HOME   People do good because they are human, not because they are religious! 

Do not give God any credit for the good they do, they did it!


The label, liberal, is not very useful or clear. It usually is manipulative. When a person wants to be seen as open-minded and forward-looking and progressive they will want to be labeled liberal. When a religion is man-made or false, the believers who want to change the faith to fit the facts are called liberals but in fact they are just liars. The decent thing to do is admit the truth about the religion.
A belief can be fundamentalist. You can be liberal and have one fundamentalist belief. That one belief could be enough for you to do something terrible. Nice beliefs in a religion make the nasty dangerous belief feel and look better and thus empower it.
A fundamentalist religion means a religion that is fine but has at least one dangerous belief. Or it might have a number of beliefs that are dangerous when they are together though each individual belief seems to be little to worry about. A religion of peace that orders its members to let the enemy kill them when it asks them to abandon the belief is being passively fundamentalist. A religion that there is no trouble with is yet being fundamentalist when it commands you to believe that holy books that speak of a God who commands evil things. That is active fundamentalism and made worse when you are told that you call God a liar and will go to Hell forever unless you believe. A good example of active fundamentalism is when Islam cuts the hands off thieves.
Fundamentalist religion thrives and often gets away with its crimes when the membership seems too big for the state to eradicate the religion, or when the religion is too powerful and when it is married to the state and maybe providing "services" such as faith based schools or hospitals or whatever. It would be much easier if the state could discern what belief it has is the most harmful and dangerous and dwell on dealing with that.
Every religion demands that you believe certain doctrines and it asks you to make huge sacrifices for what it says. Even if you don't make them you are still invited to. A religion claiming its rites and/or its message can save you from everlasting damnation is a huge thing. A man-made religion then is necessarily harmful in itself. Only God can create a religion that saves or whose existence is justified. A man-made religion is necessarily fundamentalist. If religion were really concerned about truth, then say if the Mormons were a false religion and the evidence against it were sufficient, the leaders would depart and the membership would look for another religion. That is not what happens. The silliest and most implausible religions seem to withstand whatever evidence and proofs are directed at them that they are wrong. The reason they survive is that they don't really care about real truth but about what they want to believe about the truth. Science is able to get rid of rubbish medicine but rubbish religion persists. Each religion likes to think the others are guilty of not caring about the truth. This leads to division and sectarianism.
Fundamentalism is defined as claiming that you know what you do not know and thus it pays attention only to truth when it suits it. For example, the Christian who has never hardly looked at the evidence for or against the Bible being true may say, “I just know it’s all true.” The extremism of the fundamentalist is not what makes him a fundamentalist. It is the arrogant know-it-all attitude. This attitude results in extremism. A fundamentalist and an extremist are two different things.
The best definition of fundamentalism is that it seeks to put doctrine before people because it sees the doctrine as the simple truth and it does not care about the real truth.
Another definition of fundamentalist is a person who identifies himself with his religion so that any criticism of it is perceived not as an attack on a belief or doctrine but as an attack on him. It is very demeaning to see yourself as being about doctrines rather than being a person. Such a person is claiming to know the doctrines are true for it is worth identifying with them so much that they become him and he becomes them. The person obviously puts more value on religion than people. He perverts his regard for himself and so that will distort his attitude for others and his relationships with others. He uses the offence he feels when his religion is not followed by others or contradicted by them as a weapon with which he will make them afraid to say anything in case he takes it personally and he may even threaten them into silence.
He shows signs of addiction for if you are a qualified nurse you do not consider being a nurse as part of what you are to the extent that you cannot drop out of the medical profession and become an accountant. Your career is not you. Fundamentalists act like addicts.
Fundamentalism is always harmful. Fundamentalism can range from very light fundamentalism to every severe fundamentalism that may even want to destroy the world for God for example. Suppose somebody says that what the Bible says is final and must never be doubted but simply obeyed. People tend to argue that that person is a fundamentalist. They are right for that person is putting doctrine before everything else. The person might say he loves the truth but he does not.
Fundamentalism and supernaturalism go together. Even atheistic fundamentalism is supernatural in a sense. It implies that certain ideas must get an exemption from being checked out. They must be treated as knowledge. Such an attitude is treating the ideas as sacred. The sacred only makes sense if you feel and or think the supernatural is real. People can treat anything at all as sacred - even atheist beliefs! True atheism cannot be fundamentalist. Also, have those who are professed atheists and who behave in a fundamentalist way learned this from religious fundamentalism?
You will find normal people even in the religions with the worst reputation for being fundamentalist. No religion can control every member completely. People's human nature will come out no matter what a religion does to thwart it. Each religion has a standard by which we can know what its required teaching is. The official scriptures, documents and leadership is what must be examined in order to declare a religion fundamentalist or not. If a religion commands murder, and most of its members condemn murder, the religion is still fundamentalist and the dissidents are just disobedient and not reflective of the religion. They are not real believers but hypocrites.
Fundamentalism treats beliefs not as ideas that are thought to be probably true but as facts. In other words, it refuses to admit that there is room for doubt.

