Fundamentalists and the 5 Senses

Consider the following about Catholics. They employ all 5 of their senses in worship.

  1. Sight - not only seeing what’s going on at Mass or reading the Bible, but using religious imagery for inspirational or meditative purposes.

  2. Smell. Good ol’ incense. :slight_smile:

  3. Touch - feeling the Rosary beads while in prayer

  4. Hearing - hearing the Mass and prayers and so on.

  5. Taste. Communion every single Sunday and it’s available every single day of the week.

I may be totally wrong, but it seems as though Fundamentalists tend to shrink away from these very physical components of worship and rely more on…well…I guess on emotions or faith or some other intangible thing. Oh, I know we/they have their/our communion too, and we/they hear sermons and read Bibles. But beyond that, it’s all purely “spiritual.”

Am I making sense? And if so, has anyone else noticed that?

I wonder why that is.

You are making sense. It reminds me of an article by Peter Kreeft that I have to hunt for that talks about how Catholics feast at the banquet and Fundamentalists diet.

Catholics don’t have a problem with the material world. It’s good but fallen. Fundamentalists see the material world as bad. There’s a disconnect. Fundamentalists think (mistakenly) that anything that has to do with the world is bad. The spiritual is good and must be the only focus and anything that has to do with the body, the world, the flesh is bad. I think I’m getting that from the article by Kreeft. I will hunt for it tomorrow because it’s late now.

This is sort of what I’m getting at. Kreeft mentions some of what I’m talking about in the section on sacraments:

This one on Sacraments might also help:

I swear though that there is an article about what you’re talking about.

You are correct, Fundamentalist try to find Jesus through" research" of the Bible, whereas Catholics have Jesus truly present in the Eucharist.

I finally came to the realization that Protestant beliefs were very close to the definition of gnosticism. All matter is bad. Only the spiritual is good.
It’s one of the reasons I left it.

The Bible says to worship God in Spirit and in truth. This just how protestant worship God.

! John 2 :15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the THE LOVE OF THE FATHER IS NOT IN HIM

God give us things in this world for our benefit and confort but we are not to make them more inportant than our love for God. or our love for serving God.

In my 57 years in the Southern Baptist Church, this was not my experience. When the truth started looking too “Catholic” we managed to obscure it. Our outward signs of spiritual worship even changed over time. Communion went from once a month to once or twice a year. Usually Christmas eve and Easter. We used to have “altar calls” but we had no altar because we had no sacrifice. We demanded that you be baptised in order to gain admission to the local church, but we declared that baptism was only a sign of obedience or a symbol. Gosh, that sounds like a “tradition of man” if there ever was one. I saw people come to the “altar” to “rededicate their life” or in some cases be “rebaptised” even though they had all ready been baptised in the Baptist denomination. I finally realized that these broken souls were looking for the confessional and the priest who would absolve them. Instead they were re-baptised just in case the first one didn’t take.
Now I see that the Southern Baptist Convention which is having it’s annual meeting this week will be “voting” to see if they believe in the gift of “speaking of tongues” Be sure and let me know how that one turns out. I hope it’s not a 50/50 split!!! I know I am sounding sarcastic, but this is what I dealt with for many years before I was shown “TRUTH” by the Holy Spirit. I had made fun of and laughed at those Catholics for years. But after just a little bit of discernment in reading John 6 and then attending my first Mass, I became a changed person. By the time the priest raised the body and blood and said" This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to his supper." I was convinced! If I hadn’t all ready been on my knees, I would have fallen to my knees in front of my Lord. As a matter of fact, as I proclaimed for the first time in my heart, “My Lord and My God!”, I felt as if I should prostrate myself and bury my face in the floor, because for the first time in my life I was truly in the presence of the Christ, the Son of the Living God!!!

Fundamentalists see the material world as bad.

Yes…that’s exactly what I was trying to say. It is often fundamentalists that will say you cannot listen to any music but secular, shouldn’t watch any TV but TBN, shouldn’t read any books but Christian ones.

In a way, it’s commendable that the sincere ones try to do this to separate themselves and live a more holy life.

But the rules they lay on themselves seem far more restrictive than the basic requirements of Catholicism.

And if you mentioned incense to a fundy, he’d probably try to cast the devil outat ya. :wink:

Gee, I love the way you cherry picked that verse and insinuated that I love world and don’t have the love of my heavenly Father in me. I see things haven’t changed much in the Protestant world.
There is a great difference in loving the world and the things in the world and using all the physical senses that God gave me to know him, to love him, and to worship him. You would think if God only wanted spiritual worship he would have remained in Heaven. Instead, he understood that we really needed a physical God (Jesus) who could teach us to use all of our physical abilities and senses to worship and work for our Lord.
Good luck on your “spiritual” journey. I will continue to worship with my whole being.

A friend of mine (another Baptist turned Catholic, about 2 years ahead of me.) blogged about this very thing.

