Fundamentals Versus Fundamentalism
I recently had a conversation with a young teenager regarding creation and evolution. He believed in a literal seven-day creation story. I told him I believe God used evolutionary processes to create our universe. We went back and forth with our different understanding of Genesis chapter one and its meaning.
I left a little miffed at this “fundie kid”. I was once him. I had the same belief system about creation and evolution when I was approximately his age. Over time my understanding of how to interpret various genre of Scripture, coupled with my love for science and truth changed my beliefs.
Fundamentals are good. Eating vegetables is a fundamental belief I have about being healthy along with regular exercise, hydrating and sleep. We all have fundamental beliefs that shape our lives. Fundamentalism is not so good. Fundamentalism is an unwillingness to change our beliefs in light of new truth we discover. Fundamentalism cares more about belief than truth and practice.
Jesus believed in fundamental truths regarding the nature of God, Scripture, tradition, the future, etc. But he was not a fundamentalist. He tore up the Temple one day as a way of communicating that the old beliefs of the Jews were about to change. He was creating a new Temple with his body and later his church that would change the way people experienced God.
Are you a fundamentalist or do you have fundamental beliefs? Do you care more about your beliefs or do you care more about the truth? Do you care more about believing certain ideas or about being a certain kind of person (hopefully one who is becoming more like Jesus)?