5. Invincible Self Righteousness – Protestant fundamentalists are totally convinced they are right. There is no argument or discussion. Catholic fundamentalists are the same. The have their proof texts. They have their watertight world view. No discussion. No dialogue. It’s their way or the highway. Their response to this blog post will prove my point, for the ones to whom I am referring will not engage my points, but dismiss me and my message.
6. Anger and Violence Fundamentalism is always tinged with anger. There’s no sense of humor here. There’s no joy. There’s no laughter. Especially there is no sense of humor about themselves. Fundamentalists are angry and aggressive, and given enough rope they will move from verbal violence to other forms of aggression. The Catholic fundamentalists who bother to read this far and react in anger to this blog post by threatening to sue me for example, will prove my point and they will not even be able to see this themselves.
7. Fear and Loathing Protestant fundamentalists are fueled by fear and loathing. Catholic fundamentalists are the same. There is little light, joy, peace and confidence in their lives. Instead life is narrowed down by fear and loathing. Where there is fear there is darkness.
8. Suspicion and Separation Those who are outside the group are the sinners and suspect ones, but those who seem to be inside the group, but do not share the group think are suspected even more. The only ones who are worse than the sinners outside are the sinners inside the fortress. Therefore everyone inside must conform constantly, and anyone who steps outside the rules or exhibits the wrong attitude will soon be shunned, then excluded.
9. Conspiracy Theories – the atmosphere of suspicion and fear inevitably breeds conspiracy theories. The big, dark nefarious secret powers are always thought to be behind the scenes planning some sort of hostile attack on the select few of the faithful.
10. Persecution complex Fundamentalists do just about everything possible to make themselves obnoxious and unlikeable, then when people dislike them or get down on them they love to play the persecuted victim. It is almost as if they are not only looking for persecution, but are anticipating it with a sick kind of thrill.
Why take time to analyze these ten principles? Because what we see in the extreme religious behaviors of fundamentalists is not limited to Protestants or Catholics. It is actually the sick form of any religion. There are fundamentalist Muslims, fundamentalist Hindus, fundamentalist Jews, fundamentalist Mormons.
You name it. This is the form of religion that is a kind of anti-religion.
Furthermore, as we approach Holy Week, remember that it was this kind of religion which drove the Scribes and Pharisees who eventually scapegoated Jesus and made sure he was killed.
Finally, the analysis is not just a critique of fundamentalists. It should be a sober critique of all Christians because all of us, at one point or another, if we are not careful and prayerful, will fall into these traps to a greater or lesser extent.
I know what I’m talking about because, on my worst days, I see that kind of Catholic looking back at me from the mirror.