Just quick bit of context. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you might get the impression that I think fundamentalists are stupid or evil or something.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
You can read these posts as me interrogating a much younger me; if it seems I’m aiming a bit of snark at you, don’t worry. It’s aimed at Younger Me (and, I assure you, he was a bit of a turd).
I think fundamentalism as a system of belief is built to address an angst that I, on the whole, very much share. That is to say, how do we arrive at capital-t Truth? In the modernist milieu, we’re expected to construct certainty, and in the division of waters between the secular and the sacred, it seems like the secular has arrived, via the scientific method and so forth, on a way to do that.
So how do we echo that in the sacred space? One way is fundamentalism, an attempt to construct certainty by casting the Bible as a document without error. What could be more certain than that?
The fact that the biblical data neither demand nor support such a doctrine is beside the point. The Bible is what it we need it to be, so it can do what we need it to do: answer the seemingly airtight secularist brand of certainty with our own.
Of course, this is in many ways ouroboros (you have to do this only because you believe you have to do this), and very much a departure from historic Christian belief.
But then, historic Christian belief didn’t exist in the Modern era, did it? And the angst at the heart of fundamentalism is a very good angst to have. It just doesn’t need to be resolved in such a destructive, inhuman, and disenchanting manner.