There Is More To Learn
The main problem with growing up in a fundamental background isn’t that you learn about the Christian perspective. It isn’t that you are taught about a staunch way to read the Bible. It isn’t that the theology and the doctrine within it are arrogant and faulty at best. It isn’t that you are forced to learn Scripture in a way that has been taught for centuries.
It’s that you are only taught those things.
Learning is what we are supposed to do right? We grow, we learn, we discover. That, if a person does it right, has the potential to lead to a full life of wonder till that last breath is drawn.
I could walk you up and down the alleys, nooks, and crannies of all that conservative fundamentalism has to offer..and you know what? I’m kind of proud of that. Now, don’t read that as me saying I agree with it. Rest assured that I don’t. However, it is something that I have accomplished. Something that I have given years of my life to, for better or worse, and have learned.
The regret, or rather, the problem with how I learned that belief system is that I was never encouraged to learn anything else outside of it. Or if I was, it was only to show the flaws in the other while highlighting the correctness of my own, which is a foolish way to learn anything. For how can one learn about the other if they approach it with indignation and mockery?
That’s the problem when you are inside something…you only see it and nothing else. Only it can make sense to you because you have hardwired your brain to defend it against all attacks. And, if you’re like me, you get really good at it. You’ve got an answer, an apologetic, to anything that can be thrown at you. You’re a friggin’ Fundy Ninja.
But the problem with a system is it only works for you if you fit inside it’s walls. Once you don’t, it turns on you quicker than you can blink.
Because a system does not care about the person. It can’t. It can only care about survival. By whatever means necessary. It will no sooner cast you out the second it sees you as something short of it’s requirements.
There are two ways to go after this. You can get mad, throw in the towel, get bitter and resentful. Or, you can do what you should have been doing the whole time.
Recently I have been revisiting all the things I was taught, but this time, from a evolutionary biological perspective. From the perspective that these stories are not as is absolute truths that happened exactly as they are written, but that they were written and preserved because of the meaning of the stories. Adam and Eve were not actual people, but represent the moment in history when humanity evolved past animal. The fall, you know, where they ate the fruit and death entered the world, wasn’t the moment that death entered the world. Death was already there. But that represented the moment our minds first realized it was coming. Where we first realized we would die one day.
It has been eye opening, and a beautiful way to look at the biblical stories. It’s easy to toss them aside as archaic and meaningless. It’s another to dive into them with a new perspective and ask yourself why these stories have stood the test of time. To reimagine them in a way that isn’t confined to the walls of a very, very narrow belied system.
It’s almost like if you give these stories room to breathe, they come alive.
Just yesterday I heard a way of reading the phrase “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” in a new light. Turns out that word meek isn’t translated very well.
In truth, it means something far greater. It’s a way of saying, “Those who have swords and know how to use them, but keep them sheathed, will inherit the earth.”
Or to put it another way, if you have power over someone, but do not use that power to destroy them, the sky is the limit on what could be accomplished.
Fundamentalism fails at this. It’s a system designed and controlled by power and believes it only gets ahead if it can hold that power of others and force conformity, pounding morality into the lives of its victims.
I’m glad I learned what I did growing up. I’m glad I know all about that perspective because only in learning something, truly learning something, are you able to make an opinion or judgment on it.
I’m also very glad that I have chosen to continue to learn…and thank God there are more things in the world than fundamentalism.