Growing with fundamentalism

Does anyone remember the news from december 2007 when an american young man killed two workers at a Youth with a Missing training center in Arvada, Colorado, and two persons attending the New Life Church in Springs, Colorado? It was Matthew J. Murray, 24-year-old.

I got today to an extensive report and analysis by Max Blumenthal in The Nation on the background and causes of the shootings.

Read it here: The Nightmare of Christianity (september 2009).

I’ll give you just one quote:

Murray’s real targets were his rigid parents, their draconian childrearing gurus [Bill Gothard] and the prying pastor who raided his room–the architects of his „Christian nightmare.”

A very sad story. While the devil may have his share in this, people (Christians especially) should be brave (and truly godly) enough to admit their (substantial) contribution.

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4 gânduri despre &8222;Growing with fundamentalism&8221;

  1. Articolul la care faci referire pare a fi obiectiv in prezentare dar omite sa mentioneze un singut lucru (important): nu este vorba in sine despre dreapta religioasa crestina -care ar fi cauzat aceste lucruri, ci de fundamentalismul religios, care chiar daca poarta diferite nume – musulman, hindus, etc, are aceleasi manifestari (pretextele sunt diferite…

  2. Vasile, I have to disagree strongly with the conclusion which you have accepted from the author. The article paints the picture that this man was abused psychologically by Christians. Whether that is true or not I can’t say because it cannot possibly be ascertained from this article alone. The author accepts inherently that Christianity is a „nightmare” and that indoctrination (i.e., teaching the faith to our children) is inherently psychologically abusive. There is even the not-so-subtle suggestion that these Christians, somehow, deserved what happend to them for being ignorant „shiny, happy, Jesus people”. As evidence, the author either makes statements without backing them up or he cites the online rantings of a man who was obviously deeply disturbed, infatuated with the demonic, murderous and completely out of touch with reality.

    To begin to understand the reality, I would need to hear something of the „other side” perferably someone who was not certifiably insane. (Neighbors, friends, extended family, etc.) It’s possible there may be some amount of truth to the accusation, and I won’t deny that psychological abuse can and does happen in some „Christian” homes. However, the perspective of this article is so extremely skewed, that going only from this, I can make no judgement on this man’s parents or his pastor.

    What I will grant you is that we can and should condemn the unspeakable hypocrisy of leaders who presume to preach one thing and live a lie. As Jesus says of them: „Woe to you… hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Matt. 23:27-28

  3. Hello Jonathan,

    I think the author tries to be a empathic with the murderer, trying to find the motives of his killings aside from ‘the price of darkeness’.

    I would like to point out two things, from your comments:

    1. When the author writes about „The Nightmare of Christianity” I think he is referring to Murray’s nightmare of Christianity, what Christianity meant for Murray. I don’t think the author want to say that Christianity in general in all forms is a nightmare.

    2. I don’t think the author implies that ‘teaching the faith to our children’ is necessarily indoctrination. This is the view promoted by fundamentalist atheists of the new kind. They say it is child abuse. The author says that the way faith was teached on this boy was indoctrination. And he gave examples for that. So I disagree too that teaching the faith is indoctrination.

    You say you’d need to hear something from the “other side”. Well, I think we have a bias as Christians to protect our world (just as atheists have a bias to protect theirs and to show their failings in a nicer light than there are). The author IS presenting the other side, because the official Christian side seemd to have been shallow.

    I am inclined to accept the psichological explanation (side by side with the demonic). I remember a news from Romania where a young man killed his pentecostal parents because they forbid him to watch TV. And that may have been the tip of the iceberg of their ‘draconian childrearing’.

    Plese try to see the right points this author is trying to make about some specific style of raising children in faith and the dangers of that.

    I am not like that and you are not like that, but some are.

  4. Sorry, brother, I will have to continue to disagree with you. The ‘other side’ is not always valid, even if it might seem noble or open-minded of us to say so. The ‘other side’ that is being presented here is based *exclusively* on comments written by Murray prior to the shootings.
    I would maintain there is an unwritten standard for what is considered a ‘valid’ perspective, and usually that excludes the perspectives of people who commit horrendous, violent crimes. With good reason, we generally think of those people as either „insane” or „evil” or both and therefore we expect that there perspective on reality is skewed– either by their insanity or wickedness. (For example, noone would propose that „Mein Kampf” should be read as a valid counter-perspective to balance the generally accepted view of the holocaust.)
    Clearly, Murray was paranoid. Paranoid people suffer from delusions. So… did his parents really physically abuse him, as he says and the author just accepts, or did they occasionally and with restraint spank him for deserving offences? I don’t know and I can’t tell without other evidence. Even among sane people, there is much debate about where the line between abuse and healthy spanking is!!
    I am all in favor of self-criticism when it is called for, and for admitting mistakes. I am not blindly defending the parents or pastors involved, but I’m also not ready to judge them based on the article. The article is helpful for illuminating Murray’s deranged state of mind, but unfortunately it casts no light for us on the reality. The fact that it is presented as reality makes it a very bad and biased article, imho.

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