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Hyper-Fundamentalist Christianity

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Hyper-Fundamentalist Christianity:

Within Christianity today, there exists a broad spectrum of views of how to interpret the Bible. There are those who read the majority of Bible text as literal, claiming that the passages are to be understood as a simple, word-for-word instruction or example in "plain meaning" without consideration of ancient literary style. There are those who believe ancient literary style should be considered and try to interpret each passage of text as they believe the author intended, with allegorical examples, moral code, literal explanation, and analogies to reinforce statements made. There are those who believe each account given in the Bible is historically accurate, that the authors of each book were simply vessels for "God's pen" and could not possibly make mistakes. Others, still attesting that the authors were Divinely inspired, believe the authors wrote as best they could understand and yet were sometimes slightly incorrect. The variety of different beliefs and doctrines built upon those beliefs have created countless denominations, sects, and inter-denominations of faith.

For the most part, when a person leaves one faith group for another, it is a fairly smooth transition. Each group, though strongly opinionated in one area or another, have the same motivation for their faith and are not authoritative or exclusive to other groups. They are like-minded with regards to the Christian faith but have a different understanding of Christianity's principles. People who leave one group for another typically do so because the majority of their beliefs are in better alignment with a different group, not because they believe their former group to be "wrong". This is true in almost all cases except one: those who are leaving hyper-fundamentalism.

People leaving groups that practice hyper-fundamentalism find the transition to be very difficult. Hyper-fundamentalist groups are very militant in their beliefs, including extra-biblical ones derived from literally interpreting passages of text that were never intended to be taken literally. They are authoritative and exclusive, typically loyal to an organization, movement, or a leader, and exclusive in the fact that they must separate themselves from any who might disagree with their beliefs. Many people in hyper-fundamentalist groups are at risk as the groups progress in their authoritative stance; without proper balance, the group stands a great chance of becoming destructive. Those who escape must take the time to understand the difference between hyper-fundamentalist Christianity and Christian groups that practice proper hermeneutics.