Is Fundamentalism a magnet for narcissists


#1

Hi All,

I’ve never experienced anti-Catholicism until about a year ago when my wife and I moved down the street from her sister and husband. My brother-in-law is an ex-Catholic and very anti-Catholic but not only that, he is extremely in love with himself… to the point of being embarrassing.

After getting to know him a little more and being provoked to learn more about anti-Catholicism, I’ve taken a closer look at why I’m Catholic and why others are not - shocking I had not done this before in my 39 years of living. It seems to me that in order to be Catholic, our pride needs to be checked constantly. Honestly, this experience, although frustrating and infuriating at times, has strengthened my faith and caused me to evaluate myself and my faithfulness to the Church. If I’m going to claim to be Catholic, and represent the Catholic Church, then let’s get serious about it. I’ve actually been called a pagen, in so many words, by a so called christian - now what?

A prideful person wants no authority. If Fundamentalism’s, or Protestantism’s claim that we all can arrive at the truth on our own interpretation of the Bible isn’t pride, then what is it? GK Chesterton said that pride is the sin of devils and I couldn’t agree more. I try not to judge another’s heart but I pray daily for my brother-in-law and myself that pride will be removed and we will know and follow the truth.

Tim


#2

[quote=ethant]Hi All,

I’ve never experienced anti-Catholicism until about a year ago when my wife and I moved down the street from her sister and husband. My brother-in-law is an ex-Catholic and very anti-Catholic but not only that, he is extremely in love with himself… to the point of being embarrassing.

After getting to know him a little more and being provoked to learn more about anti-Catholicism, I’ve taken a closer look at why I’m Catholic and why others are not - shocking I had not done this before in my 39 years of living. It seems to me that in order to be Catholic, our pride needs to be checked constantly. Honestly, this experience, although frustrating and infuriating at times, has strengthened my faith and caused me to evaluate myself and my faithfulness to the Church. If I’m going to claim to be Catholic, and represent the Catholic Church, then let’s get serious about it. I’ve actually been called a pagen, in so many words, by a so called christian - now what?

A prideful person wants no authority. If Fundamentalism’s, or Protestantism’s claim that we all can arrive at the truth on our own interpretation of the Bible isn’t pride, then what is it? GK Chesterton said that pride is the sin of devils and I couldn’t agree more. I try not to judge another’s heart but I pray daily for my brother-in-law and myself that pride will be removed and we will know and follow the truth.

Tim
[/quote]

I think it is possible to say that pride is the root of all sin. I honestly feel that almost all, if not all, sins can be traced to pride in one way or another.

Now of course, many Protestants or Fundamentalists are not overly prideful and believe as they do purely because they have been taught it so, and they truly believe they are doing Christ’s will. There are others of course who are filled with pride.

I know, because I know many of the former, and I was at one time one of the latter. By the grace of Christ I am no longer, though I still do sturggle with pride to varying degrees in my interaction with Protestants and non-Christians. I find this very difficult to overcome, because I know I have the truth while they are lacking. It is a struggle.

But I would agree with you that many Protestants and Fundamentalists suffer from, and are even in many cases still outside of the Catholic Church due to, pride. Let us pray for them. :slight_smile:


#3

Two things.

First, I don’t think that Fundamentalism *necessarily * leads to narcicissm, and that Catholicism necessarily leads one away from it. We can all all point to individuals in both camps that would prove otherwise. The adherants of both religions are supposed to be humble before God and man. Many are, but many aren’t.

Having said that, I think that Catholicism, devotedly practiced, contains more provisions to help a person develop humility. A Catholic who prays and meditates on Scripture, who sincerely does an examination of conscience every night, sincerely confesses their sins to a priest on a regular basis, who worthily recieves the sacraments, and sincerely practices self-denial and charity as practiced by the saints (of which we have innumerable examples), can’t help but grow in humility and a proper self-image before God and his or her fellow man. I know of no *equivalent inherent quality * in Fundamentalism.


#4

No I don’t think Fundamentalism leads to pride either necessarily but I do see how a person who has a problem with pride could tell themselves that they’ve found a religion that suits them. Catholicism calls you to submit to authority other than yourself. It’s not easy - at least I don’t think so.

Pride is naturally converted to self-rightousness that doesn’t resemble Christianity in the least. Furthermore this person stands truth (Catholic Church) on it’s head and calls it a cult. Fundamentalism takes the bible out of context to meet the needs of the individual’s desires and no one can challenge the person because his faith is too strong. It’s his own “truth” and his bible proves it.


#5

[quote=Lazerlike42]I think it is possible to say that pride is the root of all sin. I honestly feel that almost all, if not all, sins can be traced to pride in one way or another.

Now of course, many Protestants or Fundamentalists are not overly prideful and believe as they do purely because they have been taught it so, and they truly believe they are doing Christ’s will. There are others of course who are filled with pride.

I know, because I know many of the former, and I was at one time one of the latter. By the grace of Christ I am no longer, though I still do sturggle with pride to varying degrees in my interaction with Protestants and non-Christians. I find this very difficult to overcome, because I know I have the truth while they are lacking. It is a struggle.

But I would agree with you that many Protestants and Fundamentalists suffer from, and are even in many cases still outside of the Catholic Church due to, pride. Let us pray for them. :slight_smile:
[/quote]

I pray for humility daily, my greatest fear is that when I do become humble I will be proud of my humility.


#6

Do not over generalize.
And…that about sums it up.
BH


#7

[quote=tdandh26]I pray for humility daily, my greatest fear is that when I do become humble I will be proud of my humility.
[/quote]

Would a truely humble person be aware of their humbleness?


#8

[quote=Fidelis]Having said that, I think that Catholicism, devotedly practiced, contains more provisions to help a person develop humility. A Catholic who prays and meditates on Scripture, who sincerely does an examination of conscience every night, sincerely confesses their sins to a priest on a regular basis, who worthily recieves the sacraments, and sincerely practices self-denial and charity as practiced by the saints (of which we have innumerable examples), can’t help but grow in humility and a proper self-image before God and his or her fellow man. I know of no *equivalent inherent quality * in Fundamentalism.
[/quote]

I think you could take your second sentance, substitute the word “Protestant”, and with the exception of the word “priest” (substitute “God”), and come up with a pretty close definition of what some of my Protestant friends do. They do not have a sacramental theology anywhere near ours, and are sadly lacking in that area, but the attend survices weekly (in fact, twice weekly), love God, are trying to grow closer to Him, and are doing so without the grace of the sacraments. If that does not inher in their expression of faith, I am no sure where it is coming from.


#9

[quote=otm]I think you could take your second sentance, substitute the word “Protestant”, and with the exception of the word “priest” (substitute “God”), and come up with a pretty close definition of what some of my Protestant friends do. They do not have a sacramental theology anywhere near ours, and are sadly lacking in that area, but the attend survices weekly (in fact, twice weekly), love God, are trying to grow closer to Him, and are doing so without the grace of the sacraments. If that does not inher in their expression of faith, I am no sure where it is coming from.
[/quote]

Besides the graces lacking in the sacraments, there are a couple of qualitative differences. Confessing your sins “to God alone” is nowhere near an exercise in humility as confessing to a priest–and humility is what we are discussing.

Also–and this was my point-- none of these practices are inherent in Protestantism. An isolated Protestant here or there, including your friends, may stumble upon one or two of these practices or find them in the Scriptures, but it is not common practice across the board, let alone well-established and universally taught and practiced as in Catholicism.


#10

An interesting thread, because I also noticed some of the things mentioned and, of course, I am speaking in very general terms. I never thought of pride, but that is a good point. What I have noticed over the years, is that for many, especially of the once saved, always saved, variety …all spiritual development seems to cease. In other words the spiritual thinking is the same at age say, 45 as it was at 25. They still often sound like enthusiastic new converts. There is little development or growth in virtue although they may be trying very hard to be ‘good christians’ especially outwardly. But to others their ‘pride’ is often blatantly obvious.

Someone mentioned the lack of sacramental theology, an important point, and the lack of sacramental graces to help one’s spiritual growth.

There appears often to be a lack of search for ‘truth’, since they think they already have all truth. And a big part of this of course is the lack of authority. They decide for themselves, for the most part, what is truth.

Regarding humility, I don’t know if a truly humble person knows how humble they have become…but they are quick to detect any hint of pride in themselves and try to root it out. Jesus was certainly aware of His humility…“be humble like me”…so it sounds like He expects us to recognize it and pursue it.

I have found many good and even somewhat humble protestants trying their best to please God…but I have never seen true holiness anywhere outside the true church.
.


#11

I have known some truly humble Protestants who are eager to love and understand God, so I can’t say that Protestantism itself is a magnet for narcissists. We have to remember that not all Protestants are Fundamentalists and even among Fundamentalists there are different extremes.

Yet, I have to admit most of the more extreme fundamentalists that I come across seem very arrogant and judgemental to me.


