Why do you think Fundamentalists are so immature?

This is something I have noticed for a long time, even while still a fundamentalist. I really don’t know how to ask this without sounding rude. I am not talking about all Protestants, just those who are fundamentalist christians. Maybe an example would help.
I remember talking to a Catholic once who told me he was accousted by a fundamentalist looking for another ‘soul to win’. The Catholic was becoming very frustrated as the fundamentalist persisted and kept quoting Scripture at him. He ignored several subtle hints. and a few not so subtle. Finally the Catholic said: “I only discuss the Bible with adults”. The fundamentalist walked away very angry and said he would 'shake the dust from his feet.'
I personally noticed this during my time in fundamentalist churches and when I encountered fundamentalists in the workplace.
They are extremely emotionally immature.
Quite frankly I see this on this forum as well. As soon as they find themselves facing facts they didn’t consider, or a question they cannot answer, they go on the attack and consign their opponent to Hell.
Now, I have my own ideas as to why this is, but I wanted to see what others thought.
And please, this is NOT an attack on all Protestants. Nor do I think they have a corner on childish behavior
In fact, I have seen Protestants ask the same question.
Why do you think Fundamentalists are so immature?

and it is the sort of thing that feeds off itself. They get angry at the way the world is, and they spend time around like-minded people. They all get even angrier, and they are encouraged to proclaim their religion to everyone around them by their churches. Because they are so angry all the time, all they spread is anger and fear.

That seems to be a good question. I don’t know if there is one answer, but their immaturaity by forcing beliefs down people’s throats is what turns people off to religion and to agnosticsm, atheism and Islam

There are a lot of immature people out there. It knows no denominational bounds.

Could it be that at least some are Fundamentalists precisely because they lack the depth of spirit and thought to be anything else? I think this would be the case for those attracted TO Fundamentalist, not necessarily for those who are born into it. For these latter, that is all they know and unless someone teaches them a better, deeper way of living in Christ, they remain in the grasp of the inherent know-nothingism in their approach to Him.

I know that. Watching the news over the years I have said to my wife more than once “I wish this country were run by adults”.:wink:
Fundamentalists are not a denomination, they are spread over more than a few Protestant denominations. So, this is not an attack on Protestants or even denominations.
It is a behavior pattern I have noticed among those proclaim themselves to be fundamentalists.

I don’t know that I would call them all immature or not, but one of the roots of fundamentalism is this: there is a modern tendency to treat everything as prooftexting, forensics, facts. In political banter, there is the tendency to try to dissect and critique with a fine-tooth comb your opponent’s words. In short, everything is viewed sort of as a court case, things are viewed always as collections of scientific data to review and sort. The Bible is viewed the same way. For fundamentalists, it is the manual for life, to be read like a point by point detailed account of a crime scene, a list of facts, written in modern English idioms only. That is the nature of modern thinking, and the inability to read Scripture in it’s own theological context has poisoned their ability to understand the texts. Their frustration may come from the fact that always reading Scripture at face value renders them unable to explain certain interpretations that contradict other Scriptures.

i looked at your pictures. I like your dog, have one just like it. they are the greatest little dogs.

Well, there was a time when I was scared of the existence of fundamentalists =). Not because they are mean or I’m a fundamentalist-phobe. But because I just worry that for every person that talk to Christ about they scare three away from Christianity. I have a friend I cannot talk with about Church right now because of his experiences growing up and meeting some very bible pushing Christians.

I guess I’m worried about all the souls that gets pushed away by this. I know we are all called, but even the Catechism recognize that some may not hear Christ’s teachings because they were swayed away be bad teachers.

I’m less scared now because I realized, I should not worry too much about what others do. Instead I should worry about what I do.

As for the topic question, I think it is the narrowed reading that one needs sometimes to be a fundamentalist student that makes it difficult to grow. While I do not know all fundamentalist, I do see this narrow way of thinking quite often in the tone and voice.

This is one reason why I distinguish between classical Fundamentalism and what I call pop Evangelicalism.

Classical Fundamentalism is something quite powerful and intellectually defensible. It’s very much like what C. S. Lewis called “Mere Christianity,” and in its classical form, actually agrees with Catholicism as far as it goes.

But it has degenerated (especially in America) into Pop Evangelicalism, which is a very puerile and immature and simplisitic belief system.

Perhaps they are afraid that they might be wrong and have to be fierce to convince themselves??? Dunno.

I stay as far away as possible and I don’t encourage in-depth religious discussion unless the other person is also catholic.

Why do you think Fundamentalists are so immature?

The question assumes that I think Fundamentalists are immature.

The term “Fundamentalist” has a specific meaning. In Christianity, it refers to those who take as their starting point a list of precepts called “The Seven Fundamentals.” These seven fundamentals include things like the divinity of Christ, the inerrancy of the Scriptures, the virginity of Mary, as well as some other statements of their particular practice of the faith.

The eighth precept of Fundamentalism is that anything apart from the Seven Fundamentals is subject to your own personal walk with God, which (they assume) is being led by the Holy Spirit.

I happen to disagree with Fundamentalist theology - it is too simplistic, for starters and I also happen to disagree with some of the Fundamentals (I think one of them is that all Doctrine must be derived from Scripture, and I know that I disagree with that one), but I would not characterize “all Fundamentalists” as being anything other than Fundamentalists.

