Saturday, September 28, 2019

Fundamentalists Deserve Liberalism

The stereotype of liberals is that they are out to silence their ideological opponents. They have garnered a reputation as being closed-minded; they are the enemies of free speech.

Those on the right are the victims of these powerful progressive silencers.

While I tend to think this stereotype is generally correct, it is not the whole story.

I have spent my fair share of time among conservative fundamentalists and progressives, and if there is one pattern that I have observed happen over and over again is that conservative fundamentalists either become radical liberals themselves or they create them.

What happens when you portray anyone who disagrees with you on minor interpretations of the Bible as doubters of the authority of God's Word or suggest that there were no Christians between the year 90 and 1517?

What happens when you insulate yourself from a spectrum of authorities and stamp out any dissenting voices that think "humans came from monkeys" because "those brainwashed people" can't be trusted?
What happens when you immediately compare having the slightest amount of freedoms taken away to Nazi Germany?

What happens when you portray anyone who disagrees with you as who uncharitably as possible, as someone who doesn't really know what they are talking about because "they're so uninformed"and "anti-biblical?"

What happens when conservative fundamentalists dictate and demand that their children believe the dogmatic claims that they subscribe to without any question, and then those children grow up to be taught otherwise for never-before-heard rational reasons?

What do you expect is going to happen? The power dynamic shifts, and those children will do the same to their parents. As Paul Maxwell says, "You extremize those people. You create the monster that you're so scared of."The hostility and closed-mindedness gets passed on with a different set of beliefs.

Progressive ideology is a powerful and consuming beast. But just as concerning should be the religious conservative fundamentalism that often gives rise to its counter-opponent.

The path forward must be paved with virtues of open-mindedness, intellectual humility, perseverance and charity. 

If conservative fundamentalists are getting weary of progressives trying to silence them, then they should reconsider their postures. Until then fundamentalists deserve liberalism. 

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