Fundamentalism in every Religion

It’s a bummer, but I’ve finally come to the conclusion that there is fundamentalism in every religion.

I’ve looked into so many different branches of Christianity, and other religions, and even atheism, and it’s all the same. In every group there are the inevitable small but very vocal few who insist that they have figured out the only true way, and feel the need to ridicule and mock everyone else’s choices.

I grew up in that circle. We were Fundamentalist Protestants who knew it all. We had the undeniable truth revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, and if other people were only as open to the Spirit as we were, they would understand the same “truth”.

Coming out of that, at first I was determined to find a church without fundamentalism. People that had richness of faith, but were content to live it quietly before the Lord, instead of judging and condemning everyone who didn’t think exactly the way they did.

I had hoped to find that in the Catholic Church. It seemed so promising, people with strong beliefs, rooted in something other than themselves and their personal interpretation of scripture. A Church filled with the richness of practices and traditions that you could draw on to develop your own faith walk, and a religious community that has continued to spread all over the world. I’ve read the entire Catechism, and it has been instrumental in many areas of growth in my life.

Unfortunately, fundamentalism is alive and thriving. I’ve noticed it when seemingly decent people, link to something that they called “truth” and it ends up being a religious lunatic’s blog. For example, one of these links led to someone writing about how she read a gay couple’s blog post, where they were celebrating the adoption of their new baby and felt “obligated” to tell them that they were violating God’s law and that the baby girl would never really be their daughter. Can someone explain to me how attacking people who are not members of your religion is promoting “truth”? Can someone help me understand how it is ever OK to belittle someone for something that means a great deal to them?

I have no problem with people having strong beliefs and living by them. I admire people that are committed to live their faith in ways that are the most meaningful for them. I even have no problem if someone privately believes that they are the only one going to heaven, have fun alone. But it bothers me when instead of speaking about how something built them up or talking about the growth and revelation in their own lives, they take it one step (or maybe 100 steps) further and state that everyone who does not only practice their faith, but practice their faith exactly the way they do, is not good enough. Not good enough for them, and certainly not good enough for God. This can range anywhere from the Anti-gay blog example I gave, to people who speculate incessantly about the size of someone’s family.

(After some thought, I decided not to name or link to the blog I’m about to reference. I think that would seem as if I am attacking this particular person and that is not my intention. I’ve seen this type of perspective other places than this particular blog, and I am just using her reasoning as an illustration.)

I recently read an interesting blog post by a fairly prominent Catholic Blogger who’s premise was that contraception use can actually lead to more abortions because if you are completely unwilling to have a baby in the first place, how much easier is it to remove the problem baby if one is conceived by accident? I thought she made the argument well. I read around her blog a bit more, and in the comments on one of her posts I read that she had felt “obligated” by God to call her neighbour and tell her all the reasons she was going to regret getting her tubes tied. That kind of behaviour sounded very fundamentalist to me, but I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she had her own tubes tied and regretted it, and felt an extra burden to share her experience with people? Perhaps she was naive and just had no idea how confronting people about personal choices in that way only reflects badly on her church and faith?

I noticed that she was a “revert” back to the Catholic Church and that piqued my interest because I am a potential convert myself, I love reading the stories on how people were drawn into the church. So I clicked on her reversion story to get some more detail.

She grew up Catholic, but lost interest over time and after she eventually came back to the church, she felt that part of the reason that she fell away was because of poor catechizing. Interesting, I understand why she is frustrated and angry. Her anger over her lack of religious education is similar to my own feelings over the excess of my own religious upbringing. I understand her passion for good catechizing, people should have access to good education about their religion and it’s great that she feels strongly about getting detailed catechizing out there.

But then she went that 1 step (or 100 steps) further. She began to criticize the priests for “slacking” and said that they were leading people to Hell. What? She berated and blamed, and quoted the usual bible verses about millstones and condemnation for people who are responsible for deliberating leading others astray. By the time she was done, it felt as though any priest who is compassionate or gentle should have been defrocked long ago. Why haven’t they cracked down on these horrific catechism malpractice cases? She ended her rant by saying that basically anyone who isn’t an exemplar Catholic in every sense of the word, should stop pretending to believe anything and leave the Church.

I was left feeling stupid for being drawn into the Catholic Church by the very people that she was picking apart. The priests that she condemned as pushing people out of the light and into darkness are the very priests that have pointed me back to God during tough times in my own faith walk. These people supposedly responsible for leading so many to Hell are actually the very ones that have kept me from writing off religion entirely. People who were willing to hear me compassionately without condemning me, people who accepted and loved me where I’m at, with no strings attached. The people who were more concerned about showing God’s love through the way they live and interact with others than they were about getting every little doctrinal duck in a row.

The Christians that are quick to condemn others and make long lists of requirements a “real Christian” must illustrate, are the ones who drive me away from religion. Like I said a moment ago, I have nothing against people with strong religious opinions, their intense faith and beliefs are a credit to them. But when those opinions prompt them to condemn and marginalize anyone who doesn’t line up just right, those are the people I have a hard time being with, those are the blogs I will never follow. I know that my faith can’t handle it. It’s when I’m around fundamentalists, that I am sure that I am a certified Atheist who should just give up on religion already. Anyone who thinks that all but an extremely select group has got it completely wrong, smacks of my fundamentalist upbringing, and I am trying so hard to find a faith that doesn’t end up just as toxic.

According to my fundamentalist parents, Catholics are either going to Hell, (or walking a very fine line along the edge of Hell) because of their “lack” of personal relationship with Christ and their “faulty” beliefs. According to Catholic fundamentalists, my parents are going to Hell because they are ex-Catholics who have rejected the one true Church. According to both, I am going to Hell. Because I am not living my life in fear, obsessively trying to obey and please “their” God at all times. In the end, no matter how different they insist they are, fundamentalists are in every religion, and they are all the same. Not only do they assign followers of other religions and the non-religious to Hell, they call down Hell fire and condemnation on any member of their own religious group who looks different, thinks different or acts different from the way they do. Fundamentalist’s will label these judgements as a “truth” issue, because everyone who follows the “truth” would look, think and act exactly the same as they do.

I no longer see religion as a sort of “get out of Hell free card” (if you get it right that is). Honestly? If God is someone who wants to send me (and everyone else who hasn’t hit on the exact formula for “truth”) to Hell, then I don’t want to spend eternity with him anyways. Trying to please another narcissistic abuser just has no appeal for me, Hell or no.

I have a longing for religion. I have no interest in being the sole interpreter of whatever I consider to be truth. I want there to be a God. I want there to be hope for resurrection. But I’m not looking for answers anymore.
I’m looking for hope, and fundamentalism (in any religion) doesn’t offer any.

