Wednesday, December 06, 2006

"Fundamentalists Have Altered Radically"

It shouldn't come as news to anyone that much of the fundamentalist movement has for decades been rather inconsistent (at best) regarding its ban on movie theater attendance. What is news to me is the historical background to the rise of this inconsistency, which Kevin Bauder has most helpfully sketched. Apparently, many "historic fundamentalists" aren't quite as historic as they would like to think.

But amid all the SI comment chatter (some of which is comical . . . at best) about things he hasn't even begun to address, I fear that the point will be lost—at least the point that jumped off screen to me. Here it is: It's less significant that fundamentalism now accepts theater than how it arrived at that conclusion. Sure fundamentalism kept some (not all) of the external moral standards for appropriate content, but it's a hollow M&M—a bit of air covered by a thin candy shell (at best). For in the sweeping consignment of Tertullian, Augustine, Pascal, and Tozer to the trash heap, fundamentalism eviscerated itself of thoughtfulness in this matter.

I really don't know what these men said, and I surely don't know whether they were right or wrong. I'm looking forward to finding out what I believe. And at the risk of losing my Young Fundamentalist membership card, I'm open to hearing and embracing objections to the medium as a whole. But in spite of what I don't know, what seems patently obvious to me is this: Once again, Bauder has demonstrated that fundamentalism as it exists today is not serious.

By the way, has anybody out there come up with an authoritative decision yet on whether it's ok to see a "film" in an IMAX theater while it's showing in ordinary theaters?


Ryan Martin said...

"Finding out what I believe" . . .

"Losing my Young Fundamentalist membership card" . . .

Funny stuff.

Josh said...

Several staff members at a certain Bible college that you and I both know and love make that distinction and enjoy the IMAX but avoid STAR.

Mike Hess said...

"By the way, has anybody out there come up with an authoritative decision yet on whether it's ok to see a "film" in an IMAX theater while it's showing in ordinary theaters?"

LOL! That was classic! I'm looking forward to Dr. Bauder's second piece. I've also been quite surprised by the response to this article. I was not aware that this was still the controversy that it is today in fundamental circles.


NeoFundy said...

You might enjoy an addendum to my recent "rules" that chronicles what appears to be happening.

Ryan said...

I have been discouraged by a couple of things in the discussion over at SI.

1. The knee jerk reaction of the "christian liberty" patrol that refuted everything that Dr. Bauder said...even before he said it.

2. The common response that because some in the previous generation used faulty argumentation to condemn theater attendance it must be okay after all.

3. The demand for proof texts. I think that, having observed the generally negative response to Dr. Bauder's previous articles regarding the use of logic, many at SI will not accept much of what he is going to propose.

On another note, the distinction between IMAX and other theaters used to be somewhat understandable based upon content. IMAX showed solely educational films. but even that is fading quickly since they started showing other films. I think the first was star wars or one of the harry potter films.

Ben said...


I agree. Although I vehemently resist argumentation not based on Scripture being elevated to absolute, universal law, I am wholly open to sound argumentation that challenges us to think through the implications of our choices. This may or may not be similar to what you and Bauder would advocate, but I know that it is completely dissimilar to the prevailing moods in fundamentalism.

But should we be surprised that the YFs' appreciation for serious reflection is minimal? Should we be surprised if kids raised on potato chips and chocolate bars aren't too thrilled about roast beef and vegetables?