The word “fundamentalist” tends to invoke fear and disdain in modern Australian culture. To be labeled a fundamentalist is to wear a stain, to be marked as intellectually inferior and a menace to society. In short, society thinks we’re dangerous.

But why?

Probably the biggest reason modern society believes we’re dangerous is because we are so committed to a literal interpretation of God’s word that we are willing to let Scripture trump all other sources of knowledge including our senses, popular philosophy, and even science.

In other words, they think “if these people are willing to reject things that are clearly self-evident simply because it disagrees with their religious book, then we cannot predict how they will act. They could do anything.” And they are right. At least, anything that is endorsed in our “religious book.”

On 11 September, 2001, some guys proved that society’s logic is valid. Fundamentalists who have an unholy religious book or who fail to properly interpret a truly holy book are indeed dangerous.

There are two kinds of dangerous fundamentalists:

1. Those who have an unholy book.

Probably the best illustration of this would be the Qur’an. The Qur’an is the words of a man. It is not holy.

2. Those who fail to properly interpret a truly holy book.

The Scriptures of Christianity are holy. The Bible is God’s word. So there will be nothing dangerous coming out of the Bible. But there is still great danger in Christian fundamentalism because it is quite possible to interpret God’s holy word incorrectly.

Many a cultic sect stands in testimony to the danger of misinterpreting God’s word. As fundamentalist Christians in Australia, we must hold ourselves accountable for how we handle the word of God. Hopefully next week I’ll get into some of the nuts and bolts of that.

this is part 1 of 3 in the series
Bible interpretation

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About Jason Harris

Dr Jason Harris is a writer, pastor, and academic. He has authored multiple books, articles, and papers including his book Theological Meditations on the Gospel. Jason has a PhD from James Cook University as well as degrees in theology, music, accounting, and research. Jason has lived in Cairns, Australia since 2007 and serves as pastor at CrossPoint Church. You can contact Jason at

One Comment

  1. Alen 19 March, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    Absolute truth is a terror for anyone who’s belief system primarily incorporates “tolerance”.

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