  • Rebecca in CA

    As many kinds of people there are in the world, that's how many kinds of people you'll find in any given religion. Including fundamentalists. When I go to Church and am tempted to think derogatory thoughts about the insipid or self-complacent sermon, I remind myself I am there not for any charism of the priest or the people surrounding me, but for God. I can learn from people, but I can't count on them or depend upon them for my faith.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08135229596877003069 Michelle

    You are right that there are fundamentalists in each sect and religion. I know I harp on humility an awful lot…but it seems to me that growing in the virtue of humility helps somewhat to safeguard falling into that fundamentalist trap.

    I think sometimes when people convert or revert, there is a danger of falling into fundamentalism through overzealous fascination with new-found faith. As a matter of fact, I would guess that during my reversion, I might have (usually silently) judged a family or two that had no or only one kid or something like. But over time and realizing I really don't have all the answers and I can only hope (as you mention being your desire).

    I have found a sort of maturity in faith (hopefully that's not too self-serving, but it just describes what I mean) over the years that has helped me to try and see others "where they are" and simply love them. After all…even Jesus said, the greatest commandment after loving God with your whole heart and mind and soul was to love each other the way he has loved us. I finally realized that is all I can do.

    I love reading your posts. You are in my prayers. I must not get around the blogosphere nearly as much as I thought I did as I rarely stumble upon blogs like you mentioned…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16697374844414261485 bklanyon

    Very interesting post! I was raised in a fundamentalist mind-set(there is only "our" way, but do look around a bit so you understand your enemies), but was always encouraged to question things, so I never saw the abusive part of religion, personally. I'm sorry you had to go through that.

    Humility, it seems, is the one defining thing that makes all non-fundamentalists alike. Hubris, on the other hand, is endemic to a fundamentalist way of thinking. The difference may be seen as those who desire the truth, and those who are absolutely sure that they're in full possession of it. In that sense, the truth a non-fundamentalist finds will usually be held provisionally(awaiting new information that might change their mind), while the fundamentalist turns off their self-criticism and any outside opinions are automatically dismissed. In my lowly opinion. ;)

    Great blog; looking forward to reading the rest of it.

  • Jen

    Interesting topic!

    I often think that we (myself included) need to stop focusing on others so much, and look inward. I should not judge others, only myself; however, I understand the intense desire for those around you to get to Heaven- shoot I want everyone to get to Heaven! Sometimes it's a very fine line one walks, and people make mistakes when trying to help others get to Heaven. Other times I think people are clueless as how to help others get to Heaven, and often times that's when they take that one (or one hundred) steps.

    I also think it’s interesting to see who others consider fundamentalists… to many of my family and friends, my husband and I are fundamentalists, because we use NFP, are pro-life, and believe in the sanctity of marriage. It’s not that we even discuss these things frequently, but the fact that we do believe them and hold them to be true makes us fundamentalists. We are open to discussing these things with others when the ask or are interested, but for the most we just try and live these values and virtues out in our day to day lives and pray for others. I long ago realized that prayer and a gentle spirit would be the best way to reach anyone!

    "I no longer see religion as a sort of 'get out of Hell free card'”…after reading this I was tempted to make a purgatory joke :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08129509609170344883 Leah

    I so know how you feel. That's why I gave up on organized religion and tried to blaze my own path for a while. I found I just wasn't organized enough myself to be religious alone. I have a friend who put it to me this way: Religions are an evolved phenomenon, and they are as imperfect as anything else that's evolved. Some religions are better than others, and there are better and worse ways of practicing any given religion, but there is no perfection. And of course we're all imperfect people.

    You might like: http://killingthebuddha.com/mag/confession/the-cock-crows/

  • http://foodandmoneyblog.blogspot.com Janet

    Please do not allow one who judges to send you away from the Church. There are people with faults of every faith and doctrine, and that does not make the Catholic Church lack Truth. I pray for your conversion, and I pray that you will continue to seek the truth in Catholicism. I recommend reading the lives of the saints (Edmund Campion, Therese of Lisieux, Benedict) and even the Catechism of the Catholic Church (shockingly, cover to cover is a beautiful and joyful way to read the text – it apparently is not ONLY a reference book!). My prayers are with you on your journey.
    Pax et gratia.
    Soli Deo Gratia.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05387323354607079249 Stitchwort

    It happens in all religions, because we are all fallen human beings, and we all sin. And one of the ways committed believers are most often tempted to sin is to try to confine God within the (necessarily) more narrow limits of their own understanding.

    I am very sorry that her rigidity had such a negative effect on you. Her views are representative of a small subset which can be found within every faith, and not of Catholicism as a whole. (Some of her criticisms have validity, but she is apparently missing the charity which is supposed to balance one's understanding.)

    Catholicism is big enough that her thinking can only dominate in small areas, unlike the independent Fundamentalist churches where there is nowhere to escape without leaving.

    Perfection is not to be found in this life.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05014351173194941624 Sally Thomas

    As a Catholic of four years, and not from a fundamentalist background (I grew up in a mainstream, essentially-secular Protestant kind of thing)I get the same kinds of feelings whenever I read too much of any combox conversation about pants-vs.-skirts, to name one particularly explosive example. Here I was, bumbling happily along, going to Mass, trusting my dear confessor, saying prayers with my children — and really it's all about my CLOTHES? Gaaaaah!

    I think that anywhere you go you'll find people for whom the existing (very simple, usually) rules are not enough. This isn't exclusive to religion — I've run across much the same thing in organic-food co-ops and La Leche League groups, to name two totally non-religious contexts (and not EVERY organic food co-op, and not EVERY La Leche League group, let me hasten to say!): the tendency to turn something which is essentially good and conducive to human flourishing into an unbelievable burden.

    I don't know why we as humans love to do this, but it's something we seem prone to. In individual cases, maybe the source is some insecurity; maybe it's a kind of overcompensation for something in the past. I just think it's very, very human to want to make up some special policies, to move the goal line just a little. Maybe as an idea this isn't bad in itself — many saints took on rigorous private rules of life. But any good idea can all too easily be corrupted into a bad one, or worse, into an occasion for spiritual pride, especially when someone's private rule of life becomes a ruler by which everyone else's faith is judged.

    But I'll echo what Stitchwort says: Catholicism is big. There have been times when what I have most loved is walking into a church where I know no one to go to Mass — because any Catholic church is my church, which I still kind of can't get over — slipping in and slipping out, just being with Jesus and letting everything else go. Logistically I can't do that too often, and my own parish is quite a small community, but knowing that we aren't the sum total of all Christendom is hugely mind-expanding, and a relief.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Young Mom

    Rebecca in CA- “As many kinds of people there are in the world, that’s how many kinds of people you’ll find in any given religion.” So very true.

