Accepted wisdom says we should respect moderates and look down on fundamentalists. This is supposedly because the moderates know how to pick out the good parts of their Holy books and ignore the bad, whereas the crazy folks can’t tell the difference.
I still agree with this in practice because moderates are less of an immediate danger to the world, but philosophically I now have a new perspective on the issue. My new view is that fundamentalists should at least be given some respect for actually following their books.
People seem to think it’s ok to pick and choose what to follow, but the Bible clearly disagrees:
Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. — Deuteronomy 4:2
Let’s review what the Bible demands as punishments for breaking these rules:
Leviticus 24:16: And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death.
Exodus 31:15: Whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.
Exodus 21:17: He that curseth his father or his mother, shall surely be put to death.
Leviticus 20:13: If a man lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death.
Leviticus 20:10: And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death.
Let’s be clear — this is not some garbage I made up, and it’s not something pulled out of context. These are standalone commands from God, written in the Bible, for Christians to obey unquestioningly. That doesn’t mean obey them unless there’s a law against it, or obey them unless they make you feel bad.
Remember, it specifically says not to take anything away from these commands, and keep in mind that God knew what the future would look like. If He intended that there be any wiggle room he would have included something to the effect of, “Unless there is a law against it later…”
Quite simply, God has commanded that people die for working on Saturday, sleeping with someone other than their spouse, being gay, talking back to their parents, or saying “Jesus” or “God” when they are upset. If you as a Christian have seen those commands and have judged them unacceptable due to a man-made, secular morality then you are rejecting God outright. You have consciously chosen to place man’s laws above God.
Make no mistake — this is not simply a failure to live up to expectations, this is active rejection. This is so-called “religious” people making their own personal judgment that the word of God should not be followed because it interferes with their morality.
The point, of course, is not that moderate Christians should be killing people. What this shows us is that moderate Christians already reject God for precisely the same reason that Atheists do — because the teachings in the Bible don’t make sense.
Once you figure out that God really is demanding that all these people die, and that it’s quite easy for you to see that this is morally out of the question, it should be pretty easy to get to the next step:
So if that ugliness is supposed to be the literal word of God himself, and it’s clearly wrong, how can I trust anything in there?
Exactly. And that really only leaves two options for kind, thoughtful religious moderates:
- Realize that human laws and knowledge are contrary to God. Join a “community” that owns lots of land that separates itself from the evils of human society and devotes itself to the true path. In short, become a fundamentalist.or…
- Accept that the Bible was written by superstitious men, and that the beautiful parts (of which there are many) can be incorporated into your life without having to subscribe to the fantasy of a God that wants people to be killed for working on Saturday.