I read a rant in Seth Godin's book, "Small is the New Big," today that maligned fundamentalist and tried to marginalize their beliefs by calling them superstitious and equating them to pigeons. This was sort of surprising because Godin normally commentates on "out of the box" business thinking and not on religious beliefs. Now to be fair he framed the whole argument against fundamentalist by pointing directly at the world of business but he did his best to let it be known that he felt the same ill will towards religious fundamentalist.
I say all of this just to give you some background to the line of thought that ran through my head after reading this rant. Godin made it seem that the best way to handle fundamentalist would be to "rationally" question the faith that has led them to be fundamental on any point. In respect to me and Jeremy we are most often called fundamental when it comes to our faith in Jesus Christ as the sole Son of God and Savior of mankind. Does this make us fundamentalist who need be questioned into rationalizing our faith until we finally give up on God all together and admit that man is the greatest being in the universe and deserves all the praise for what he has accomplished? No it just means that I have a faith that guides my actions and thoughts; however, in our society we have allowed labels like fundamentalist and evangelical stunt our thinking about what a person who is labeled one of the terms actually is. For instance Jeremy and I are both Christians, but Jeremy is a capitalist hippy and I am a socialist. Does that fit into the label of fundamentalist? Or evangelical? I think it is interesting how excited the media gets when an evangelical pastor decides to crusade against global warming or poverty or aids... its like just because this type of activism does not fit into the stereotype that society has labeled "Christian" it is suddenly news... never mind that Jesus commanded us to care for the poor and sick... forget that God called us to be good stewards of the planet! Honestly most people go around thinking that Christians are a people who follow this giant list of "Do Not's" Like Do not drink, do not lie, do not cheat, do not kill, do not have an affair with neighbors wife, but in actuality the Christian Faith is a list of "Do's" Jesus said the two greatest commandments are to Love God and Love Others (the Adam paraphrase.) What in that sounds like do not in that? It's Do! Do love your neighbor as yourself, Do watch after the widowed and the orphaned, Do unto others what you would have them do to you. Of course this all sounds like gibberish if do not have a genuine faith in Jesus Christ, because it is through that faith that you truly feel a desire to please God and to do what is right in God's eyes and not your own, but that's okay, because we all start at that point.
So if you want to call me a fundamentalist, and you want to question what I believe please do so. I have no problem with that, but please don't try to hang so bogus stereotype on me when you start labeling me. Jeremy and I would love to tell you what being a Christian personally means to us. I would love to talk about whatever accusation or hang up you have about the faith I hold, but please do not come in with a big long list of preconceived notions... yes I went to a Bible college and yes I am opposed to abortion, and yes I do not support homosexuality, evolution, alcoholism or any other type of addiction, but I do support gun control, my wife and I regularly support environmental causes and the arts with our money and patronage, I have been known to smoke a cigar from time to time, and ever once in a while I may utter a curse word, and probably most shocking... I regularly listen to NPR. So let's throw out all the labels and the negativity and just sit down and talk like civilized adults.
I completely agree with your thoughts. I think one thing the world gets confused about it is, why do some Christians think its ok to smoke a cigar and then other they think its wrong. Obviously there are many different fundamentalist Christians out there, and when we all start contradicting each other, the world doesn't really buy that. I mean another "do" of the Christian faith is to "do be unified as a body", and when we are not, that just makes us look like hypocrites. Now since everybody in the world is a hypocrite, I don't think that is really a good argument anymore for not wanting to believe something. Everyone has something they strongly believe in and have compromised that belief at some point.
All to say: I think our belief system is set up to still function even with some us thinking its ok to drink and not get drunk while others think it’s wrong to drink. The most important thing we need to agree and be "unified" on the foundational beliefs you were talking about: love your God; love your neighbor, etc.