    Michelle- Thank you. I am always encouraged by your faith and your comments. I agree, converts and reverts are especially susceptible since they are so thrilled to have found answers to their questions. Once upon a time I would have been a fundie protestant who became a fundie catholic. The strange thing is that despite the major questions and doubts I’ve had in the last year, my interest in the Catholic church has stuck around.

    Bklanyon- “The difference may be seen as those who desire the truth, and those who are absolutely sure that they're in full possession of it. In that sense, the truth a non-fundamentalist finds will usually be held provisionally(awaiting new information that might change their mind), while the fundamentalist turns off their self-criticism and any outside opinions are automatically dismissed.”Awesome explanation!

    Jen- I don’t think that conservative beliefs or strongly held beliefs make someone a fundamentalist. It’s an extreme exclusivist mentality that does.

    Leah- Yep, had to give up on perfection. It’s an ongoing issue for me. : ) Thanks for the link, I’ll check it out!

    Janet- Like I said, I’m not looking for answers anymore, and I’ve read the entire Catechism and learned alot from it.

    Stitchwort- I think we all confine God in some ways, and I agree that it is a problem. Don’t worry, it’s not this blogger in particular that has had a negative effect on me. I had been a fundamentalist myself for many years, and I am surrounded by many of them in my family. I think I am still sensitive to the mindset in general, so I do much better when I avoid reading much of it, or trying to debate stuff with fundamentalists.

    Sally Thomas- I LOVE your comment, such a great observation about the non-religious groups that do the exact same thing! I so know what you are talking about with the pants vs. skirt debate. And the bigness and universality of the Catholic church is one of the biggest things that appeals to me.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03792937108732259684 priest’s wife

    Young Mom- I like this post!…but keep reading actual Catholic Church documents…we bloggers can be know-it-alls :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14718357472343295031 Hippie Housewife

    I can so relate to this. I'm still trying to find a place within the Christian community where I feel at home. I think back with much shame on the times in my life when I was very fundamentalist myself; I praise God for bringing me out of that. I can't stomach it at all anymore.

    Best wishes for your continued journey.

  • http://faithandfood.morizot.net/ Scott Morizot

    There are a number of religions that are certainly not exclusivist, but I don't really think that really captures the essence of what we usually mean by 'fundamentalist'. For instance, it would be hard for a religion to be more inclusive than Hinduism, but they certainly have their share of fundamentalists. My uncle (a professor of religion) has been working on a book examining one aspect of it — namely the interaction of those sorts of Hindus with modern evolutionary science. I remember one example he shared with me a while back. There have been cases in the past where human footprints found apparently close in the geologic record to fossils of dinosaurs. (I don't think any such examples ever held up to serious examination, but that's irrelevant to this point.) The Christian fundamentalist points to that and says, "See! Dinosaurs walked the earth with humans some thousands of years ago!" The Hindu fundamentalist looks at the same evidence and says, "See! Humans walked the earth with the dinosaurs millions of years ago!" You might need to know a little bit about the vedic cycle to really appreciate the point, but it stuck in my mind.

    I've also known relativists who took what I would call a hard, almost fundamentalist stance on the relativistic nature of reality.

    I think it's more than merely speaking poorly about another religion. For instance, a number of Wiccans and neo-pagans have a very negative attitude toward Christianity and Christians. (Many also don't, so don't take my words as painting with too broad a stroke.) But in most cases in my experience, those with the very negative attitudes have been hurt in some way by Christians. The reaction toward Christians has been earned. They don't tend to have the same reaction to other religions.

    On the other hand, I've never yet met a fundamentalist agnostic. ;) So there is that.

    Since I've been something like or explored all the above and more over the course of my life, I feel like I can say what I said from a place of having been there too, and not from a condemning place. Hopefully it came across the way it sounded in my head.

    If Christianity is at all true, though, then it's simply our reality that the Church will be filled with broken, damaged people who inflict pain. I've never thought there was perfect "Church" out there. I know myself too well. At least since I turned to Christianity, I've just been looking for something that seemed to actually still fit the bill as "Church", even despite that truth.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06505329167788856051 Gae

    We are a family who has become Catholic about 4 1/2 years ago. Even before this we had what people called 'strong Catholic stands' on many issues, especially Pro life.
    However we have many friends in different Church groups and have not found that many are entirely 100% agree with everything we agree with. Even my Catholic friends differ on parenting issues.
    I also think the beliefs we learn and the catechising should not be left up to priests alone. I had this converstation the other day. It is up to us to learn as we are guided and not rely on others.

    Having said this (probably not well, baby brain my daughter calls it) I know when we were not Catholic and looking to be that our Catholic friends were less condeming of us and others than non-catholics. Although this was our person experience I do know when I was attending a Protestant Bible study that non Catholics were not welcome and often critised by the group. Not for what the Catholic Church stands for but for what these people believe that Catholic's believe.

    It is sad, and I do think you will find people who put there own speal onto what a Church beleives, but you need to look at the basis for the Catholic faith and see if you agree with the premise, becasue we are human and we each have our own 'hot buttons' that excite us or offend us.

    The Catechism is the basis of why we left the Anglican Church (Episocalin in USA) becasue we belive this. Unfortunatley not all Catholics we see at Church even know or want to know why they believe, but I am a big believer in self reasearch to find out this path.
    Prayers for your continued journey and belief in God's mercy and love as you reach for where He is leading you
    God Bless
    Gae

    NOt sure if this makes sence to you

  • Annie C.

    Have you looked at the UU church yet?

  • http://exlaodicea.wordpress.com berenike

    You don't like the fundamentalists (or those you think are fundamentalists) because they don't like something else. So while they criticise the slack priests or whatever, you criticise them. Everyone's quits. :D

    Christ came for the sinners, not the just :)

  • Emily

    SIGH….it's true. Fundamentalists are everywhere. Unfortunately, getting rid of them would make us fundamentalists (of a different sort)as well. I've come to see fundamentalists as wounded people trying to make sense of the world around them and doing it very poorly. All fundamentalists misunderstand the entire point of Christianity. As I've said before, to reduce the Christian message to "Try harder!" (which often sounds like "you're not doing it right") is a travesty. I used to get quite angry with fundamentalists (and truthfully, sometimes anger is still my initial response), but I see them in need of more compassion than anger. I also think that one of the prominent features of fundamentalism, namely moralism, is product of upbringing (not necessarily religious upbringing) that unnaturally emphasizes the need to do "the right thing." I see this everywhere, not just religious circles…I mean, every magazine targeted to women tells us about the right way to dress, the right way to work out, the right way to "please a man."

