New Fundamentalism: They’ve Become What They Hate

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:

8.13.19 Christian Humanism (Edit #1)

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:

8.13.19 Christian Humanism (Edit #2)

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:

 

8.13.19 Christian Humanism (Edit #3)

8.13.19 Christian Humanism (Edit #4)

 

8.13.19 Christian Humanism (Edit #6)

8.13.19 Christian Humanism (Edit #7)

8.13.19 Christian Humanism (Edit #8)

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)

8.13.19 Christian Humanism (#5)

6 thoughts on “New Fundamentalism: They’ve Become What They Hate

  1. Rhonda Crosser

    Amanda, I have to say I agree fully with what you are sharing. Thank you for being bold and taking on those conversations. While I work in church, I so often feel unequipped to respond with logic and reason on what they are saying. I love listening to your dad’s podcast which you frequent on. Personally this has hit me so hard as I have watched people that I know and love who taught me about faith who were pastors and writers decide that they were wrong in their preaching and teaching. It starts with a little difference and then it goes down this slope that they can’t stop. Suddenly there is no hell? Sorry didn’t Jesus preach on hell a whole hell of a lot?
    Thank you for being the laughter and voice of reason during this! Keep going strong!

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    1. mrsmcmommy Post author

      Thanks for reading (and listening to the podcast) Rhonda! There were many, many people declaring the Truth of Jesus on social media the last few days. So let’s be encouraged by that. 🙂

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  2. Mel Wild

    It’s in vogue to reject Christianity (at least, whatever they think it is they’re rejecting) these days. But it all reminds me of what C.S. Lewis said: “You can’t go on “seeing through” things forever. The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it. To “see through” all things is the same as not to see.”

    As you said, I also hear people saying why they don’t “believe” anymore, then when I ask them what they do believe, they usually don’t have no clue. Sounds like a first-world problem to me.

    To quote Monty Python, “Tis a silly place.” 🙂

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  3. buckyinky

    I’ve been enjoying your podcast for the first time while commuting this past week. Discovered also your blog as a result of hearing you talk about it on the podcast. Glad to have done so!

    John Cooper’s words are encouraging. This seems like an interesting thing to ponder though. Seems there is not a little weight given in the argument to the fact that Cooper looks like what the World would call, and encourage a person to be, a “non-conformist.” He’s obviously not in appearance at least, a boring, predictable, loyal-dude Christian. How significant is this in the attention we give him, and what does that mean about us and our arguments? What I mean is, would you have been as inclined to blog on the subject if, say, a John MacArthur wrote something similar on Facebook, and why or why not?

    For my part I don’t see anything objectionable about it in itself, as long as one recognizes the weakness in the argument. It seems to be the same weakness that drew attention to Josh Harris and the Hillsong guy when they first became public figures. In their cases, the weakness was exposed, and it becomes a point to ponder that maybe these fellas were given an inordinate amount of attention in the first place, causing damage that probably could have been foreseen. The damage they have caused wouldn’t have been nearly what it is if we had been wiser years back. Then there also is a temptation to something like vengefulness in giving him a platform. We have our own Goths…take that Bolz-Weber! Again, no objection to what you wrote, more of something I’ve been pondering as I think about bringing Cooper’s statement to the attention of other Christians in my family for their edification, which I’ll probably do.

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    1. mrsmcmommy Post author

      Thanks for listening/reading. 🙂
      When I shared the link to John Cooper’s post on Facebook, what I wrote was “God forbid this man backtracks on all of this stuff in a few years. But he’s spot on right now!”

      At this point, I will support ANYONE who understands what’s happening in the culture enough to stand up and speak plainly about it, instead of being intimidated by the idiots who are going to blame them for “judging” and “making people feel uncomfortable at church.”

      Speak the truth, whether you’re a tattooed white dude or a millionaire black woman or a teenager just beginning a music career or a homeschooling housewife…

      Speak the truth.

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