Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Open Thread



I am soliciting your astute observations based on the video clip above.

My fundamentalism series is at a standstill right now with drafts for about eight entries floating around, but none near completion.

Just one rule: Please refrain from debating or discussing with other commenters. I am solely interested in your take on the clip, not what you think of others'.

May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits if you violate this rule. No amount of singing Take My Wife's Fleas* will do you any good.

* the Far Side

26 Comments:

At June 13, 2006 11:23 PM, Blogger Miss Cellania said...

I wish they had gone more into exactly what the guy's beef with the Catholic Church is. I could guess, but I don't want to assume.

 
At June 14, 2006 8:38 PM, Blogger Just Rannin' Around said...

Very interesting. I was surprised that he stated that it would be against his belief to even associate himself with the other two because of religious beliefs. It is one thing to avoid someone that is going to worship say Satan, but someone that also believes in Christ just not exactly the same....pretty pigheaded in my opinion.

This world would be a miserable place if we all decided that we could only play with those that believed exactly the same as us. Not only that, but from someone who claims to have such a strong grasp on the scriptures....I do believe that Christ was the first person to be with those that didn't believe the same as Him in order to help teach. We are supposed to be like Christ, should we start by loving as He did?

 
At June 15, 2006 6:16 AM, Blogger Bruce said...

Being Southern Baptist, I can understand why this guy said what he said: we leave little room for communication and understanding between faiths. just rannin' talked about what a miserable place this would be if we could only play with those that believed exactly the same as us. Well guess what? Christians do that all the time.

B~

 
At June 15, 2006 4:53 PM, Blogger Jeje said...

I really admired the attitude of the Catholic guy. He didn't criticize, nor did he allow his encounter to weaken his faith or make him upset. Good for him!

 
At June 16, 2006 1:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks like our fundamentalist friend was putting into practice a theology of strict separation from doctrinal error. When I listen to his tone, I sense that he really was trying to be as friendly as possible while staying true to his belief in separation from error, in this case the Catholic Church's.

I would bet that our friend doesn't merely think Catholicism is in error on some doctrines, but rather that the Catholic Church systematically teaches a false gospel of works-and-faith salvation (this belief being pretty standard among fundamentalists) and thus that catechism-believing Catholics aren't really Christians. That he says that Catholicism teaches "error" (not "heresy") and doesn't even mention the word "apostate" says to me that he is genuinely trying to be as deplomatic as possible while still adhering to what he believes is orthodox theology.

I think the key to understanding this guy is to realize that he considers Catholics to be in the same boat that most conservative ("evangelical") Protestants consider gnostics, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons and Christian Scientists to be in.

 
At June 16, 2006 7:46 AM, Blogger A thinker said...

Um...been there, done that.

It's basically a garden-variety, pointless, theological discussion between a guy who's got his opinions set like concrete and never thinks outside the box and a guy who maybe doesn't have everything down pat but has a much more gracious spirit and an open mind.

but the fundy guy can change... it happens ;)

 
At June 16, 2006 4:28 PM, Blogger Bradley said...

Seems like three douchebags arguing over who the invisible guy in the sky likes more. I think they should each engage in a duel to the death to see who's right.

Can I get a copy of that video?

 
At June 16, 2006 10:51 PM, Blogger Brotha Buck said...

The guy in the stripped shirt irritated me. I hope heaven ain't filled with christians like him. I didn't even pay much attention to what he was talking about. He was cold, and put me off. He'd better not show up at my front door.

 
At June 16, 2006 10:51 PM, Blogger Brotha Buck said...

And, funny you should have mentioned Microsoft, on my blog. Thats exactly where my boss is going.

 
At June 19, 2006 8:20 PM, Blogger Friar Tuck said...

You know this was hard because I have been in both places in a conversation like this.

What bothered me about the more fundamental guy was that knowing the facts about Jesus and being right seemed more important to him than being like Jesus.

I did think the fundamentalist guy did have some valid points...I just failed to see how he was really in a conversation with the catholic kids.

