Re: Question 1: Have you belonged to a Fundamentalist religi
I am unsure of how exactly Armstrong would define Christian fundamentalist, but I would have to answer this question yes on both counts. I am finding parts of this book to be eerie echoes of things I used to believe. My family went to a Lutheran Church until I was in the first or second grade, at which time we started going to a Baptist Church (NOT a Southern Baptist Church as they are all quick to point out, but I wouldn't be able to tell you the difference). When I was in junior high I was heavily involved in the youth group at a Pentecostal Church. I spoke in tongues! I went through Lutheran confirmation classes (or what is wrong with the Catholic Church lessons, as I like to call them) and was confirmed. In high school I remained active in Lutheran youth group and helped with the brainwashing of young souls on Wednesday nights at the Baptist Church's AWANA program. I believed that carbon dating was inaccurate and that we needed to save as many souls as possible before the imminent rapture. I believed that crime went up when they took prayer out of schools and it was going to get worse because they were taking it out of graduations, too. I was in high school when the Supreme Court ruled that a prayer could not be presented by a principal, teacher, or clergyman. I was voted by my class to give the student led prayer at my graduation. I believed that the framers of the Constitution didn't really mean for separation of church and state, and that the U.S. must remain a Christian Nation in order to continue to be blessed by God. I believed that the world was biased against Christianity.
Most of my family still believe many of these things. They especially believe that the U.S. will not be blessed if it "becomes" a secular nation. I think this is one of the reasons fundamentalists fight so hard. Although I cannot accept everything that Armstrong puts forth, there is definitely something to the idea of fundamentalism as a reaction to feeling threatened. I remember how I felt when the Supreme Court ruled on prayer at graduation. Now I get that empty-pit-stomach feeling when it goes the opposite way.
God was important to me, and remains very important to my parents. Not just as something they believe in, but as a part of their daily lives. It is horrifying for them to be told that they have to leave God out of certain parts of their life. Sometimes I wish that they could have a religious country of their own because it means so much to them. I just don't want to give them mine.