Why I Appreciate Literalist Fundamentalists

-Freedom_go_to_hell-Short answer: they’re honest about their beliefs.

Don’t get me wrong, I think they’re painfully wrong, but it’s refreshing to have a conversation with someone who doesn’t use mental gymnastics to get around what a holy book actually says.

I don’t have to listen to a believer spout about allegory or context or metaphors. They read their holy book and defend it the way it was written.

Take for example this post by Wally, who wrote (EDIT: the post was written by James but Wally says he agrees with the content so the point remains the same) a post telling us what he believes:

1. I am a Young Earth Creationist, I am not afraid to admit it, and I don’t care what other people think about that.

I have tried for many years to temper this belief with the possibility that the six days in the Genesis account may not be six literal days and could actually be millions of years but have come to the belief that this is unbiblical.

And:

5. I believe the Bible is the inspired, error, and contradiction free Word of God.

Modern intellectuals (as they call themselves) who strive to find fault with the Bible are no different from the proud Greeks of Paul’s day who lived in the futility of their thinking. They too were darkened in their understanding… because of the blindness of their hearts (Ephesians 4:17–18).

Long story short here, people don’t have a problem with the Bible; they have a problem with the author.

Bravo!

When having a discussion with someone like Wally, I can freely use the bible and not have to worry about sorry excuses for its content. I’m not sure what Wally might say about things like the problem of evil, the mass genocides in the bible, the apparent blood-thirstiness of Yahweh or how he might explain the magical bits, but I can be reasonably sure he wouldn’t try to hide behind pretending that these stories weren’t meant to be taken at face value. At the very least, Wally (and people like him) would admit that’s what the bible says and try to defend their beliefs from that angle.

I can freely, unabashedly disagree with their dogma and with their belief system, and they can do the same to me. Often, we can have a good back and forth without resorting to mental gymnastics.

Let’s face it, the bible isn’t color coded. Except for a few parables by Jesus, nothing is clearly marked as a parable or allegory. There’s no warning that says, ‘don’t take this part seriously. Instead try to find some hidden meaning’. There really is no allegory (that I can see) to be made between infanticide, rape and a good lesson.

Isaiah 13:15-18 (NIV)

15 Whoever is captured will be thrust through; all who are caught will fall by the sword. 16 Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be looted and their wives violated.

A non-literalist would probably find some way to bark about this passage being taken out of context or say that it’s a cultural thing or pretend that it’s an allegory for something good, but there it is in all its ugliness, and at least with a literal fundamentalist, you can honestly, unapologetically tackle a verse like this with them.

They might admit that their God condoned or inspired such a thing. They might have a reason for why their God might have done so. And they might even throw up the metaphysical flag and wave surrender by saying something like, ‘God is unknowable and we can’t expect to understand Him’, but at least they won’t deny the passage or try to weasel around it.

The reasons they give can be challenged and debunked fairly easily and other people will be able to judge for themselves, without having to untwist the mental string of deliberate obfuscation.

So while I overwhelmingly, emphatically disagree with literalism and fundamentalism, that’s why I appreciate them.

You also help make the job of refutation so much easier, in my opinion.

Advertisements

36 Comments

  1. Damn, I’ve never really thought about it like that.
    Also, I didn’t realise that verse existed, though I haven’t read the Bible yet. What people COULD say (I don’t agree) is that it is a passage that must have context.

  2. I have related feelings about my husband’s sister. Not only that she takes the bible literally, but that her offensive interpretations of it are 100% genuine.

    For example…. she loves her oldest brother, but when he got married she was not sure of his faith in god. She was asked to play violin in the ceremony (as she had done at our wedding). She not only declined, but she did not think she was willing to attend the ceremony at all. She believed it would be a sin to attend a wedding in a church before god if she was not sure the groom was a Christian.

    This was 1999, so she was not jumping on any bandwagons here. The groom, having grown up in this family- was unmoved. He did not offer any judgment toward her, or any answers about his faith. Whatever she decided was fine and up to her.

    After months of prayer and regular counseling with her pastor, she finally decided to attend but not participate. My husband’s other brother followed her lead (but how genuine it was is questionable). My husband, who is the youngest child, was the best man and the only sibling in the wedding party.

    I’m not sure if this even makes the top 5 in the list of times religion has made this woman seem crazy to me, but I have always appreciated how genuine she is. She really does love her brother and she really did want to be in the wedding. She did everything she could to get approval from god. There are many Christians who use god to fit their agenda or hate, and I cannot accuse her of that. She’s for real.

    Which is both terrifying and refreshing 🙂

  3. Quote #5 – That’s some baseless rhetoric there.

    I looked up the Isaiah passage. As I read it, the context appears to be Yahweh’s revenge, so it seems one couldn’t rightfully claim it’s a “this will happen, not my fault”-type prophecy.

  4. Point 5 is interesting Long story short here, people don’t have a problem with the Bible; they have a problem with the author.

    This is often claimed but is 100% wrong. What is actually happening is that those of an inquiring inclination ask themselves ‘how can I be sure the Bible really is the work of divine being?’. It is the errors and questionable morality that causes such people to conclude that the Bible appears not to be divine.

