I hate fundamentalism, liberalism, atheism, and biblical scholarship alike. But I love the people from those tribes. I have watched the patriarchs from these clans pillage the weak minds and faith of those camped on the outskirts of a rival camp. I have been horrified as supposedly strong men and women became bounty. I have seen intellectual war and fought in the bloody battles—I have been victor and captive. All the while, all the tribes left me unsatisfied and sad because their rogue leaders and followers are hurting inside as much as the rest of us.
So, why do I love them? Simple answer: They are people (Matt 22:34–40). Complicated answer: Because I have been in their sandals. (Well, at least in some of their sandals. And man, some of them have big feet and big egos. Others wear uncomfortable shoes for the sake of fashion or because their buddies called them trendy.)
Fundamentalists supposedly solidify faith, endorsing what they call orthodoxy and condemning those nasty, undermining liberals. Liberals slap fundamentalists in the face and call them Susie, saying, “You moron. Wake up!” Atheists look at both fundamentalists and liberals and think, “Why do you care? Just live life and be happy; life is so much easier that way. And if you are going to care, care about social justice.” Biblical scholars come in all shapes and forms: fundamentalists (a little more rare), liberals (pretty common), and atheists (they’re the ones in the media, like the Misquoting Jesus guy, Bart Ehrman).
Okay, I will admit it; I am characterizing the clans and creating my own straw men so that I can burn them up for kicks. But aren’t these characterizations often more true than false? Think about it. Very few don’t fit in one of these camps. What camp would you put me in? I am dying to find out. What tribe are you a part of? You’d like to think you are in one, and not in the other—but we often become what we hate, so look out.
What should we do? What diplomacy act can keep us from going to war, again? Can we hate the method, the idealism, and the flat out ridiculousness of these tribes, and still love the people? We are commanded to love our neighbor (Luke 10:25–37), but does that mean not confronting them on their stupidity (Lev 19:17)? And what if we’re the ones who are wrong? Then what? Drop a comment; let me know. (And remember, honesty separates the men from the boys, and the women from the girls.)