I remember sitting in a tent revival meeting as a child and asking my father about the speaker "Is he mad, Daddy? Who is he angry at?" Over the years, the more I ran into fundamentalists and their often
concrete thought I was struck by their aura of anger and omnipresent sense of defeatism.
Fire raining down from the heavens, an evil lord and his corrupt legions overrunning the earth, unchecked unrighteousness, doom, judgment...
Fast forwarding to 2005, no, you aren't sitting in a fire-breathing fundamental Chruch of God, you are at your average every-day neighborhood liberal get-together. Whether it is Al Gore, red-faced, white shirt dripping with sweat, challenging the powers of darkness or Howard Dean running up and down the aisles being "slain in the spirit", the old southern circuit ridin' evangelist seems to have been reborn in America's liberal leaders.
The dogma presented is just as concrete and faith-based. There are deities and demons. Worshipped are the gods of environmentalism, entitlement and pacifism while they battle the devils of "big business", conservatism, and often plain reason. The feeling of righteousness and moral superiority is palpable.
The congregation is caught up in the religious fervor, hanging with rapture on the words coming from the pultpit, accepting it as gospel, pure and righteous. Then, each one, fancying themself a crusader of light, goes forth throughout the week to spread the good news to every creature. Stopping you in the hall, they witness to you in the most sincere way, sharing the light through their internet portals, congregating with each other for mutual edification. One day, one may even open one's front door to two such acolytes, "Elder Such-and-such" on button one, "Disciple This-and-that", on the other, a copy of "My Life" (written by patron-saint Bill Clinton) tucked under respectful arms.
Fundamentalism has its appeal. Requiring little thought, extreme faith, complete devotion, and unbridled passion. Anyone is capable. It's droning mantras intoned by high priests are repeated reverently over and over by the flock until it becomes truth--a world of foundational absolutes. There is no wonder it attracts so many.
Go ye into all the world, liberals, and preach the gospel.