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Dr. Alice C. Linsley
May 2, 2023

Yesterday I had a conversation with a young man who told me that he is not religious. When I asked him about that, he said he had been raised by Fundamentalist parents and he had decided that Christianity must be nonsense at best, or at worst a pack of lies.

I have heard similar stories from other former "Christians", and I wonder if their youthful experiences of religion might serve as an excuse to not examine real Christianity, the oldest known religion.

Fundamentalism began as a movement in the late 19th century within American Protestant circles to defend the "fundamentals of belief" against the liberal theological speculation that had taken hold of the Mainline Protestant denominations. In particular, the movement opposed higher critical scholarship, the dismissal or minimization of the central truths of the Incarnation, the atoning death of Jesus Christ, and his bodily resurrection.

In reacting to Protestant liberalism, the Fundamentalists failed to resource the Tradition of the Church where they would have discovered their most valuable arguments against the growing apostasy of Protestant Liberalism. Rarely did a Fundamentalist leader consider sources earlier than the 16th century.

Over time American Fundamentalism took on new doctrines such as the Rapture, Progressive Revelation, and Young Earth Creationism. These doctrines are claimed to be "biblical". However, a deep study of Scripture does not lend substance to that claim. The concept of the Rapture is cobbled together from disparate texts. Progressive Revelation ignores that fact that the Messianic Faith we call "Christianity" aligns perfectly with the beliefs of Abraham and his Hebrew ancestors who believed in God Father and God Son. We have evidence of that in the Bible and in extra-biblical sources. The idea that the earth is 6000-10,000 years old is not accepted by Bible-believing Christians in the sciences.

The literalism of American Fundamentalism has been its undoing. The Fundamentalists insist on six 24-hour days of creation though even the early Church Fathers did not agree on that interpretation. They insist that Noah's flood was universal against the substantial evidence to the contrary in the Bible and in the geological, archaeological, and anthropological record. They perpetuate a false understanding of the early Hebrew, pitting Cain's (evil) line against that of his (righteous) brother Seth. Today we know that both Cain and Seth were early Hebrew rulers whose descendants intermarried (caste endogamy). Endogamy is common trait of castes, and the early Hebrew were a ruler-priest caste.

The role of myth in reading Genesis 1-3 is lost on American Fundamentalist for whom the term "myth" suggests untruth. They lack insight into the lasting nature of myths. Fundamentalists, who favor the ever-approachable C.S. Lewis, overlook the fact that he championed myth as a way for eternal truths to be presented.

American Fundamentalism has taken on the characteristics of a cult. There is no opportunity for reasoned debate with this highly defended community. They have patented replies to every query. They claim that dating methods are flawed. They designate all who reject Fundamentalist interpretations as non-believers. They pit their belief system against the evidence of many sciences: anthropology, genetics, linguistics, archaeology, earth science, etc. They claim Scripture as their only authority but fail to read it apart from their preconceptions.

Thousands of former Fundamentalists are floundering spiritually because they were indoctrinated in this false religion. They welcome the demise of Fundamentalism. The political alignment of Fundamentalism with Trumpism has further eroded Fundamentalism's clout.

Tragically, American Fundamentalism joins the list of false religions exported from the USA. These include Mormonism, Jehovah's Witness, the Prosperity Gospel, Second-blessing Pentecostalism, and Scientology.


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