I guess this also makes me think a lot about an arguement I had with a friend last night where all the churches are pulling out of the Interfaith Hospitality Network because it works with people whose theology is too liberal. I think I made my friend mad by disagreeing.

And I was not getting through because when i get mad i use to many high vocab words.

 
At June 20, 2006 3:44 AM, Blogger Brian Buriff said...

This is my first visit to your blog and thought I'd add a comment. Before I do, I just want to say "Hi - I'm Amber's husband" and thanks for visiting my blog.

Regarding the video, I was noticing more of the tone and body language of the young men, rather than their specific comments. This is important to me because in college, I did my honors studies in Apologetics - and finally dropped out of the Apologetics program because I saw too many "fundamentalists" being wrong in their attempt to be right. I think someone can win an argument but still lose a soul.

I don't get the idea that the "fundamentalist" guy was very secure in his position. At one point his arms were crossed - a signal to me that he's in a defensive mode, perhaps unsure in his footing? The folded arm position also signaled that perhaps he was not "open" in really listening to his friends.

Wasn't it Steven Covey (author of 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People) who said (in habit 5), "Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood"? It was all about genuinely and thoroughly listening to the other person - which is the first step to establishing meaningful communication and dialogue.

I had a chance to minister to a dear Catholic woman prior to her death. It was her idea, not mine, to move toward protestantism. I could care less about what church she attended, so long as she had trusted in Christ. After listening to her journey, I had no doubt, regardless of denominational background, that she had made her peace with God. I look forward to seeing her again someday. Blessings!

 
At June 20, 2006 6:49 PM, Blogger Gary Means said...

Been there. That young man's attitude felt really familiar. I felt sad for him. As my faith has changed over the years, I have come to greatly appreciate the Catholic faith. While I do not agree with some of their teachings, I have tremendous respect for so many Catholics. Most of my favorite authors come from that tradition.

I understand the young man's desire to stay true to his principles, even though I think his principles are based in an unfortunate, narrow interpretation of scripture. In my opinion, he demonstrates little understanding of grace or love. He equates having the right beliefs with being saved. The "threat" of hanging around people who believe differently is that they might sway him to give up one of his precious doctinal positions. And then before you know it, whoooosh, straight to Hell!

I feel sorry for the young man. I can't condemn him too strongly because I have been him. I do know how stunted my soul was as a result of misplaced spiritual priorities though.

 
At June 21, 2006 8:37 AM, Blogger Christina Colwell said...

I would be interested in knowing more what the two "Catholics" were trying to accomplish. As for the fundamentalist..while I agree with him as far as his opinion of Catholicism I cringe when I hear how effectively he used scripture to fight off any opportnunity for discussion, mutual understanding, bridge building. I cringe because I have experienced this mindset first hand through my own Christian upbringing. It is hard to shake off but I realize that no one has a corner on the "truth" market. We all have our own slant. The bottom line of faith is quite simple though. Perhaps we should be slower to jump to conclusions because someone is a Catholic or Baptist or Mormon and build a bridge of communication on the "bottom line". "Jesus Christ and Him crucifed - for me." Just a thought.

Christina

 
At June 21, 2006 1:33 PM, Blogger Mad Ethel said...

Just happened upon your blog. Wanted to say that this is an interesting clip. And it is EXACTLY why I'm having religious issues right now.

I understand what the Baptist guy is saying and agree with him, although I'm not Baptist. I've read some of the Catholic Catycisms and based on what I've read in scripture myself, I don't agree with the Pope claiming to be the mediator...or infallible. I've seen with my own two eyes the scripture that he presented to them about Jesus being the only mediator.

But that's not my point. I think as Christians we have gone off on an irrelevent tangent. What it all boils down to for me is that we should do unto others as we would have done unto us. That excludes noone.

I hate these kind of discussions. Someone always leaves pissed. I don't think it should be that way. We should concentrate on helping each other and co-habitating peacefully instead of bickering over minute details.

Can't we all just get along?

 
At June 21, 2006 1:39 PM, Blogger Mad Ethel said...

