A critique of Christian Fundamentalism
their theology under threat by rationalism, scientific development and
evolutionary theory – this closing of the theological/ideological circle to
lock believers into a certain belief system was exactly what was
Many Christians are very happy within the Christian Fundamentalist
system. Of course they do not call themselves Christian Fundamentalists
because this is now seen as a pejorative term with negative connotations
– even though the term originated within their own ranks as a sort of
‘back to basics’ movement within the broader and more liberal protest-
ant church. Terms come and go, but phrases such as ‘Bible believing
Christian’ or ‘Born again Christian’ mean roughly the same thing.
However, if doubts begin to creep in to the believer’s mind such that this
theology begins to be openly, but sincerely questioned, then the believer
may well find themselves subtly (or even not so subtly) threatened, ex-
cluded, isolated, ostracised, unfairly criticised, disapproved of and so on.
There is the idea within Christian Fundamentalism that the ‘truth’ that
they believe in is particular, exclusive and absolute. To question it is to
question (and therefore doubt) God, to inquire into other religions is to
‘go after other gods’ or even to follow ‘the devil and deceitful spirits’.
There is only ‘one way’ (which happens to be their way) to God. In this
way, Christian Fundamentalism in ultra-orthodox.
The author takes the position that we cannot create a fixed or an ad-
equate conception of God. The Divine is far too Transcendent to be
bound by finite conceptualisations and theologies. In his view, belief sys-
tems, theologies, conceptions of the Divine and so on serve to both reveal
and mask the Transcendent – they can only point to That which cannot
be known. Belief systems serve to give us finite creatures of form a relat-
ive perspective of the Infinite. But as we draw near to the Formless, these
forms fall away, rendered useless by the Vastness of the Absolute. So
why pick on Christian Fundamentalism? It is one of a number of ap-
proaches to the Godhead, so why critique this approach?
It is the closed absoluteness of Christian Fundamentalism (and Funda-
mentalism generally) that makes demands for a collection of articles such
as this. There is within Christian Fundamentalism an express belief that
the Bible forms a now-closed inspired or God-breathed revelation from
the one God. No new revelations are to be expected – the rule-book is
closed and complete. There is also a certain type of literalism present