Why the focus on Fundamentalists?


#1

Hello again! Well, I have been given a wealth of information on Catholic doctrine, which I have been studying and will continue to study. So, for now, I will take a break from doctrinal questions and ask something else. In my reading here in the forums and in various Catholic publications on the 'net, I have found that most objections to Protestantism seem to deal with Fundamentalism. I find this odd for several reasons.

Reason 1: Fundamentalists tend to share Catholic views on abortion, homosexual behavior and other moral issues, whereas many of the so-called “mainline” Protestant denominations often have radically different views.

Reason 2: While many Protestant denominations tend to be more Catholic-like in their beliefs about the perpetual virginity of Mary, the Eucharist and other issues, Fundamentalists are certainly not the only Protestants who disagree with the Catholic church on these issues.

Reason 3: While Catholics disagree with the “sola scriptura” beliefs of Fundamentalists, it seems that they would find this less objectionable than the questioning of the Bible found in many mainline Protestant denominations.

Anyway, those are a few things I’m wondering about. I thank you again for your patience and your information. God Bless!


#2

[quote=The Iambic Pen]Hello again! In my reading here in the forums and in various Catholic publications on the 'net, I have found that most objections to Protestantism seem to deal with Fundamentalism. I find this odd for several reasons.

I thank you again for your patience and your information. God Bless!
[/quote]

Hi again my friend! (Keep your head down if you’re in the Mideast and come home soon in one big healthy piece, ok? You’re in our prayers!)

The reason that you hear references to Fundamentists (AKA “Fundies”) is because it seems that we catch the most flak from them in spite of our agreements on many social issues. It’s confusing to us as well a lot of times because every person that comes along seems to have a different bent about our faith (mostly misunderstood or misinformed).

I often find myself at Mass wondering how anyone who is sitting in that church could even begin to imagine that we are not a Christian denomination. You’d have to be there to see what I mean I guess.

I hope that helps some.
Pax tecum,


#3

Thanks for your prayers! Yes, I will definitely be keeping my head down.

I can see where you’re coming from in regard to Fundamentalists. I guess the problem is that the word “Fundamentalist” is a word used to describe a rather large group of people, many of whom think very highly of Catholics. I remember when I was in college, I used to have internet forum debates with atheists and the like all the time. Well, they used the word “Fundamentalist” as a dirty word, meaning someone who believed that everything the Bible said was true. Since this described me, I was proud to refer to myself as a Fundamentalist. So, I guess it was a bit disconcerting to come to this forum and see the word used in a negative sense.

On the other hand, when you speak of receiving the most flack from Fundamentalists, I can certainly see that happening. I would suggest, though, that the lack of criticism by non-Fundamentalists seems to reflect a sort of “live and let live” mentality held by other Protestant churches. While this does cut down on (often ignorant) criticism, it also (I believe) leads to a sort of apathy about the truth. I fear that the secular view that there is no absolute truth has affected many Protestant churches. Why criticize another church if there is no such thing as absolute truth and if all paths lead to God?

Having done my own criticizing in regard to non-Fundamentalist Protestant denominations, I suppose it’s only fair that I give an honest look now at Fundamentalist criticism of Catholicism.

A Defense of Fundamentalists:
-Fundamentalist criticism of Catholicism is often based on the honest belief that many Catholic beliefs are not based on Scripture and are in fact nothing but rules taught by men.
-Fundamentalists see many “Christmas and Easter” Catholics who seem to think that they can live however they want as long as they go to mass twice a year and were baptized as infants.
-Fundamentalists often believe that Catholics substitute ceremony for a genuine acceptance of the sacrifice of Christ.

A Criticism of Fundamentalists:
-Fundamentalists are often unwilling to examine Catholic doctrine for themselves before determining that it is false.
-The existence of “Christmas and Easter” Catholics is not a valid criticism of the church. Churches should be judged by observing those who follow its rules, not by those who don’t. Also, “Christmas and Easter” Christians are just as plentiful among Fundamentalists and other Protestants.
-Fundamentalist views about Catholicism are often not based on their understanding of scripture, but rather on the opinions of the latest fad writer on the shelves of a Christian bookstore.

So, there’s a little look at the issue. I do believe that many Fundamentalists are turning away from the old belief that Catholicism is somehow not Christian. Part of this has probably come by an increasing willingness by Catholics to accept the possibility that those in other “ecclesiastical communities” are also earnestly following God and trying to live according to His will. My hope is that as we understand each other, we can undo centuries of mistrust and come to an honest acceptance of the truth. May God reward all those who seek Him!

God Bless!


#4

[quote=The Iambic Pen]Thanks for your prayers! Yes, I will definitely be keeping my head down.

