Anyone who knows me at all well, knows that I’m a bit of a crusader when it comes to fundamentalism. Since I fully admit that, I never ask people to accept my conclusions without good documentation.
I’ll try to be nice here, but please don’t hold me to it.
First of all, fundamentalist Christians refuse to accept that this description to the left is actually what is described in Genesis as the structure of the earth and universe. As you can see, it is not a globe at all, but rather a series of pillars, o’er covered with a “dome” with water above it, and of course below. The sun and visible planets and stars are inside the dome.
If you read the flood stories, you will note that this depiction allows for the waters to both arise from the earth and the sky. It also accounts for the oft-heard phrase, “four corners of the earth”. The “earth” was actually a flat disk. This is acknowledged by Jewish experts who ought to understand their own texts better than others, one would think.
Since even the most staunch Christian fundie accepts the spherical actuality of the globe, you can see why they can’t accept this actual description of Genesis but must fudge it to account for reality.
My point is simply that fundamentalism is based in large part on a fanatical belief in the truthiness of a book, and it is a self-serving literal-ness at best. In this they are no different from other fundamentalists in other religions. As any Muslim will tell you, fundamentalist jihadists misread and twist the Quran in a similar fashion in order to get it to “say what they want it to say.”
Suggesting that all fundamentalists are cut from the same cloth, sets the Christian right on edge. They deny it of course. Indeed if you look at the Wikipedia entry on fundamentalism, you discover that it is not limited to even religion at all but pertains to any ideology which is reduced to an irreducible set” of precepts which cannot be deviated from in any respect. A strict literalism is imposed as to the agreed upon rules.
Bob Altemeyer has done some exceptional work in this area, and makes his main research “The Authoritarians” avail as a PDF file here. The Wikipedia entry, while certainly nothing but a starting point, has a fine bibliography to get your started located here. Psychology has done much work in the area and you might start with this Pathos article, which will lead you to books and studies. Another well-researched book might be The Fundamentalist Mind by Strozier, Termen, Jones, and Boyd. This should help get you started if you wish to learn more. Again, don’t accept my word for it, go to the actual sources.
My point is not to rehash what is common knowledge, among anyone who wants to understand why we are troubled in this country with a segment of society which continues to place it’s personal religious interests above the common good, and most would say common sense. It is rather to point out by the above, that these are not choices made by rational minds, but rather what certain brain configurations are prone to fall into. Since in most cases it is extremely hard to eradicate or upset these mindsets, the only solution is to be ever vigilant to keep them out of the decision-making arenas of our common lives.
This we have done a poor job of doing.
Since we believe that religion is a matter of personal preference, we are loath to interrupt those preferences by any sort of “test” to eliminate those belief systems that threaten us all. And I agree that we should continue to do so. But we must also recognize that there are those among us who want a world much different from the one we inhabit. It is their stated purpose and their heartfelt belief that we should all be forced if necessary to accept their world vision in the guise of a government reactive to their vision of God.
They believe in a nutshell that all laws must be referenced to a book, the Bible in this case, and that of course they will tell you what the Bible says should be the law.
You may or not be aware that James Inhofe, (R-Ok) is the new chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee. Inhofe has for years argued that climate change is a hoax. Inhofe has received, tens of thousands of dollars from fossil fuel interests to fund his campaigns. Of course he tells you that he is a true believer, and perhaps that is true. It is always hard to say. But in any case, the Senator is prepared to argue that 98% of the scientific community is wrong on the issue of man-made climate change, and that his fundamentalist-driven approach is true.
What Inhofe admits, is that it doesn’t matter if climate change is occurring. Man is arrogant to go against God in this matter. As his proof he raises Genesis 8:22 which is God’s promise:
As long as the earth endures, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”
Of course they also interpret that “as long as the earth endures” involves a “self-correcting resilience” that they nowhere find in the bible, but assume.
What I am being asked to accept is that the US and by implication no one else, should do anything about the clear evidence of a catastrophe in the making because of what a few people who are in no way experts in either the bible or the science of climate have decided is best for us all. Are you willing to stake the lives of your children and grandchildren on their being right?
Is Inhofe any different from the thousands who have gone to stand upon hilltops on the appointed day and hour to await the second coming, always to return home at dawn, a home that often no longer is theirs since they have sold or given away everything to insure God knows them as the true believers they profess to be?
Are we to go instead to live in Chief Justice Roy Moore’s world in Alabama? Judge Moore tells the Governor in that state to ignore a legal judicial pronouncement from a federal court on the illegality of a gay marriage ban because the judge has determined that the bible told him otherwise, and by fiat he proclaims the federal court decision as “unconstitutional.”
So much for the rule of law. While running for governor himself, Moore decried evolution teaching as “distorting our way of thinking”. Yet, the electorate in Alabama saw fit to elect him as Chief Judge of their Supreme Court, making him the greatest interpreter of the law in the state. This is sanity?
My point is that these people are dangerous to OUR life. We can laugh at them, we can face palm their stupidity and their childish emotional needs all we want, but they have carefully and for the most part quietly wormed their way into positions of power within our country. They have infiltrated school boards, city councils, state legislatures, and obviously on into our higher governmental positions where they, armed with pseudo-science and pseudo-theology, restructure our laws to fit their kingdom to come as they view it.
We ignore them at our peril. If we don’t stand against this sort of soft-headedness, we cannot expect an electorate who by and large is too busy to think these things through themselves to do it for us. We will find ourselves soon before the modern-day Inquisition defending truth against a country that is now governed by a rabble of no longer able or willing to discern truth from fantasy religious fanatics. They are NO DIFFERENT THAN JIHADISTS PEOPLE.
You have been warned.