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The Pope: Fundamentalism is a disease in all religions

The Pope: Fundamentalism is a disease in all religions

In a press conference on Monday, Pope Francis called fundamentalism

a disease that exists in all religions. In the Catholic Church we have some – many – who believe they possess the absolute truth and they go on sullying others through slander and defamation and this is wrong. I say this because it is my Church. Religious fundamentalism must be combatted. It is not religious, God is lacking, it is idolatrous.

…as quoted in Religion News Service, from part of the Pope’s answer to the question “Religious fundamentalism is threatening the whole planet, we saw this with the Paris attacks. In the face of this danger, do you think religious leaders should intervene more in the political sphere?” In the Vatican Insider:

If intervening in the political sphere means doing politics, then no. They should be priests, pastors, Imams, Rabbis. Their political intervention is indirect, they preach values, real values and one of the greatest values of all is fraternity between us. We are all God’s children, we all have the same Father. I don’t like the word tolerance, we need to live peacefully alongside one another, develop friendships.

The Pope also spoke on climate change, AIDS, poverty and other topics (read the transcript at the Vatican Insider link above).

Photo from the Vatican Insider.




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John Muthukat

Pope Francis’ verbal assault on imperialism, capitalism and colonialism, that used fundamentalist religions for the success of colonization, continues: “The ‘dreadful injustice of social exclusion’ leaves the poor with an unfair distribution of land, lack of access to infrastructure and minimal basic services, he said. “Our world has a grave social debt toward the poor who lack access to drinking water because they are denied a life consistent with their inalienable dignity,” the Pope said. This is a Christian Pope for the ages
For more on this topic, please read the essay: POPE FRANCIS AND THE LAST GLOBAL REVOLUTION:

Philip B. Spivey

Amen, amen, world without end (we pray), amen.

Senitila McKinley

I learn how to live Love from the poor that I live with everyday. I don’t get much from what the Pope say, nor anyone in long white robes for that matter. I am a Fundamentalist when come to living the Good News.
Suffering is what Compassion is made of, God is with us until the end of time. It is as simple as that. I don’t fully understand English well enough to understad what you’re all saying here. But enough to know we show be out taking care of our brothers and sisiters that are in need. And keep the Earth clean!

Rebecca Splain

I am floored with the ignorance in most of these comments. Bill Reimer had it exactly right, and this is supposed to be a Christian website?

It is completely evangelical to tell the good news that while the whole world was dead in sin, the only God of the universe made a way out of our sin for us by sending Jesus to take on the sin of the world and die a horrible sinner’s death upon the cross. By doing so, Jesus satisfied the justice of God, and all those who will receive this news and believe it will now be saved from the eternal punishment that awaits all sinners. This is GOOD NEWS!!! That’s the Gospel!!! We now have a way out of darkness and into God’s light. As Christians, we share in a glorious inheritance and we have been adopted as God’s children.

A Fundamentalist is one who believes in a set of doctrines that are literally taken from a set of sacred scriptures. My Bible tells me that I am to love God, to love others, to tell others the GOOD NEWS, to turn the other cheek, to pray for those who persecute me, and to not cast the first stone (because I am certainly not without sin). How is following that a bad thing?

Seriously, if 99% of the commenters on this page are practicing Episcopalians, then get me as far from an Episcopal church as possible. Y’all don’t seem to know your theology. Then again, it seems, neither does the Pope.

David Streever

Many wise people have offered the following counsel. When one finds oneself completely at odds with everyone around them, one should pause and consider one’s own views carefully.

Rebecca Splain

I never said the Pope was a lost soul or a bad Christian. You are putting words in my mouth, sir, and I don’t appreciate it. I said his theology wasn’t good, and I hope, for the sake of the Catholic Church, which I’m not a part of, that they get a Pope who is a better theologian while also being a better humanitarian. Francis has those good charitable qualities. It’s just too bad that his theology is lacking. This doesn’t mean he’s a lost soul, or even a bad Christian. It just means he could use some R. C. Sproul and Charles Spurgeon in his life.

As for Nazis, I certainly didn’t compare anyone on this board to a Nazi. I’m just pointing out that the majority isn’t always correct. Go to a Church of Scientology, and the majority will be incorrect about their worldview. Slaveowners were incorrect in their view of slavery. And, I’m stating that those of you who are anti-fundamentalism are incorrect in your view when it comes to Christian fundamentalists. The problem is your definition. You would probably say that Westboro Baptist Church are fundamentalists, and I would disagree, because they don’t actually follow the Bible. They hold onto the OT and forget about the NT, but it’s the NT where we get the Gospel and Paul, my favorite theologian.

