Christians the Prevalence and Impact Thesis

Excerpt from Thesis :

7). Still, it seems safe from the seat of scholarship to condemn such exclusive and condemnatory practices as decidedly un-Christian; the oft-quoted (or at least oft-referenced) Biblical passage from John seems to be one of the more direct and unequivocal statements regarding who will be saved: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). Basically, if you believe in Christ, you are by Biblical (and etymological) definition a Christian.

At this point, it would seem that the argument against fundamentalist Christians being true Christians has been hoisted on its own petard -- certainly, the fundamentalists believe in Christ, regardless of whether or not they seem to be paying attention to his teachings. It is possible, it must be admitted, that fundamentalist Christians must be properly seen as Christians, but they are hardly representative of Christian ideals or behaviors as espoused and acted out by most other Christian groups or, as has been shown, by direct Biblical imperative. While fundamentalist individuals may themselves be Christian, then, that label is expressly inapplicable to many fundamentalist beliefs and behaviors.

The strange paradox created by fundamentalists' narrowing of the definition of Christianity is a clear, though confusing, demonstration of the un-Christian-like beliefs fundamentalists hold. By strict scriptural reading, all who believe in Christ are Christian, and fundamentalists believe in scripture and in Christ but not that others who believe in Christ are necessarily Christian, meaning that they (the fundamentalists) are rejecting the Bible, making them un-Christian, but they believe in Christ so they are Christians... This circular and self-defeating logic is evidence fundamentalism and Christianity do not comprise the same belief set. The stance
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that Christianity could somehow be defined as something externally perceivable, and therefore was something that could be judged independent from personal internal experience, is antithetical and hypocritical even to Fundamentalist beliefs. According to B.B. Warfield, one of the men credited with formulating Christian fundamentalism, said "the supreme proof to every Christian of the deity of his Lord is in his own inner experience of the transforming power of his Lord upon the heart and life" (Brom, par. 15). It is difficult to see how an intolerant and often bigoted and violent religious group was able to emerge from such words.

Most fundamentalist Christians, it should be noted, are not violent or mean people. But it is the loudest and most extreme of any population that attract large amounts of attention, and this is as true of Christian fundamentalists as it is of anyone else. In addition, the beliefs spouted by the more prominent leaders of fundamentalist Christianity are almost certainly in line with that of their common followers even if the tone his heightened -- why else would their congregations remain, and even grow? So while it is not necessary or prudent to fear fundamentalist Christians, one should remain wary of their overall impact on this country, and skeptical of their brand of "Christianity."

Works Cited

Brom, Robert. "Fundamentalism." Accessed 4 May 2009. http://www.catholic.com/library/Fundamentalism.asp

Hendrick, Charles. "What are Major Christian Beliefs?" Accessed 4 May 2009. http://geneva.rutgers.edu/src/christianity/major.html

John. The Bible: New International Version. Accessed 4 May 2009. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=JOHN+3:16

Matthew. The Bible: New International Version. Accessed 4 May 2009. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+24:36-44

Robinson, B.A. "Who is a Christian?" Accessed 4 May 2009. http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_defn.htm

Robinson, Christine. "U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Favors Casper Decision." Casper Star Tribune. Accessed 4 May 2009. http://www.casperstartribune.net/articles/2009/02/27/news/casper/8407172af18b057e87257569000372b8.txt

Ruthven, Malise. Fundamentalism: The Search for Meaning. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Brom, Robert. "Fundamentalism." Accessed 4 May 2009. http://www.catholic.com/library/Fundamentalism.asp

Hendrick, Charles. "What are Major Christian Beliefs?" Accessed 4 May 2009. http://geneva.rutgers.edu/src/christianity/major.html

John. The Bible: New International Version. Accessed 4 May 2009. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=JOHN+3:16

Matthew. The Bible: New International Version. Accessed 4 May 2009. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+24:36-44

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