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Fundamentalist Christianity Is More of a Threat to Our Soicety Than Fundamentalist Islam

In: Religion Topics

Submitted By odbutterworth
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Fundamentalist Christianity is more of a threat to society than Fundamentalist Islam.

Last year, a Kingstone colleague of mine stood before this debate to challenge the audience about the power of words and initially I’m going to do the same. However, my challenge is not about the power of words plural, but the power of only one word and the effect that it inevitably brings. When mentioned, the power of this word and the feelings that surround it, can change an upbeat atmosphere like ours tonight into one less gregarious and for this I apologise in advance.

I can see you all bracing in anticipation, so here goes ……………………Fundamentalism.

What image just sprang to mind? Was it women dressed in hijabs, young, teenage boys standing with guns or the appalling image of tortured soldiers? Whatever image it is, I expect the connotations to be associated with a religion that has become synonymous with death and revenge. There is little doubt that Fundamentalist Islam is seen by many as a threat to our society, but I stand here tonight to challenge you to consider something a little closer to home - that it is actually Fundamentalist Christianity that is more of a threat to our society rather than Fundamentalist Islam.

To explore this radical concept with you, I’m going to focus on three objectives: first, I’m going to discuss the meaning of fundamentalism, second, what is fundamentalist Christianity and third, why I feel that fundamentalist Christianity is more of a threat to our society than fundamentalist islam.

Let’s start with the denotation of fundamentalism. The Oxford dictionary conveniently splits fundamentalism into two definitions That of Christianity, which says: 'the belief that every word of the Bible is divinely inspired and therefore true' and that of Islam: 'a movement favouring strict observance of the teachings of the Koran and Islamic law'.

Now, if you step back and look at the bigger picture, the two definitions basically mean the same thing; the strict and unflinching adherence to the principles of any set of beliefs – Fundamentalists therefore will only believe the doctrine of their church and will reject anything that dares to oppose its ‘divine’ teachings. There is no doubt that fundamentalism is not open to interpretation or flexibility – you are either with it or against it.

This leads me nicely into the idea of fundamentalist Christianity. To many of us, the two words juxtapose against each other – the sinister elements of fundamentalism, not quite matching the caring world of Christianity. Religious historian George M. Marsden has defined Fundamentalist Christianity as "militantly, uncompromising anti-modernist evangelicalism." Just think about those words, ‘militant’ ‘uncompromising’ and anti-modernist’- not exactly how most of us view the Christian church, which preaches peace and forgiveness of sins.

Consider the Klu Klux Klan that is still in force today – arson, beatings, murder and rape are very much part of this ‘Christian’ organisation, although the main focus is on acts of the past. Their beliefs are part of a ‘religious foundation’ in Christianity and in the words of their ‘Grand Wizare’ they have every intention of re-establishing Christian values in society by whatever means possible. How scary is that?

And what about the Westboro Baptist Church foundation introduced to the world by Louis Theroux as “the most hated family in America.” This is a Fundamentalist Christian group, that advocates the picketing of U.S servicemen killed in action in Afganistan and Iraq. Why I hear you ask? Well, the soldiers in their eyes are fighting for a nation that refuses to prosecute homosexuals – this is just too much for the group to bear. In their blinkered eyes, homosexuality is the scourge of society and most be eradicated. Their doctrine is absolute and relentless - step outside their interpretation of the Bible at your peril. How Christian is that? However, I must reiterate that this is the tiniest section of Christianity, and nothing more than about fifty induviduals.

I can hear you all thinking, “Well, that’s America.” but are we really that confident that this could NEVER happen in our beloved land, which oppressed many countries in an attempt to build an empire bigger than the Roman's? This is where my last objective comes in - why I feel that Fundamentalist Christianity is more of a threat than Fundamentalist Islam.

I understand that you may well consider me mad for saying this. After all, how can I possibly think that Fundamentalist Christianity is worse than IS, the fundamentalist Islamic group who recently beheaded innocent westerners ………. And I can see your point.

However, what particularly disturbs me about Fundamentalist Christianity is how it depends on what you view as ‘more of a threat’. Violence or erosion of the key words, “more of a threat” are the key words here. We have to consider what we think a threat is. If a small number can change a mind, than a large force can change the world.

