Q: I noticed you had an article published on a  “fundamentalist” website. Are you a fundamentalist?

A: Definitions are important, and I can’t answer the question without understanding how you mean the term. For example, one critic of fundamentalism says,

“…we realize that we most often do not possess all the information necessary for our conclusion to be immutable. The fundamentalist either does know this or is unwilling to recognize the obvious.

It is easy to say…fundamentalism, when acted upon, is the scourge of the modern world.” (http://askville.amazon.com/define-religious-fundamentalism/AnswerViewer.do?requestId=39817242)

This perspective of fundamentalism suggests that fundamentalists are so confident in their own beliefs that they are unwilling to think reasonably and consider other perspectives. This sentiment is echoed by Richard Dawkins, who describes a stubborn position defying reasoned argument or contradictory evidence (Richard Dawkins Richard, The God Delusion)

 

If this is what you mean by fundamentalism, then I would most definitely not consider myself in that group for several reasons: (1) I do not think so highly of my own opinions or positions that I would not reconsider them, abandoning them if necessary, in light of the data of Scripture, and any other data secondarily, (2) The Bible presents reason and mindset as being very important in the life of the believer – thus there is not to be any such thing as un-reasoned faith (e.g., Colossians 3:1-4; Romans 12:1-2); and (3) I will reassess my views in light of contradictory evidence – I just consider certain kinds of evidence to have more validity than others (for example, I hold in higher regard the propositions of Scripture, than I do the atheistic presuppositions of Richard Dawkins…what he would call evidence, I would not, and what I would call evidence, he would not – not based on reason or lack of reason, but based on presuppositions. We are working from the same data, but interpret that data far differently based on our presuppositions).

 

However, if by the term fundamentalist you mean that I hold to the “five fundamentals” of, for example, the Niagara Bible Conference in 1910 (the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible, the virgin birth of Jesus, Christ’s death as atonement for sin, His bodily resurrection, and the historicity of His miracles), then yes, you could label me a fundamentalist.

For the record,  in light of the more recent pejorative use of the term (especially relating fundamentalism to the terroristic aspects of Islam), I distance myself emphatically from the term, preferring other ways to communicate my agreement with the five fundamentals of the Christian faith.

For example, I prefer something like this: “I am one of these goofballs that believes every word of the Bible to be accurate in the original manuscripts, and that submission to the Text has broad implications for every area of life (see 2 Timothy 3:16-17).”

So…a goofball, maybe, but not a radical fundamentalist nutjob, if you don’t mind.

cc

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