True fundamentalism claims to be an infallible ideology.

Even the most arrogant and bigoted Atheist who says, “I am right and everybody else is wrong”, is not a fundamentalist for he cannot really believe he is infallible. He would need to believe that some magic power is making him infallible in order to really believe that he is. We all make mistakes in thinking we know something and that can’t make us all fundamentalists. True fundamentalism is when somebody claims that there is a God or spirit or psychic power that confers a magical infallibility on him. If the fundamentalist doesn't claim this, the fundamentalist certainly feels it.

The Roman Catholic Church gives the world a bad example. It says that faith is knowledge and absolute trust is required. American conservative Protestant Christianity is far worse.

True secularism is the only thing that can never be fundamentalist. Thus anything that varies from it is fundamentalism - no matter how liberal or reasonable it pretends to be. Secularism is always open to changing its mind based on the evidence. Thus it is not fundamentalist.
The doctrine that God punishes is a fundamentalist one. It is dangerous for us. If we do not bother punishing we feel that God will step in. It is wrong to teach any doctrine that may lead us to put faith before people.
Mere belief in God endorses fundamentalism. The notion that belief is the best thing we can ever believe implies that there should be a bias against atheism or agnosticism.
Prayer is always a fundamentalist activity. The praying person is urged to see that prayer works which really means that the person is being asked to remember the times it seemed to work and to forget the times it didn’t or to pretend that it. Prayer is training in fundamentalism. It is its bedrock. Worse, prayer is done to induce the feeling that you have done good in praying. But you haven't!
People say they have no problem with a person engaging in fundamentalist thinking as long as they don’t try to ram their ideas down the throats of others either by force or by use of the written word. They should. Fundamentalist thinking will lead to that if the fundamentalists get enough money, power and support.
We must remember that if there are Christian theologians who honestly look at rational arguments against the faith (I said if - this is hypothetical) it is sometimes said that they are not dogmatic, not proud and not arrogant and not know-alls who misguidedly think they know it all. But the same cannot be said of priests and laity who are not theologians. They do not have the same knowledge and yet they insist on obedience to a revealed faith and are proud of it. They are definitely fundamentalists.

The Church uses its proclamation that its faith is a kind of knowledge as an excuse to justify hurting people in the name of faith. It uses this as excuse to justify ideas such as abortion being wrong even to save the mother’s life despite how much harm may ensue. That is one example. There are many others.
Fundamentalist Christians claim they believe that only the Bible has authority in matters of religion. This is a lie. They treat their own assumptions as the word of God as well. For example, when Jesus asked people to hate their parents and children to serve him they say "he didn’t mean it literally. It is hyperbole. By hate he only meant that parents and children must come second to him." And even if they didn't engage in rationalising, they only believe the Bible is the word of God because they assume that it is. In other words, it strictly speaking, not the Bible they consider to be the voice of their God but their own prejudices, desires and assumptions.
The Fundamentalist's faith makes a virtue out of arrogance that is dressed up to look like humility. We see this in its claim that faith is knowledge. If faith is knowledge, then what use is science? Why should we attach any importance to science?

