In part 2 of this series, I stated that this belief system is not merely an external system that one chooses to ‘put on or take off.’ It is like a noxious vine that goes to the very core of your being twisting around literally every aspect of your life, even to your core identity. That’s what it did to me.
I think one of the most compelling reasons that I adhered to this system was that it hijacked my core identity and defined who I was supposed to be, while stealing my basic human right to think and choose for myself.
From the time I was born, my parents immersed my brain in their version of reality. This meant that God created us, is involved with us every second in real time, has a preferred plan for each of our lives, will protect and care for us, loves us with such a love that is beyond human understanding and capabilities. This also meant that I was taught the following things as concrete factual realities;
- God literally created every heavenly being that is described in Revelation
- Satan, whom God initially created as Lucifer, a beautiful angel, became proud, incited a war in heaven in which a third of the angels rebelled against God. They lost and God threw them all out of heaven, presumably to earth.
- God literally created the earth less than 10,000 years ago, and that the creation account in the first two chapters of Genesis are a literal historical account of these events
- Satan took on the form of a walking, talking snake (although we don’t know what the original language was) This snake fooled Eve into eating a fruit from a tree that God had forbidden them to eat. Adam listened to Eve, and chose to disobey God by eating the fruit from this tree. They both suddenly lost their innocence, realized they were naked, seemed to gain a realization of right and wrong, and hid from God. This act of disobedience broke their relationship with God, and is called ‘original sin.’
- Because of Adam’s disobedience, every human being born forever after, by default would be separated by their sinful nature from fellowship with God. So, every human born is destined to burn alive forever in hell unless they hear about God’s plan of salvation for them.
- Every language we have today originated from ancient people becoming very proud while building the Tower of Babel. God came down and confused their languages, so they separated by language, and migrated to various same language groups.
- Despite the fact that God is portrayed as being omniscient, apparently He was surprised by the evil condition mankind arrived at, and God regretted that He had created humans. He decided to hit the ‘delete humans’ button via a universal flood. I was taught that this was a literal, historical even in which all life was extinguished by God’s act.
- Every race, every language, every animal, and every disease we now have all originated from Noah’s family of 7 people.
- God sent His son, Jesus to earth to be a perfect sacrifice for our sins so that we could have fellowship with Him. He did this by the Holy Spirit approaching, and somehow impregnating a 14 year old unmarried Jewish girl.
- Jesus was fully human and fully God. He lived during a time the Romans had conquered the Jews, was a rather radical leader who literally did miracles of healing in order to authenticate His ministry and claim that He really was the Son of God.
- Jesus had 12 disciples, one of which was a traitor who turned him into the religious leaders of the day for 20 pieces of silver. Jesus was captured, tortured, killed by crucifixion, buried, then came back to life again and walked the earth for approximately a month before returning to heaven.
- On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit ‘came upon’ his disciples, and they spoke in real languages they didn’t know, they were also able to do miracles to authenticate the Gospel.
- Today when we ‘accept Jesus as our personal Saviour’, we also have the same Holy Spirit living inside us, guiding us, comforting us, speaking to us, and empowering us every second of our lives. However, since we now have the Bible (that which is perfect has come), we no longer have any need to authenticate the Gospel message, so we don’t have miracles in our era any longer.
- Every believer will be resurrected in Jesus’ second coming! We will be taking to heaven in ‘the twinkling of an eye’ at some unknown time. Only God the Father knows the date and the time this will happen. We will live forever in the peaceful bliss of heaven where we will be reunited with our deceased loved ones, and enjoy God’s love and fellowship forever.
And that, in a nutshell is what I was taught as literal, factual truth.
So why do peeps believe in fundamentalism? Because it is so hard wired into their worldview of reality from birth, that they have no choice, nor do they even know another choice exists!
Baptist fundamentalists make a false equation between their beliefs and what God said. To be clear, they claim that their beliefs EQUAL the authority of God’s word.
So, it’s kind of like being put inside an iron box with a heavy iron lid on it from birth, then if you happen to open that lid, you see another lid (Baptist beliefs EQUAL God’s authority) and how DARE you question the authority of God’s word?
But let’s just suppose that some brave soul is honest and courageous enough to call out the obvious cognitive inconsistencies, and soldiers on past that second iron lid. Then they approach the third iron lid of accusations. This one has voices accusing the poor thinking soul of being rebellious, of being a trouble maker, being divisive, a back-slider, etc…Once I was called these things and worse by two Baptist Pastors in a Christian school that I was fired from over this issue. I actually started thinking for myself and walked a tightrope of teaching my students to think for themselves while trying to still support the positions the school and church held. It became impossible.
The fourth heavy lid/prison gate is that of damaging, hurting, or even losing your most important relationships with your parents, siblings, friends, and co-workers (especially if you work in a fundamentalist religious organization). This is perhaps the most daunting of all.
Ultimately what matters is being true to ourselves over all.