Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Goodbye To Fundamentalism!
I still am a Christian. I still believe in God's Word. I am sure many would consider many of my beliefs "classically fundamentalist" when it comes to belief in God's Word, I see fundamentalism as just another "ism" to kick to the curb.
That said I have to be honest on this blog and have to admit, that I no longer consider myself a fundamentalist, and my ongoing division with the religious right and the rest has grown stronger. How much of "fundamentalism" in America has absolutely nothing to do with God or Christianity and has become about nothing but "control", "fear" and "punishment".
It's sometimes scary because I know I am in a place that "defies" the labels. It can make communication more tougher. People want to figure out where a person is coming from and the short-hand labels serve as an easy marker. Many of us who have left the church system sometimes do feel like we are floating out in space. People ask us, "What are you?" and besides saying "Christian" what do you tell them?
Dealing with that spiritual abuser and false "deliverance" person has led me to some more self examination and theological musings. It has changed me not only to have left the last IFB in the last 18 months, but also that whole process and examining spiritual abuse issues. I hope I never have been spiritually abusive to anyone judging them on high, I definitely have examined some of my own tactics. I don't want to be like that person who messed with me and preached legalism and religiosity beyond measure. She probably was a closet Satanist but there's many who believe themselves to be Christians causing a lot of damage to people. They take self righteousness to new heights and the Bible warns about those people with the "appearance of godliness". There's a lot of people being hurt by false religion and legalists and I never want to be one of those doing the damage to someone else.
Recently I have been in some strong spiritual battles, I have even feared my own falling away they have been so bad. Some unanswered prayers have piled up and my own relationship with God has entered a very troubled area. Imagine the metaphor of a marriage when it comes to God. There have been arguments, railings and slammed doors and then apologies and repentance, but then more arguments. It has been a mess. Some of the arguments with God even had to do with "how my life has turned out" and feelings of deep grief. I have to apply SOME OF THINGS I MYSELF warned about on this blog years ago, where false fundamentalists teach things like "a good life here" means you are "blessed by God". I suppose real communication is better then trying to be fake in front of God. Spiritual tests and battles will come to people.
I have battled dealing with feeling that God does not love me which I posted on already and trying to stand on scripture to fight Satan's lies. I have overcome some of these problems but still remaining in some struggle. It is related to personal and other issues. False fundamentalism can damage someone's relationship with God. It did me. That spiritual abuser planted some terrible seeds, and almost could have succeeded in destroying my faith. Spiritual abuse has repercussions and I have faced them. Those who speak only judgment and no kindness and love can drive a wedge between someone and God. Fundamentalism in America has become nothing but. The love is gone. Love is an issue I am thinking on a LOT lately and Love between me, God and others. Choosing between cold people who claim they stand on sound doctrine and have no love, and the mushy world of liberal "love" where anything goes is not much of a choice is it?
I think about people who walked from God deeming God "their enemy" because He did not bless them or their lives became full of more problems. Its a lot of people. "Perfect" Fundamentalist Frank and Francine with their Quiverful family and white-picket fence lives and Moral Majority culture wars, have sent many people fleeing what they think is Christianity. Some people just want to have some love, and comfort and feel like God cares about them. The regular world sees "Christian" fundamentalists as evil and while some are in that category of being offended by true servants of the Lord, giving them the gospel , many see the power-hungry, mean and others using religion to bash people in the face, make money and get power.
I know the religious right world is a world I have warned of for years on this blog but it is a world I know I will never fit in. In many ways I never fit in the "fundamentalist" world either though I tried for years to find a place in the IFB churches with my first experience being more positive, and the second more negative and me changing along the way.
The fundamentalist world is JUST another system to be rejected. I have warned of the excesses of fundamentalism. I have warned of many of them for years. Many will tell you that if you reject the religious right, the anti-intellectualism, and the authoritarianism, this means you must add in the rejection of God's Word and beliefs based upon it. Some will shout that your rejection of these things means you no longer hold to scripture and Christian beliefs. They are wrong. Stand on what you know.
This is where the forced squashing into either one of the sides of the "right" and "left" religious and political matrix can become the worse. I meet fellow Christians like me sometimes who have left the "system" so to speak and the automatic reaction is that you "have turned liberal" and ready to join the world of the Presbyterian USA denomination or United Church of Christ, or the mainliner or liturgical world, and that you will want to read Sojourners. That is simply not true. This can be like walking through a thicket. Here is where you will be told, you have "formed your own religion" and if you are the "only person" who believes this way, then you have "formed your own cult". Trust me I have undergone some major self questioning ABOUT ALL OF THIS.
For those out of the religious system, maybe you have dealt with this stuff too. One person said to me, "If your beliefs are so strange, that you don't fit anywhere and cannot find one tolerable church you are in a very extreme place." This means most every other Christian holds very wrong beliefs except for YOU and this probably means you need to "rethink" your ideas and conform somewhat."
Talk about laying on the pressure. One thing they don't realize that inside, conforming would have been the easiest path. Too many have conformed from the first place and didn't say NO to the excesses, otherwise why did the churches run off the rails so much? Is the only alternative to crazed and mean "Christian" Taliban Dominionists running into the arms of those who reject scripture, and teach that all religions lead to the same place?
Yes conforming would have been the EASIEST path. I wouldn't feel so alone in this. I spent a lot of time trying to find a place where I would "fit" and "belong" and never did. It hurt a lot. I had some dreams about THIS LIFE, that died. Because of my past history, the desire for a church "family" was very strong, but I've been enough places to know I could not just sit somewhere and digest what I was told without thinking about it and examining it. If I had found a place where open communication was allowed and iron sharpening iron, that would have made all the difference, even with minor disagreements I could have handled it, instead of just being spoon-fed from on high. I suppose those places are very rare now. I believe I myself am responsible for what I know and it's true of every person.
I'm done with fundamentalism. Right now it's not just the excesses, but the whole ball of wax.
One wants to seek after God's love, and lover for others too. I don't mean in the mushy enabling of evil way either but where we feel love and able to give love to others. The power and control matrix of what passes for "Christanity" today has reached absurd levels.
I am not sure where I am going with all this, I am in my own path of exploration. Where am I going? My mind is changing on some things but definitely not the truth of God's Word and the gospel of Jesus Christ.