Modernism And Fundamentalism Explained: The Dangers Of Religious Extremism

Source: Passion of Christ (web)

When we think of religious extremism the word “fundamentalist” comes to mind. We conjure up images of the Pharisees who took a strict interpretation of the law. They went to the extreme and Jesus exposed their behaviour time and time again much to their chagrin. But extremism doesn’t have to be confined to fundamentalism. There are those who take it to the other more liberal extreme and they’re known as progressive modernists.

In my growth throughout my time in the Catholic Church, the Lord has exposed me to the folly of both groups. These two extremes really think they’re doing the will of God. They’re so convinced of it that one might as well throw black paint at the blue sky and expect a change of color as to try and talk sense to them. In the course of my discussions with either, I’ve been called fundamentalist by the more liberal sort, and a modernist liberal by the more fundamentalist type.

The Pharisees name came from the Hebrew “Parush” which means “The Separate ones”. Initially they were separated from the world to be Holy for the Lord. It was a good thing in the beginning, but pretty soon it became a source of pride. Their holiness became defined by what they didn’t do as opposed to what they were supposed to be doing. Their holiness became more about who they should be hanging out with, and who they should not be sitting down with.

Here we have two extremes in the Church today much like the Pharisees and Sadducee’s who had opposing theological views. They have formed groups for themselves within the Church that separate themselves from the rest. This separation has become for them a source of pride as they both view themselves as being rebels with a righteous cause.

You will notice that in the scriptures the Pharisees and the Sadducee’s were both wrong in their extremist views. Jesus had to show them both how off the scales their theology was, and he was hated by both of them for it. Jesus loved the Pharisees. They were not evil people they were just incredibly STUPID. Same with modernism and traditionalism. They’re not inherently evil they’re just stupid but stupidity can lead to violence and danger as it led to Jesus Crucifixion.

It is no different today. I find myself at the mercy of both these extreme interpretations of the faith, as do others. A lot of mainstream Catholics who are trying to keep the faith are being crucified by these two troublemakers. It would not be right to at least provide one example of how wrong modernists and fundamentalists are. The modernists may hold that women can be priests, but it’s easily refuted. The fundamentalists on the other hand have extreme views about the Church being the ark of Salvation. They quote the infallible doctrine of the Church that outside her there can be no salvation. For them it’s very black and white. But there are conditions and exceptions to the rule the Church teaches which they overlook.

Like the Pharisees and the Sadducee’s they can both be exposed as being in grave error. For this reason anybody who has been given the undeserved ability by the Lord to discern the difference, will be treated with scorn by either group. It is also the measuring stick by which you can test the waters of individuals in the Church and be comfortable knowing you won’t fall into doctrinal error. We must also be careful that we don’t fall into pride having learned such information, but to treat all with love and respect.

I must admit though, as much as I love them all, that I’ve very little patience for their views. And my advice to anyone coming into the Church is to watch yourself, for the devil never sleeps. Once he sees you walking a narrow path he will try and get you to the left of the doctrinal spectrum. If he cannot succeed in doing that, he will pull you to the hard fundamentalist right. Walk the narrow way my dear brothers and sisters. Look neither to your LEFT or to your RIGHT. Keep always your eyes on Christ.

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