"The Bible was compiled by the Church from bits and pieces of writing that earlier Jewish scholars and the Church Fathers believed to be inspired writing", says Larry Graham of All Saints Episcpal Church in Atlanta in his essay that is recorded here with his kind permission:
I find it difficult to think of Fundamentalists as my fellow Christians.
Daniel Helminiak, author of "What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality"said at a workshop at my parish church that he thinks of Fundamentalism as a new religion, completely separate from Christianity. Frank Alan, the retired Bishop of Atlanta, has a similiar view. He holds the view that Fundamentalists have made the Bible their god, and thus have begun a new religion.
At their last convention, the Southern Baptists formally declared that Christ was no longer the central figure in their belief, and that the Bible is. Now, this may seem like some kind of intramural quarrel -- or something that doesn't affect people who aren't a part of one of these groups. (Sorta like how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.) I think it's something much more serious and far-reaching.
The Bible was compiled by the Church from bits and pieces of writing that earlier Jewish scholars and the Church Fathers believed to be inspired writing. These writing were and are the focus of study and scholarship (the "historical/critical method" of Biblical exegesis). At its best, this study -- coupled with reason and tradition -- informs a lively faith. As flawed as the history of the Jewish/Christian tradition is, it has always had at its core certain important basic principles. These can be summed up -- at least in part -- as responding to the love of the living God by living a righteous life.
But this new religion (Fundamentalism) has elevated the Bible to the status of an idol. It eschews reason, tradition and scholarship. For those it substitutes a requirement to accept Biblical "inerrancy" as interpreted by Fundamentalist leaders. These leaders cater to followers who are frightened by the changes that are now occuring rapidly in society. They oppose social change and are devoted to maintaining or strengthening our society's taboos as a way of fighting these changes. So they interpret the utterances of their god (the Bible) to support their reactionary position and require unquestioning acceptance of those interpretations. This is the kind of "blind faith" that makes cults very dangerous.
In this way, they do not differ from Muslum fundamentalists or other groups that attempt to block the normal human progress that is reflected in social change. Ignorance and bigotry are always destructive forces. Theirs' is no different and will bring about the downfall of the very civilization they seek to protect if they are unopposed.
by: Larry Graham