Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Andrew Sullivan and Fundamentalism

Andrew Sullivan voices the "fundamentalism is a mental disorder" meme.

Whatever it is, fundamentalism is also a reaction. Seventy years ago, H. L. Mencken nailed the point of disaffection that contributes to the growth of fundamentalism:

It is my belief, as a friendly neutral in all such high and ghostly matters, that the body of doctrine known as Modernism is completely incompatible, not only with anything rationally describable as Christianity, but also with anything deserving to pass as religion in general. Religion, if it is to retain any genuine significance, can never be reduced to a series of sweet attitudes, possible to anyone not actually in jail for felony. It is, on the contrary, a corpus of powerful and profound convictions, many of them not open to logical analysis. . . .What the Modernists have done . . . [is] to get rid of all the logical difficulties of religion, and yet preserve a generally pious cast of mind. It is a vain enterprise. What they have left, once they have achieved their imprudent scavenging, is hardly more than a row of hollow platitudes, as empty [of] psychological force and effect as so many nursery rhymes. . . . Religion is something else again-in Henrik Ibsen's phrase, something far more deep-down-diving and mud-upbringing. Dr. Machen tried to impress that obvious fact upon his fellow adherents of the Geneva Muhammad [i.e., Calvin]. He failed-but he was undoubtedly right.
-- H. L. Mencken, "Dr. Fundamentalis", an obituary of Rev. J. Gresham Machen, Baltimore Evening Sun (January 18, 1937), 2nd Section, p. 15

In other words, fundamentalists want the living water that's been turned into wine, but Christian libs can only offer a load of pink lemonade. In the fundamentalists' conception, I should say. I'm not a fundie, but I don't despise them the way all those open-minded, tolerant Voices Of Compassion© do. People who imagine themselves to be the brains or conscience of the country ought not to hate on people who are the country's backbone.*

*Except when they get up to idiocies like Intelligent Design, that is.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by! Please keep your comments civil and on-topic. Spammage will be cheerfully removed.