A religion that makes way for fundamentalism is to blame for the evil done in its name even when it protests against the evil.
The worst fundamentalist is the one who claims he knows his faith is true because largely he feels it is true. The fundamentalist who becomes a believer because he thinks the evidence for faith is wonderful and excellent is actually less of a fundamentalist than the former. He is really a rationalist who has made big mistakes or been misinformed.
To say I know my faith is true because I can feel it is the height of arrogance and intolerance. Those are the people who will read and understand the proofs that their faith is lies or wrong and seem unaffected by them. They are being unfair to the proofs and to those who have discovered and who stand by the proofs.
Fundamentalists are defined as being extreme, guilty of putting beliefs before people and of being narrow in their thinking.
Liberals like to accuse fundamentalists of taking the Scriptures literally. That accusation is surprisingly a sign of the liberal's narrow mentality. In fact, fundamentalists say that all scriptures use symbolism and clearly indicate when a symbolic understanding is called for. For example, a Jew and Muslim might talk about the hand of God and see the expression in their scriptures. But they do not mean that God really has a hand or a body. But when a scripture says all things were made in six days and science refutes that, they stand by scripture. Liberals will pretend that the six days is a metaphor. But that is really saying, "If science seems refute our scriptures, it is our understanding that is wrong." Translation: "If our Bible is proven wrong we will pretend that its tales are not literally true and were meant to be only stories to inspire us." Such an approach is dishonest. They lie to people in the name of religion as much as fundamentalists do. They are fundamentalists themselves under all the cosmetics.

A fundamentalist who has made errors of judgment or who has been misinformed and who thinks the Bible is the absolute authority even if it commands murder is less of a fundamentalist than the liberal. The liberal says there is a God and then he himself makes his own words the word of God.

Both liberals and fundamentalists state that God or some supernatural being comes first.
RESPONSE: The people and creatures you share this earth with matter. Leave beings whose existence you can’t see or prove out of it. You are a fundamentalist in spirit even if you are a "liberal."
It may be argued, "There is no such thing as a person who is not a fundamentalist. Liberal believers in a religion are actually fundamentalists too. Atheists are fundamentalists. Religious or not, you are a fundamentalist. Open-minded or narrow-minded, you are a fundamentalist.
To be an extremist I have to think I am right. We all do that.

The atheist then is a lower level extremist. She makes sure she doesn't join a religion for that will give her more stuff to be narrow about.

Suppose we can’t stop being fundamentalist. Then we can reduce our fundamentalism to a minimum. And we do that by being humanistic in our beliefs . We must treat the natural and material world as the only realities.
We can still reduce the damage our fundamentalism can do.

To be an extremist I have to put what I think or believe before people. We all do that - always! For example, suppose I give a beggar some money. The help the beggar gets is nothing more than a living out of my belief that there is a beggar there and I am not dreaming. It is a living out of my belief that he is really poor. Its a living out of my belief that money can help. But maybe he wants the money to buy a gun to shoot himself with. I put my belief before him.

Putting belief before people means you won't look at the evidence for what is best for them for you prefer to believe ignorantly. The example is not an example of somebody putting belief before a person. If you said to the person that they should commit suicide at 3 pm in honour of Jesus' death then God will let them into Heaven forever, that would be putting belief first.
I am always narrow and closed minded.

Only if I am not thirsty for new ideas and new evidence.

True fundamentalists think that by some force of magic or occult agency they are infallible. And if you stand by what is right and you know its right, that does not make you a fundamentalist! You are merely correct not a fundamentalist!

My spirit is to force some of my beliefs at least on other people. For example, the law of the land merely reflects the beliefs of the people. And it forces!

The people might not like to be forced but they need to be and they know it.

The true Catholic refuses to deliberately reject the Catholic faith and what it teaches. He is a member of the Catholic belief community. He is a member of the believers. He is a member in Church law as well. Those "Catholics" who reject the view that the shepherds of the Church the bishops and the popes know best and can exercise infallibility are not acting as Catholics even if they are Catholics. The believing Catholics accept that there is only a single and united and sacred and apostolic and Catholic Church through which Jesus teaches us the truth today. Even atheists must agree with that. If you want to speak as a Mormon then you must speak in line with what your religion teaches. Your religion is bigger than you.

