Allan Bevere wrote a blog post highlighting the problem of the fundamentalist who rejects one kind of fundamentalism merely to replace it with another. He writes:
If there is one thing that can be asserted without proof (that’s a tongue-in-cheek comment meant for literary effect), it is that those who are reformed out of a habit or a movement tend to be the most rabid fundamentalists of them all. The most zealous anti-smokers are former smokers. Those who continually level angry criticism at Christian Fundamentalism are those who used to be Fundamentalists. Others who cannot resist taking continual shots at Protestant liberalism are often former liberals. In their obsession with the things they used to be, they put forth a fundamentalism all their own. Usually, the only people who cannot see such re-formed fundamentalism on display are those who are re-formed fundamentalists themselves. And yes, fundamentalists come in many forms– conservative and liberal, Democratic and Republican, religious and secular.
So, how can you tell if you are a re-formed fundamentalist of some stripe? There is currently no diagnostic test available, but allow me to offer some test questions that might indicate you have the affliction:
1. When you read something on a blog espousing a view akin to your former days, do you comment, not in reasonable fashion, but in anger and disdain for the view expressed.
2. When you hear an idea or a belief being expressed that is comparable to what you used to believe, do you first roll your eyes before considering the substance of what is being said?3. Are you more interested in getting your now “enlightened” view across to the other person whom you hope to reform, than serious engaging what you have already decided is nonsense?
4. When you think about the views of the “other” are you angry before reflective?
5. Do you truly believe (be honest here) that those who do not share your views are stupid and/or immoral?
6. Do you get more joy out of insulting those who still hold to their “unreformed” views then engaging in serious discussion?
7. Do you find yourself having trouble getting to sleep at night thinking about all those evil people who are still caught up in their ignorance that you formerly held?
8. Do you see your assault on the ignorant perspectives of others as an issue of justice?
9. Do you only read books from authors who basically share your convictions?
10. Have you answered “yes” to several of these questions, but are still convinced that the label “re-formed fundamentalist” cannot refer to you?
Click through for his suggestions on how to avoid this pitfall. He does offer a cure!