Christian Fundamentalism Is More Dangerous Than Islamic Terrorism

BY Herschel Smith
5 years, 9 months ago

Chicago Maroon (from reader Mack):

A leading humanist scholar stressed symbolic Bible reading and warned of the radical right at a talk on Tuesday at the Seminary Co-Op.

For Catherine M. Wallace, faculty member at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine  and author of the recently concluded book series *Christian Humanism and the Moral Imagination*, the Christian fundamentalist movement in the United States is more dangerous than Islamic terrorism. Wallace, a Christian herself, believes fundamentalist access to United States armaments is the number one threat to state security.

“If [anything Islamic] wanted to attack an American city, they had to hijack an airliner. If they want to blow up a concert, they need to put bombs on their own children and send young men in to kill themselves…that kind of radicalism [Christian fundamentalism] in control of nuclear codes was a much, much greater threat,” Wallace said.

As a historian and Christian humanist, Wallace wanted to examine fundamentalism’s strongest arguments and find its weaknesses. She looked at how fundamentalist Christianity first sprung up in the Southern United States. “The religious right in its most contemporary form has an origin in Southern opposition to desegregation and to the Civil Rights Movement…a transparently racist appeal,” Wallace said.

In Wallace’s view, this radicalism stems from a literal reading of the Bible. “Nobody in the ancient world would have read the Bible literally,” Wallace said. The idea of a literal reading is a thoroughly modern phenomenon, according to Wallace—church fathers of the past would discourage anyone from taking the Bible literally.

Therefore, according to Wallace, the fundamentalists have it all wrong. “Christian fundamentalism is a malignant form of Christianity,” Wallace said. In her opinion, their literalist reading creates misconceptions of what the Bible means, fostering a climate of hate and leading to increased and unnecessary conflict between Christians and the rest of the world.

Near the end of the talk, Wallace turned to her personal take on the Bible. “It’s the great anthology of Jewish storytelling. It’s brilliant, but these are very ancient stories.” She argues that by reading the Bible this way, Christianity can far better coexist with the worlds of science and politics. Equally important, the religion can lose its reputation of going against facts and progressive social trends.

She’s lying.  She is presupposing the stupidity and ignorance of the modern seminary student – and that may be a perfectly good assumption – in order to make her point.  She wants the students to think that good hermeneutics means that nothing the Bible says is true.  She is conflating the lies of source, form and redaction criticism with good hermeneutical principles like interpreting according to literature type (e.g., the parables of Christ aren’t systematic theology, and cannot be used to make more than a single theological point, versus the systematic theology that is found in the Pauline doctrine from the epistles).

So who knows – since we Christian fundamentalists are more dangerous than Islamic radicals, perhaps she wants the fedgov to go after us.  But listen here.  We have the guns.  So what are you going to do about it beyond lying to the idiot students?

As for my more fundamentalist Christian response, I can only think of this to say.  Blow it out your ass, jerk.  Oh, and I don’t think you’re a Christian at all.  You lied about that too (I find the stupid term “co-religionist” insulting and objectionable and you don’t get to make up anything you want and call it Christian, any more than I can declare that I am the king of Siam and make it happen).


  1. On October 25, 2016 at 8:26 am, Frank Clarke said:

    I was raised as a Roman Catholic and spent many years in their educational system, including 4 years at a Catholic high school where theology (such as it was) was a permanent part of the curriculum. Our instructors, Christian Brothers (FSC), always made the point that when reading the Bible it’s important to understand the audiences (plural) for which it was created: originally nomadic sheep herders and later sophisticated moderns, with others along the way.

    To tell an illiterate nomad that the Earth was 7 billion years old and orbited the Sun would have been useless. They simply wouldn’t/couldn’t understand, so God created everything in 6 days. They could understand that lesson: “God built all this”. Moderns smooth it as “things come along in their proper time” but the baseline lesson “God built all this” still gets through.

    The Bible teaches morality, not science. It teaches history with a side-order of myth. When one views the Bible this way, it’s clear nothing there is incompatible with what we think of as “scientific truth”, but you have to know why it is phrased the way it’s phrased.

  2. On October 25, 2016 at 9:41 am, Herschel Smith said:

    Well Frank, I have to disagree about the “side order of myth” part. That’s what the German “higher critics” taught (based on source, form and redaction criticism, and made use of “demythologizing” the Bible (see Rudolf Bultmann, Hermann Gunkel, etc.). I am a six-day creationist, as well as a professional engineer, and I see no contradiction whatsoever (although I don’t hold to the short earth view). None of this has anything to do with whether, for example, Revelation and Daniel is interpreted as apocalyptic literature, the parables are seen as story telling to make a point, etc.

    The Bible doesn’t teach morality. It teaches about covenant and the need for a savior. Christ is the scarlet thread that runs from Genesis to Revelation. What this woman wants young idiots to believe is that nothing it says is true. There is no trinity, Jesus is not God, there will be no final judgment, and if there is any atonement at all, it’s the moral influence view of the atonement. Jesus taught us how to live, so we can atone for ourselves. The family isn’t comprised of a man and woman and children, all roads lead to god (if there is such a thing), all men are good and any lack of goodness can be ameliorated through education (Horace Mann), and all of the other claptrap from modernism.

