Thesis: Fundamentalism Christianity

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¶ … Christians

The prevalence and impact of religious fundamentalism among the peoples of the world has been of great and growing interest to the global community in the past decade, and indeed in the latter half of the twentieth century. As at various other periods throughout human history, the differences between different religious beliefs and the populations that adhere to them are playing a more prominent role in world politics, and the question of fundamentalist behaviors must be addressed. It is not only abroad -- and, to be frank, in Arabic and Islamic countries -- that one can find religious fundamentalism at work, however. Though Islam and Muslims, specifically those living in theocracies and dictatorships, have received increased scrutiny of late, fundamentalist sects are present in many if not all of the world's religions. Even in the United States, fundamentalist religious groups are enjoying a resurgence.

From the debate over abortion to the teaching of evolution in schools, religion -- particularly Christian fundamentalism -- has come to dominate and possibly create many of the most prominent political and social debates. In both the breadth of their involvement and the fervency of their rhetoric, these Christian fundamentalists show an uncompromising intolerance to other worldviews and an embittered proselytizing of their own that is characteristic, and indeed even the defining feature, of fundamentalism (Ruthven). But can any group or person who so completely fits the definition of a fundamentalist be considered a true Christian? Even on the surface, the tolerance, acceptance, and forbearance that are among Jesus' most well know teachings do not seem to fit with -- and in fact, seem diametrically opposed to -- the intolerance and even violent rejection of society and sin that seem to be among the most essential parts of Christian fundamentalist beliefs, calling the very label of "Christian" into question.

According to scholar and Christian Charles Hendrick, "Forgiveness of sins is one of the key marks of Christianity. Christ died to seal our forgiveness by God. We [Christians] are expected to respond by forgiving each other, and acting as a force for reconciliation in the world" (Hendrick par. 41). The condemnation by fundamentalist groups of various other individuals and sectors of the population who disagree with them are impossible to fit into this concept of forgiveness. One example of this is the reaction of fundamentalist Christian groups to homosexuals and homosexuality in general. It is certainly within their moral right to believe that homosexual behavior is wrong, but certain actions and statements made by Christian fundamentalist leaders go much further. After Matthew Shepard, a homosexual teenager, was killed in a hate crime, Rev. Fred Phelps attempted to erect a statue of Shepard with the date he "entered hell" and the implication that he deserved to be brutally murdered (Robinson, par. 10).

It should be quite clear that this does not fit with the Christian ideal of forgiveness; even after his death, there were some fundamentalist leaders who called themselves Christian who wished to continually condemn Matthew Shepard, and to use his death to spread further hatred. This also displays the arrogance of Christian fundamentalists in their apparent willingness to supercede scripture. When it comes to the Day of Judgment, the Bible says that "no one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father" (Matthew 24:36). Phelps, along with many other fundamentalist Christians, are directly refuting the words of the Bible that they claim to live by in their earthly condemnation and prognosis of heavenly damnation for homosexuals and others who they perceives as sinners.

It is obviously appropriate to question whether or not such fundamentalist beliefs -- and the individuals who adhere to them -- are indeed Christian. This leads to somewhat treacherous ground, however, as this is a practice that the fundamentalists themselves are guilty of.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Fundamentalism Christianity.  (2009, June 4).  Retrieved June 26, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/fundamentalism-christianity/7537

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"Fundamentalism Christianity."  Essaytown.com.  June 4, 2009.  Accessed June 26, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/fundamentalism-christianity/7537.