Oh, I wanted to add that I agree with Gary. Nowhere in the Bible does it mention Baptists, Catholics, Seventh-Day Adventists, Mormans, etc. We are all his children. We all interpret the Bible differently; some are told what to believe and others find out for themselves. I will say with confidence that we will all be pretty surprised when we get to heaven and find out that there are people there we would never have expected, some who have killed, some who did horrible atrocities, some who felt entirely hopeless, and people from all general walks of life. That's the beauty of it all - every. single. person has a shot. No matter what. No one is excluded because of how they were raised. I just wish people would stop acting like they know everything. Because everyone knows nothing.

 
At June 21, 2006 2:48 PM, Anonymous Jerry said...

Hi David,,,
This is Jerry from the "Abuse Board" Man what a great blog !!! I watched the viedo listening to the "Theologans" exchange ideas...My first thought was a line from Hamlet,,,,"Angels and Minesters of Grace defend us!!!!" These poor fellas need help hahahaha.....I'll be a regular visitor to this blog ......
Love Jerry

 
At June 21, 2006 6:03 PM, Blogger David Cho said...

Thank you all for insightful comments. I might as well chime in with my own.

The Zack guy kicked butt. I wish I could be as articulate. The Catholic dudes got schooled. That is what happens when you are in tune with the Word of God as evident in his demonstration of boldness and faith in declaring the Word of God.

Well, that is what I would have said a few years ago.

The Catholic guy said one thing which stood out. He called Zack a "machine," which I think sums it up pretty nicely.

One of my biggest issues with fundamentalism is the lack of individuality. Everybody pretty much must tow the party line which I mistakenly viewed as God's, not man's. So every bit of deviation from spitting out canned and scripted talking points was deemed detrimental to the "purity" of the gospel.

Zack reminds me of me when I was a young fundamentalist who reminds of Bill who reminds of Steve who reminds of John who reminds of Ben who reminds of Jason who reminds of Robert who....

 
At June 22, 2006 3:17 PM, Blogger Gary Means said...

He who begins by loving Christianity better than truth, will proceed by loving his own sect or church better than Christianity, and end in loving himself better than all.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

 
At June 23, 2006 6:23 PM, Blogger Broken Messenger said...

Well, let me, as a Protestant, toss my hat into the ring here. I thought the Catholic reponse was interesting from the standpoint that he was left speechless several times. Apologetics is new to him?

I'd have to agree that the "stripped shirted Fundy" (SSF) wasn't trying to belittle or necessarily converse to just win an argument here, his passion was clearly coming through to me.

Now, for the sake of balance, many on my side of the isle do practice their faith for the sake of winning arguments. I write on this and things related often.

Now truth is truth regardless of how it is presented? No, we seem to agree here. For the greatest of all truth is to love God with all in accordance with the truth that Christ is the only means to God. Faith without love is dead, which is essentially embracing truth outside of love. That said, I don't think the SSF was unloving at all. The remarks about the guy's arm's crossed, his tone or his body language is just silly. He could have just been uncomfortable, but that does that make him unloving. BTW, I cross my arms when I get cold or out of habit all the time whether in routine conversations, comfortable chats or in those where I am indeed defensive.

Brad

 
At June 25, 2006 4:05 PM, Blogger L-girl said...

One of my biggest issues with fundamentalism is the lack of individuality. Everybody pretty much must tow the party line which I mistakenly viewed as God's, not man's. So every bit of deviation from spitting out canned and scripted talking points was deemed detrimental to the "purity" of the gospel.

I would love to comment on this. I am dying to comment on this. But I'm afraid of those fleas.

 
At June 25, 2006 9:50 PM, Blogger David Cho said...

Laura, you have my permission to comment on it. No flees. I promise.

 
At June 27, 2006 11:41 AM, Blogger L-girl said...

I was finally able to watch this video.

Zach, striped shirt fundy, was the typical fundamentalist I have met time and time again, and that includes all fundamentalists of all faiths, not only Christianity. (I am most familiar with fundamentalist Jews, known as Orthodox, and they are the same.)

