Can you tell that I’m getting a lot from this book? The connection of philosophy and theology – and thinking, actual critical thinking – is important to reclaim. Anyway, Pate writes something similar to what ]] has been saying:
American fundamentalism during the first half of the twentieth century tried vociferously to assert Jesus’ deity in the face of liberal theology’s reductionistic claims. But the way fundamentalists retreated from academic debate to their arcane prophecy conferences left the uneasy impression that they exalted Jesus’ deity (the one) over Jesus’ humanity (the many). In good Platonic fashion, Christianity, the world of ideas, had no contact with the tangible world of the shadows. (123)
Ain’t that the truth? They simply cannot deal with the many issues which are presented to us, in our faith, and so they retreat and become reactionary. I will go further, and say that they simply stop thinking, but start fashioning feeble walls to preserve themselves from facts and from the need to critical think, to philosophize, through these tough problems.
The eclipse of Christian thought in the 20th century can be partially attributed to evangelicals themselves, insofar as many individuals and institutions clung to some of the more problematic tenets of “Fundamentalism” (originally a term of honor), which had defined itself against “Modernism” in American Protestantism’s epic conflict that played out in the early 20th century, culminating in the Scopes “monkey” trial in 1925.
Fundamentalism is not about thinking. It is about protecting. They no longer actually believe in Scripture, but only in their interpretations of Scripture.