    Anyway, I'll write more later because I really like to ponder your posts before I respond and it's very late and I'm not very coherent when I'm so tired. What I really want to say is: I'm sorry. I wish it weren't true. I wish that fundamentalism would dissipate and not harm or hinder you in any way. And if Christianity were what any fundamentalist (especially the Catholic ones) claims it is, I would not be a Christian. That cold, demanding god; that smugness, that self-righteousness, the condescending judgement, and that disgust for particular groups all repulse me. I will have none of it. I can't believe in that crap. (I have a brain I like to use, after all.) Of course, in saying that (and meaning that), I hold myself to imparting the same compassion and love for fundamentalists that I wish I could demand of them to have for homosexuals (or whatever group they feel hating for not "doing it right"). Ok, enough rambling. I'll be back when I can think more cohesively.

  • Anonymous

    You're speaking my heart!
    I grew up catholic but a lot of people drew my away from the church, namely the fundamentalist ones telling me I'm going to hell for not going to church every sunday.
    I then found contact to conservative evangelical churches, which turned out to be just as fundamentalist, calling me a constant stumbeling stone for every guy because of my jeans. And christmas is off limits anyways, because it's oh so unchristian to celebrate a feast of heathens. It's like spitting in god's face!
    I gave a quick look at jewish people but their strong faith toward cleanness and uncleannes and the general paranoid belief of them made me give that up. Plus I was told that as a convert mother, my kids would never be part of the people of isreal anyway, so they'd still go to hell. Fundamentalism anyone?

    I found my home with the bahais, who are generally treated as the treehugging lunatics among the monotheists. We are nice people really, tho. We don't go to hell for celebrating christmas and even though the founder was a muslim, we are allowed to believe in Jesus Christ like the christians do. We can look up to the dalai lama for his constant happy and calm personality without being sent to hell. We believe that God made an appearance to different cultures in different ways, and that none of the book religions is wrong or going to hell. Our motto is "If religion causes you to hate and hurt, you're better off not having one."
    And btw, I'm not trying to convert you. You can be catholic and I'll still see you in heaven. As we like to say, if your religion makes you a loving and forgiving person, stay right there and enjoy.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Young Mom

    Priest’s wife- Exactly. I’ve come to realize that Catholic’s can proof text the magisterium as well as I could ever proof text the bible back in the day. The bottom line is that both instances involves our own interpretations.
    Hippie Houswife- Oh the shame, I can relate to that so much. I only hope that the people I’ve harmed in the past have forgiven me.

    Scott- Interesting thoughts. I realize that search for a “perfect” church was a form of fundamentalism itself! And yes, there are fundamentalist Atheists as well. Bottom line for me was that despite the fact that they are everywhere, I can’t let them keep me away from faith.

    Gae- I never realized you were a convert. I agree self research is huge! No amount of bullying or discrimination is going to convince people that one group or another is worth being part of, at least I couldn’t see how that kind of conversion would last very long.

    Annie C- I have. Still looking.

    Berenike- Isn’t it a brutal cycle? : ) Quitting is tempting sometimes, but then again, we can’t quit being humans.

    Emily- Yes! “Getting rid” of them would make us the same as them wanting to get rid of everyone who doesn’t fit their bill for the faith. I agree with moralism being a reaction to upbringing. It’s hard to watch people put so much hope in legalism when they are sold the lie that it will fix all their problems if they just try hard enough. That’s the conclusion I came to as well, if the fundamentalist version of God is correct, then I’m not interested. Since that God seems to be in every religion, I think it’s more tied to humanity than God itself. I am getting better and better at being able to accept fundie’s too (It took me like 6 re-writes to finish this post), but like you said, I often want to demand they do the same!

    Anonymous- Ouch, I remember the “Christmas is pagan” thing. I’m glad you’ve found a religious home. I like the idea of God appearing to different cultures in different ways.

  • lauren

    God is not "someone who wants to send [you] to hell." I understand your struggle, but please don't write Him off in that way. My experience and other people's lives have shown me He's the only thing that will never fail me.

    As far as fundamentalism goes, I'm thinking most of it is pride. It bases a person's eternal value on what they have accomplished rather than what Jesus did on the cross. I'm nothing without his sacrifice, and pretending to have it all together is tempting (because we all deal with pride), but it just ends up hurting myself and the people around me. I agree with Michelle; humility makes a big difference in the way I live my faith to other people.

    One of my favorite books is 'The Ragamuffin Gospel' by Brennan Manning– he was a Catholic, if that interests you…

  • Anonymous

    Hi – I don't know how much stock you put into these comments. Everyone has something to say and everyone, understandably, thinks he/she has the right opinion. I don't know that I have much more to offer, but I couldn't help but be saddened by your post. If I had to sum up your thoughts, I would put it like this, (correct me if I'm wrong),: "There are people in every religion who don't live up to the standard that I have for true and sincere Christianity, so I'm done with religion altogether." There are also very good people in every, or almost every, religion. Why not then say this, "Religion is a wonderful thing, because it enables people to live heroic lives of virtue in love of God and neighbor." What I mean is, why pick out the ones you don't approve of and let that stop you from accepting a religion that might be true? Do you think that a religion, to be true, will have members who are always sincere and non-judgmental, or non-fundamentalist? This seems a bit unrealistic to me. Even where there is truth, there is still humanity with free will. There will still be people who are jerks. I don't think it makes a lot of sense to reject a religion based on some of the people in it, although I would agree that it is unfortunate. I have seen people, my husband included, convert to a religion because they saw it was true, despite the fact that he had met only a handful of people who really knew and practiced what their faith taught. I think that's admirable.

  • http://nowealthbutlife.com Rae

    According to the people who study these things (and I both respect and laugh at them) fundamentalism is on the rise worldwide. I'm not sure how they can actually measure it over time (it's not like we've had great worldwide communication for that long) but anyway. There is fundamentalism in every religion, and even in non-religions. I always thought it was a personality type thing, but they have all of their sociological theories about what causes/increases it. Which is all to say that you're right, it is alive and well everywhere, and there is no safe haven from fundamentalism. (though, as an ironic aside, may I mention that some forms of fundamentalism are funnier than others? In college I got the chance to encounter UUs/Wiccans etc. whom I thought should be anti-fundamentalist, but what would you know, it is everywhere!)::sigh::

    I realized several years ago that I have huge fundamentalist tendencies in my personality. I routinely make Josh laugh because while I'm the more "liberal" one, I just can't help approaching things in a fundamentalist way. I try to counteract this tendency by directing my zeal toward love. I don't feel the need to convert others to my specific beliefs because I know that they may actually live my beliefs better in love, even outside of all religion.

    Ultimately, you're right, fundamentalism opposes hope the same way that doubt opposes faith.

  • Anonymous

    Well yes, the idea that God appears differently for every culture, area, time, whatever, is the only way to explain a loving God to me.
    Let's take a big swing 2000 years ago. Fundamentalists love the idea that you need to be saved by accepting Jesus as your Lord, which is fine. But, for example, 2000 years ago there were natives in Northern America. It wasn't physically possible to mission them back then. So did God set them up to go to hell? Did all of them for another 1500 years go to hell just because they weren't able to hear about Jesus? I can't really deal with that thought in my mind. And it's not only that area. It's really just a game of thoughts but in the end it makes God look kind of cruel.

  • http://faithandfood.morizot.net/ Scott Morizot

    I was very careful about the words I chose. I didn't say anything about atheists. I've certainly encountered some obnoxious ones over the years. I said I've never met a fundamentalist *agnostic*. Not the same thing at all. ;)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Young Mom

    Lauren- Thanks for the book recommendation, I like to check out new stuff.

    Anonymous- I don’t know if you read my post. The basis of this post is the unwrapping of my own proclivity to fundamentalism, and learning to separate legalism from religion, because they are 2 separate things. I think that religion can be a wonderful thing, it directs people to something outside of themselves, and it can promote love and sacrifice. When I was moving out of the legalism of my upbringing, I was looking for a “perfect” church, and that search in and of itself was legalism/fundamentalism. What I’ve now realized is that there is no “perfect” church and there is a difference between religion and fundamentalism. I’ve stated that I have no interest in the fundamentalist’s God, or anyone’s version of absolute truth. That has nothing to do with my interest in religion, or the Catholic Church. I can’t let the fundamentalists scare me out of the church, because that would be letting them continue to control my life just the same as they always did.

    Rae- I’ve been growing out of it myself, it’s like learning how to manage a bad allergy.

    Anonymous- Exactly. I have the same thoughts and questions.

    Scott- Sorry, I didn’t mean to put words in your mouth. I think I just that you didn’t mention Atheists and decided to add it for good measure. : )

  • Anonymous

    Oh, I appreciate your clarifications. I did indeed read your post, but I took it to mean that you were abandoning accepting any religion at all because of the fundamentalists you find in each religion. I'm glad that you say you can't let fundamentalists scare you out of the church.

    I read your link to "I'm no longer looking for answers." May I ask for further explanation? I believe it is about hope, too, but not just hope. I believe there are answers to be had, that Christ gave us a truth that is knowable, through our own faith and through our own reason. Do you believe the same, or would you disagree?

  • Kat

    I had a similar revelation, only mine was in reverse–I was raised RC and was always very troubled by the church's teachings on women, birth control, abortion, and gay rights (I was six when I decided–much to my mother's horror–that I was pro-choice); in college I dabbled in Protestantism–I was naive enough to assume that almost all protestant were pro-choice and pro-gay because, "why on earth wouldn't someone be if they didn't have Rome telling them they couldn't?" Sadly, in my conservative town, I found this not to be the case, and quickly learned that my RC church was WAY more liberal and accepting than most of the protestant churches (save for the Episcopal one, which I really did love) that I attended.

    In the end, my journey led me to Quakerism and then away from Christianity altogether (I'm non-religious, but I do practice yoga and study tantric philosophy–two of the main tenants are that human beings are intrinsically good and intrinsically free–two things that I believe and affirm with my whole heart).

    But anyway, this rang really true for me, I remember sitting in a protestant church with my husband (who it sounds like was raised very similarly to how you were but no longer practices Christianity) thinking I had finally found my church home–it was a Disciples of Christ church–they were open and affirming (accepting of Gay people), woman could be leaders in the church, and they were somewhat liturgical, but services were pretty contemporary (my husband, not growing up with it, was always board stiff with liturgy and I couldn't never get him to attend the Episcopal church with me more than once).

    I thought I'd found "home." They even had they're own coffee shop for gosh sakes! But then somebody got up there and talked about evangelizing–it was a college aged woman, and she was talking about walking along the boardwalk on vacation and trying to convert other college kids and everyone was "Amening" and "mmm hmmming". And I cried. I started and I couldn't stop, I had to get up and leave. I've always felt–my parents taught me and I've always felt deep inside that proselytizing is wrong. It makes my skin crawl, and I knew then and there that I could never attend, support or fit in in this church. I felt like I didn't belong ANYWHERE. And it really, really sucked…and then I found the Quakers that didn't give a cat's behind what I believed who were sincere and spiritual, and authentic and funny, and had awesome vegetarian potlucks and organized Gentle Discipline symposiums (seriously!)

    But for 3 or 4 years, I tried church after church, never feeling like I could really be myself, and it really, really sucked.

    I wish you the best on your journey!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01390318875226233013 Tanya

    Well put Gae.. Interesting comments/conversation for sure.. I sent an email on the subject as I couldn't figure out how to post on here..Not sure this will work either…LOL

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09895441887701955298 David T.

    Here's a link worth perusing. Especially the stuff about God not communicating back resonated with me:
    http://mexc.blogspot.com/2007/05/why-i-left-christianity.html

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14659411240699818388 rachel

    Man, I can relate. I'm finding such truth and freedom and grace in the doctrines of the Lutheran church (the catechism, the Book of Conchord, etc) but SO much "we have it ALL right! We're the BEST!" among my lutheran friends and the people at Sam's Lutheran seminary. Right now, for me, it's the emergent church vs the new calvinism thing. NC is huge here, and revered by one and all. The emergent church is shunned and villified. And yet it's the people and leaders of the EC that have encouraged me in my faith, drawn me back and that I've learned from. I don't agree with everything they say, but I don't feel like I HAVE to, you know? On the other hand, the NC thing is very much about making things like hell and complementarianism into "essentials" and I don't feel like I have the freedom to disagree.

    And… what Emily said. :)

    And, I love your blog.

  • http://kfsullivan.wordpress.com/ kfsullivan

    good observation. amen.

  • Anonymous

    I just so appreciate your blog. The way you express these issues makes me feel ok to have the questions that I do. So much of the fundamentalist mindset is about having "arrived" and being "right" – not very safe places to be as far as I am concerned! (Didn't do much good for me in terms of being a loving Christian!!) I love the comments by Anonymous 4:59am about God appearing differently to different cultures. Sadly, sometimes the biggest struggle I have about voicing my questions about my faith would be "what would all my friends say!?". I could never make this comment to most people I know! I hope one day you address this issue in your blog – especially as a pastor's wife.

    On another note, thank you for starting your series on parenting. Hearing the day to day type details of what you are doing differently will be very helpful. I understand you are on a journey yourself with all you share, but I do so appreciate your willingness to do so. I just received my copy of Discipline Without Distress thanks to your recommendation and can't wait to dig into it.

    I wish you the very best!!

