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RE: [CF] OT: religious fundamentalists

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  • Fitzsimmons, Diane
    I see the term religious fundamentalists thrown around a lot in the media and on the Web recently, often used interchangeably with conservative Christian,
    Message 1 of 5 , Aug 1, 2005
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      I see the term "religious fundamentalists" thrown around a lot in the
      media and on the Web recently, often used interchangeably with
      "conservative Christian," "the religious right," "born-again Christian,"
      "evangelical Christian" and "pentacostal Christian."

      I myself always preferred the term "Christian," assuming everyone else
      knew that the term encompasses as much diversity as there is in the
      world. But since sub-sets of that group have come to be stereotyped as
      ignorant, theocratic or other derogatory terms, I get a little
      defensive, which is why I offer these comments.

      A "fundamentalist" Christian is not the same as an "evangelical
      Christian." As for the other terms, they often overlap but are not
      synonymous.

      An evangelical Christian according to the Institute for the Study of
      Evangelicalism (http://www.wheaton.edu/isae/defining_evangelicalism.html
      )displays these four specific hallmarks: conversionism, the belief that
      lives need to be changed; activism, the expression of the gospel in
      effort; biblicism, a particular regard for the Bible; and crucicentrism,
      a stress on the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

      The same organization goes on to say:

      "Fundamentalist" is a term that is frequently bandied about in the news
      media these days. Unfortunately, this term has been used so casually in
      describing anyone who seems to hold some sort of traditional religious
      belief -- be they a Bible Baptist TV preacher, a Hasidic rabbi, a Mormon
      housewife, or a soldier of the Islamic Jihad -- that the word has become
      nearly useless. When used within the North American historical context,
      however, there are precedents for the use of this term which restores a
      sense of descriptive cohesion. Fundamentalism was a movement that arose
      in the late 19th and early 20th centuries within American Protestantism
      reacting against "modernist" theology and biblical criticism as well as
      changes in the nation's cultural and social scene. Taking its name from
      The Fundamentals (1910-1915), a twelve-volume set of essays designed to
      combat Liberal theology, the movement grew by leaps and bounds after
      World War I. ...

      "Since the 1940s, the term fundamentalist has come to denote a
      particularly aggressive style related to the conviction that the
      separation from cultural decadence and apostate (read liberal) churches
      are telling marks of faithfulness to Christ."

      So, in the world of Christianity, one unusual mark of a "fundamentalist"
      is that this group tends to want to live apart from the world, while an
      evangelical would tend to want to live "in" the world with the notion of
      changing it.

      Obviously, this is not the proper forum to go into great details on all
      the other types of Christians, but I feel it is important that -- just
      as we should understand the differences between the types of Muslims --
      that we should understand the differences between the types of
      Christians and not allow such labels to become a short cut to
      demonization.

      Regardless of what label we give a person or the label given by that
      person to him/herself, I think we can best judge the person by his/her
      actions and reserve our comments and responses for those actions, and
      not the label. Even more importantly, I think we cannot always judge a
      group by the actions of a few.

      Now climbing down from her soapbox,
      Diane Fitzsimmons
      Norman, Okla., USA
    • Terry Mehlman
      ... Diane, As an adherent of the Religious Society of Friends, I m well aware of the differentiation to be made between Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism.
      Message 2 of 5 , Aug 1, 2005
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        On 8/1/05, Fitzsimmons, Diane <dcfitzsimmons@...> wrote:
        > "Since the 1940s, the term fundamentalist has come to denote a
        > particularly aggressive style related to the conviction that the
        > separation from cultural decadence and apostate (read liberal) churches
        > are telling marks of faithfulness to Christ."

        Diane,

        As an adherent of the Religious Society of Friends, I'm well aware of
        the differentiation to be made between Fundamentalism and
        Evangelicalism. Quakers are within the Evangelical tradition of the
        modern Protestant church, although - since the idea of continuing
        revelation is central to our testimonies - I think it would be hard to
        pin a fundamentalist label on us.

        I tried to be mindful and careful in my post to use the term
        fundamentalist in describing the homeschoolers in this area who
        primarily identify themselves as Christian. I used that term
        specifically because it is my understanding that these homeschoolers
        have withdrawn their kids from a mainstream school setting
        specifically to shield them from influences which are not in their
        particular religious tradition.

        Obviously, there is a lot of diversity within the Christian community
        and a lot of religious diversity within the homeschooling community.
        I apologize if my characterizations of groups and sub-groups offended
        you in any way.

        best,
        Terry
      • Fitzsimmons, Diane
        ... No one s post offended me. I made the assumption that everyone used the term correctly -- especially as it was in the context of people homeschooling as a
        Message 3 of 5 , Aug 1, 2005
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          >>-----Original Message-----
          >>From: CarFree@yahoogroups.com
          >>[mailto:CarFree@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Terry Mehlman
          >>Sent: Monday, August 01, 2005 1:22 PM
          >>To: CarFree@yahoogroups.com
          >>Subject: Re: [CF] OT: religious fundamentalists
          >>
          >>
          >>Obviously, there is a lot of diversity within the Christian
          >>community and a lot of religious diversity within the
          >>homeschooling community.
          >>I apologize if my characterizations of groups and sub-groups
          >>offended you in any way.
          >>


          No one's post offended me. I made the assumption that everyone used the
          term correctly -- especially as it was in the context of people
          homeschooling as a means of protecting children. I made my comments for
          those who may not be aware of the various "shades" of Christianity,
          especially American Christianity.

