Fundamentalism is a Lack of Self-Awareness

Fundamentalism is a Lack of Self-Awareness October 24, 2015

A fundamentalist is a person who thinks he doesn't have a hermeneutic

The quote comes from Richard Beck’s blog post “Emotional Intelligence and Sola Scriptura.” Here is another excerpt from the post:

[W]e all have a hermeneutic. The only question is whether you are consciously vs.unconsciously using a hermeneutic. Fundamentalists are interpreting the text unconsciously. Fundamentalists are interpreting the text right and left, they are justunaware that they are doing so… 
When your hermeneutic is operating unconsciously it causes you to say things like “this is the clear teaching of Scripture.”

…Basically, fundamentalism–denying that you are engaged in hermeneutics–betrays a shocking lack of self-awareness, an inability to notice the way your mind and emotions are working in the background and beneath the surface.

I think statements like “this is the clear teaching of Scripture” are psychologically diagnostic. Statements like these reveal something about yourself. Namely, that you lack a certain degree of self-awareness.

For example, saying something like “this is the clear teaching of Scripture” is similar to saying “I’m not a racist.” Self-aware people would never say either one of those things.

Self-aware people would say things like “I don’t want to be a racist” or “I try not to be racist” or “I condemn racism.” But they would never say “I’m not a racist” because self-aware people know that they have blind spots. Self-aware people know they have unconscious baggage that is hard to notice or overcome.

And it’s the same with how self-aware people approach reading the bible. Self-aware people know that they are trying to read the bible in an unbiased fashion. Self-aware people work hard to let the bible speak clearly and it its own voice. But self-aware people know they have blind spots. They know that there is unconscious baggage affecting how they are reading the bible, baggage that they know must be biasing their readings and conclusions. Consequently, self-aware people would never, ever say “this is the clear teaching of Scripture.” Just like they’d never claim to be unbiased in any other area of life, racism being just one example.

Click through to read it in its entirety.


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