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It is often said that the opposite of faith is doubt. This is untrue.
The reality is that the opposite of faith is fundamentalism.
For in fundamentalism there is no space for contrary opinions, ideas, practices or ways of life.
The fundamentalist cannot cope with people who disagree – and so in their opinion others are unworthy, dangerous and no great loss if they are consigned to hell.
In Sri Lanka, we saw a fundamentalist walk to the front of a church on Easter Sunday, just when the children all came out for a talk. Then he detonated his backpack, murdering wee boys and girls.
A flawed, weak faith cannot cope with people who disagree – so it retreats into fundamentalism.
A strong faith can cope with all sorts of challenges, new understandings and ways people live. Further, it is important to realise that fundamentalism is not restricted to religion.
Stalin was a fundamentalist atheist who killed countless Christians directly and indirectly in his terror.
Simply, people and movements, whether political, social or religious, can all be prone to fundamentalist tendencies.
Perhaps we can all help nip things in the bud by not demonising those with
whom we disagree, by tempering our language and acting kindly. This is simple to say, and hugely difficult to do.
The death and resurrection of Christ shows us the Way.
Rev Dugald Cameron (Kilmore and Oban)