I found this on an atheistic website and thought that it was interesting. It is the top ten signs you are a fundamentalist Christian. (I think atheists believe that all Christians who believe the Bible are “fundamentalists.”) These kind of posts encourage and discourage me in an odd sort of way. They encourage me because they always display the lack of good honest arguments that atheists have available. They discourage me because this is the perception of Christianity, not only from hard atheists, but from most outside the church. I pray that Christians can put forth a better intellectual front so that comments such as these will become less frequent.

As usual, comments are in brackets:

10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.

[Well, I am not sure “outraged” is the correct term. Possibly saddened, challenged, or even anxious would be better. But you must realize that by holding to a monotheistic worldview, the existence of our God necessarily excludes the existence of other gods.]

9 – You feel insulted and “dehumanized” when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.

[Come on . . . while this is kinda funny, you must know that it is not true. First of all, Christians ultimately have a problem with the naturalistic idea that we evolved from nothing. That there was no ultimate and personal causal force behind creation is when we may feel dehumanized. “Dirt” is not our answer. Dirt has no causal force and is not personal. Do you really think we believe it is? It is the Agent behind the dirt that we worship. We are made out of dirt, not by dirt.]

8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.

[I am not sure that Christians laugh at polytheists. I hope not since laughter is not an argument but the avoidance of one many times based upon the inability to respond properly and appropriately. Anyway, the belief in a Triune God, I admit, for many Christians, is hardly distinguishable from tritheism which is a form of polytheism. I think this criticism would be valid if it were put this way, “You disagree with a polytheistic worldview in confession, but in practice many of you are polytheists.” The doctrine of the Trinity is greatly neglected in the church today. I believe that most (and I really mean most) Christians are unaware polytheists (fail to unify the essence of God) or modalists (fail to distinguish between the persons of the Trinity). Sigh . . . We believe in one God, who eternally exists in three persons, all of which are fully God, all of which are equal. This is the Trinity.] 
 
7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the “atrocities” attributed to Allah, but you don’t even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in “Exodus” and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in “Joshua” including women, children, and trees!

[This seems to have some validity to it. Could it be that from a Muslim worldview the atrocities commanded by the Koran have a greater good? Have we studied their religion enough to understand their systematic theology? I think we need to be careful with this. Their religion is not wrong because of the atrocities, it is wrong because 1) There is no compelling reason to believe it outside of emotional conviction and folklore, 2) There is compelling reason to believe the Christian worldview which necessarily excludes the Islamic worldview.]
 
6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.

[Once again, I think you are mischaracterizing Christians. I doubt that we laugh about the claims of other religions. Here is what it comes down to: 1) It is a false analogy to compare the Holy Spirit’s “impregnating” Mary to the gods becoming men and having children through women. The Holy Spirit did not become a man and then sleep with Mary to bring Christ into existence. He miraculously made her conceive without a human father. It is that simple. 2) If God did want to become man and impregnate a woman, fine. I don’t dictate what God can and cannot do. But the reason why we don’t believe the stories of the Greek gods is because there is no compelling reason to do so. We are, however, compelled to believe the story of Christ’s advent because of overwhelming historical evidence. Our belief is one rooted in history, not mythology.]
 
5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.

[I am not sure that you understand that there is no consensus among Christians concerning the age of the earth (although this might be a good criticism for fundamentalists–sorry, but true). I think that postmodernism has brought uncertainty to many supposed scientific “absolutes” that are not accompanied by necessary logic (such as the law of cause and effect). Therefore, I would not put a stake in the ground either way on this one as a scientist (which I am not) or a Christian.]
 
4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs — though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering.  And yet consider your religion the most “tolerant” and “loving.”

[Ouch! The problem of evil. As Ron Nash once said, “If you object to the Christian worldview for any other reason than the problem of evil, you have no case whatsoever.” While the problem of evil is climaxed in the problem of Hell, there are many reasons for believing that the Christian worldview is loving and tolerant regardless of this issue, but, either way, I am not sure that I would claim that we are the most tolerant and loving religion in the way you presuppose. You would probably define both “tolerant” and “loving” a little different than we do.]

3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in “tongues” may be all the evidence you need to “prove” Christianity.

