(This is a repost of a Facebook note from September 4, 2009)
Okay, here’s the deal. Fundamentalism drives me crazy. Do you want to know why fundamentalism upsets me so? Do you want to know why I am ashamed of the country or the church when people think and behave in fundamentalist ways?
It’s because I used to be like that, and it’s something that I regret and am ashamed of. I remember dismissing everyone that believed differently than me. I remember the arrogance of thinking that I was right and everyone else was wrong. I remember ignoring ideas that were different than mine or challenged the way I thought. I remember burying my head in the sand and only interacting with an insulated community of people that believed and behaved the same way as me.
In all honesty, the religious fundamentalism of a high school senior and college freshman was relatively harmless. Sure, I no doubt offended people, turned people away, and ruined some relationships. But I was relatively harmless.
But on a larger scale, I have learned how dangerous fundamentalism can me. In our country, political fundamentalism has ruined national discourse and makes me wonder if we will ever be able to accomplish anything productive through our gridlocked political process. We’ve seen fundamentalist Muslims wage war on the West and fundamentalist Christians fanning the flames. Those same fundamentalist Christians have perverted the gospel and the church so badly that many people have given up on Christianity, and I can hardly blame them.
Fundamentalism is nothing but a path to destruction. It makes me angry, it makes me sad, it makes me ashamed.