The Danger in Fundamentalist Beliefs

The danger in fundamentalist beliefs:

I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts yesterday and they had a great discussion around the question of "Has science explained God away?". In the discussion they, the scientific/atheist side, expressed their complaint that believers will far to often sit back on the "John did it" type of reasoning.

Example: The engine in my car won't turn over so... either the battery is dead...or...the starter died...or...John did it. Basically a "God said it" or "God did it" approach to reasoning.

Often the complaint of atheism or an objective/materialist world view is that the theological mindset is simply lazy. The criticism is that instead of considering a subject/problem from an open point of view and trying to approach it without preconceived ideas and work on understanding it, a "believer" will often resort to "God did it" or "God said it" reasoning and leave it there.



I find this a bit unfair as I know there are endless sincere, thinking Christians, Muslims, Jews and the like out there...but...I can also see where the criticism from an atheistic mindset would come from when you start to deal with or interact with a more literal/certainty based mind set...the fundamentalists.

An atheist trying to understand a subject through well-intentioned thoughtful inquiry based in logic and reason while hopefully being honest and open about their own world view and cultural imprinting would be able to approach a subject relatively free of most any preconceived viewpoint or the pressures that come with it. They would not be as tied down by a fixed position religious type of thinking. They would not be trying to make sense of the world while maintaining a fixed predetermined position based on a literal interpretation of an ancient book from a culture far removed from ours.

The best visual description I would have of this would be a wild animal that is being approached by a human while having one foot caught in a trap. They are pinned to that position, they cannot move and they become increasingly threatened when approached. On the other hand the "free" wild animal can move and adjust their position to the changing landscape or situation.

Problems in objective reality cannot be explored properly or thoroughly while using subjective beliefs as objective positions. As much as the individual may want them to be objective they simply won't be and the conclusion will not be aligned with the objective truth.

I would think someone who believes in a deity would have faith that the deeper truth will maintain itself across the changing cultural landscape of time and that they would be comfortable in leaving the "side of the pool" to "swim in the deep" and engage in a thought process that maintains the principles of deeper truth and allows the more surface level beliefs and view points to change and evolve at the material reality / real world level. The deep principles of spiritual truth are constant, but not necessarily the surface level cultural norms and cultural truths that we so often cling to from ancient holy books.

Too often the exploration into a subject (take ordination of women for example) will begin with a perceived dictate from God from a culture long ago from a book that can be taken in many different ways. The whole exploration of the subject will be conducted from an fixed position, simply a reverse engineering mindset to get to where they already are comfortable while constantly clinging to the warning, "beware of the wisdom of man."

What you end up with is a faith and world view that is essentially a fragile glass castle, only safe in certainty and adherence to literal interpretations. It's all true or none of it's true, you have to be all in, all your eggs in one basket. But then...once the evidence piles high enough against the fragile foundation of literal, fundamentalist certainty, the whole thing shatters in what is a sad situation to watch, a shattered world view and the ensuing avalanche of choices coming from resentment and reaction rather than careful, thoughtful consideration and then short, people get hurt. Fundamentalism is dangerous in any form.