  5. When I first heard of Young Earth Creationists I really thought it was a joke. I am serious. I believed it to be some sort of Pythonesque piss-take. Or one of those idiotic meme type things that go viral.
    I mean, who in their right mind would truly believe the earth is only 6000 years old, for Christ sake?
    Apparently, more people than I could ever have imagined.

    And it got worse, because I then discovered that these people believe that dinosaurs roamed the earth with humans – or a least two humans, Adam and Eve, and until they were naughty and ate an apple because a talking snake told them Yahweh was not quite telling the truth about them dying all the frakking dinosaurs were vegetarian!
    It’s true. I kid you not. T-Rex and Allosaurus were just like me and ate no meat.

    Of course, one wonders why they needed all those really sharp pointy teeth that one normally finds on a carnivore but I guess they must have had really tough vegetation back in the non- Jurassic, right?

    Right!

    Now, in any other field of endeavor this sort of belief would be deemed a psychosis and followers of such a cult would be treated with medication, legal action and /or a strait jacket.

    However, it seems that even though the vast majority of all the other Christian cults
    consider these YEC people stone cold fuck nuts, and even though they probably watch the Flintstones as if it is a documentary, there is almost no legal precedent to check these dumb as soup individuals.

    At least Creationism is banned from being taught in public schools.

    Sadly, they still have access to their own and fellow believers children.

    If they invent a time machine before i die, I vote we send at least two particular Word Press YEC individuals back around 100, 000,000 years with a film crew and let them try to feed fucking carrots and lettuce to a Tyrannosaurus.

  6. Short answer: they’re honest about their beliefs.
    Maybe they are but their beliefs are not.

    Ever heard of the Wedge Document?
    It is from the Discovery Institute and lays bare their intentions regarding Creationism/ID

    This is an excerpt which I think you will find an eye-opener.

    The social consequences of materialism have been devastating. As symptoms, those consequences are certainly worth treating. However, we are convinced that in order to defeat materialism, we must cut it off at its source. That source is scientific materialism. This is precisely our strategy. … [The theory of intelligent design (ID)] promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.

    Interesting to say the least.

  7. I was a literalist fundamentalist! I believed god created the earth is 6 days, the flood, the snake…all of it. My husband still does.

    Over time a bunch of reasons (they are in my blog) I started to think deeply about these stories. A god can create a planet in 6 days…heck, could snap his fingers and it be done right now…so that isn’t the issue. The issue is, I am hoping I am understanding this, but a lot of the stars we see now are dead. We are just seeing their light that has traveled light years. Why would god do that illusion for us? Why have stars and galaxies light years away when they earth only 6.000 years old. How did Adam name every single animal, insect, germ, everything in a 24 hour period….I would think we couldn’t even read all of them right now, how did he come up with so many names…and did he name the sub-species too? There was only Adam and Eve, so when her first daughter was the age to get pregnant, who got to bang the girl…her dad or her brother? And isn’t that incest? We are told what is right is right…gods laws never change. So either incest was bad back then or it is good now. How in the heck did animals from other continents cross oceans to get on the ark? Did these animals make boats? I really could go on….but when you think of the bible stories and what I am to believe really happened…I just can no longer do that.
    And for those that were never Christians…this will believe to believe, but it is so hard and scary to allow yourself to possibly think the bible stories are wrong. That right there is a sin!! You try to keep your mind from thinking those questions…just finally I could no longer ignore the doubt in my head.

    • First, I am amazed that you are able to cope while your husband is still a biblical literalist. That takes courage. Well done you. I sincerely hope he comes round as well.

      Re: Incest. Fundamentalists ( from those who have explained this to me) consider that as Yahweh is perfect he allowed incest so the First Family could ‘kick start’ humanity and thus it was not considered wrong back in the day. No doubt furious bonking got nder way before the fall.

      However, as it is unlikely the gene pool would have been watered down that much to cloud the memory there must have been some odd looks and more than a few awkward questions after the Apple Eating Incident at Eden.

      I have also wondered on the issue of dinosaurs and how come T-Rex and his carnivorous buddies, such as Allosaurus and Velocoraptor, were munching on humans after they ate from the fruit tree and we see no remains of human fossils with Dinos?

      Yes, the Flood, right?

      While it is a well known fact that An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away I can’t see it having a similar effect on a 35 ft. mincing machine on legs.

      Maybe we should just make Ken Ham President for Life and be done with it?

      • He is a good man, dad, and husband, so that helps. But it is hard at times because I do feel since I told him my thoughts almost 2 years ago, he has become more overt with his beliefs. Playing christian music all of the time (he never did before) and posts religious quotes and things like “god is good”. I wouldnt care if that was how he had been, but it just started once I said I no longer believed.
        The excuse was it was ok because they needed to populate the planet and their gene pool was pure. But, that means that god did change. Incest is ok IF the reason is good enough (like populating the planet). I want to know, how did Adam hold his daughter, raise her and love her like a father and then once she was of age, get sexually aroused to have sex with her. I can tell you that if all that was left was my husband and my daughter, humans would die out. And think about it, more incest had to occur after the flood too. All of the hard incest work to populate the planet got wiped out. They had to stasrt over. Luckily was 3 couples ( I am think Noah and wife were too old to have kids) So, it starts all over again. And how do we all look so different if we came from the same people?
        There are 2 verses in the bible that describes dinosaurs, both in Job. Do you think any existed with people or all dinosaurs were extinct by the time we came around?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s