I can see where you’re coming from in regard to Fundamentalists…

[/quote]

your points are well taken. God bless you too!


#5

[quote=The Iambic Pen]. In my reading here in the forums and in various Catholic publications on the 'net, I have found that most objections to Protestantism seem to deal with Fundamentalism. I find this odd for several reasons.
!
[/quote]

as far as these forums go, we tend to discuss issues most often raised by those like yourself who are bringing their input from other traditions, and the most common questions and objections to Catholic teaching tend to come from those who adhere to the “fundamentals” adopted by those who describe themself by that name.

As for Catholic Apologetics in general, most of those engaged in direct attacks on the Catholic Church are self-described fundamentalists. The average Lutheran or Presbyterian preacher is not telling his congregation that the Catholic Church is the Whore of Babylon and that we are all condemned because we worship Mary. those like James White and other prominent anit-Catholics are the ones most often engaging in debate with Catholic Apologists like Jimmy Akin and Karl Keating, so those are the issues and debates we hear about.


#6

[quote=puzzleannie]as far as these forums go, we tend to discuss issues most often raised by those like yourself who are bringing their input from other traditions, and the most common questions and objections to Catholic teaching tend to come from those who adhere to the “fundamentals” adopted by those who describe themself by that name.
[/quote]

That makes sense. My hope, of course, is that any questions I have be taken as a genuine search for information, not an attempt to disprove anything.

As for Catholic Apologetics in general, most of those engaged in direct attacks on the Catholic Church are self-described fundamentalists.

That certainly does seem to be true, so I can understand why Fundamentalists might not be on the top of the Catholic “favorite people list.” Personally, I wish we all could just be called Christians, just like at the beginning. When they asked me what religion I wanted on my Army ID tags, I told them Christian, as opposed to Protestant.

The average Lutheran or Presbyterian preacher is not telling his congregation that the Catholic Church is the Whore of Babylon and that we are all condemned because we worship Mary.

That is certainly true, and I can see why comments such as these are offensive in the extreme. I wish I could say I had never heard or read anything like this, but sadly I have seen it often. Of course, to be fair, most of this is from what I have read, not what I have heard from the pulpit. This is not to say I make a habit of reading anti-Catholic literature, but rather that the recent spate of “End Times” novels seem to always put the Catholic Church in a kind of villainous light.

So, I do understand your concerns and your annoyance. Hopefully the day will come soon when Christians figure out who the real enemy is. Someday!

God Bless!


#7

[quote=puzzleannie]The average Lutheran or Presbyterian preacher is not telling his congregation that the Catholic Church is the Whore of Babylon and that we are all condemned because we worship Mary. those like James White and other prominent anit-Catholics are the ones most often engaging in debate with Catholic Apologists like Jimmy Akin and Karl Keating, so those are the issues and debates we hear about.
[/quote]

I haven’t attended very many fundamentalist services, but I have listened to many fundamentalists and evangelicals preach on the radio, and I think its fair to say that most of them don’t spend time talking anti-Catholic propoganda either. I think the Catholic image of the anti-Catholic “fundie” (I hate that term) is based on a very small, but very loud, minority. It is extremely unfortunate that so many of us carry that image around in our head, and whenever we hear a preacher with a “Baptist accent” or meet someone who identifies themself as a Bible Christian, our prejudices take over.

–Bill


#8

[quote=The Iambic Pen] My hope is that as we understand each other, we can undo centuries of mistrust and come to an honest acceptance of the truth. May God reward all those who seek Him!

[/quote]

A great starting point is to focus on what we, as Christians, have in common–not what separates us. And as you have stated, there are many issues that we have in common. :slight_smile:


#9

I too was surprised to find that some fundamentalists have trouble grasping what you have said Lambic Pen (you smart thing you).

I always feel defensive around fundamentalists…kinda like screaming I love the lord too, and by your standards I am saved! I pray daily and give thanks to the Lord our G-d, because I know that if he were to cease to think of me I would no longer exist.

We are fighting the same battles…Abortion, Euthenasia, gay marriage, and so you would think that by our actions, they would see that we are Christians too…surely we know Christ too, since we want what is best for the flocks! Isn’t that proof of the fruits of our labor?

But over and over again I find myself not talking about the real matters, and just defending…not only in these forums but in real life too…constantly defending makes one defensive…

I am glad that you are here…wherever the journey takes you…We can have some excellent conversations about loving the Lord…what is truly important!


#10

:amen: As a former Fundamentalist, I was both dismayed and delighted when I finally attended my first Mass last August. Dismayed because I had spent so many years in ignorance about the Truth about the Catholic Church and delighted to finally discover just how truly Christian the Church actually is. I have often wondered how I could have been so deceived for so long. That’s why I feel so much sympathy and understanding for those who are still deceived and don’t know the Truth.