I love Malachi 1:11
"For from the rising of the sun even to its setting, My name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense is going to be offered to My name, and a grain offering that is pure; for My name will be great among the nations," says the LORD of hosts.

Sounds kind of like the Mass eh?

you have to realize that the op is not talking of all protestants just a few.

as to the op, what you are speaking of is something that always bothered me about fundamentalists.

anything that leads us to contemplate our relationship with god, such as sacrementals- are good. sadly, fundamentalist seem to disregard the fact that everything in the world was created by god and can be used by him to reach some deeper need in us.

it was only when i became catholic that i realized how much god wants to draw us to him. he is willing to use any and all of our senses to reach us. there is something very beautiful in that thought.:slight_smile:

I am seeing a trend to go from the OP of Fundamentalists to a generalizing to all Protestants. There are Protestant churches who have almost all of the above in some form, there are those that do not.

My family would fall well into the category of Protestant Fundamentalism. I would say that the only things missing weekly are taste and smell (and, frankly, I am just as glad they don’t have the incense, as it would mean I could never attend–I am allergic–had to get a special sandalwood one for my wedding as it is one of the few that doesn’t set me off). Taste–we usually had communion four times a year. There is an argument for including the traditional coffee and doughnuts or potluck in the taste category, though, as fellowship is just as much a part of the worship experience for them as anything else. When one fellowships with a fellow believer, one is in the presence of God (“where two or three are gathered together in my Name…”)

Sight: My parents’ home is filled with images of Jesus, the Nativity, the Holy Spirit (in the form of a dove), the Cross, etc–they probably have more religious statues than many Catholics :). So while many Fundamentalist churches do have very plain appearing sanctuaries, that element is not lost to them. Visit any Christian bookstore to see a sampling.

During a worship service, there can also be something very spiritual about a bright, plain, white, sun-filled room in terms of connecting with the light of Heaven. Another element is the amount of religous jewelry, accessories, etc that the people may be wearing—my dad has quite a collection of religious ties, for instance, as well as tie pins, and my stepmother has lots of religious jewelry. The special bookmark for the Bible or Bible cover that has inspirational artwork or text on it.

Touch: The rosary is not the only thing one can touch in a worshipful way. They share the feel of the handshakes/hugs of their co-worshippers and clergy. The feel of the Bible/hymnal in their hands. There are things like pocket crosses (some made of nails), mercy stones, WWJD bracelets, promise rings, etc–all things that are designed to be able to be used as a focus for prayer or reminder of one’s faith.

Hearing: Never discount the importance and effect of the music as well as part of worship. The praying aloud, either in their own language or in tongues is a very spiritual thing to them as well, particularly prized are those that are spontaneous and come from the heart of the individual.

Actually, for the Fundamentalists I have known, it is more about the goal of living their entire lives as the sacrifice (literally " to make sacred")–they seek to transform everything they do and touch into a worship and witness to their religion. Worship is a very visceral, physical thing. Rather than shrinking away from or ignoring the physical, they seek to transform them into things dedicated to Jesus. Look at the market for Christian videos, bumperstickers, Jesus on everything one can imagine–clothing, books, jewelry, etc. For example, my father at one point dedicated his stereo to God and only allowed Christian music to be played on it (and in the car, not fun for a teenager).

Um… the one you replied to IS a fundamentalist. :o

A friend of mine (another Baptist turned Catholic, about 2 years ahead of me.) blogged about this very thing.

That was a nice blog entry. :slight_smile:

I still somehow feel inadequate with my words in what I’m trying to describe (it is this very reason I don’t post too often)

KarenNC, I understand what you’re saying. But there’s still something different about it. Fundamentalists may plaster their/our cars with bumper stickers bearing the latest trendy Christian slogan and say that it’s a testimony, and then begrudge Catholics praying in front of a few candles and statues.

Fundamentalists allow themselves nativity scenes at Christmas but “tsk tsk” year-round Mary statues in Catholic yards.

Maybe an element of hyprocisy?

I think there’s something very beautiful in the notion of using “full body worship” for God. All five senses. Maybe fundy’s have that in some capacity. I don’t know.

bah. I wish I were more eloquent. :o

I have been to Mass with my in-laws on many occasions and not once have I seen ot smelled incense being used. Maybe that is just their Church but that is my experience.

many just can’t seem to be bothered any more… sad… they might say it offends some people
but you would agree that scripture describes our prayers being lifted to heaven in the incense… yes?

my parish priest uses it often

i understand, but he referred to himself as protestant and i didn’t want anyone reading this thread to think that it applies to all protestants. i was trying to be polite.:slight_smile:

we only use it at certain times of the year during our services. maybe the same is true of your in-law’s parish.

i think that a lot of the symbolism in catholicism would be appreciated by even diehard fundamentalists if they understood the reasons behind them.

We do not try to find God (as you put it) we have found God and He has found us.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit