As I was browsing popular skeptic sources on the web, I came across an interesting list of ten signs that indicate that one is a fundamentalist Christian. Do these apply to you or me? If they do, what should we change?
10 – “You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.”
I don’t feel outraged when someone denies the existence of God. It’s inevitable that there will be those who reject God for another or for nothing, so there is no need to be outraged (see my series on the doctrines of the TULIP for more explanation). There’s also nothing wrong with denying the existence of something if you have good reason to. As an apologist, I find great joy in examining those reasons and discussing or correcting them if need be.
9 – “You feel insulted and “dehumanized” when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.”
Can’t say I feel that way. I don’t have a problem with evolution. Whether I believe in it or not I can’t say as I haven’t done anywhere near enough research to justify any position, but either way, it doesn’t change much. My faith is rooted in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, not in evolution or creationism. I will point to a work I’ve heard a lot of good things about that may be of interest to some, although with a caveat as I have yet to read it myself. See Creation or Evolution: Do We Have To Choose? by Denis Alexander who supports a theory known as theistic evolution.
8 – “You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.”
I don’t laugh at anyone except fundy atheists who spread funny misinformation. Polytheists have as much right to be heard as we do. That doesn’t mean they’re right, but that’s not what this list is implying. It’s saying we laugh at those who have a different view than we do for no other reason than because they hold a different view. This shouldn’t be done. Also, polytheism is in no way similar to the Trinity. Ironically, whilst condemning fundamentalism our writer adopts a similar kind of simple-minded thinking here. More on the Trinity can be found in link 1 below.
7 – “Your face turns purple when you hear of the “atrocities” attributed to Allah, but you don’t even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in “Exodus” and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in “Joshua” including women, children, and trees!”
Don’t even flinch? I have many times when reading the Biblical texts. One should flinch or question when presented with a troubling verse. But the difference between many skeptics and well-informed Christians is the depth of research they do to find an explanation. For some, an argument of outrage is enough, but initial emotional response isn’t a strong argument. We need to find why. War is never black and white, but that’s exactly how skeptics picture Biblical accounts.
6 – “You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.”
This is nothing but a repeat of points eight and ten so I don’t feel the need to repeat myself. As before I will provide an explanation of the virgin birth by someone with a little more theological knowledge than a skeptic with a dirty mind. See link 2.
5 – “You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.”
If I may contradict my examination in point ten, racial stereotypes like this indeed anger me. “Bronze Age tribesmen”? Anyhow, I don’t spend my time looking for loopholes in the age of the earth. Science isn’t my major field of study. For a more scholarly account of how the ancients viewed the world, I recommend The Lost World of Genesis One by John H. Walton.
4 – “You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs — though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most “tolerant” and “loving.”’
I presume our skeptic, while ironically condemning fundamentalists, holds to the fundamentalist position of Hell as literal fire and torture. This argument becomes misguided when we establish that Hell is shame and exclusion based on the act of placing our identity in anything but Christ (See link 3 below). I also don’t find Christianity to be tolerant, at least where sin is concerned. It demands we change and improve ourselves for the glory of God. Does our skeptic demand one to never change the unhealthy things in his life because we should be “tolerant”?
3 – “While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in “tongues” may be all the evidence you need to “prove” Christianity.”
Firstly, I would say all the above (excluding tongues) have convinced me of my faith even more. For some, maybe they don’t convince one of the existence of God, but for others such as cold case detective J. Warner Wallace (once a hard skeptic) and scientist John Lennox, they do. One cannot simply debate and conclude with science, there needs to be a philosophical discussion.
2 – “You define 0.01% as a “high success rate” when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.”
My view of prayer is a little different than what this is implying. Based on the article “Jesus Lied” by the same site they hold prayer as a free ticket to get anything we want or ask for. I’m afraid it doesn’t work like that. See my three-part series on prayer for an explanation. And the site doesn’t attempt to back up those ratings so I am very skeptical here.
1 – “You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history – but still call yourself a Christian.”
I believe I can challenge that.
In the end, the point of this list seems to criticize those who believe what they do because of nothing but a word. I hope that we can leave these stereotypes and emphasize a more rational view of Christianity and its evidence.