Monday, March 5, 2007


"e·van·gel·i·cal [ee-van-jel-i-kuhl, ev-uhn-] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation –adjective
1.Also, e·van·gel·ic. pertaining to or in keeping with the gospel and its teachings.
2.belonging to or designating the Christian churches that emphasize the teachings and authority of the Scriptures, esp. of the New Testament, in opposition to the institutional authority of the church itself, and that stress as paramount the tenet that salvation is achieved by personal conversion to faith in the atonement of Christ.
3.designating Christians, esp. of the late 1970s, eschewing the designation of fundamentalist but holding to a conservative interpretation of the Bible.
4.pertaining to certain movements in the Protestant churches in the 18th and 19th centuries that stressed the importance of personal experience of guilt for sin, and of reconciliation to God through Christ.
5.marked by ardent or zealous enthusiasm for a cause.
–noun adherent of evangelical doctrines or a person who belongs to an evangelical church or party."

Okay, follow me so far?

"fun·da·men·tal·ism [fuhn-duh-men-tl-iz-uhm] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation –noun
1.(sometimes initial capital letter) a movement in American Protestantism that arose in the early part of the 20th century in reaction to modernism and that stresses the infallibility of the Bible not only in matters of faith and morals but also as a literal historical record, holding as essential to Christian faith belief in such doctrines as the creation of the world, the virgin birth, physical resurrection, atonement by the sacrificial death of Christ, and the Second Coming.
2.the beliefs held by those in this movement.
3.strict adherence to any set of basic ideas or principles: the fundamentalism of the extreme conservatives."

Thank you,, for that insight.

I'd just like to point out how insanely tired I am, being at a liberal college in the heart of the southern baptist bible belt, to hear this discussion over and over again.

On the one hand I have extremely liberal (mostly atheist, some eastern religion followers, some agnostic) people who use the term "evangelical christian" to broadly define my faith. Their connotation of Christianity is one where the church leaders sit in their tower, refuse to open their mind to any new ideas, and daily add to the list of people they believe are going to hell. The leaders, of course, are going to heaven and have all the answers. Anyone who doesn't listen to them is wrong.

On the other hand I have extremely conservative (mostly southern baptists who don't really research their beliefs for themselves beyond what their pastors tell them every sunday, which they willingly gobble up) followers who think they have all the right answers to Christianity's tough questions. What happens to homosexuals after they die? "They go to hell." What about people who have never had the opportunity to hear the gospel of Christ? "They go to hell." Liars? "Hell." Thieves? Murderers? Vagabonds? "Hell, hell, hell." My dog Skippy? "Hell."

These two positions really aren't reconcilable. I hate to use this word, but this is dualism. You have to believe one of the other, it seems. Is this true? If these are the arguments, then yes. I believe, though, that there is a middle ground. There is a road through these two positions which satisfy both.

The first position wrongfully classifies the second position as "evangelical christianity." It isn't. The first definition says that evangelical chrisitianity is simply a belief that Christ is the way and the bible is right. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and we need Christs grace to reconcile that sin for us. These are really the basic beliefs of Christianity. What they are really describing is "fundamentalist christianity," which is the very strict belief that every word of the bible is infallibly true. It took seven literal days for God to create the universe. When Paul says, "women shouldn't talk in the church," they take it out of context and believe that completely. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, so homosexuals are evil and should be destroyed. It's christian extremisim. Any form of extremism gets dangerous, so it's understandable that this upsets people.

Misnomers aside, these liberal thinkers have a point. The vocal minority in christianity, probably descendents of those who started the crusades, have set the tone for society to think about this faith. Though it is an incorrect application of the texts and is an utterly terrible representation of christianity, it is getting all of the clout. Bad. The people opposed, however, are just condemning christianity based on christians, which is a logical fallacy.

Fundamentalists are not any better. Condemning people is not christianity. In this faith, there is only one triune that is able to make judgements like this, and that is the Godhead. Aside from that judge, my kindergarten teacher comes to mind. She told me, "Let Mark worry about Mark!" I don't need to worry about my nieghbor or condemn that person for their life, because I'm not any better. I'll never be perfect and thus will never have grounds to criticize someone's decisions for their life. I can have an opinion and a general concept or what is right and wrong, but leading by example is the way of Jesus.

This is all just a vent, so I know I didn't take the time to make this a clear and concise arguments and there are holes in what I just said. I'm not asking anyone to agree or argue with me. I'm just stating.

No comments: