The fine line of a fundamentalist

I am curious what others think what the line is between being devout vs. a fundamentalist.

I myself am a new convert @35 and I just want absorb all the info there is and live it.
I no longer really listen to music much at all anymore and just primarily listen to Ave Maria radio and usually can’t get enough ( really like FR. John Riccardo ) :thumbsup:.

Is being a fundamentalist a bad thing? My thoughts now seem to be predominantly about the church and things I wouldn’t of thought twice about before are on the forefront now.
I believe now that we should be serving God first and all else second. The thing is that I am afraid that this hopefully is not some high I have been on the past year and that it will not dull.

I guess my question is , is there a balance that can be obtained of is it full out all or nothing because I am a pretty type A personality.


I think that you are doing just fine…

For the record, we don’t really use the term “fundamentalist” to refer to ourselves as Catholics. Devout is a fine term and - can you be TOO devout?

Yes and no. One cannot be too devoted to God, but the devil can try to divert us so that we THINK we are serving God but doing so inappropriately.
For instance, if your prayer life begins to interfere with taking care of your family…something is wrong.
Another way the devil tempt us is through pride…where a devotion becomes the goal instead of God. We take pride in how many rosaries we pray a week or something like that.

But so long as you seek to incorporate faith into the life and vocation that you are called to - keeping things in proper focus and doing all things from Love of God and neighbor, you can hardly go wrong.


You are very fortunate and blessed. Enjoy the peace and fulfillment that comes to you in your communion with God and the Church. Don’t worry about losing the level of intensity you now have. How wonderful it is to be drawn consciously to Jesus, to walk with Him, and confide in Him.

I hope you feel, as many of us do - that Jesus is my one true friend, and Lord above all earthly dimensions. The rewards that come from knowing Him are truly magnificent. You are blessed to be drawn as you are. Nothing in this world compares to the sense of spiritual love and wholeness you receive from a strong devotion to Jesus. He is truly the Son of God. If you realize this, from the depths of your soul, you will receive many graces. Sure we all have distractions, and many people don’t have the same faith and devotion you have been blessed with. Using your free will, keep the fire going, and trust His provision of love and guidance will continue. John 7:38 reveals “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ''From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.”


Do secular people insult the devout or the fundamentalist?

People whom I’ve considered devout don’t wear their faith on their sleeve too much and even if they do, they keep their mouth shut when it’s good for them.

Fundamentalists lack that capacity. Not that hard to see who gets flamed often (and apparently likes it).

Pardon my bluntness but highs mean nothing, period. What matters is how resolute you are in keeping with the Church’s principles.

Most people would be called a fundamentalist if they said that gay marriage and fornication are both sins, dare to question the infallibility of science, or even quietly make the sign of the cross before meals.

I think that wearing your faith on your sleeve is exactly what attracts hate, and Jesus said we would be blessed for it rather than for feeling ashamed of the faith. My greatest struggle is to avoid showing myself as different by avoiding sin and doing good works–I couldn’t care less about impressing anybody by being Christian (which is something shameful in my country anyway).

I am talking of not merely being religious in public for attention, but actually living your whole life according to the commandments. When you decide not to lie, for instance, your whole family hounds out against you, calling you names or disapproving of such impractical living, telling you that such honesty is childish or fundamentalist. But it is a commandment!

So what is the difference between the two? I think that the world has the definitions wrong, or judges wrongly, according to appearances. Devout people seem to be those who do not rock the boat or dare to break social convention, and fundamentalists seem to be those who do.

Maybe that is the line. Fundamentalists are devout but not all devout people are fundamentalists.

I’ve always considered fundamentalists as often Protestant, in-your-face, you can’t be holy enough to suit them types, who are always right in any given situation. I associate them with closed minds, open mouths, and untested hearts. They are easily offended – which is one of the tells that they are not in fact as holy as they claim. They are quick to accuse and dismiss anyone or anything that doesn’t sound like it’s in 100% agreement with them, which is hard because they are always smarter. And all the ones I know are rabidly anti-evolution and most believe the earth was created in 6 literal days and if you don’t know that you are Part of the Problem. They are not beacons of Truth.

For me, “devout” is to “fundy” just about like “concerned” is to “paranoid schizophrenic.”


My comment on “high” was meant to read as feeling alive and persuing And that I am afraid that it would be like some new toy and the flame would dim. Sorry, I sometimes have trouble writing what I mean.

As for being resolute. I am very resolute and have every intention of keeping it that way and am afraid of becoming a Westborough Baptist style fundy.

How does one keep balance?

