So far in this series I have outlined the first immediate dangers of fundamentalism (strict literalism), as well as explained how to gain the most out of Biblical reading (by acknowledging symbolism, metaphors, and the like while respecting context). In this part of the series, I am going to point out two specific fundamentalist movements that are quite possibly the most dangerous in society today.
Before I begin, let me just say that I am not going to call out these ‘ministries’ by name, as my point is not to attack specific individuals or campaigns. Instead, I will focus on the nature of these movements and explain why they are simply missing the point with Christianity.
First, I want to focus on the religious groups which focus on segregation. What do I mean? Well, these types of groups are generally strict literalists that take it upon themselves to tell others why they are “going to hell”. The focus of these groups is to inform others of their sin in a malicious manner (key word: malicious) that Jesus would have never endorsed (although the Pharisees may have). Campaigns against homosexuals come to my mind when I speak about this issue. Extreme Fundamentalists (and yes, note that this is the extreme of extremes) in this country have become obsessed with stripping homosexuals of their humanity – and for what purpose? Self-righteousness? Seems like it; because it certainly isn’t a higher calling.
Unfortunately these individuals are missing the log in their own eye while attempting to take the speck out of their neighbor’s. Or how about: let he without sin cast the first stone. Are you getting my point here? The campaign of this kind of interpretation might be the most un-Christian I have ever seen. It creates walls instead of breaking them down; it neglects the teachings of Jesus the Messiah; it halts any kind of spiritual progression of the individuals preaching the message of hate. Note that this isn’t just limited to homosexuality. I used this example because it is the most prevalent in society as of late.
That being said, let’s move on to the biggest downfall in Christianity to date – the Christian groups that are utterly obsessed with the “End Times”, or, The Second Coming. Now, before you jump straight to the comment section to defend your beliefs, understand that not too long ago I was over my head in all the hype surrounding this kind of Christianity. In other words, I could not get enough of “discerning the signs” and I felt it was my job to tell people to be ready. Heck, I even read the entire LEFT BEHIND book series!
Well, I’ve changed (for the better).
Having this belief is perfectly fine, although as a word of caution, the concept can become intellectually addicting. Sadly, ministries with this focus miss the point of Jesus. Sure, He told us to be aware, but He also said that no one will know the Day nor the Hour! Fundamentalists that are bent on the Second Coming need to let that point sink in.
In the mean time, we have to grow in Christ. Yes, Paul preached about Jesus’ return (he thought it was going to be in his lifetime), but he spent more time teaching and progressing spiritually through Jesus.
These groups are not doing much for the Kingdom of God – they are not releasing the chains of death or guilt from humanity. No, instead they pray for a steadfast return of Christ…which we all know comes with death never seen before in this world. So, in essence, they are wishing for carnage on an immense level. This is similar to one Islamic sects belief in a 12th Imam returning to bring peace (but only after havoc never seen before in this world – following which he requires complete submission to Islam or else face gruesome death).
People obsessed with this theology certainly don’t demonstrate the compassion that Jesus preached. There is no love, none whatsoever. There is a sense of urgency in the Gospels, but there are greater lessons and teachings that lead humanity in the proper spiritual direction.
Is it important to know that Jesus will return? Yes. Is it right to obsess over it and make complete ministries to tell people that the world is at its end? Well, it certainly doesn’t correlate with the spiritual lessons from Jesus. Also, I should note that ever single generation (from the Christian perspective) has thought they were the last…perhaps we are, but why waste time over-analyzing the newspapers if no one will know the time or hour? (Not even Jesus knows, but only the Father in Heaven).
The two examples I discussed are like a poison to the faith. The first preaches hate and superiority while the latter undermines the true teachings of Jesus.
That is all for this series. I suspect I’ll start a new one on some other topic in the future. In the mean time, enjoy the political and religious articles on this blog.
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