Ann Fontaine

I guess I don’t understand why you think the Pope is a bad theologian. On what do you base that statement? Just curious.

David Streever

There isn’t really anything to debate here. I was simply sharing my opinion. I think it’s slightly extreme to say that a trained Jesuit scholar has bad theology. It sounds like “I’m no scientist, but a guy who graduated top honors in nuclear physics who publishes scientific papers? He has a poor grasp of scientific theory.”
Obviously you & I use a different definition of fundamentalism; I use the commonly accepted term, because it lets my communication be more direct & clear. Much like the Pope, I’m interested in the words the way they are commonly used & understood by most people. I don’t know how that’s a problem, really, or why it’s my use of the common term that causes the problem; I’m not big on quibbling over semantic stuff, so I’m just going to let it lay. I didn’t really comment to have a long discussion about fundamentalism; I was just honestly astonished to see someone say that the trained Jesuit scholar Pope had bad theology.
No disagreement on Paul. Great guy.

Rebecca Splain

I’m not a “majority rules” type of person. I’m sure when everyone was being a “yes” man to Hitler, someone had the opposite (and correct) viewpoint.
From what I can tell, a fundamentalist Christian is someone who follows the Bible and believes in it as the sacred Word of God. So, tell me, if that is not the case, what parts of the Bible should I disregard?
Keep in mind that I do understand that God’s law is something that we cannot even hope to ever follow perfectly, considering we are mortal beings, hence why we needed Christ’s death and resurrection, and hence why we are called to love others as much as we love ourselves, because no one is above anyone else. So tell me, if being a fundamentalist is wrong, what parts of the Bible should I be disregarding?

David Streever

I’m merely offering an opinion! It was a bit of a surprise to see Pope Francis labelled as a bad Christian is all. If I was in a place where I was looking at the Pope & saying he was a lost soul, I’d take a moment to reconsider my views and thoughts. I’m not sure how that makes me a Nazi, but hey, on the irony-free internet, anyone can be compared to a Nazi.

Philip B. Spivey

“My Bible tells me that I am to love God and love others….” Nuff said.

Ann Fontaine

There is a wide diversity of belief about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. The Bible can be used to “prove” all of them. But if “living the questions” (ala Rilke) is not for you – -then probably the Episcopal Church is not a viable option for a faith community. Blessings.

Philip B. Spivey

A very inconvenient truth is that since time began, politics has informed religious practices and not the other way around; this is especially so in theocracies.

So-called ‘fundamentalist’ (keep the status quo) religious traditions mirror the values of it adherents—not the other way around.

So in the late stage of world capitalism, we see a struggle of colossal proportions between the haves and have nots. In the United States, that is symbolized by the 99% who keep the 1% in perfect splendor. At the same time, we see a sizable crack in the wall of white privilege. In reaction to that we see, among other things, gun sales growth that is exponential; more violent and weaponized police forces; a Congress and Supreme Court that threaten our democracy and national well being; corporate mergers and acquisitions that further concentrate wealth in fewer hands; and our aggressive efforts to de-stabilize the Middle East beginning with the preemptive Iraqi War.

Pope Francis is spot-on; what he’s really pointing to is that the power centers of the world have co-opted religion for the sake of political goals and now—we have have begun to recognize these not just within our borders, but as a global phenomenon.

What the Pope sees, but hasn’t yet put into words is—the fact that our struggling planet (politically and climatically) is the canary in the coal mine. Can religion save us? Not likely. Can God save us? Not without our undivided attention.

Eric Green

I’m old enough to remember when Baptists would say, if anybody told them what they were supposed to believe, “that’s papistry.” I.e., only God’s word, and how God Himself guided you to interpret it, was what mattered. Other human beings trying to tell you what God’s word meant was them putting themselves in the place of God. That was pretty much how all evangelical Christians thought back then.

Today’s fundamentalists, however, seem to be taking their marching orders from fundamentalist preachers who tell what they’re supposed to believe and what they’re supposed to think. Rather than faith being a matter of following God, faith is now a matter of following one man who claims to have a direct line to God. A word to the wise — if someone claims to have a direct line to God that’s telling them things that God isn’t telling you, *they’re lying*. Sadly, too often it’s lies that people want to believe, and so they do, rather than opening their hearts to let God in to guide them directly.

Fundamentalism, in other words, has become exactly what Pope Francis says: idolatry. The worship of an idol, a man, rather than of God. As such, it has about as much in common with true faith as Taylor Swift. Less, maybe. At least Taylor Swift doesn’t try to sway you with lies into doing evil.

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