Fear and fundementalism

I’ve been going to a book club the past 3 weeks or so. It’s held at an Episcopal church and not surprisingly, the books revolve around religion. Right now, we’re doing a book about the Gospel of Mary (Magdalan). The stuff about the book is interesting but often times the tangents are more interesting.

I had an interesting discussion after the meeting the other night and one of the ladies brought up something that rang true to me. I can’t remember the exact way this was put (Mary, please correct me if I’ve butchered this) but the general idea is that all fundamentalism seems to be driven by fear.

The fear could be of any number of things. They could be afraid of being wrong, of other people thinking they’re wrong, of the influence of people outside the group, or maybe even schisms inside the group. The one thing they never seem to be afraid of is the one thing they should be. They don’t seem to be afraid of God. They don’t have any problem with judging and carrying out what they think of as God’s will. They feel the need to point out the errors of others if not carry out justice in the here and now. They seem to also fear anyone “getting away” with something. It’s as if they don’t trust God. They want justice NOW! Why wait? What if the offending party doesn’t end up in hell?

The lack of trust can also manifest itself in inflexability. God must be a certain way, things must be a certain way, and they will yell until things get that way… All of the religious people I’ve met that I respect seem to be comfortable with a certain level of uncertainty. There is an understanding that things will work out, that things are going the way they should be. Or as Mary pointed out the other night, they trust God.

So think about those things the next time you hear someone on a religious rant. I hope it isn’t me… đŸ™‚

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