Monday, July 25, 2005

Email: Us vs. them [SD]

By the way, when I said evangelicals have a "cultic" sensitivity to differences and tend to exclude others from their community, I meant a number of things that a theologian would have inferred.

Lay persons find the word "cultic" to be emotionally charged, but theologically it means "sectarian" or even just "in group." Cliquish. Us vs. Them: Clear delineations between who belongs and who does not; an implicit (unwritten) understanding about trusting insiders but not outsiders; and yes, open to admitting new members, but only under existing rules. Conservative Catholics bear the same tendencies. Mainstream Catholics and mainline Protestants largely do not.

Like fundamentalism in all its forms, the us vs. them mindset is probably about being conservative, entrenched "true believers" and "defenders of the faith." Perhaps this defensive mentality is valid and necessary at certain times and seasons. (It certainly was under Roman persecution.)


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