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Adapting to Realities (52 of 52)
Christopher B. Harbin
Fundamentalism is characterized by a static concept of faith and belief. It is a tightly packaged system of belief more in keeping with a philosophical construct or a time-stamped cultural perspective than with a living faith. The structures and definitions of Fundamentalism make for a secure belief system in the short term. It can be appealing, especially to those who want quick answers to the complex issues of life. It offers hard and fast answers, an enemy to oppose, and the security of belonging to a group with a defined expression of the truth for all time. The problem is that it fails at adapting to the shifting realities of life.
If life requires adaptation, fundamentalism seeks to restore life to a supposed golden age of some idyllic utopia or plan for some new implementation of the same. What it fails to account for is that as life changes around us the answers of another year do not respond appropriately to the struggles and questions of a new age. It also fails to account for the failures of humanity which may have been overcome to some degree since.
We may attempt to glorify a misremembered past. Attempting to recreate it in a new context, however, is not so simple. In terms of faith, the same applies. We consider some aspects of faith, such as church attendance, but divorce them from non-faith factors that were in play. We grasp onto some moral issues while overlooking others. We look at divorce rates, but we ignore domestic violence that in earlier years went unreported. We look at church membership, but we ignore the dearth of other social opportunities beyond the church. We look at rates of baptism, but we ignore questions of commitment to the gospel and adopting the priorities or character of Christ Jesus.
For Paul, there were other issues in regard to the more fundamentalist mindset from which he had come. His heritage had very strong ideas ...
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