    Gratefully,
    Dawn

  • very insightful….

    You hit the nail on the head!!!

    In the Catholic Church "sola scripture: becomes "sola magisterium". So many protestant converts just go from one form of fundamentalism to another.

    I been surrounded by this so much it makes me suffocate. The sole defining criteria for being a real Catholic is whether or not you accept Humane Vitae as infallible. (Of course there is other criteria as well but if you don't pass the first test it is over..)

    A dear friend of mine had her tubes tied after practicing pretty much celibacy for more than a decade. She almost died after 2 emergency c -sections and very premature babies yet she continued to be faithful to what she believed the church taught despite enormous anxiety and the fact that this loving God of ours was not asking her to be open to having another baby. She taught NFP so she was obviously well educated in it but it is not a method that works for everyone. I find a growing movement of Catholics obnoxiously fundamentalist on this one.
    (But yes they claim they are only standing up for the TRUTH and all those lousy priests..gasp..they are all going to hell) Her marriage is thriving and loving despite all the talk about how selfish couples are who use contraception.

    I am very passionate about my relationship with God and find much beauty and strength in the traditions and sacraments of the Catholic Church but I do see the raging fundamentalists just like you described above. I have learned to live with it and really focus on my own need for change and growth in virtue.

    I do find that the Catholic world on the internet is almost exclusively fundamentalist meaning everything the Magisterium says must be accepted as TRUTH. Missing Mass on a Holy Day or eating meat on a Friday sends you to hell. Even asking questions instantly undermines your integrity and if you don't understand you should just accept out of obedience. Young mom, I do not want to know that God either.

    As for the gay issue–it is odd to me how against the gay couples they are–it almost seems pathological. It is one thing to have a set of beliefs but another entirely to vomit them up the way they do. I think they need to spend more time working on the conversion of their own hearts.

    I recently read 2 books, "Awareness" and "The Song of the Bird" by (Father) Anthony De Mello. His stories and writings touch on so much of what you mention above. I found so much understanding in his writings.

  • Middle Aged Mom

    Young Mom,

    It is high time that I let you know how much I love your blog. Every post resonates with me, even though I did not grow up in fundamentalist religion, but came to it in my late teens. I am so happy for you that you are breaking free at such a young age and most importantly while your children are still babies. It took me a little longer to get to where you are but at least my younger children are spared from the crazy.

    I don't understand why fundamentalists of any movement care whether anybody else believes the same as they do. What is that old hymn? "Though none go with me, still I will follow". If they are following and they are happy following, I would not think there would be much need to crane one's neck to see who is coming along behind. But then again I think maybe some of them are not so happy and not so sure and need the boost of others agreeing with them in order to maintain their own belief.

    A Middle Aged Mom

  • Anonymous

    I hope you'll reconsider that there really is one absolute Truth. You have to wade through a lot of untruth and confusion to get there, but it does exist. You'll know it when you find it. I hope you won't be disappointed that it is a bit "fundamental". Would you accept it if it was? Take up your cross, give your life for it?

    Give up the blogs and personal judgements. If you're interested in Catholicism, read the saints and speak with a Traditional Catholic priest. One who knows his
    power. In my search I found the priests who tickled my ears were those who were betraying me and their parishioners. Go to the black robes!

    Don't mean to go fundamentalist on you or anything, I care because Ive been there. You may have already done this, but from your posts it seems you have not forgiven your parents. Here is a sermon that might help … http://www.audiosancto.org/sermon/20110327-Overcoming-Sin-with-Spiritual-Contracts.html

  • http://exlaodicea.wordpress.com berenike

    It's been a while since I saw so many "I thank Thee, Father of heaven and earth, that I'm not like those tax collectors" comments :D

  • nail on the head part 2

    Young mom,

    There are others who have been where you are and have gotten through with a greater awareness and understanding of God. Check out Molly Aley @
    http://soulation.org/breakfastreading/?author=9

    As for the post above about reading Catholic saint stories–I say proceeed with caution-some of the theology in these stories is very medieval and I think also express limited understanding about what we know today about psychological and emotional development. I personally protect my kids from some of the saint stories because I think they give a twisted message.

  • http://articles.earthlingshandbook.org ‘Becca

    Very interesting post! I agree that there are fundamentalists in every religion, including atheists. I was raised UU, and fundamentalism may not be the right term for the judgmental attitudes I heard there because most of them were NOT based on the fundamentals of UU (which are pretty much agnostic) but on selective application of those fundamentals. For example, there is a UU principle that every person should undertake "a free and responsible search for truth and meaning"–but if a person's search led her to conclude that one of the "stupid" religions was right for her, UUs were very judgmental! "Her search couldn't have been free and responsible if she thinks THAT is true or meaningful," basically.

    A branch of my family converted to Catholicism about 30 years ago and takes it very seriously; some of them are more reasonable to talk with than others. They have strong feelings against the Folk Mass and "the felt banner kind" of Catholicism. That bothers me because my first deeply meaningful conscious experiences with organized Christianity were in a Catholic school (which I attended in first grade for academic reasons) that reached me partly through folksy songs and semi-hippie activities that expressed clear truths about Jesus and God's Love. Another pivotal step in my journey was hearing _Jesus Christ, Superstar_ which I realize takes some liberties with the Gospels, but it grabbed my attention with the story of Jesus. If these things touched my soul and brought me to Christ, they are not so wrong and stupid! It doesn't matter what the Depeche Mode song "Personal Jesus" is "really" about; it inspired me to keep trying harder to reach out and touch faith. Heck, even misreading a stained-glass window can help me become a better person.

    I continue to think you might find a home in the Episcopal Church. It's similar to Catholicism in many ways but much more open to questioning and individual discernment.

    I also recommend very strongly the book The God We Never Knew by Marcus Borg.

  • Anonymous

    The problem with all religions is that they teach adherents that they have a monopoly on "truth" and once people think that they naturally want other people to have the benefit of this truth.

    Then when others don't agree and are reluctant to follow what they are told the next stage is to force people to agree for there own good of course ! That's how we get religious wars persecution etc.

    But all religions are just men interpreting what they believe god has shown them with all the prejudices of their culture and politics.

    No one has the monopoly on truth !

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Young Mom

    Anonymous 11:44- I believe in faith, hope, and love. And I believe that those 3 virtues are true.

    Kat- Thank you for sharing your story. It is hard to feel as if you don’t belong.

    Tanya- I got your email, just takes a bit longer for me to respond. : )

    David – Thanks for the link! I’ll check it out.

    Rachel- I know what you mean! I love being encouraged by the different writing that I’ve read, but people’s interpretations of those writings can be so discouraging. And who says we have to agree with everything in one specific group? Where do these rules come from? The Apostles themselves had disagreements.