If Catholicism is fundamentalist, the liberal Catholics are drawing people to it. The liberal Catholic converts find out that the liberals are dishonestly watering down and inventing their own standards. They want to be really Catholic and they end up fundamentalist.

That is an example of how liberalism is the friend of the fundamentalism it abuses.

Some authority must be believed and followed. We never get away from it. Even the individualist thinks that individualism is his authority.

Fundamentalism may enrol you as a member and tell you that you are oblige to obey it when it hasn’t given you sufficient evidence that you should do so. For example, the Catholic Church manipulates young children who cannot understand Catholicism properly to believe they are members of the Church and bound to obey it.

Fundamentalism may advocate hatred against sinners and heretics and unbelievers openly or it may hide it under the doctrine of loving the sinner and hating the sin. Can you hate human life but love all people? Sins are not things. Sins describe not what people do but what kind of people they are. To hate anybody or their actions for religious reasons is putting faith before people. I should not hate John's adultery because it breaks god's command. But I should hate its role in bringing him pain. See the difference?
Fundamentalism says,

My religion is right.

RESPONSE: You may believe it is right but that is all that you can say. You cannot talk as if it is right when you only believe that it is. You cannot talk as if you are certain when you are not.

We do not understand why God forbids us to do this thing for example plan a family responsibly through contraception. He knows better than us that doing it will not be for the best.

RESPONSE: All people need to do for vicious fundamentalism to thrive is to "respect" and tolerate that belief!

The Church cares more for its doctrine than the truth – like most religions it refuses to change its mind when proved wrong. Such a faith cannot expect anybody to take it seriously when it forbids anything. The Roman Catholic faith represented by the priests and the bishops and especially the pope are ultimately to blame for all the harm done by Roman Catholics.

The Church uses science and pretends to be compatible with it. But how could science which is based on the notion of looking for evidence all the time and changing your mind if the evidence justifies it be agreeable with religion which instead of changing its mind refuses to listen to the evidence or proof that it is wrong? Science is about seeking disproof.

Some Catholics fall away. Many Catholics that do evil in the name of religion are accused of being disobedient and of being bad Catholics. But are they when their religion makes them feel and believe they ought to do these evils? Whose the bad guy?

If Catholicism starts producing religious terrorists, it will say they are dissidents and not representatives of true Catholicism. But unless it excommunicates them – and it won’t – they are representatives of true Catholicism. The excommunication could last until they are released from the excommunication in confession by a priest. An irrational religion cannot complain if some members go very far in that irrationality even to the point of genocide or murder.

There is more. The Catholic Church teaches contradictory doctrines and excuses the contradictions by pretending they are mysteries. A religion that teaches contradiction and practices it is implicitly endorsing the activities of those who do deeds forbidden by the Church in the name of religion. For example, if you ask people to contradict themselves and not to admit it, you cannot complain if they start torturing heretics to death on the basis that it contradicts your message. You are to blame for putting the feeling that they do right into them as much as they are.
Catholicism has refused to take responsibility for much evil done by the Church. And the evil is hellish to even read about. A healthy system will not produce evil of that potential. What is the real state of the forest that produces such bad trees? Also the faith increases the intent to be evil.
An atheist who murders does great harm to another and society and perhaps his own family. Religion makes the evil he intended far worse by saying he intends to insult and break with the God who loves him and who died for him and that he intends to reject his loved ones for all eternity by calling the punishment of Hell on himself. Religion puts extreme evil in the heart. If we are going to do evil, it is better for us to be atheists rather than believers.
All religion, even if it is not blatantly fundamentalist, IS fundamentalist! The intolerance and bigotry become secrets of the heart. They are the seeds of violent actions and strife.  Religion of all kinds is the sea in which fundamentalism swims and often a fundamentalist is only an obedient believer in the religion.  Conservative Muslim and Catholic and Christian groups that emphasise an infallible source of truth, such as a prophet or scripture, always grow and get strong. Such groups develop even in the midst of liberals so it is safe to say that liberalism loses its appeal and that paves the fundamentalism.  The last thing we need to say that religion and fundamentalism are two sides of the one problem and often they are really the one side.