Saturday, January 08, 2005
In Apocalypse, a patient study of Christian fundamentalism based on extensive interviews over a five year period with members of apocalyptic communities Charles Strozier identifies four basic beliefs as fundamental to Christian fundamentalism. (1) Inerrancy or biblical literalism, the belief that every word of the Bible is to be taken literally as the word of God; (2) conversion or the experience of being reborn in Christ; (3) evangelicalism or the duty of the saved to spread the gospel; and (4) Apocalypticism or Endism, the belief that The Book of Revelations describes the events that must come to pass for God's plan to be fulfilled.  Revelations thus becomes an object of longing as well as the key to understanding contemporary history, to reading the news of the day and keeping a handle on an otherwise overwhelming world. Each of these categories, Strozier adds, must be understood not doctrinally but psychologically. What follows attempts to constitute such an understanding by analyzing each category as the progression of a disorder that finds the end it seeks in Apocalyptic destructiveness.