Fundamentalism certainly attracts those who are looking for simple, cut and dried answers, but at the same time, it also offers a great deal of freedom for personal decision-making, and is also extremely attractive to people who don’t like a lot of rules, or who already have their own way of dealing with certain things, and don’t like the idea of someone telling them what to do. Many different kinds of people are involved in Fundamentalism, including people who don’t see any conflict between Fundamentalism and holistic medicine, and other New Age practices. Those aren’t the ones who are going to accost you on the bus, though, and try to convert you in a single conversation - those people may or may not be Fundamentalists; I just consider them to be annoying.

My experience is that many of the most giving, streetwise, humble, generous, thoughtful, reflective, brave, tender and hardworking adults I have ever met were Fundamentalists, Pentecostals and other conservative Evangelicals, and that street-evangelism is their most sacred form of giving in their religion. These are people who make dinner and freeze it while listening to the Bible on Tape; get gas and groceries; distribute food to the needy; pick up their son’s girlfriend from her clothing-for-the-poor meeting and discuss her spiritual state on the way to the house; fix up a room for her; pray for two hours; listen to some Christian Contemporary music while doing their hair; go out with the street outreach group to evangelize; and drive home and stick dinner in the microwave, doing low-impact aerobics the whole time so they won’t be too sore to get up and go to work. If they get impatient it’s because it’s with the last bit of strength they have that they are witnessing to you for your benefit, not theirs. Of course their theology is shallow. That doesn’t make them emotionally immature.

Your experiences are not my experiences.

On this forum, I have noticed that some fundametalists have stood out as being particularly self righteous and arrogant and actually mocking the beliefs of others. (the guy in the calvery chapel thread was just awful). We don’t get it because we aren’t “spiritual” or “spirit-led” or some other indemonstratable or vague accusation. I do think, though, that it is the case that the loud, obnoxious minority makes the majority mature fundamentalists look bad. Also, I’ve seen Catholics being fairly immature and mocking as well – or sometimes too out to win debates and forgetting about the importance of charity and understanding. This can be the case with the random forum poster and the professional apologist alike.

I think in the specific case of Fundamentalists a few things cause this attitude. First, their zeal for evangelism, a fundamentally good thing, gets twisted into evangelism at all costs, even at pushing people further from the faith. Also, some people never learn the proper way to evangelize, so their efforts turn into yelling and frustration. Discussion on religious differences can be very emotionally charged even if you are a mature adult that has a lot of experience with it.

Finally, I think that many of them are taught that they are very obviously right and Catholics are very obviously wrong. This becomes a stone solid axiom in their minds. This idea is strengthened by their always being around like-minded people and even around ex-catholics who can attest (because they’ve had a bad experience or poor cathechesis) that Catholics really are that bad and clueless (when it comes to scripture, especially).

It must seem very cute and quaint to the fundamentalist that comes on this board, that Catholics use the fundamentalist’s own book, the Bible, to try to explain their odd, pagan theology.

I should say though, that of those in my life who are “fundamentalists” or some approximation thereof, non are of the obnoxious type. They are all good people and hardworking Christians who love their bible and put my scripture reading to shame.

Like a couple of months back, a nun that was teaching a formation class from my diocese, said that they had ordered a statue of a saint (can not remember her name >.<) and that it took the people from Europe 4 years to make. Then about a couple of weeks after they received it at her convention, the head was chopped off. Nothing was stolen, no car windows broken, no room was broken into. Only the head was missing. There was a fundamentalist church down the street of theirs and though they never said it WAS them, they had a hunch. Though i never found out if she figured out who it was, some nuns believed it was them. They have had problems with them before.

Sad really how us who call ourselves Catholic/Christian can swoop down that low. :frowning:


Well said! Well said!

That immature Fundamentalist thinking is in this website, too, among us Catholics!

Good answers so far.
Again, this is focused upon a certain type of person, not what denomination they belong to or what they believe. But a behavior pattern among those fanatical about what they believe.
For example, the Fundamentalist mindset claims that it believes in absolutes, yet the culture around it practices situational ethics. They have taken the Protestant philosophy of rejection of religious authority to its logical conclusion. Thus, they are ‘rebels’ in the fullest sense of the word. The only authority they accept is themselves and thier own interpretation of the Bible.
But here is the problem. The human sin nature is not something that is easily squashed.
While they are conservative and “morally strict”, they evaluate each situation for their moral decision, not absolutes decided upon by a higher authority. In short they will always find excuses for their bad behavior.
This is, honestly, what I observed in my twenty years among fundamentalists.
They show a lack of self-discipline. In rejection of the discipline of obeying a religious authority above them, they are left to thier own devices.
So, like little children, they take their toys and go home when frustated.
I truly believe lack self-discipline is at the heart of it.

I think a lot of the small “bible only” churches suffer from the Napolean complex. Ever notice how it is usually the smallest dogs that do the most yapping? There is also a lot of “competition” for start up churches. A lot of the people in these churches are pressured to bring people in to grow the church. They don’t just want you to know about Christ, they want you to subscribe to their exact doctrine sit in their pews and pay their preachers salary. Often times, these people joined their church because of emotions. When their doctrine is challenged, they do not know how to handle it because their faith is fragile and not yet fully formed. They take it personally. I think sometimes the message of Jesus gets obscured by their goal to bring in new members. My husband grew up in the church of Christ denomination and they outright lied and slandered other denominations when they evangelized. They would even lie about their own history to lure in members. It was a wicked institution. A lot of these churches have a hierarchy of brainwashing too. Some members are so lost and emotionally bullied; they do this for some sort of sick approval from other members. They will often say THE BIBLE! THE BIBLE! even whey they can’t name scripture or when they are rattling off scripture that is contrary or not related to the point they are making. They basically make an idol of the bible. It is sad.

I see a lot of Hatefor fundamentalist on this thread, so who are the immuture ones

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