“Fundamentalism is a growing phenomenon, not only in Islam and other religions, but within Christianity as well. Fundamentalism refuses to listen to the deep levels of mythic, metaphorical, and mystical meaning. It is obsessed with literalism and exclusion. The egoic need for clarity and certitude leads fundamentalists to use sacred writings in a mechanical, closed-ended, and quite authoritarian manner. The ego rarely asks real questions and mostly gives quick answers. This invariably leaves ego-driven, fundamentalist minds and groups utterly trapped in their own cultural moment in history. Thus they miss the Gospel’s liberating message along with the deepest challenges and consolations of Scripture.” cac.org Richard Rohr
Before any of my “fundamentalist” friends light the fires around my stake, allow me to explore this viewpoint. Those who are able to enter the realm of God, whether it be in reading or worshipping, with a literalist, inerrant mindset and then approach the world in which they live with a peaceful and non-violent perspective….they are not the folks who give fundamentalism a questionable reputation in world affairs. Richard Rohr is probably addressing the ones who use their interpretations to bring havoc upon the rest of the world which does not agree with them. Their concepts about God and spirituality allows an oppressive and violent theology which ends with an “either or” philosophy. Either believe as I believe or spend your eternity in hell. The hell referred to is often caused by those very same religionists whose egos have driven them to formulate a God subservient to their brand of righteousness and self-serving intentions.
Oh my, I can see the torch bearers coming now. If your theology, which like mine is just another philosophy set forth by man, advocates acts of violence, exclusion, intolerance, and hatred, then perhaps that theology is not based on the One all of us in the Christian world name as Lord. Jesus, the Christ, unequivocally directed in just one verse, Matthew 22:39, to love our neighbor as ourself. Those few words are all this world needs to live in harmonious co-existence. Practice verse 39 in all our affairs and we will know peace
34 “But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. 35Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38This is the first and great commandment. 39And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
I am just a common man, not scholarly and certainly not a Biblical expert. But, when the crux of God’s directive for man is given to us in simple words by a savior who came to earth as a common messenger, there is no need to complicate the message with “thou shalts and thou shalt nots”. Jesus said:
13 “Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. 14But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. 15And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.” Matthew 19:13-15
Children have a wonderful trust and innocence in the world around them. They do not hate for hatred is learned. They do not judge according to skin color for that also is learned. They love unconditionally and faithfully using the inherent goodness they brought into the world at birth. Oh, fellow children of God, how much we could learn from the little ones.