    She doesn’t care that the invitation to Muslims to join us in this endeavor will change America forever. She doesn’t care about you, or your family, or your children or grandchildren and the kind of world they live in.

  3. On October 25, 2016 at 9:35 am, Fred said:

    So, this person wants me to believe that a text, any text, should not be taken literally so as to ascertain it’s meaning? Nope, just the Holy Bible. Oh, I see. She’s a phony christian.

  4. On October 25, 2016 at 9:52 am, Douglas Mortimer said:

    In my head I’m going over the hundreds if not thousands of terrorist attacks that have occurred since 1979 (lest I go further back to the middle ages) all over the planet, and I’m pretty sure none of them were done in the name of Jesus.
    John 3:16 and John 13:34 say it pretty clearly.

    It’s not the first time I’ve seen this lame, reality-free baseless argument and it probably won’t be the last.

  5. On October 26, 2016 at 2:40 pm, Fred said:

    There have been 29,000 plus since 9-11-01. All done in the name of islam. – The Religion of peace dot com via – GoV

  6. On October 25, 2016 at 10:07 am, David Scott Boring said:

    Without the authority of Scripture, everything is debatable & negotiable. Nothing is certain, and your interpretation is as good as mine. Thus, without the yardstick of Scriptures, one does “get to make up anything you want and call it Christian”

    The Theory of Evolution by Means of Natural Selection requires death. Lots and lots of death. Billions and billions of deaths. And it calls death a natural part of life, even a “good” thing. This is an existential position, and robs life of all meaning. It also robs all humans of God-given dignity. It removes the stigma of “original sin” and dismisses the Scripture’s explanation of “what is wrong with the world?” Worse, it accuses God of creating a fallen world and blames Him for the evil we see all around us. How could a good God do such a thing?

    Evolution is incompatible with Scripture.

    Scripture has existed for thousands of years, unchanged and with consistent understanding of its meaning.

    Theories are the current guess of men, trying to explain what they see around them, and are only valid until. a better guess comes along. In this case, I believe there is a more nefarious motive behind the blatherings of this “leading humanist scholar”

  7. On October 25, 2016 at 11:52 am, Ned Weatherby said:

    “Nobody in the ancient world would have read the Bible literally,” Wallace said.

    Idiot. How does she define “ancient.?”

    This sort of drabble from “experts” is becoming more prevalent.

  8. On October 25, 2016 at 11:52 am, Archer said:

    Agreed. She’s lying.

    Among other things, the term “Christian humanist” is a contradiction in terms. She may as well claim to be a “Marxist capitalist” or a “Jewish Muslim”.

    To be Christian means to live for and follow Christ as Lord. It’s right in the name. Likewise, to be humanist means to elevate humans to the level of God and live for human endeavors. You cannot elevate humans to the level of God and legitimately claim to still believe in the one and only God. The two ideas are mutually exclusive.

    As the man Himself said, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24 NKJV)

  9. On October 25, 2016 at 1:00 pm, Mack said:


    As a coincidence, I read that Jack Chick has passed away, having died in his sleep. He was 92.

    All I could find on the ‘net was utter hatred of him. I did find this lonely column:

    His message was simple. Why was he hated so? Is Truth offensive?

    Well, anyone can judge independently:

  10. On October 25, 2016 at 3:57 pm, Blake said:

    “…. She argues that by reading the Bible this way, Christianity can far better coexist with the worlds of science and politics.”

    Christianity does want to get along with the rest of the world. It’s the rest of the world that does not want to get along with Christianity.

    I find it astounding people actually still claim that Christianity is more dangerous than Islam considering the number of Christian martyrs created by Islam over the last decade.

    It’s quite obvious this woman is preaching that Christianity needs to conform to the world. The warning in Romans 12:2 comes to mind.

    I find it utterly amazing that someone who purports to know the Bible would spout such heretical nonsense. (Matthew 7:15, anyone?)

  11. On October 27, 2016 at 1:03 pm, Pat Hines said:

    All seminaries aren’t equal, an understatement. You have the barely four year Fruitland Bible College (used to be a one year institute) near Hendersonville, and you have the 7 year Orthodox seminary just outside Boston that effectively awards a Phd. in Orthodox theology, including reading and writing in Greek. My Orthodox priest (Greenville, SC) speaks and reads both ancient and modern Greek, and being born in Fletcher, North Carolina, has a very good grip upon the English language as well.

    Catharine Wallace does not appear to be a Christian at all.

  12. On October 28, 2016 at 8:01 am, Andrew Miller said:

    Chicago Maroon?


    Didn’t any of the people in charge of naming this paper ever watch Bugs Bunny?

    What a group of Maroons…

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This article is filed under the category(s) Religion and was published October 24th, 2016 by Herschel Smith.

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