A Former Fundamentalist

Steve McSwain has written a series of really interesting articles entitled, “Perspectives of a Former Fundamentalist Christian.” His latest piece, the last in the 3-part series, is filled with nuggets.

As a former fundamentalist Christian, I felt the need to defend my beliefs almost continually. While I thought I was being a good “Christian apologist,” defending the faith against heretics and disbelievers, I realize now that all I was really defending was a threatened little ego — (that very “self” Jesus counseled us to deny – Matt. 16:24) with its belief system. Someone has rightly said, “Beliefs are a cover-up for insecurity; you only ever believe in the things you’re not certain about.”

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Then, one day, I awakened. [...]  So, there’s a sense in which, to borrow the words of Gerry Spence, I was liberated — liberated “to have a mind that was opened by wonder instead of one closed by belief.” Only when you feel the need to argue and insist your beliefs are “right” — by which you really mean the beliefs of others are wrong — do you create inner conflict that then manifests itself as outer conflict. That is, you create an “us” against “them” world, a “We’re right; You’re wrong!” environment which is humanly untenable.
This would explain virtually all human conflicts.

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I take Jesus and his teachings very seriously. More so than I ever did in those days when I ran around trying to save Jesus from the liberals and disbelievers and convert the world to my way (or “our” way) of thinking and believing. Today, I am committed to following Jesus. I trust his teachings. As a follower of his way of knowing the Divine, I am living a much more conscious, compassionate, and charitable life.

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My perspective is that there is room enough for everyone on this planet. But, until Christians actually live as Jesus lived, treat others, but especially their enemies, with forgiveness, openness, and respect, even as Christ did, human division and suffering will continue. Instead of “being in the world but not of it,” as Jesus taught (John 17:15-16), Christians will be neither in the world nor of any benefit to it. And, my own perspective is: that’s a consequence neither I nor any other genuine follower of Christ really wants.

Read the whole thing to get the full flavor of McSwain’s perspectives.

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