I’m really proud of my fundamentalist Christian roots, even as I am currently appalled at what fundamentalist Christians are doing culturally and politically. I think that one of the things I gained from that tradition was a passion for words, a belief that in words one could find an essential dimension of life, a belief stemming from the teaching that Jesus was “the Word” made manifest. And I believe that even more though now I see that “words” like the whole of life are so much more than meet the eye…or ear, or any other sensual faculty. It is this “liberty” that has now taken me beyond fundamentalism and I find that this journey into “liberty” is so essential if one is to escape the bondage of the “letter of the law.”
I think that in some way we all start life as fundamentalists in some way. For example, take the Ozzie and Harriet characters in the 1960’s tv series. This fictional couple took their middle-class life very real, echoing the life of middle-America at that time and at all times. Everyone takes the reality they are given at birth to be real. Fundamentalists merely take theirs a little more “real” and feel intensely that the rest of the world need to perceive the world as they do. Some philosopher once said that it is impossible to have a perspective on one’s perspective without escaping it a bit. This faculty, much related to meta-cognition, is a struggle for nearly all fundamentalists. In my lifetime it has benign mostly but since the Republicans were threatened with the rise of modernity and felt threatened, they have exploited fundamentalists and energized them even though the Republican Christian faith is far removed from that of fundamentalists. Witness Donald Trump, the most obvious faux Christian of all time.