#12

[quote=sconea]An interesting thread, because I also noticed some of the things mentioned and, of course, I am speaking in very general terms. I never thought of pride, but that is a good point. What I have noticed over the years, is that for many, especially of the once saved, always saved, variety …all spiritual development seems to cease. In other words the spiritual thinking is the same at age say, 45 as it was at 25. They still often sound like enthusiastic new converts. There is little development or growth in virtue although they may be trying very hard to be ‘good christians’ especially outwardly. But to others their ‘pride’ is often blatantly obvious.

Someone mentioned the lack of sacramental theology, an important point, and the lack of sacramental graces to help one’s spiritual growth.

There appears often to be a lack of search for ‘truth’, since they think they already have all truth. And a big part of this of course is the lack of authority. They decide for themselves, for the most part, what is truth.

Regarding humility, I don’t know if a truly humble person knows how humble they have become…but they are quick to detect any hint of pride in themselves and try to root it out. Jesus was certainly aware of His humility…“be humble like me”…so it sounds like He expects us to recognize it and pursue it.

I have found many good and even somewhat humble protestants trying their best to please God…but I have never seen true holiness anywhere outside the true church.
.
[/quote]

Then perhaps you have not looked too far.


#13

I guess the key issue here is “humility”. Are fundamentalists humble? And by “fundamentalists,” do we include fundamentalists of all stripes – Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Hindu, etc.?

It seems to me you can find truly humble people in all these religions, as well as outside of these religions.

Confession to a priest might be humbling for some, but a source of pride for someone else. Narcissism can come in many forms, including apparently un-narcissistic behavior.


#14

In my experience, fundamentalism is replete with plenty of humble, self-abnegating people who strive daily to give their all to God, as well as exemplars of pridefulness that would cause Nebuchadnezzar to say “Well, someone sure likes himself today.” (On a bad day, I could count myself in the second camp.)

I’d bet that Catholics could say exactly the same thing about their own churches, though. I do think that in the sacraments and customs of the Church, Catholicism possesses certain institutional firebrakes that keeps pride from running too rampant or too openly in its members. Fundamentalists aren’t necessarily worse people in that respect, but their faith simply doesn’t have any built-in mechanisms that enjoin humility upon someone who’s not inclined to practice it.

Counterintuitively, though, one could also argue that this lack of overt structure puts the individual Fundamentalist more on guard against pride, because he knows his church structures won’t guard against it for him. Still, making lemonade out of lemons doesn’t mean you’ve been handed anything but lemons.


#15

My wife and I came to the Catholic Church about eight or nine years ago. After going through RCIA we enjoyed a long period of blissful ignorance about our faith. Only conversing and exchanging warm-fuzzes with other Catholics about our faith and feeling like we had no need to learn anything more.

Times were good (or so they seemed), until we were invited to a “Purpose Driven Life” study a few years ago and ran into some Catholic-hating, Bible-thumping maniac, who took great pleasure in making us look like complete fools in front of everyone. Now do you think I liked this guy doing this to us? No way. However, even though he was very arrogant, I thank God for bringing us to that man, because he made us realize that we needed to dig much deeper into the all the beautiful gifts that had been given to us through the Catholic Church.

It also didn’t take us long to realize just how easy it is to defend our faith, and that the big, scary, fundamentalist Christians are actually quite easy to refute. There is absolutely nothing to be afraid of.

Isn’t it just amazing how God can take any kind of evil and use it for good?

On the other, hand we are friends with a couple that goes to a fundamentalist-type church and the they are some of the nicest, most humble people you would ever want to meet. We’ve even done a couple of things with their church and have never gotten any anti-Catholic vibes. Go figure…


#16

Like many here, I am a convert from Protestantism. So we can look at spiritual questions from both sides, from what we *used * to think–to how we think now as Catholics.

I wanted to humbly, sincerely, passionately follow Christ. Straight to the scriptures–no “man-made” church for me!

Now that I’m Catholic, I’d like to confess that what I had *thought * was humility, was really arrogance.

I’m not going to over-generalize to say all Protestants are deceived in this way; but I was.

So, my point:

Although Catholics and Protestants may share the definition and goal of humility, the way we express that virtue in our actions indicates whether we have it–or not.

God’s Holy Word is Truth. Does practicing it lead you to the Eucharist–the source and summit of our faith? If so you are humbly following Christ.

Does reading Scripture lead you away from the Eucharist? If so then you really are arrogant; albeit under the guise of “humility.”

Sorry if this sounds triumphalistic. :o just another opinion…


#17

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