Catholicism and Fundamentalism by K. Keating

I read this book so long ago, it seems. I’m sure that I was not engaged in his thesis so well.

Fundamentalism is still such a hot topic, that I could not resist picking the book up again and going over what Karl had to say.

I must have understood it the first time around. Because I was not surprised when I read (in Chap 1) that contrary to a lot of popular opinion, fundamentalists largely do not interpret scripture literally. I knew that, and I was glad to read it again.

He also points out there that many Catholic beliefs that are based on literal interpretations of scripture.

I think that is the point that bothers me so much. I get labeled as a fundamentalist for taking something in the Bible literally – when that alone does not make one a fundamentalist.

Karl also points out early that the verbal sparring for and against fundamentalists and fundamentalism often includes *ad hominems * that fundamentalists are emotionally incompetent people. He points out that is incorrect also.

Fundamentalism developed, as Karl recounts, as a reaction to protestant liberalism in the 19th century. The term “fundamentalist” was coined in 1920.

Fundamentalism incorporates assumptions and “doctrinal presuppositions” about scripture, at the outset. And, fundamentalism not only overlays those over the book of scripture, but develops its own apologetics on a reconstruction of church history. The inherent contradiction in fundamentalism involves those assertions, while simultaneously holding that there is no basis for authority in the church, namely, it uses authority that it claims doesn’t exist.

Therefore, fundamentalism is an attack on the magisterium of the Church ( any church, for that matterl). Disputes over literal interpretation of scripture are important, but we should not lose sight that these are disputes over Church authority and teaching, at the heart of the argument.

BCR,

Good point(s)! I, too, used to think that Fundamentalists were literalists. But try to argue John’s “The Bread of Life” discourse, and they will do mental backflips to justify it’s spiritural meaning, and deny any literal meanings.

I also agree that the heart of the matter is the Church’s Authority. I’d like to ask some of these people, “What exactly has the Catholic Church done right?” I haven’t seen any teaching of ours they agree with.

Take Care!

Notworthy

Which religious groups would be considered fundamentalist?

[quote=ProudArmyWife]Which religious groups would be considered fundamentalist?
[/quote]

In many places in the U.S., you might run into Family Radio via a local AM or FM station. They would definitely qualify.

Some Baptist acquaintences of mine would qualify, and probably quite a number of so-called “evangelical” groups, like Jerry Falwell (who is Baptist). In their rejection of the authority of the Catholic Church, most protestants would qualify as leaning towards fundamentalism.

[quote=ProudArmyWife]Which religious groups would be considered fundamentalist?
[/quote]

As I get more into the book, Keating specifically describes various fundamentalist individuals and organizations that are anti-Catholic to varying degrees.

I’m up to page 120 right now, and Keating has described so far, that the motivation of fundamentalists was to oppose liberal protestantism, in the first instance. But, anti-Catholicism has become a major ally of fundamentalism.

Fundamentalists are just one group of anti-Catholics, the KKK was another prominent group around 1920. In the 1988 timeframe of this book, Keating commented on a stronger anti-catholicism building in that day.

This book is really a great starting point for understanding fundamentalism and the Catholic response to it. If Karl is listening out there, perhaps he can comment on how much better prepared he thinks Catholics are today (if at all) for resisting and opposing fundamentalism.

There are also Catholic fundamentalists.

They could be characterized by DR-onlyism, adherence to geocentricism, an outright rejection of scientific theories that on the surface conflict with the literary genre of the Creation accounts, and Feenyism.

Well, I’m certainly not a Douay-Rheims “onlyist”, and use several bible versions such as The NAB (ignoring it’s modernist study notes), The Jerusalem Bible, the Christian Community Bible and the Revised Standard Version. Still, for sheer elegance and beauty, I prefer the Douay-Rheims. It is fantastic for an old translation.
Love,
Jaypeeto4 (aka Jaypeeto3)

[quote=Jaypeeto4]Well, I’m certainly not a Douay-Rheims “onlyist”, and use several bible versions such as The NAB (ignoring it’s modernist study notes), The Jerusalem Bible, the Christian Community Bible and the Revised Standard Version. Still, for sheer elegance and beauty, I prefer the Douay-Rheims. It is fantastic for an old translation.
Love,
Jaypeeto4 (aka Jaypeeto3)
[/quote]

Prefer, sure, no problem at all. If a DR were available here I’d have bought one a long time ago, at least for cross-referencing (although my RSV would be my primary). I too have the RSV-CE, the 1971 RSV (Palm Bible+), NRSV (for comparison), the original Jerusalem Bible, the NAB (with the unfortunate 1991 Psalms), the CCB you mentioned, and the Protestant KJV and NIV.

But there are really those who are DR-onlyists–the Catholic equivalent of KJV-onlyists.

I’ve finished my reading of this book and it is a must read for adult Catholics.

We live in a complex culture, and we are surrounded by evangelical and fundamentalist Christians, as well as Catholics who themselves are weak in their faith or understanding.

I can see now that my 12 years of Catholic education was just the effort to evangelize young people into the faith. There’s so much more to learn and bring to bear in our daily walk with Christ.

Keating’s central theme about opposing fundamentalism is first, second, and third to be a well-read Catholic and to be conversant about the history and doctrines of the Church, and about the Bible.

If you’re reading this, you should be reading Keating’s book instead.

[quote=ProudArmyWife]Which religious groups would be considered fundamentalist?
[/quote]

I think Baptist would be #1

As a sympathetic evangalical I feel I need to put in a bit of a good word for my fellow evangelical/fundamentalists.

Churck Colson in his book The Body published in 1992 wrote: (Chapter 15 page 186)

 "So a group of theologians pastors and laypersons [reacting to liberal protestant thought] published a series of volumes titled The Fundamentals .  Published between 1910 and 1915, these booklets defined what had been the nonegotiables of the faith since The Apostles' Creed.
  1. The Infallibility of Scripture.

  2. The Deity of Christ.

  3. The Virgin Birth and miracles of Christ.

  4. Christ’s substitutionary death.

  5. Christ’s physical resurrection and eventual physical [my addition] return.

    “These were then, as they are today the backbone of orthodox Christianity. If a fundamentalist is a person who affirms these truths then there are fundamentalists in every denomination–Catholic , Presbyterian, Baptist, Bretheren, Methodist, Episcopal, …Everyone who believes in the orthodox truths about Jesus Christ–in short every Christian–is a fundamentalist. And we should not shrink from the term nor allow the secular world to distort its meaning.”

Sadly, I have to also admit that having seen a copy of the four booklets which we have in our church library there is an anti-Catholic diatribe which I believe should not be in the booklets. So some of what you say is unfortunately true. But please understand that fundamentalists were at their root not anti-Catholic. They tried to be anti-liberal and stand solidly for the Rule of Faith.

In Christ,

George Everson

[quote=BayCityRickL]In many places in the U.S., you might run into Family Radio via a local AM or FM station. They would definitely qualify.

Some Baptist acquaintences of mine would qualify, and probably quite a number of so-called “evangelical” groups, like Jerry Falwell (who is Baptist). In their rejection of the authority of the Catholic Church, most protestants would qualify as leaning towards fundamentalism.
[/quote]

Most Seventh-day sects would qualify as Fundamentalists.

[quote=porthos11]There are also Catholic fundamentalists.

They could be characterized by DR-onlyism, adherence to geocentricism, an outright rejection of scientific theories that on the surface conflict with the literary genre of the Creation accounts, and Feenyism.
[/quote]

I would rather strongly disagree with this sentiment. Or I would in part, at least. It seems to me that you are classifying the simple adherance to geocentrism or the simple rejection of certain ideas (evolution for instance) as a necessarilly bad thing. This is not true. These are ideas that are permitted within the Church’s teaching, as are the opposing scientific ideas (for the most part). One must not judge another, or theologically or religiouslly criticize another for his or her acceptance or rejection of any particular scientific ideas. If one wishes to criticize a person in terms of his or her science, that is a perfectly acceptable thing to do. However, to criticize a person’s religious attitude in terms of this is plain wrong. One would be no more right to label a person a fundamentalist because they believe in geocentrism than would one be to label a person a liberal or progressive because they believe do not believe in geocentrism. Our one and only criteria for criticism must be a person’s adherance to Church teaching and to defined dogma and doctrine. Just as a Thomist should not look negatively upon a Molinist or an Augustininan (because all are acceptable according to Church teaching), so too should one refrain from looking negatively upon a person based on any view of science which falls within the limits of Church teaching.

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