A few years ago, I wrote about my escape from “Fundamentalism.”
I noticed that people are attracted to the testimonies of ex-Evangelicals who are willing to say critical things about Christianity. (The public just loves that stuff!) So I wrote my post as if I were going to call out my Fundamentalist parents and pastors for ruining my childhood….only to pull a switch at the end to describe the way New Fundamentalists are 100 times more dangerous because they think they’re better.
This week, after a couple of high-profile “DeConversion Testimonies” have made the rounds on social media, the conversation about New Fundmentalism is relevant again.
I was encouraged to see John Cooper (of the band Skillet), clearly and unflinchingly describe the problem with former Christians who keep using their platforms to lead people, even when they have no idea where they’re going:
“I am stunned that the seemingly most important thing for these leaders who have lost their faith is to make such a bold new stance. Basically saying, “I’ve been living and preaching boldly something for 20 years and led generations of people with my teachings and now I no longer believe it..therefore I’m going to boldly and loudly tell people it was all wrong while I boldly and loudly lead people in to my next truth.” Why be so eager to continue leading people when you clearly don’t know where you are headed?
…So the influencers become the voice for truth in whatever stage of life and whatever evolution takes place in their thinking.”
Cooper absolutely nails it with this statement.
In this culture, it doesn’t matter if someone completely changes the message they’ve been speaking for years, they still want to hold the microphone the entire time, without losing a bit of credibility.
These bold speakers see themselves (first and foremost) as TEACHERS, regardless of what they’re actually teaching. Whether they’re saying “Up” or “Down” or “Red” or “Green,” they want to have an audience listening to their declarations no matter where they go.
This mindset will lead right back to Fundamentalism every, single time.
I could have chosen several different threads to use in my example, but here’s the one I ultimately documented for posterity:
First, I want to clarify that I don’t have a problem with “rethinking Christianity,” in general. On this blog, I ask questions all the time, which I hope will encourage Fundamentalists of all stripes to challenge their own beliefs…
But–consistency is very important to me.
So, if you are going to make any absolute statemets about being “empathetic, open, and decent,” you better be willing to question THOSE assumptions, as well. Otherwise Blue is correct: you are simply practicing bigotry of a different color.
If I can’t rebuild, reframe, and reconstruct your new perspective, then you’re no better off than James Dobson:
I’m not going to add commentary between all of the screenshots, because the post will get too long… Just skim through this conversation and see how many blatant contradictions and double-standards you can spot:
And this was when I decided to leave Red, Yellow, and Green to continue their church service without me… Their religion is too deeply-engrained and they have built too many walls for a lone stranger on Facebook to be given a fair shot at dialog.
The best I can do with this conversation is draw attention to a growing sub-culture of Ex-Christians (or Humanists or Non-labeled-People or Whatever) and then ask the Holy Spirit to use it for His glory somehow…
At the end of the day, Fundamentalism is damaging and dangerous no matter who engages in it. (In that sense, I agree with Red. It doesn’t matter what you call yourself.)
But, don’t tell me that everyone has a right to work through their own faith with no outside judgment, while you judge James Dobson’s and John Piper’s faith.
Don’t wag your finger at people who won’t let you “deconstruct” their religion when no one is allowed to question yours, either. (And, oh my gosh, don’t get me started on this “I’m traumatized, so I can invent my own rules” B.S.)
If this mess of contradictions and self-glorification is your new religion, I think very little of it.
You have become the Fundamental thing which you hate.
(My final comments in the thread are below)