I was raised the following, Baptised Methodist till about 10 yr , then to Assm. of God born again charismatic ( really hated that as a teen ) , went to a non-denom highschool ran by a Berean adm. and from about 17-35 pushed as far away as i could eventually becoming agnostic on the way until i felt The Holy Spirit calling me home and life has been getting better; so it is hard for me to grasp what is balanced sometimes.



Well, you’re probably NOT a fundamentalist. I have heard that term used in two senses, and you don’t fit either. The secular world uses “fundamentalist” to mean anyone who is constantly ramming his beliefs down other people’s throats and/or constantly attacking or condemning people who do not believe the same things he does. This is what people mean when they call the Westboro Baptist Church folks fundamentalists. As long as you are trying to treat people with love and respect, you don’t really fit this. You can’t become this kind of fundamentalist without abandoning Christ’s actual teachings.

There are also people who identify as “fundamentalists”. Where I come from, that means “conservative protestant, takes faith very seriously, takes the Bible 100% literally and often emphasizes young earth creationism”. They’re not altogether a bad group, but I don’t think Catholics can fit there, either. :shrug:

Since your main concern is not getting burnt out or overwhelmed by your new faith, I can’t really help much. There will be ups and downs. Your high will probably end at some point. The important thing is to keep praying, keep learning, and keep trusting in God as he guides you through the next phase of your earthly adventure. :thumbsup:

You must know my BIL.:wink:

Did anyone ask you? If not, you deserve being called one for saying things that nobody wanted to hear. Should an atheist blaspheme Muhammad in the presence of Muslims? I’d sit back and laugh to watch the consequences.

The modern connotations tied to fundamentalists is no longer exclusive to Christianity. It’s just the sad fact that Christians to be the loudest sometimes.

No. Fundamentalists are those who seek attention and think bragging about their religiosity gets them to heaven.

I’ll stick to affiliating myself with the devout.

Have you actually read the rule book? You would find that the fundamentalist take on Christian morality is by far the most idiotically simplistic, it borders on heretical (Gnostic even).

It is not about balance. It is about facts. B16 declared our religion to be as such. We care only for the truth, we care only for facts (contrary to what some would have you believe with their dismissive attitude towards science).

On an online message board, when people are debating something regarding it, or maybe on Facebook, on a post about the Church, whenever you claim the first two, people label you a fundamentalist. If you are sitting quietly in a corner and making the sign of the cross before a meal people feel embarrassed. How can doing such things be a sign of seeking attention or showing off if they attract such animosity and ridicule? The way I see it people hide their religion because they fear ridicule.

If it was about not offending people it is prudence, but in my heart and personal life–in my case–I feel that it is embarrassment of coming of as believing in the supernatural and in defending a religion which is increasingly hated. I have to really struggle to make the sign of cross in front of others when it comes automatic when I eat alone. Not out fear of offending them, but out of fear of what they may think.

The modern connotations tied to fundamentalists is no longer exclusive to Christianity. It’s just the sad fact that Christians to be the loudest sometimes.


No. Fundamentalists are those who seek attention and think bragging about their religiosity gets them to heaven.

So when homosexual supporters call orthodox Catholics “fundamentalists” or (this really happened) “Pharisee” it is because they are holier than thou and not as a put down word for holding an idea that is not according to social convention?

Increasingly I see the word used to describe those with unacceptable views and behaviors, like when fundamentalist is used to describe antitheists like Dawkins. It seems to be a putdown word for holding views that are not kosher or for defending them.

I just realized how to put into words why I don’t typically make the sign of the cross in public restaurants, and when I do it’s subdued.

That’s not because I’m ashamed of my religion, and I’m as immune to fears of ridicule as anybody I know. It’s because I feel naked and exposed; I consider the sign of the cross as an intimate act between me and God, and not for show or for advertising my religion. Essentially I feel like I’m doing PDA when I make a sign of the cross around non-Catholics. I even feel weird giving my wife a quick “kiss” even during Mass, around other Catholics, when it comes to the sign of peace.


For me, whenever something happens, I think of Jesus’ words of how people who are ashamed to publicly acknowledge Him–those people He will be ashamed of in heaven. So I feel obliged to also pay homage to Him in public, not only in private. I feel if I keep my hope in Him quiet I would be letting the fear of the world and fear for public reputation overcome my love for Him.

In my country Christianity is not something well accepted where people assume you are Christian. It is a shameful thing to be Christian here, and yet the gospel says to not be double-minded or to hide your light.

Mark 3:38

For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels."

I also try to evangelize on Facebook by posting quotes and apologetic material.

What rule book? Facts of ? I am sorry but I am not following you that we’ll, you’re responses seem cryptic to me.

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