Saturday, June 25, 2011

Denial Ain't Just A River In Egypt - Part 3

Final post in this series, I promise. It's been a long haul, I know.

Warning sign #4: Lack of Balance – Extreme Objectivism and Extreme Subjectivism.
”Extreme Objectivism […] elevates objective truth to the exclusion of valid subjective experience. This is seen in religious systems where even though the Holy Spirit’s work might be acknowledged theologically, on a practical level it would be suspect, or denied.” – pp. 69-70
This was characteristic of my Fundamentalist experience in many ways. Essentially, the only way you heard from God was through preaching or reading/memorizing Scripture. Anyone who talked a little too much about the Holy Spirit was "probably pentacostal" and dismissed. I think this might actually be a manifestation of the Fundamentalist tendency to squelch emotions that aren't acceptable for one reason or another.

”Extreme Subjectivism – What is true is decided on the basis of feelings and experiences, giving more weight to them than to what the Bible declares."
I'd say this characterizes something like fundamentalist Pentacostalism more than my Fundamentalist experience; however, sometimes my branch of Fundamentalism exemplified this as well. People spoke of random feelings as being the basis of a decision to do something. It was acceptable to say, "God laid it on my heart to speak to this person" and then relate confrontation that was Biblically questionable; random feelings and coincidences were seen as excellent basis for deciding "God's Will".

”Beware of those who put a spiritual premium on not being educated, or of being educated only at certain schools.”
Oh yes. You could only trust people who went to specific your-branch-of-fundyism-approved colleges. I remember having a conversation with a fellow camp counselor about having to wonder about the spirituality of people who go to colleges like Clearwater instead of Bob Jones or Pensacola. And not because of any theological issues, but because of different standards. And we've already talked about standards.

So there you go. Take an honest look at your Fundamentalist system and see if these signs characterize the majority of or the most important interactions. If so, it is a spiritually abusive system, and I beg you to get out.

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