Zach thinks he knows The Truth, the one and only truth. He mistakently believes that he can *prove* faith based on the Bible, as if it is a collection of facts, rather than a document written by human beings as an expression of their own beliefs.

Zach doesn't understand that faith and spirituality are highly personal, and that each person needs to find his or her own spiritual path, if they indeed have one. (Not everyone does.)

Zach is so full of himself and his own righteousness, that he doesn't realize how rude and inappropriate it is to tell someone of a different faith that their faith is wrong and he won't associate with them.

Because Zach isn't really concerned with people's spirituality. He only cares about *being right*.

I agree with the commenter who said he admired the Catholic guy's response to Zach. The Catholic guy was far more tolerant than I've ever been able to be with the Zachs of the world - those lecturing, hectoring, scripture-quoting egomaniacs, who think because they've memorized lines from a big book they know what's best of my life.

 
At June 27, 2006 11:59 AM, Blogger L-girl said...

One of my biggest issues with fundamentalism is the lack of individuality.

This is everyone's problem with it - everyone who is not a fundamentalist.

Most of us realize there is no one-size-fits-all life. There is no one type of education, career or family life that suits all of us - and there is no faith or spiritual path that suits all of us.

There is no one right way to live, and there is no one correct way to worship. Why must we all walk in lockstep and follow one spiritual path?

And the extremely important corollary question: why is one spiritual path more correct than all the others?

Since humans are so gloriously varied - and since different cultures have expressed their spirituality in myriad ways through the history of the humankind - why would there be a one-size-fits-all faith?

Everybody pretty much must tow the party line which I mistakenly viewed as God's, not man's.

This is the basic cry of every liberal and progressive person of faith, every atheist, every Jew living in Christiandom, every non-fundamentalist in the world.

The bible is a book written by humans. It is not the word of god - it is some (not all - some) humans' interpretation of God.

Imposing bible teachings on other people is an act of dominance, no different than forcing people to speak another language.

It boggles my mind how Christian Americans try to impose their bible on the whole country, and seemingly cannot understand our objections. Yet if someone was trying to make them live under Muslim law, they'd certainly understand objections to that!

Spirituality may be innate for many or most people, but the expression of that spirituality - that is, religion - is a human construct.

I think people who walk around quoting scripture are unbelievably self-important and deluded. I've memorized a lot of Shakespeare. Should I walk around quoting it to admonish others and tell them how they should be living?

 
At June 27, 2006 12:23 PM, Anonymous John said...

BTW Really enjoy your blog

Thank God for the fundamentalist who feels grounded by the word.

But I also thank God for the Young man who had the compassion and love of his fellow man. I may be wrong, but he will probably affect more people than the other.

I'm thankful for the man who introduced to my Saviour instead of defining my beliefs

 
At July 08, 2006 6:38 PM, Anonymous fr'nklin said...

Hey, this is the first time I've visited your site and I couldn't pass up this piece on fundamentalism. I grew up in fundamentalism and attended Bob Jones University. I eventually left fundamentalism and I'm currently in a non-denominational church (I did attend Duke Divinity School for my MTS).

Watching the video, I could see who I used to be. Catholics are deceived and going to hell (vast majority), and I am the correct interpreter of Scripture. This particular fellow represented a "nice" brand of fundamentalism. I could see other fundy's really letting this deceived catholic have it!

The strength of fundamentalism is ultimately its weakness. They have a wonderful knowledge of Scripture...and it often is so impressive it leaves others in almost a state of silence. However, they make their particular interpretation and application of the scripture absolutely authoritative. They have a form of catholicism in reverse...every particular fundamentalist branch has it's own pope.

My impression of the video was to encourage all of us to know the Scriptures but be gracious in our differences of application. The narrowmindedness of fundamentalism in who is "in" and "out" is so disheartening. Of course, I believe they are our brothers too...even though they might not grant that status to me.

Okay, I didn't read anyone else's comment so I wouldn't break your rule. I think I will now;). Peace.

 
At August 06, 2006 4:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I was the green shirt guy, I would be really really glad that the red shirt guy was NOT gonna show up at our prayer meeting!

 

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