Shuck and Jive

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Crossan on Fundamentalism

Living the Questions is a series we have been viewing and discussing in our adult forum in between the times we have a speaker. It is a great series that provides material for lively discussion. Check the First Pres Living the Questions blog for upcoming programs.

One of the participants in the series is John Dominic Crossan. Here is a clip in which he discusses fundamentalism.

h/t Rev's Rumbles

A literalist is someone who says everything that could be taken literally in the Bible must be taken literally.

A fundamentalist is someone who says if you are not a literalist, you are not a Christian and if you say something in the Bible could be taken metaphorically when it must be taken literally, then you are against God.

If you are against God, you are evil.

Where does this lead?



  1. This whole battle over the BoO is giving me a headache. We must carry on, but I'd like to crawl under a rock for awhile. It must be a lot easier living in a black and white world.

    No silence from here.

  2. A genocidal germ. yup.

    And its frightening how they can't see it, nor refuse to accept the responsibility for it, even as Christian Fundamentalists cry Anti-Semitism as the complaints poured in over Israel using white phosphorous in heavily populated areas of Gaza.

    Believing you alone have the Word of God and those that disagree with you do not, makes you not only dangerous, but an intolerable threat.

    And that too has the potential for causing genocidal consequences. While we all remember Hitler for his genocidal evil, the end result was that he brought upon himself and his people such wrath as the world has never known.

    And if he had lived another 2 or 3 months, Berlin would have been nuked.

    That is generally the end game where Fundamentalism is involved.

  3. I watched the video and have this question, which I also posted on Fred's blog.

    Christ's Resurrection: is it literal or metaphorical?

    If literal, then it is a fundamental Christian belief; if metaphorical, then the Church has lied for 2000 years.

  4. As for Jodie's remarks that Christian fundamentalists are equivalent to Hitler, that is a bitterly prejudicial statement.

  5. Hey Stushie, while I personally think the resurrection story is symbol, metaphor, etc. I don't mind if others think it is literal. We are all sisters and brothers. It isn't that big of a deal. As Crossan says, we should worry about what it means.

    Some, think the story is literal and accept those who do not as sisters/brothers too.

    Then there are those who think it is literal and cannot accept those with a metaphorical reading. They see them as, in fact, anti-Christ. That's a fundamentalist.

    I think the whole literal/metaphorical split has been a product of the enligtenment when we became concerned with fact as truth. I don't know if all parts of the church in all times have seen it in one way throughout history.

    But who knows? I may be wrong about how I view the resurrection. So what should be done with me and other preachers/teachers like me?

    1) Seen as offering a different view, probably incorrect, but hey it is all a mystery anyway?

    2) Seen as mistaken, debated, but ultimately tolerated and accepted anyway?

    3) Seen as not wrong but evil and thus should be disposed of in some way?

    Door #3 is the fundamentalist.

    I could be wrong about the Emmaus story or the gospel accounts of the empty tomb. For my part, I come by my views honestly. I am not trying to mess people up.

    Nevertheless, I could be wrong. At the end of days (if there is one) God is going to say:

    "Well, Shuck, you did some fine things. But you should have taken that Emmaus story literally, not figuratively. Now down the chute to the fire with you."

  6. Stushie,

    It wasn't my comment. It was Crossan's.

    And it was about Fundamentalists in general.

    It is important to listen.

  7. The part of what Crossan said that I latched on was his general comment about Fundamentalism, that it gives permission to demonize those we disagree with, and with that permission we ultimately get genocide.

    Evil begets evil, violence begets violence, and my addition, genocide begets genocide.

    We who follow Jesus cannot fight evil with evil. The message of Jesus Christ, both literal and metaphorical, is that it is better to die on the cross than to fight evil with evil. The way to salvation lies not with reason, not with violence, but on the cross. And Jesus calls us to pick up the cross and follow him.

    With that in mind, one would think it is self evident that cutting evil off at the root, and paying good in return for evil would be the Christian choice.

    It should be unthinkable for a Christian to accuse another of demon possession, to accuse them of being evil, for the mere crime of disagreeing with them. The more one feels that way, the more one should steer away from saying or doing anything that remotely has the chance of giving permission for acts of violence. That is the teaching of Jesus.

    Yet take "the Layman", for example.

    And we have seen this demonizing behavior on this very blog.

    And Crossan's point is that it is THE genocidal germ. I think he is right about that.

  8. And we have seen this demonizing behavior on this very blog.

    I hope I haven't been demonizing people. But if (when) I have, I am wrong and I apologize.

  9. Not you, John, but some of your critics.

  10. Ah! That's me. Always a guilty conscience!