[lol . . . that is a good one. Well, all I can say is that I hope this is not the case. Last time I looked, science, history, geology, biology, and physics must be interpreted through a Christian worldview (design), not through an atheistic worldview (chaos) or their is no structure in which to interpret these disciplines. Maybe it is the atheist who could use some tongue speakers and break dancers on the floor!]

2 – You define 0.01% as a “high success rate” when it comes to answered prayers.  You consider that to be evidence that prayer works.  And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.

[Oh, that is too funny. I don’t like it, but he has a point. (Maybe I am just being cynical?)]

1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history – but still call yourself a Christian.

[Really hurt now. I think of the old Batman TV show here where after each hit there would be a “SPAT,” “BAMM,” or “CRACK” as Robin hits the bad guy. Well, “SPLAT” to us on this one. Although I don’t think the atheist or agnostic is educated beyond imagination, I do think that he may be correct here as well. This is the most valid criticism of them all. Time for a commercial break: This is why Reclaiming the Mind Ministries exists.]


C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. He can be contacted at [email protected]

    6 replies to "Top ten signs you are a fundamentalist Christian"

    • stringablack

      May the lord have mercy on your soul…

    • smcrae

      Regarding point #2, last time I checked “no”, “wait”, “later”, etc. are all valid answers. Therefore I would say God’s success rate for answering prayers is 100%. When we (Christians) talk about answered prayer what we really are talking about is prayer answered the way we wanted. It is our (human) will matching God’s is what hits the 0.01% mark.

    • zemogger

      First of all, how has it been

    • C Michael Patton

      Thank zemogger,

      My “sorry but true” statement has to do with the fundamentalists insistence that this is the only way to believe as a Christian and its elevation of this issue to that of first importance. While I do remain somewhat agnostic concerning the age of the earth, I am slightly persuaded toward the younger earth view.

      Either way, both sides need to be careful that we affirm what the Bible teaches with clarity concerning these issues. God did it, not impersonal forces.

      Thanks for the post.

    • Threepwood

      Fortunately we have this thing called faith that we fall back on, and a supreme creator who is sovereign, omnipotent, omnicient, and omnipresent.
      I have yet to hear an Atheist explain how the Big bang started.
      I’d rather be created from dirt than nothig, but that’s my personal preference…

    • dunelm

      I’ll say upfront that I actually like the tone of your responses, although I disagree with the content. I am not anti-Christian, and in fact I have a great deal of affection for my former church into which I was almost ordained a minister. Anyway, I do have to quibble with a few points.

      Wrt pt 10 – Outraged is definitely the correct term, as any atheist who has ever publicly confessed to being one can tell you. Every atheist who is out of the closet could tell you numerous stories about unprovoked encounters with vitriolic fire-breathing Christians. I know I already have lots of stories and I’m not even open about the mere fact that I have doubts about Christianity.

      Wrt pt 7 – “There is no compelling reason to believe [Islam] outside of emotional conviction and folklore” -> You do realize that the same can be said of Christianity, right? And if you’re trying to claim that Christianity is somehow special, I guarantee you there will be just as many Islamic scholars who can tell you why their God is special and yours is only based on emotional conviction and folklore.

      Wrt pt 6 – If you really think that Christians are being mischaracterized, then you may need to get out more. Because I’m in the American South and what the atheists are saying about Christians is all pretty accurate from my experience.

      Wrt pt 4 – Creating people with perfect foreknowledge that they will be deep fried for eternity in the lake of fire is categorically unloving and intolerant. I will go a step further and call it evil. This was the biggest problem I had with Christianity. I went for years where I simply dismissed the concept of Hell (in highly dubious ways.) And then I eventually came to a realization that the superstructure of Christian theology doesn’t make much sense without Hell.

      A lot of your arguments are premised on the idea that Jesus is somehow inherently special. But if you take a few steps back and look at world religions, that specialness starts to fade away. Every religion makes similar claims for themselves. Whether it is Monotheists such as Christians, Jews, Muslims, or Atenists; or it is polytheists who have created a structure where they recognize other gods… they all have a myopic theological lens through which they see other theological systems.

      Anyway, those are just my thoughts. Best wishes.

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