Fundamentalism is Dead – Long Live Fundamentalism Part 1: Embracing an insult

A few weeks ago, an article was posted by a blogger for Psychology Today suggesting that the shooting in Charleston was, at root, caused by anti-intellectualism and ultimately fundamentalism. I have not, due to current events, had a chance to answer this objection until now.

It has become a common ploy among many anti-Christians (particularly among the extreme members of the political left), to use the long running “snob appeal” method of propaganda in an attempt to silence debate. This article is, in and of itself, perhaps the epitome of irony, when one considers that it is a good example of anti-intellectualism. The article does not feel the need to discuss the support for its position,[1] it rather assumes the truthfulness of its point and assaults any disagreement with rhetorical impunity; on this grounds it is an example of why some Christians have referred to as the New Atheists as a type of Fundamentalism.

This is not new, these charges of anti-intellectualism actually go back to the Briggs Heresy trial, when most people began paying attention to what would eventually become known as the “Fundamentalist/modernist controversy.” Today, the term “Fundamentalism” is an almost  meaningless insult, built on false assumptions of the the historic Fundamentalist movement, distortions that are partially made possible through studies that rely heavily on cherry-picking the evidence.

Yet, in many senses, these unreasoned charges of being a “fundamentalist” are perhaps a modern example of the reproach of Christ. The name Christian itself likely began as an insult, and Christians in the early church were accused of eating babies and incest by Roman society. We are indeed in good company if the world hates us.

Many people today consider the Fundamentalist era of the Church to be over, but contrary to bloggers who use this label derisively, I believe perhaps we need a renewal of the Fundamentalist Spirit in our apologetics.

Many, accurately, would say the Fundamentalist era is over. Yet, while times change and expressions of the faith change, some things do not. Some people would have us abandon the faith on insufficient grounds, arguing the faith must simply adapt to the times and the culture; this is the fundamental root heresy of the emerging church, it seeks to subordinate the truth of God to the understanding of man.

Sometimes, my Baptist roots come to the fore; while the Old Fundamentalism may be gone, it is time for a new Fundamentalism to rise like the proverbial phoenix. It is time not to acquiesce to the winds of change, but to plant the flag of the Cross and say, “We will not be moved.”

Fundamentalism is dead, long live fundamentalism.

            [1] Take for example, the discussion of global warming. The author takes no time to discuss why human caused global warming is an assured result, he does not deal with counter arguments, and he does not demonstrate how this connects to “fundamentalism.” He later asserts “Corporate influence on climate and environmental policy, meanwhile, is simply more evidence of anti-intellectualism in action.” Thus he adds the ad hominem fallacy to his list of sins against reason, since he argues not against the counter-arguments raised on the question of global warming but against insinuated motives of those raising these arguments.

Similarly he argues that ignorance is at the root of racism, and largely dismisses intellectual racists. Yet, it is difficult to charge that the old Social Darwinism, the great instigator of mid-19th century through early 20th century racism as being anti-intellectual. One can certainly claim that social Darwinists were wrong, as genetic studies have demonstrated, one might note that they were intellectual elitists, but one cannot accuse them of anti-intellectualism.

One thought on “Fundamentalism is Dead – Long Live Fundamentalism Part 1: Embracing an insult

  1. Pingback: Fundamentalism is Dead, Long Live Fundamentalism Part 4: The Death of the Fundamentalist Movement | Truth in the Trenches

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