Fundies lament loss of teen recruits
According to fundamentalists teenagers are walking away from their fanaticism in droves. Certainly it would be good news if it were true. First, let’s cover the story.
The New York Times reports that the big Imams of fundamentalism are holding meetings in 44 cities to warn their fellow mullahs that “if current trends continue, only 4 percent of teenagers will be ‘Bible-believing Christians’ as adults.” Supposedly 65% of the W.W.II generation were and 35% of baby boomers.
But one never knows if a trend will continue or not but we can hope if this trend exists it remains this way. But I don’t believe these figures. Fundamentalists can’t help but exaggerate and fib. It’s in their nature. Two thirds of the older generation were not fundamentalists. That simply is not true. So they exaggerate a trend by first distorting the starting point. Typical when people are playing fast and loose with the facts. And the paper reports that critics “say the statistics are greatly exaggerated.”
This doesn’t mean people aren’t leaving the fanaticism of fundamentalism. The National Association of Evangelicals passed a resolution acknowledging “the epidemic of young people leaving the evangelical church.” Note often is a cure referred to as an epidemic.
And I think the fundies have overplayed their fanaticism. I think people are slowly, too slowly to be sure, getting sick and tired of their extremism and intolerance. But that is a trend that I think has yet to start. One researcher on religion says that the fundies are distorting the facts. “[I]t just kills me that it’s [their claims] framed in such apocalyptic terms that couldn’t possibly hold up under half a second of scrutiny.” True, but that is the fundamentalist mind set. Everything is exaggerated and made to appear dire.
The Times interviews the young and indoctrinated about their faith and reports that they all lament the absence of other Christians. One female recruit replied: “At school I don’t have a lot of friends who are Christians.”
Now what is wrong with that statement? People need to remember that the extremists in fundamentalism don’t think other Christians are Christians. Only their fanatical, intolerant sect or variety of mania is considered “true Christianity.” So all you Catholics are not Christians. Neither most Methodists, most Presbyterians, Anglicans, most Lutherans, etc.
I drove through the parking lot of a large fundamentalist church a few months ago in the US as a shortcut to different road. At the exits they had a huge sign saying, to their members: “You are now entering the mission field.” Mission field? Most the people in town were Christians. But not to the fanatics. And not enough people question these nutters about that.
I remember a debate where a fundamentalist minister was debating the existence of God and he was using, as an ally, a friend of mine who is a Catholic. I knew this Catholic had no idea exactly how vicious these fundies can me. So during the Q&A I asked the minister if a faithful Catholic was a Christian. It was a public debate to a non-fundie crowd and he was started looking for a way to not answer.
He sort of stuttered and stammered a bit and then said: “I’m trying to think of what to tell you.”
I replied: “How about the truth?”
He finally conceded that faithful Catholics are not Christians and are doomed to hell. Yet these fundies forge alliances with other religious people to push their agenda and the other religious groups don’t realize that if the fundies ever have power that they too will be a target for the wrath of the theocratic state.
And it was pointed out that the main “survey” done by an evangelical front defined “Bible-believing” “so narrowly that it excludes most people who consider themselves Christians.” Correct.
I hope the trend is true. I certainly escaped the clutches of these fanatics and I know lots of other people who have as well. Fundamentalism is not something that can’t be cured. And there are lots of ex-Christians.
But watch the future. I do think you will see a great reversal in the fortunes of fundamentalists. They have been so vicious, so cruel, so intolerant and so openly and utterly stupid that anyone with half a brain has to question what they are doing. And if there is one thing fundamentalists of any stripe can’t endure it is open scrutiny.