Thursday, February 08, 2007

Rising fundamentalism driving away many from Church

Encourage not fear opposing views

Recent years have witnessed a growth in religious fundamentalism throughout the world. As Christians we are particularly disturbed by the rise in Islamic Fundamentalism in our country. A lot of fears and anxiety are being created in the non-Muslim communities by this unhealthy trend.

Sad to say similar trends are also taking roots in our own church. I agree with the views of Liberal Catholic of Kuala Lumpur in his letter “Fundamentally Flawed Fundamentalists” published in the February issue of CANews. There is no doubt that that fundamentalism is slowly gaining the upper hand in CANews articles and letters. It is also true of other Catholic publications as well.

There is a real fear that this stance would slowly isolate the vast majority of Catholics who are moderate and liberal in their religious thinking and practices. If this is not checked, in the near future the Church may become irrelevant in the lives of this silent majority of good Catholics.

Today the average person is under tremendous pressures to cope with all the problems in daily living. Amidst all these problems and challenges, Christ may seem irrelevant in our lives.

To an overburdened and over-stressed person, religious rituals may provide some temporary solace but unfortunately many use them as escapism from the challenges in daily living.

Only Christ has the solutions to all our woes and is very relevant to our lives. The Church, instead of moving towards fundamentalism, must go all out to bring Christ into the ups and downs of our daily lives. Only then will He become relevant in our lives. He is not in the rituals that we observe but alive in our midst. All we have to do is seek him with confidence.

CANews, Herald and other publications are effective tools to bring Christ into our daily challenges. They must be open to suggestions and criticisms however controversial they may be.

They should encourage open intellectual debate on all issues facing us as Christians in today’s sophisticated society and not suppress liberal views by its members who are also are genuinely working to bring the living Christ into their hearts and the hearts of fellow men. Christ belongs to all of us, including sinners, not to just a few chosen ones, the fundamentalists.

The Church must change with time to be with the masses like Christ did, and not isolate itself with its outdated thinking based on human theology. It must get involved in the wholesome human development – spiritual, socio-economic, physical and moral. There is no point in the Church singing the same old song to which less and less people are listening, let alone following.


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