- Posted October 16, 2013 by
Churchiness & Fundamentalism
By Kenneth Stepp
Talking about fundamentalism should be easy for me. I spent most of my life being one. Although this form of Christianity is the only one growing. It adds to it's members with lies and fraud. In the back of their minds, I believe that lying for Jesus can be justified easily. Greater good and all.
It was on the premise of greater good that much of the doctrines they hold dear, we written, forged, and added, for this purpose. Scholars are aware of this. But fundamentalist churches would rather replicate a failed model (see people get saved), than talk about truth. My observation at least.
Some of my favorite topics, or dogma they teach, was added by scribes later to coincide with doctrine. Not the other way around.
Of the twenty seven books of the new testament, only nine are believed to be what they appear to be. Seven of these are in Paul's letters. So only two beyond that. Ephesians is one of the books or letters that are forgeries. The author says he is Paul. But the writing style in the best manuscripts we have rule it our beyond a doubt as being written by Paul. People did this so that their writings would be read by more people.
In Ephesians we had doctrine injected into the churches that went against Paul's own teaching. Paul was an advocate of women working as leaders in the church. Yet someone calling themselves Paul, says that women must be somehow obedient to men, that they can not teach, or even speak in church. This was obviously a scribe with an agenda that added this. Not Paul. This is not only widely known in all mainline seminaries, but accepted as fact for over one hundred years.
This is puzzling to me. I know of very few that understand the very different accounts of this event. I Mark's gospel, Jesus is silent. He remains silent until right before he dies. Then he cries out. "My God, My God why have your forsaken me?" He is also mocked by the Jewish leaders, the people passing by, and by both robbers on either side of him.
Contrast this with Luke's gospel. Luke writes that Jesus had a conversation with some women as he carried his cross. They were weeping for him. He stopped and told them not to weep for him, but for themselves at what was to soon come. He was more concerned about them than himself. Luke writes that only one of the robbers mocked him and the other defended him. He has a lucid conversation with this robber. "Father forgive them, for they don't know what they are doing". This isn't a defeated silent man.
This is a man in control. He knows what is happening and where he is going. He's going to Paradise, and this guy is going to be with him. Two contradicting accounts completely.
Why are you just now noticing this? Because, like myself, you read vertically. Top to bottom. When you do this both gospels have enough similarities that the differences are simply dismissed. By reading them horizontally you get a very different view. They contradict one another a lot. Unless you've been trained at the fundamentalist "spin it till it matches" school of thought. It is easy to see that these are not witnesses at all. Just scribes in the second century writing the story they themselves prefer. Nothing more.
The Resurrection Narrative
Who went to the tomb? It depends on what gospel you read. Was it Mary Magdalene by herself, or did she go with other women? If other women, how many, who? The gospels tell conflicting stories. What did they find there? Was the stone rolled away already, or not? Different answers in different gospels. Who did they see there. A man like in Mark, two men as in Luke, or an angel as in Mathew? What were the told to do? Are they told to tell the disciples to meet Jesus in Galilee or to stay in Jerusalem? They all say something different. These are striking differences.
What to they do. Mathew, Mark, and Luke all say different things. All cannot be true. Many ultra conservative's reconcile this by combining the stories to make one cohesive story that doesn't conflict with church doctrine. It is fine to do this. But understand, you just wrote your own gospel. These books need to speak for themselves. You see, if you are a literalist. Then unless you spin, lie, or make excuses, you can't reconcile these at all. Having been a part of fundamental Christianity for decades. I was pretty good at this. "The bible is the inerrant word of God". Wow! I believe if God preserved His word, then He would have also seen to it that we received His word. Almost none of the new testament is original. Most was written to advocate agendas. This is simply and historical fact.
So what is the next step? First. Don't get angry that someone spoke up with truth about something you have defended your entire life. Stop, breathe, and ask yourself a question. How much do I personally know about the new testament? As a bible college grad, and a fundamentalist church leader for decades, I thought I knew most of it. When I discovered the main stream theological teachings that I am writing about now, I got mad. Then I started thinking. That was the chink in the armor. I had to know.
Most of the time those that talk about truth, say they serve a God of truth, and live a life of truth. Really are not open enough to actually see the truth. Truth to them is dogma and doctrine. I want real truth. I was "trained" to think those that thought differently from myself were all lost heretics. Not so. On the other side of fundamental Christianity, I find far more people that live their live more like Christ example for us. I have to admit, that was a shock. Doers, not just reciters of the word.
History, facts, evidence, and scholarly studies have revealed truth, and speaks to people open enough to understand that the bible is a wonderful set of sixty six books full of wisdom, guidance, and love. What I found in fundamental Christianity was an imitation of something wonderful. These "stores" take in billions of untaxable free money every year. They do very little good with it. They say their goal is to "lead others to Christ". As I said before. This is nothing but replicating a failed model over and over again. But it fills the churches up with more tithers. It really is a fantastic business model.
With the off the shelf spin on every issue that needs to be questioned, they can continue forever. Just keep the flock believing you are telling them the truth.