          Living in a university town, I have found homeschooling is usually done
          -- regardless of religious or political persuasion -- as a way to
          "protect" children from "harmful" influences -- whether one defines
          those influences as bad teaching, boring curriculum, controversial
          topics, drugs, Christians, non-Christians, etc. Interestingly enough,
          most homeschoolers I have known (admittedly I know few) were more likely
          to be parents from the "left," trying to avoid cultural influences
          typical in Oklahoma. Once again, that is probably because I live in a
          university town.

          I have often thought it would have been much easier to raise my children
          to be car-free (among other personal values I prize) if I had
          homeschooled them. I still have three at home -- 16, 9 and 6 -- and, if
          finances allowed, would be interested in trying it with my younger two.
          But my husband is adamantly opposed to homeschooling because he, like
          many, sees homeschooling as a way of damping down the imagination.

          Diane Fitzsimmons
          Norman, Okla., USA
        • SHYRLEY WILLIAMS
          ... How weird. Most people I know home-educate so their children are free to use their imagination and learn in their own way rather than be restricted toa
          Message 4 of 5 , Aug 1, 2005
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            --- "Fitzsimmons, Diane" <dcfitzsimmons@...> wrote:


            > I have often thought it would have been much easier
            > to raise my children
            > to be car-free (among other personal values I prize)
            > if I had
            > homeschooled them. I still have three at home --
            > 16, 9 and 6 -- and, if
            > finances allowed, would be interested in trying it
            > with my younger two.
            > But my husband is adamantly opposed to homeschooling
            > because he, like
            > many, sees homeschooling as a way of damping down
            > the imagination.
            >
            > Diane Fitzsimmons
            > Norman, Okla., USA
            >

            How weird. Most people I know home-educate so their
            children are free to use their imagination and learn
            in their own way rather than be restricted toa school
            curriculum which tells you what and when to learn.
            Want to learn about Romans? Too bad, you have to wait
            for 3rd Grade! Interested in biochemistry? You're too
            young. Wait till you're 15!
            My son wouldn't get to do the wizards apprenticeship
            electronics he's doing if he went to school. He'd have
            to learn English lit cos that was what the curriculum
            said. My daughter wouldn't be free to write stories
            when she felt like it, her imagination would be
            hammered into a timetable.
            My kids are free to learn when they want and where
            they want and what they want and definately think
            outside the box. They get to mix with all ages rather
            than being forced to only mix with 30 kids their own
            age and they get to live in the real world rather than
            an institution. They also make theor own decisions
            rather than being herded about like sheep to the sound
            of a bell. Dealing with nonsensical rules.
            I reckon I'm a bit evangelical about freeing children
            from day-prisons!!
            Maybe liberated kids will think outside the box when
            it comes to transport too :-)

            Shyrley

            Disability is a matter of perception. If you can do just one thing well, you're needed by someone.Navratilova, Martina1956 American Tennis Player



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          • richardmasoner
            ... My children have been homeschooled over the past three years. In active homeschooling groups you have a zillion enrichment activities -- these might be
            Message 5 of 5 , Aug 2, 2005
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              --- "Fitzsimmons, Diane" wrote:

              > I have often thought it would have been much easier
              > to raise my children to be car-free (among other
              > personal values I prize) if I had homeschooled them.

              My children have been homeschooled over the past three years. In
              active homeschooling groups you have a zillion "enrichment" activities
              -- these might be field trips, special classes, group picnics,
              children play activities, and so forth. The homeschoolers are taken to
              these activities in a hundred separate minivans. In our local co-op of
              about 300 homeschooling families, my family is the *only* one I've
              seen that has ever used bikes to get to an activity.

              Daytime child-free activities that public-school parents might take
              for granted -- running to the store, doing errands, going to school or
              work, etc -- become a little more complicated. Instead of just hopping
              on the bike or the bus, you now must get the kids on their bikes
              and/or trailers if your children are too young to be left unsupervised.

              --- SHYRLEY WILLIAMS wrote:

              > I reckon I'm a bit evangelical about freeing children
              > from day-prisons!!
              > Maybe liberated kids will think outside the box when
              > it comes to transport too :-)

              My observations are similar to Shyrley's, incidentally, regarding the
              opportunities to expand rather than restrict the imagination in the
              homeschooling environment. My children aren't restricted to playing
              with kids in their own age or class and they interact well with
              children and adults of all ages.

              I've met some real dodo's, too, among homeschooling families --
              teenagers who can't read or have any basic critical thinking skills.
              I'm personally of two-minds about homeschooling and my older child is
              entering public school this fall.

              RFM
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