after all. You'll reap a whirlwind but not the Kingdom of God to bale you out.

While the President may or may not have said, "God told me to strike at Sadaam and I did...", it has never in the history of the planet worked out well when society has let religion call the shots as to what is and what isn't. I know you know that. I just hope you will think long and hard about the chaos fundamentalism of any kind, Islamic or Christian can bring to the lives of well meaning humans who simply want to be left alone to live, learn and love without the drama of religious ignorance.

 

 

Dennis Diehl is a former pastor of 26 years,  who outgrew the Literalism of Fundamentalism.  He writes about Pastoral and Church abuse and is available to speak on such topics or be helpful to any church suffering under abusive (more...)
 
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To me, all religions are just middlemen who repack... by Roger on Saturday, Jun 23, 2007 at 9:31:24 PM
To read such bold wisdom from a trained pastor is ... by Eileen Fleming on Sunday, Jun 24, 2007 at 11:16:23 AM
Thanks for your observations.  Yes, I find th... by Dennis Diehl on Sunday, Jun 24, 2007 at 11:55:14 AM
Have to admit, your article HIT HOME! Pretty much... by apostlethaddeus on Sunday, Jun 24, 2007 at 6:11:01 PM
Christian Fundamentalism -- The High Cost of Being... by Robert Chapman on Monday, Jun 25, 2007 at 8:59:59 AM
It would be very helpful if you would give Book, C... by pratliff94 on Monday, Jun 25, 2007 at 10:27:18 AM
Well, we have had different experiences with relig... by Dennis Diehl on Monday, Jun 25, 2007 at 11:22:42 AM
Christian Fundamentalism -- The High Cost of Being... by Dennis Diehl on Monday, Jun 25, 2007 at 11:25:23 AM
You've said a lot of things extremely well, De... by Al Krass on Thursday, Jun 28, 2007 at 1:13:46 PM
Yes, you are right.  Many words were placed i... by Dennis Diehl on Thursday, Jun 28, 2007 at 1:38:44 PM

 

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