    Dawn- Thank you! I hope that “discipline without distress” is as helpful for you as it is for me. : ) That is an interesting question. I am just getting to the point in the last year that I am not afraid to voice my questions and doubts around family members and close friends. But I am still cautious as the pastor’s wife within our church. In that context, I ask questions, but I stay within the bounds of the theology that our denomination subscribes too. I do that because I don’t want them to feel as though they need to bear my burdens or have their own faith undermined because I play a more prominent role in their minds than I intend to or should.

    Very- Yes! In either case, it really is just their personal understanding of what the magisterium or scripture means. Something that continues to jump out at me is all the anger in fundamentalism. Whether it’s towards gays, contraception, people who don’t go to confession every week, etc.etc. Thanks for sharing your friends story, and the books. : )

    Middle aged- Thank you! I am so so thankful that I am breaking out of it early, it makes me so relieved that my children will be spared the religious craziness that I grew up with. I wonder about that issue too, why the intensity about making everyone else agree with them? For me (as a proselytizing teen) it was because I was sure that I was right, and that made them wrong. And that was not OK!

    Anonymous 2:40- I appreciate your place within the Christian religion. Christianity is a diverse place. A faith journey is just that. A Journey. And that journey includes forgiveness.

    Berinike- Hahaha! : )

    Nail- I agree, the saints have to be approached with discernment. Thank you for the recommendation.

    ‘Becca- That is interesting! I see that dimension too, in my upbringing it was “people deceived by satan and drawn in by the world” in the more liberal world, people they disagree with are just “stupid and manipulated”. I think there is a huge variety of what speaks to people and encourages people, that’s why I don’t think it’s the beliefs themselves that bother me, it’s when people are on the warpath to make everyone be like them or discount them entirely. It’s almost like people who like onions refusing to talk with or be around people who don’t like onions, unless they force themselves to eat them and pretend they like them!
    I'll check out the book!

  • avoiding extremes

    A piece of friendly advice: stay far away from away one who names themselves "a traditional Catholic priest". This is the most fundamentalist group with in the Catholic Church and I have heard the extreme of the extreme with those who identify with that movement. I think they need the most psychological intervention. (I'm not trying ot be rude just straighforward) But of course, they have the one TRUTH and have interepreted it all right. I know you know how that goes.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Young Mom

    Anonymous 3:17- I have an issue with the “monopoly on truth” thing as well. Religion will always be cultural, and that includes prejudices and politics and ignorance.

    Avoiding- Don’t worry, it all sounds very familiar. : )

  • anonymous 2:40

    avoiding extremes – I hate to respond to a comment on someone else's blog, but what you said was very hate filled and ignorant. There are extremes to be found on all sides. I find your comment to be indicitive of extreme liberalism.
    Have you ever spoken with a traditional priest? The priests I have had the pleasure of speaking with are the most humble and Christ like men I have ever known. They have helped set me straight when I was struggling with my faith AND grounded me when I was beginning to take it to the extreme. Give me a hundred of them preaching the one truth that saves souls anyday over one liberal priest who blatantly lies about Church teachings to make people feel good.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Young Mom

    Anonymous 2:40 and Avoiding extremes- Different things speak to different people. And frankly, calling liberal priests "liars" is not very balanced. This last comment barely squeaked by. I don't publish abusive comments, so if this turns into a debate just know that I won't be publishing it. We are all different.

  • Anonymous

    guess it doesn’t matter how extreme peoples religious views as long as they only are personal and not inflicted on others.  The problem is that people do inflict their beliefs on others even if it is only their dependents especially their wife and children even if not on the outside world.
     
    The difficulty is that with the exception of a very few basics common cultural constructs (at a stretch the Ten Commandments) just about all morals are relative, or related to a particular faith.  For example to argue that that sex before marriage is physically or culturally harmful must be tenuous given that 90% of people do it, but it is a sin according to some religions. Once you have ‘sin’ it justifies lots of extremes, e.g. it is a sin for a Muslim woman to go out alone or to show her face, a sin to educate girls beyond their role as mothers, a sin to read subversive (to the relevant view point) literature, a sin to practise the wrong religion etc.
     
    Maybe it’s wrong to do any more than teach your children you religious beliefs (or lack of them) and let them decide when they are adults ?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05354424704358588553 lissla lissar

    berenike, our priest did a very good homily on the Pharisee and the tax collector. He said that almost all of us start out in the position of the Pharisee, and as we spiritually mature we gradually become the tax collector.

    Like Sally, I'm a recent convert. I think that anyone in a new relationship tends to be infatuated- newlyweds, people who've just embraced a creed, those who have just discovered the perfect weight loss scheme. ;) That's why it's more fun and nourishing to ask older married couples for advice instead of newlyweds- they're settled, they're not edgy and defensive and nervous and overwhelmed.

    In any case, the Church is a net filled with all kinds of fish, and it's always more enjoyable to be filled with burning zeal for telling other people how wrong they are then to work quietly on our own sins. Goodness know I like it better.

    There's a Desert Fathers story about a monk who was caught in public sin, and a bunch of other monks gathered to pass judgement. As they sat down an older monk, renowned for his holiness, came in with a sack full of sand with a hole in it. The others came out to meet him and said, "What is this, father?" The brother said to them, "My sins run out behind me, and I do not see them, and today I am coming to judge the errors of another" When they heard that, they said no more to the brother but forgave him.

  • anon 240

    So calling liberal priests liars is bad but saying that traditional priests and those who consult them are extremists in need of psychological helps isn't? Seems to me you're the one who isn't being balanced.
    To clarify, unlike "avoiding" I did not brand all liberal priests as liars. I meant that I would rather have a rule abiding priest that "a" liberal priest who is lying when he tells you it's okay to cohabitate, contracept, and call God your mother. Which unfortunately, most do.
    I'm praying for you, you help me a lot with some of your insight, but you really seem not to be, nor wanting to be truly Christian at all. I feel sorry for your husband's congregants who are apparently being deceived.
    Christ is truth. If there is not one truth, there is no Christ.

  • not hateful or ignorant

    anonymous @4:11

    Hate filled and ignorant? I'm not sure how you got that from my comment but we are all free to hear what we want to hear or not hear. Sounds like a typical traditionalist response abnd only validates what my previous experience has been with the movement. "Everyone is hate filled, liberal and against the one TRUTH." I sincerely recommend a good psychotherapist.

    The last time I was involved with discussion with a "traditional Catholic who only speaks to traditional priests" it was over the duty of parents to baptize their miscarried child–who died in the first trimester. Yes, I was told you must baptize the remains ASAP or your child would be at risk for going to hell. And if you did not get to the baby before it died it was your fault. (despite the fact that the baby dies inside most times..) Some Catholics fret over the fate of their babies who die before baptism–relying not on the teachings of the church on the mercy of God.

