Monday, May 22, 2017
The Problem of Fundamentalism
Welcome to "My Deconstruction Blog". This blog is about my journey of giving up on fundamentalism and focusing instead on experiencing the Divine on a daily basis and allowing those experiences transform me into being more like Christ. This post is a fictitious story that illustrates the problem of fundamentalist thinking.
The Problem of Fundamentalism
One sunny day in an older man came upon a younger man standing outside under an umbrella.
"Why are you holding an umbrella today?", asked the older man.
"To avoid getting wet from the rain of course," the younger man replies. "You see, the Farmer's Almanac says it is raining all day today."
The older man looks up at the clear sky with no rain clouds in sight. "Friend, it is not raining."
The young man frowns and affirms "Of course it is raining. It is raining all day today, especially here and now. The Farmer's Almanac is quite clear on the matter."
The older man smiles. "I think you are reading it incorrectly, my friend."
The younger man under the umbrella becomes incredulous. "It is insane for you to ignore the rain. You should not be so disrespectful of me when I tell you what is best for you. Here, I will make space for you under my umbrella. Come and join me."
The older man looks up to the bright sky. "But friend, I am not getting wet. It is not raining."
The younger man replies, "You are a Fool. I trust the inerrant and infallible words of the Farmer's Almanac. The book says it is raining today, and the book is true. Forget your unbelief and trust the written words."
The older man speaks compassionately, saying, "Please, put down your umbrella for now. You can use it when the rain comes. But right now your umbrella is blocking only the sunlight. Step out from your shadow and see that it is good."
The younger man becomes disgusted. "I offer you a place under my umbrella. It is the most loving thing I can do. Since you choose to reject my offer, you deserve to get wet."
The older man laughs as the sunlight dances upon his face. "Friend, is there anything I could do or say to convince you that it is not raining? What if I put a bucket out so you could see that no water is accumulating inside it?"
The young man's face fell. He was sad because he had great certainty. "Old fool, I am fearful for your sanity and for your soul. To reject the infallible and inerrant word of the Farmer’s Almanac is dangerous. It will only lead to your pain and suffering."
The wise older man reaches out his hand. "Friend, will you at least acknowledge the truth that there are others who love and respect the Farmer's Almanac as much as you do, and who also consider it to be infallible and inerrant as you do? And will you at least acknowledge that they do not all agree that it is raining today? The Farmer's Almanac is widely read and widely loved and widely followed, but not everyone who reads and loves and follows the Farmer's Almanac thinks the exact same way. ... Or if you refuse to acknowledge the difference views of others besides yourself, will you at least admit that your own thinking about the Farmer's Almanac has changed since you were a boy? Will you at least give yourself the freedom to continue growing and learning? Will you at least leave open the possibility that you might not yet know all there is to know? Wait, friend, come back... "
The young man was already walking away under his umbrella, saddened by his certainty that it was raining.
This parable is a critique of fundamentalism in general, and is not directed toward any specific group, organization, or religion. The Farmer's Almanac is used in this parable because no one (to my knowledge) is actually a Farmer's Almanac Fundamentalist.
Posted by Thad Crews at 1:58 PM