Sometimes it still amazes me to realize that not only is the Catholic Church a Christian Church, it was the original Christian Church and Catholics were the original Christians. Who woulda thunk it???
In His love,
Rhonda


#11

When’s the last time you had a Methodist, an Episcopalian, or a Lutheran show up at your door asking if you are saved or commanding you to “come out” of the Whore of Babylon?

Many of the “counter arguments” are for fundamentalists because they are the ones that go on the offensive against Catholics and get very deeply involved in “sheep stealing” strategies. It is important for Catholics to be able to counter their arguments so as not to lose their faith or get confused and hopefully to lead them to the Truth. You only have to look at a few posts on here from un-Churched Catholics who have been approached by an aggressive fundamentalist (or brought to church by a girlfriend/boyfriend, etc) who are now totally confused and ready to dump the Catholic faith due to “apparent” contradictions.


#12

Most excellent post!! Thank you so much. You are obviously a sincere and open-minded seeker and I know from personal experience that God will richly reward your search. It might be too soon to say where that search will lead you but I have a hunch you just might end up “Surprised By Truth” in the end. (That’s the name of a book giving the stories of eleven Catholic converts, which I highly recommend.)
Thanks again for your post. You made my day. :slight_smile:
In His love,
Rhonda


#13

I too was surprised to find that some fundamentalists have trouble grasping what you have said Lambic Pen (you smart thing you).

Ah, thanks. :slight_smile: I should mention that it’s actually iambic, with an “i,” (as in iambic pentameter, the poetry term), not lambic with an “L.” See, look what you’ve done now. You went and called me smart, and now I’ve started correcting people. :slight_smile:

I always feel defensive around fundamentalists…kinda like screaming I love the lord too, and by your standards I am saved!

Yes, that would be annoying. Personally, I have (at least in recent years) seen the Catholic Church as another denomination of Christianity, containing both committed Christians and fakes (just like every other denomination). Doctrinal issues I disagreed with were important, of course, but not so great that I considered Catholics to somehow not be Christians. Now that I have a teensy tiny bit of knowledge about Catholicism (which is a tremendous amount more than I had before), my opinion of the church as a whole is much higher than before.

We are fighting the same battles…Abortion, Euthenasia, gay marriage, and so you would think that by our actions, they would see that we are Christians too…surely we know Christ too, since we want what is best for the flocks! Isn’t that proof of the fruits of our labor?

It is indeed. And there definitely needs to be much more cooperation on these issues. My thought is this. We should acknowledge our differences, without pretending they don’t exist, while at the same time acknowledging that these differences should not prevent us from working together for the cause of Christ. As we work together, we can learn from each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, not as religious competitors.

I am glad that you are here…wherever the journey takes you…We can have some excellent conversations about loving the Lord…what is truly important!

I thank you very much, and I completely agree. God Bless!


#14

[quote=Livnlove55]Most excellent post!! Thank you so much. You are obviously a sincere and open-minded seeker and I know from personal experience that God will richly reward your search. It might be too soon to say where that search will lead you but I have a hunch you just might end up “Surprised By Truth” in the end. (That’s the name of a book giving the stories of eleven Catholic converts, which I highly recommend.)
Thanks again for your post. You made my day. :slight_smile:
In His love,
Rhonda
[/quote]

I’ll have to check that book out. Thank you!


#15

Hey Iambic Pen! (I knew you were a poet…me too, Haiku & Tanka)

Here’s a link to where you can get the Surprised By Truth books. I’ve read most of them and they are VERY good.
Keep writin’!
Pax tecum,


#16

[quote=Church Militant]Hey Iambic Pen! (I knew you were a poet…me too, Haiku & Tanka)

Here’s a link to where you can get the Surprised By Truth books. I’ve read most of them and they are VERY good.
Keep writin’!
Pax tecum,
[/quote]

Thanks for the link! I actually would very much like to read something like this. I think the stories of people who approached Catholicism from the outside would be much easier for me to identify with. Those who grew up in the church have the advantage of being exposed to Catholicism first.


#17

I think the stories of people who approached Catholicism from the outside would be much easier for me to identify with. Those who grew up in the church have the advantage of being exposed to Catholicism first.

Then let me suggest “Crossing the Tiber” by Steve Ray; “Rome Sweet Home” by Scott Hahn; “Born Fundamentalist, Born again Catholic” By David Currie.

These are all good. The last one is by far my favorite. It started out to be a letter from Mr. Currie to his beloved father as an explaination of his decision. Hahn’s book has had a huge impact - there are those who refer to themselves as “hahnverts.” I have met and spoken with Mr. Ray, and his is a very good man. His book is FULL of footnotes for those who like those kinds of things.


#18

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.