We don’t always see it, we don’t always hear it and we don’t always acknowledge it, but it’s there.

Every religion has a dark side.

every religion has a dark side and it has to be said that Christianity is not without sin

You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours

This is not to be said that Christianity is not without sin. After the American Civil War of 1861–1865, members of the Protestant-led Ku Klux Klan organization began engaging in arson, beatings, cross burnings, destruction of property, lynching, murder, rape, tar-and-feathering, and whipping. They targeted African Americans, Jews, Catholics, and other social or ethnic minorities.
Klan members had an explicitly Christian terrorist ideology, basing their beliefs in part on a "religious foundation" in Christianity. The goals of the KKK included, from an early time onward, an intent to "re establish Protestant Christian values in America by any means possible", and they believed that "Jesus was the first Klansman."

Every religion has a dark side. We don't always see it, we don't acknowledge it. Even a religion that teaches pacifism is willing to go to war for their beliefs. This is the paradigm which I am endeavouring to cross. This is, by no means, an attack on either religion, as I am nowhere near experienced enough in the field of the theology of Islam or Christianity to make snap judgements, but I do feel that, with incredibly passionate individuals, any religion can show its dark side. We cannot make the assumption that fundamentalism is wrong or right, but whether it is dangerous to society or not.

I for one have seen both religion's fundamental side. Walking down Birmingham New Street on a Saturday afternoon, you can see a fundamentalist Christian preaching their beliefs, but as you walk down further, fundamentalist Muslims are handing out leaflets preaching the might of Allah. I am not going to say whether these people are wrong or right to demonstrate their beliefs, as we have a basic human right to practice our beliefs, but is somewhat overwhelming to see such polar opposites making their beliefs known to the world.

Christian fundamentalism began in the late 19th- and early 20th-century among British and American Protestants as a reaction to theological liberalism and cultural modernism. Fundamentalists argued that 19th century modernist theologians had misinterpreted or rejected certain doctrines, especially biblical in errancy, that they viewed as the fundamentals of Christian faith. A few scholars regard Catholics who reject modern theology in favour of more traditional doctrines as fundamentalists. . Interpretations of the fundamentalist movement have changed over time.

After much research, it seems that fundamentalist Islam has been around as long as the religion. But it is incredibly obvious Muslims are ashamed of the stigma that is attached to their religion, with sectors of Islam making terrorists attacks on civilians throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.

But I wish to address the topic of this essay. I personally do not believe that fundamentalist Christianity is more dangerous than Islam for these reasons: There are four things that make Christianity less dangerous than Islam in my opinion.One: Christianity has a Virgin Mary who helped bring in the redeeming Messiah. The Catholics have even made Mary a co-redeemer. This feminine Biblical example exalts women to some degree. Women aren’t entirely worthless chattel. Islam only has an Eve, who is known for being a temptress to Adam. She is weak, needing to be ruled over, who can be blamed for bringing upon the earth such misery.Two: Christianity has its Jesus, who is basically seen as non-violent and who laid down his life for humankind. Islam has no corresponding figure. Mohammed was a political ruler, whereas Jesus had no earthly political power. So the Koran reflects the political goals of religion, whereas in Christianity it’s merely implicit.Three: Christianity has gone through an Enlightenment beginning in the 16th century with the rise of science and modern philosophy. The only version of Christianity we see in today’s world is one reflecting various degrees of this enlightenment. As a result the only Christians we see are “cherry-picking” from the Bible based upon their modern experiences and understandings. They do not take the Bible literally. They do not think it honors God to stone adulterers, kill witches, or keep women in submissive silence at home. By contrast, Islam has had no Enlightenment. Muslims still take the Koran at face value, and there are some pretty hateful things said in it about infidels, Jews, and women, along with some barbaric ways to punish criminals. Four: Christianity does not have the same political power that Islam has within any country in the world today. There are whole countries ruled by Islamic law. There are no countries ruled by Christian law, although there is a heavy influence of Christianity in America, the most powerful nation in the world. Even many Christians think it’s best to have the separation of church and state. But in this nuclear age with WWD's, all it would take to destroy millions of lives is a rogue Muslim state or a small group of militant Muslims who gained access to them.


Whatever your view, it has to be said that Christianity ha

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