Recently I read an essay about fanaticism by Elie Wiesel, the well-known author of more than 40 books and a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Wiesel wrote eloquently as he examined the mindset that overtook the Nazis and that still dominates in parts of the world that breeds suicide bombers and hijackers.
While he was writing about terrorists, Wiesel was also, perhaps unknowingly, perfectly describing the mental illness that evangelicalism and fundamentalism encourages.
“To the fanatic everything is black or white, curse or blessing, friend or foe–and nothing in between. He is immune to doubt and hesitation. He perceives tolerance as weakness,” Weisel wrote in Parade Magazine on April 7th.
For those of us who have spent any amount of time in evangelical churches and have come out, Weisel’s description could not be more apt for what passes as a pursuit of “truth” in those institutions.
As we see it, the “truth” is NOT the way somebody, anybody, interprets the ancient texts. We believe Jesus is the personification of truth. And when the Bible says, the “truth” will make you free, it’s not because believing or acting “righteously” or even believing in Jesus which makes you ultimately free. That would be a gospel of works not of grace. The reason that the “truth” makes you free is because Jesus is THE TRUTH for all humanity and HE (the truth) makes you (and all of God’s creation) free.
Free from what?
Free from eternal punishment. Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection set all of us free from the wrath of God. For Jesus took the penalty of ALL the world’s sin on Himself on the cross.
Being quite confident that all men and women are righteous before the Almighty and headed toward an eternal bliss allows one to hear almost any argument or point of view without being threatened or taking it so personally. Our security and emotional stability is not grounded in our own actions, belief system, or what we think about God. Our sense of eternal and spiritual well being comes from what God thinks about US and about all others. We don’t have to die a martyr’s death or condemn someone else to purgatory or hell in order to make it ourselves.
Talk about an emotionally stabilizing perspective! Truly this is the gospel, THE good news from your friends communicating love at www.gospelrevolution.com.