Friday, November 19, 2010

The dangers of hyper-fundamentalism,

.....can be illustrated in a single quote.

First, some background; those people who may have read my blog over the past few weeks (all three of them? ha!)  may have inferred from my posts regarding the KJV-only movement and other characteristics of hyper-fundamentalist Baptist churches that my "axe to grind" may have been somewhat personal.  If they have, they are right; my family has just left such a church that was trying to keep these objectionable theologies "under wraps" for a while.  Obviously, there are any number of side issues there, which I will not go into here.

However, inspired by dear brother Jim's comment on Sword of the Lord, a hyper-fundamentalist newspaper, I've found a quote from a book loaned to me by my now former pastor that illustrates a lot of things brilliantly.  The author tries to make the case that Bibles translated from the Critical Text are not valid Bibles with such brilliant evidence such as this (page 110)

This author has in his possession a photograph of the man puffing on a cigar.

Now, I would agree that tobacco is disgusting, and that it is good to avoid it for any number of reasons.  However, what the author is doing here is called, in informal logic, the ad hominem fallacy, the erroneous belief that an argument can be refuted by drawing attention to personal traits of the speaker.  The quote above is one of four such attacks in a relatively short paragraph on page 110 of that book.  Put gently, verse 9 of Jude comes to mind regarding this author!

There are any number of conclusions we can draw from this.  First, it is critically important that a pastor or teacher learn, and apply, the rules of formal and informal logic.  For that matter, it's not a bad idea for any deacon or church member to do the same--both to understand Scripture better and to keep the pastor honest. 

Next, it is unfortunately a fact that too many hyper-fundamentalists--King James Version enthusiasts, Trail of Blood enthusiasts, Sword of the Lord writers/readers, and so on--not only indulge ad hominem and guilt by association fallacies, but they do so (e.g. cigar quote above) on bases not even endorsed by Scripture. 

Personally, I love the fundamentals of the faith too much to allow the "King James and culottes, I don't drink and I don't chew and I don't go with girls that do" crowd to be the only face of fundamentalism the world sees.


W.B. Picklesworth said...

Your former pastor is a fool. I use that word advisedly, in the same sense that Paul used it of the Galatians. If he wants to be subject to the law then he will be responsible for the whole of it. He had better be holy indeed.

Bike Bubba said...

It's worse than that, Ben. He's insisting on a law that God didn't even devise, and he's violating the law God did ordain in order to hold to a law He didn't. Today's hyper-pietists have forgotten that Spener pointed to Bible-given evidences of saving faith, not culture-created.

Kinda like the guy I quoted. Nonsense like this almost makes me want to puff on a stogie myself.

Except for how disgusting I, and my wife just as importantly, think tobacco to be.

W.B. Picklesworth said...

I'd love to smoke stogies, or better yet a pipe. And I'd love to have an office with leather chairs, floor to ceiling bookshelves, and a decanter of single malt Scotch. But since these things (or at least some of them) are a danger to my life, I'm happy to leave them be. Maybe we can all smoke sweet smelling cigars in heaven? ;)

Bike Bubba said...

That said, I hope you get floor to ceiling bookshelves--that wouldn't kill you, would it? Or would Faith kill you for spending all your time among them? :^)

(Connie is "tempted" with my book habit.....) :^)