Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Inside the mind of a Catholic fundamentalist, Part 2

As if to help me make my case, Mark Shea follows up with a list that demonstrates the point I made yesterdayWhat is a Christainist?  Mark explains that a Christianist is not a Christian, but a person who disagrees with Mark on a host of social, cultural, political and doctrinal issues.

To be honest, the majority of it is basically saying a Christianitist is a Christian who isn't increasingly interpreting the Faith through progressive lenses.  And at times, such as the 'War on Christmas' section, Mark represents the other side unfairly.  As far as I know, nobody wants to 'force' a store clerk to say Merry Christmas as much as they oppose store clerks being forbidden from being honest about what holiday is being talked about.  But that's for another post.

Though it does show another tendency that is common in fundamentalist circles, and that's misrepresenting the other side.  More than once, I rejected fundamentalist Protestants because of their tendency to put words in the mouths of others and blast them for things nobody is really saying.  It's not unique to fundamentalism of course, but it tends to be more common in those expressions of a given ideology.  And it often includes assuming much about the inner heart and soul, motives and desires, of those who don't agree. Notice how many of Mark's points are based on the idea that it's not what these 'Christianists' do, but why they do them.  As if he knows their thinking and their spiritual walk.

That's because fundamentalism, which is hardly confined to conservatives or people of faith, is predicated on the necessity of being right about everything, not just this or that key dogma.  And Mark's list, which includes topics that are far from doctrine or dogma, is a perfect example.  Taking a tactic that Mark once condemned - saying people are or aren't Christians one way or another, because that's not our place to judge - Mark draws a circle around his views, equates them with the Faith, and declares those who reject his opinions to be outside the circle of Christian.   At least all who reject his opinions who stand to the right of center.

The only difference with Protestant fundamentalism and what I see in Mark's approach is that Protestant fundamentalists would wrap the statement around some version of, "I'm not expressing my opinions, I'm just pointing out the Word of God.  Why don't these people believe in God's word?".  Otherwise, there is almost no difference with what I saw in my Evangelical days.  Mark has made it clear: here is the list, here is how one must approach these issues, or one is not a Christian.  There's no room for debate.  To even question Mark is to excuse sin and evil.  As is always the case when wading into fundamentalism, be it Protestant or Catholic, conservative or liberal, religious or secular.

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