Two (make that three) mistakes fundamentalists make

Mistake #1: Failing to distinguish between an interpretation of their sacred text and the text, itself.

Mistake #2: Giving undue authority to their particular interpretation of that text.

These lead naturally to…

Mistake #3: Defending that interpretation at all costs, b/c what they really think they are defending is the text, itself.

This leads me to ponder three questions:

Question #1: In what ways have I confused my interpretation of the text for the text, itself?

Question #2: What leads me to believe my interpretation carries any weight?

Question #3: In what ways do I behave like a fundamentalist? It seems the moment I fall into a defensive mode regarding my beliefs, I’ve earned the moniker.

Some wise words from Michael Hardin to keep in mind here:

Religion needs to defend itself, the Gospel needs no defense. Religion is about certainty, the Gospel is about assurance. Religion needs every “I” dotted and every “T” crossed while the Gospel dwells in ambiguity and mystery. Religion seeks perfection, the Gospel offers wholeness. Religion validates sacred violence and a wrathful god, the Gospel speaks of the nonviolent, non-retributive God. Religion takes the State as its consort; the Gospel refuses the State and takes a peace loving people as a Bride.

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About Kevin Miller

Kevin Miller is an award-winning screenwriter, director and producer who has applied his craft to numerous documentaries, feature films and shorts. Recent projects include "The Chicken Manure Incident," "Hellbound?," "Drop Gun," "No Saints for Sinners," "spOILed," "Sex+Money," "With God On Our Side," "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed," "After..." and the upcoming biopic "The Divine Comedy of Thomas Merton." In addition to his work in film, Kevin has written, co-written and edited over 45 books. He lives in Kimberley, BC, Canada with his wife and four children.

  • disqus_cfBevsr42L

    great, lucid article

    • Kevin Miller


  • Joseph Haward

    Thanks for this…a real challenge…

    Michael is coming our way in November to speak. Thanks for the heads up.

  • Yowie

    Good questions.

  • SimonAlipio

    I came to the conclusion that beliefs are true if they are members of a coherent set
    of beliefs which both support and do not contradict each other. This is for me the primary mistake that we often make. We need to answer and explain what appear as contradictions
    Also, we should not “do religion” but “do relationship”. Jesus taught us that the most important was about having a relationship with our “Daddy in heaven” :)

  • Kristina Skepton

    I arrived at this similar conclusion when I was studying the concept of predestination – some people believe in it and can present bible verses to support; other don’t agree with it and can present bible verses to support their view. Both can’t be right. My revelation was that maybe the answer isn’t as important as the seeking of the answer. Wisdom is “hidden in Christ” and by seeking the truth in Him we can have relationship with Him – not solely to find the “answer” but to find Him. This revelation released me from the bondage of the need for answers and increased my freedom. Some more chains are gone! Amen and amen!
    Kristina Skepton
    Founder, SeeingGod Ministries

  • dapowellii

    As a recovering Charismatic, I agree with this article wholeheartedly. One of the many applicable topics is that of eschatology. Fundies love to defend *their* interpretation of “end times prophecy,” regardless of obvious logical or Biblical fallacies.

  • R Vogel

    Wow! The 3 questions really strike to the heart. I may have to write them down and keep them on my person. Thanks!