Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Violent Faith

I'm reading Under the Banner of Heaven, finally. I really wish that I could have been involved in the discussion for this one. It is making me think a lot about faith and knowledge and etc. Jon Krakauer, and probably 90% of non-evangelical intellectuals, would probably lump us in the same category, in the end, as the FLDS ... in fact he basically says so at several points; he's using this story to talk about fundamentalism in general.

What is his definition, really? It seems like: relying on a combination of "spiritual intuition" and literal intepretation of "holy texts" over and above common sense (or rather, the prevailing attitude of the society at large) and the laws and norms of the government.

How do we know what we know? What separates us from the FLDS's and Islams of the world?


David, T. said...

Ben, you may know more about this than I, bit I still thought the following comment was really interesting.

My professor made a comment about how similar the founding of Moromonism and Islam. Both claim to have seen an agnel of light, as well as claim to be putting forth a restoration of the proper faith.

I thought it was interesting because both religions (to my knowledge, since I haven't practiced or really looked into it too far) seem to rely heavily on legalistic teaching. The way we know what we know is true is that our message is qualitatively different than every other message in the world.

Plus, God has never told me to kill someone. There is a really random example of how wacky these guys were at the end, but I won't ruin that for you now.

Ben said...

Yeah, I've often heard people compare Mormonism to Islam, and there are a lot of similarities.

I've finished the book now BTW.

Daniel Slavich said...

The difference is this: fundamentalist Christianity manifests itself in love and Christ-likeness.

Ben said...

Hm. Does it really? I know that's the Sunday School answer, but my experience with church in general has not been one of an incessant tide of love, and Christ-likeness seems conspicuously absent. It certainly doesn't seem more present among fundamentalist Christians than it does among mainstream Mormons ... in fact, I think the charge could probably be justly levelled that the more fundamentalist a Christian is, the less likely they are to be especially loving.

David, T. said...

I agree Ben...

Fundamental Christians have a bad name in most of the world. Even though their deontological principle is correct it leaves a bad taste in the mouths of people. In my mind, complete opinion without any emperical fact, their compassion and love either cannot be seen by those outside the church or is lacking altogether.

We are reading Philip Yancey's book, "What's So Amazing About Grace" in our small groups at church. Yancey does lean towards exagerration, probably to make a point. In the book he talks about how he surveys people he sits to on airplanes. He asks them to give him their first response when he says, "Evangelical Christian". Most often Yancey gets a response about the religious right or moralism. A far cry from a manifestation of love. Yancey was hoping to find a response from his participants that reflected grace, which he sees as a charactertic completely unique to Christianity.

I, like most people, do a poor job of loving people. The tendency to apply what I think is right to non-Christians often gets in the way of showing the love of Christ to them... as well as other Christians for that matter (mostly because they don't agree with theological stances).

It seems as if, in the perspective of the world, Christian love is conditional to adhereing to our set of morals, which we all know most of the world does not. The tough thing for the Christian is loving those who do not follow truth in a way that doesn't justify their sinful position. Where we can show the life changing love of God, instead of merely approving of their lifestyle. If one can do that then I think that they are truly mature in their faith.