    I don't consider rejecting a teaching like that to be hate filled or ignorant. I find that manner of the "traditional" thoughts run along this same line and I have no desire to know this God. and it has nothing to do with "lying liberal priests…."

    The other teaching I notice by "traditional's" is the suspicion by which NFP is viewed. Couples are always selfish and sinful and child hating trying to avoid children an women are sinful because they will not have sex with their husband whenever he wants (because some happen to be so overwhelmed they can not care for the children they do have…) Furthermore couples must get permission from their "confessor" to use NFP.

    If anyone needs to know what traditional Catholic priests teach they only need to google it to find out and read the homilies and writings.

    Sorry anonymous my post was not hateful or ignorant just full of truth.

    I pray the best for you anonymous. but if you know anything about young mom's writing you are the type of person who has drive her from God so if you want to bring her to God try a different approach.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Young Mom

    Anonymous 11:31- I have a lot of the same questions. And I wholeheartedly agree that you cannot force your kids to believe anything. I will be telling my kids what I believe and why, not planning on twisting their arm to conform to my understanding of faith.

    Lissla- You are so right! It is so much easier to fry other people then to work quietly on our own. I love the story about the monks. Thanks for sharing.

    Anon 2:40- Thank you for proving so brilliantly, the exact point I was making in this post.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13761954687722403122 LLMom

    Sadly, you will find stupid legalistic stuff like this in any religion because we are falliable humans. I got very wrapped up in Catholic Traditionalism which is very similar to fundamentalism. I have found the "real" Catholic church quite wonderful and full of truth. There just happen to be those few nuts mixed in.

  • I need help too

    anon 240–or whoever I am writing too

    For the record I think we are all in need of psychological help. I've benefited greatly from it and I think everyone should get it at some point in their life. The integration of psychological and spiritual help is so important for balance and health and the discovery of truth.

    I did not call them extremists. I said traditional Catholics are known to have extreme views which I then pointed out a couple in the post above. "Extremist" is your word. To me it is clear–those are extreme views and I believe people who hold those views need psychological and spiritual help. (Again, I benefit greatly from it so it is not a deragatory statement…but I feel in some spiritual circles pscyhological help is never gotten–particular in fundamentalist group with some extreme views)

    Do you think a liberal priest is lying when he tells you your miscarried or stillborn baby is in heaven? That he is not telling you the TRUTH?
    That he really does not know the justice of the God who sends unbaptized babies to hell if their parents do not baptize the remains before the baby dies. I think he really knows God and the never ending mercy.

    And for the record the catechism say God does not have gender–God has both masuline and feminine qualities. Catholics can certainly embrace the motherly qualities of God if they want too.

  • http://grace-filled.net jen

    as usual, wonderful writing. your honesty is what all of us need.

  • Anon 240 shaking dust from feet

    Gag what a snake den. How did I prove your point young mom? By pointing out your double standard? You don't find it ironic to set the standards for truth while living a lie?
    There's a big difference between a kooky traditional catholic ( who deserves mercy too by the way) and a well formed priest who doesn't teach anything different than what the Church has taught for 2 millennia.
    I sincerely didn't mean to prostylize, only suggest an option. God bless.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16891482933710549819 CatholicMommy

    Oh the craziness. Young mom, I hope you can find a church home where Jesus is present and that you may grow more deeply in love with Him daily. For me, this is the Catholic Church and I would recommend it to all my friends. :-) That being said, I am praising God that my brother recently found his faith again in a Methodist church with his wife. I would rather he were a devout Protestant than a nominal Catholic. I saw you found me on Facebook… I hope I can be a witness to some of the awesomeness that happens in my Church! Feel free to message me any time with questions or just to vent about, um, people. :-) And for what it's worth, Rome Sweet Home and Lamb's Supper, both by Scott Hahn, are great books about the Catholic Church from a Biblical perspective.

  • start with yourself

    anon 240

    You really did not do a good job or hear a thing young mom said in her writings. Young mom was right you are the typical person who has driven her away from God and it was clear from your posts and your "snake den" snarky remark.

    If you want to bring others to a greater awareness of God start with yourself and try to listen to where others are at.

  • Anonymous

    Wow. Wow wow wow…

    I found myself expressing a number of these thoughts, particuarly the final ones about hell, in 2003. I grew up fundamentalist baptist and it always just felt so empty. I wanted something MORE than just the get out of hell free card (the exact phrase I used at that time, in fact). Saying a magic phrase so God would see me through Jesus colored glasses and "not see" my sins… well, that may absolve the fear of hell, but it does nothing for the deep human longing for true communion…

    I then read this article: http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/tca_carltonfirstbaptist.aspx

    and my life changed forever.

    I can feel in your words how much you are longing for answers. I will include you in my unworthy prayers.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Young Mom

    Catholic Mommy- Thank you for your encouragement! I loved you great post on discipline.

    Anonymous 7:54- Thank you so much for the link, I will be sure to read it. And thank you for your prayers.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12673376586692323827 Kayla

    Hi,
    I'm reading through your blog right now. I just wanted to say that I'm sorry you are having such a rough time, had such a rough time. My family and I came into the Catholic Church about 5 years ago, and it was beautiful. I love almost everything about it, but any religion has people who take something that is supposed to be beautiful, and make it ugly, changing it from what it should be to something completely unrecognizable. I love being Catholic, and I would recommend it to everyone! However, my fiance is not Catholic, and like Catholic Mommy said, I would rather he and our children be devout, loving Protestants than nominal "I'm only here because she makes me be" Catholics.

    I'll be praying for you!! If you want, you are free to check out my blog, though I only update it every once in a while (I'm moving and planning a wedding right now).

    wwww.thealluringworld.blogspot.com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06374573594800663980 Kacie

    What a great post. I agree. When I got really cynical about the evangelical church, I thought walking away would free me from fundamentalism. I did the same thing you did. First I was drawn to the Catholic church until I bumped up into the areas where I felt things weren't making sense but found that the people I was interacting with simply were NOT okay with questions. The very fact that entering the Catholic church means you must believe everything the Church says…. really counts me out.

    So I looked at Eastern Orthodoxy, and while I still LOVE it, I'm so discouraged by the fundamentalism I find in sections of that church as well. And then of course growing up overseas I've seen fundamentalism Islam and Hindus, and I have some rather militant athiest friends.

    The same goes with politics. I think you can look for a party or group that is reasonable, but in the end there are crazies everywhere. And then if you decide you don't want to belong to a group, you end up getting lumped with the extremist anti-groupies.

    To a certain extent I'm getting to the point where I don't care about the labels anymore, or who I am associated with.


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