“God said it. I believe it. That settles it!”I would like to present a few thoughts on the marked difference between the fundamentalist view of truth and the scientific pursuit of truth.
Christian bumper sticker
“All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell... And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior.”
Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) member of the House Science Committee
“In this respect fundamentalism has demonic traits. It destroys the humble honesty of the search for truth, it splits the conscience of its thoughtful adherents, and it makes them fanatical because they are forced to suppress elements of truth of which they are dimly aware.”
Science is a process geared towards acquiring a better understanding of the world we live in. It is a journey of discovery. As new information becomes available, our scientific understanding is calibrated to incorporate these findings. Outdated theories and information are discarded. Even when examining the past, science faces the future, because that is where truth will be found. Science is not threatened by change. It expects it.
Fundamentalism, in contrast, is always gazing in the rear-view mirror. For the Bible-believing Christian, truth was revealed in the past, by their god. Since fundamentalism begins with the assumption that they already have the truth, new information and ideas which contradict this must be opposed and discarded. Change is an enemy and old ideas must be protected and conserved. Fundamentalists often view science with suspicion. It is a potential threat to belief, and scientists are readily viewed as part of a conspiracy; “suppressing the truth in unrighteousness.” Social change is also a big problem for the fundamentalist mindset. Morality and gender roles were ‘revealed’ by their god in ancient writings. Revisions to those ideas must be vigorously opposed. Modern thinking is a fast lane to Hell.
Consider the following Bible verses which are used to reinforce this mindset:
Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.
Deuteronomy 4:2 (NIV)
This is what the LORD says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, 'We will not walk in it.'
Jeremiah 6:16 (NIV)
Do not move an ancient boundary stone set up by your ancestors.
Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God's holy people.
Jude 1:3 (NIV)
I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.
Revelation 22:18-19 (NIV)
Fundamentalism wants that ‘old-time religion’ and thinks we should ‘get back to the Bible’ and the ‘good-old days.’ Instead of new information shaping our thoughts, fundamentalists conform their minds to old ways of thinking. Much energy is spent denouncing and resisting change. Witness the current struggles against evolution and equality for gays and lesbians. For the fundamentalist mind, the ‘revealed truth’ of the Bible is an all-or-nothing proposition. They cannot yield an inch, or the whole structure will come crashing down.
‘Revealed truth’ is a ball and chain which shackles the fundamentalist forever to the past. It is a slavery of mind. Liberal Christians have managed to saw through their chains. They still have a remnant dangling from their ankle, but they are freed from the weight and able to move forward. Fundamentalists are eventually inched along in societal progress (kicking and screaming all the way) leaving behind things like slavery and the subjugation of women, and some of the more outlandish ‘revealed’ ideas in the Bible. But, many are still indoctrinating their socially- isolated children with young-earth creationist propaganda and other nonsense and thus handing down the mental shackles to a whole new generation. ‘Revealed truth’ has revealed itself to be an enemy of societal progress, science, and learning.
Written by J. M. Green