Asking “Why?” instead of “Why not?”

“Christians should never watch movies rated PG-13”, intones the fundamentalist.

“Why not?” asks his companion. “I don’t see any reason why this movie is so bad.”

“You’re asking the wrong question,” says the fundamentalist sternly. “Asking ‘why not?’ is the trick of rebellious children and compromisers. What you need to be asking is ‘why do you want to do it?’ — and if the answer you come up with isn’t either something super spiritual or agreed upon by at least two popular evangelists you have to admit I’m right.”

“Uh….” stammers his friend.

“I win!” yells the fundamentalist gleefully.

If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of this conversation, chances are you have been in the presence of a fundamentalist.

One has to wonder if a fundamentalist can also come up with super spiritual reasons for their choice of breakfast cereal. I’ll bet they can.

27 thoughts on “Asking “Why?” instead of “Why not?””

  1. Someone in the church I used to go to would ask me that question all the time. “Why would you want to watch a PG-13 movie? Why would you want to watch sports? Why would you want to read a book that was not written by a saved, seperated, soul winning hell-is-still-hot, heaven-is-still-sweet, fire and brimstone preaching fundamental independt baptist?” Finally one day I answered “Because I am wicked, worldy and of the devil.” He never critized me again.

  2. @Jason. He probably believed you.
    My observation is that the conversation is one of control and manipulation.
    I usually counter the first line with a profound “Oh” coupled with a nod or “Why do you say that?” and then the “Oh”. “You’re asking the wrong question,” is a trick of self-righteous children and cookie-cutter Christians.

  3. the examination of one’s own motives is not unique to fundyism, but check-mating somebody in conversation by publicly implying that the reason they’re doing something is because they have wicked desires which they themselves have not considered IS uniquely fundy.

    (i hope that sentence makes sense)

    , amen?

  4. The poison/poop in the brownie goes something like this: A teenager (on their way to becoming rebellious, no doubt) wants to do something not necessarily sinful, but it COULD LEAD TO OTHER THINGS. For instance, wanting to go see a movie with “just a little bit of language.” Upon asking his dad, his dad tried to make the point that “just a little bit of something” can still be harmful and COULD LEAD TO OTHER THINGS. He says that he’s going to make some special brownies that has “just a little bit of poison/poop” in them. (Oddly enough, this is the only time I’ve ever heard an illustration where it’s not the mom cooking. Anyways…) Of course, the teenager wants nothing to do with the brownies. The dad’s conclusion is that we shouldn’t want to have anything to do with “just a little bit of sin.” As a bonus, this ties in nicely also with the “appearance of evil” argument.

    1. Just realized that this story doesn’t include the teen’s retort: “Dad, you don’t have to put any poisoned poop in the brownies, because anything you cook already tastes like that.” 😛 😆

  5. I may have to turn in my [former] fundy card, since I was only aware of one thing that might be put in brownies, and it wasn’t poop… ; )

    On the other hand, questioning others’ motives does stretch slightly beyond fundy-land; I recall hearing a talk from some guy who was proposing that some “CCM” was ok, but only if the motives and lifestyles of the artists were Biblically sound. No one ever seemed to realize that this kind of thinking would also ban the [generally fundy-approved] music of Tchaikovsky, Mozart, and others.

  6. I actually see nothing wrong with the fundys if they want to believe in no-alcohol, no-tobacco, KJVO, no-dancing, no-movies and so on. Every believer is to set their standards according to their conscience established by God’s Word, and to take into account their impact on God and upon others.

    However, I believe the line is crossed when fundies judge non-fundy Christians by the “standards” that they have set (or worse, sometimes, even towards unbelievers), or enforce these rules upon their own people.

  7. I am pretty sure that this post is made from a comment I left on a previous post about PG 13 movies being wrong for a Christian to see. For instance, the Passion of Christ is an R-rated movie, and the generalization that the Passion of the Christ is evil can not be made, just because it is an R-rated movie. So, R-rated movies are not bad in every case. The question is then do you care when you break the heart of God and the Saviour Jesus Christ by partaking through listening or watching the vice that goes on in these movies?
    OK, I admit that I needed to clarifify my statement, instead of, painting things with a broad brush. But does it mean that you or I cannot lovingly confront a brother or sister who listens to God’s name taken in vain or watch full blown nudity on the television screen, and want to partake in our fellowships. These are not things that are the highest priority of the Christian life, but this would not have been tolerated in Israel or in the New Testament church. These were and are things God abhors in all places and all times. Where does submitting to one another in the fear of God, as the scripture says, come into place, if you mock another brother who has concerns over outward and inward holiness, as was done in the previous post.

  8. The question is then do you care when you break the heart of God and the Saviour Jesus Christ by partaking through listening or watching the vice that goes on in these movies?

    SFL: Begging the question

  9. “Every believer is to set their standards according to their conscience established by God’s Word, and to take into account their impact on God and upon others. ”

    See SFL – “The Weaker Brother”

  10. @ Alan. There is nothing wrong with loving confrontation of a brother.

    However, the tendency of fundies is to accuse and not confront. For instance, instead of going into a confrontation as a learner who is willing to look at something from a different point of view, fundies have already decided that the other person is in sin, and that they are God’s judge. There is no possibility of the fundy being wrong since he alone has been given the ability of correct exegesis of God’s word, and there is nothing for him to learn since Christian liberty only means that everyone must conform to the highest possible standard(his standard) or they are “offending the weaker brother.”

  11. “Every believer is to set their standards according to their conscience established by God’s Word, and to take into account their impact on God and upon others.”

    I believe this statement may be defended. We cannot ‘flaunt’ our liberties in-front of other believers and cause their conscience to be stifled, and which may cause them to sin. (Read 1 Cor. 8:12) The purpose of the body of Christ is to build up each other, and not to tear down! There are times where we may have to restrain our liberties for the sake of God and for others.

    THAT having being said, the “weaker brother” also has to learn why some Christians partake in certain things they think is sinful (although Scripture is silent on it). And that is our role to teach. The “weaker brother” will then hopefully change their conviction on these matters, and then accept what other believers do.

    This was how I was bought out of fundamentalism. Things that were once looked “sinful” to me I now partake because I have been taught by Scripture that these are matters of Christian liberty. And this is how we should minister to fundies too.

  12. Ok, assuming that most if not all Fundamentalists today are Baptist, I often wonder when this standard issue is brought up. I thought it may have been simply the bible college I went to that used BRAPSISS to define Baptists, I have also seen the word BAPTIST used as an acrostic to define it. Either way, Soul Liberty was always in the definition. Everyone with me so far?

    B-Bible is the sole authority for faith and practice
    R-Regenerated and Immersed Church Membership
    A-Autonomy of the Local Church
    P-Priesthood of the Believer
    S-Soul Liberty
    I-Immersion and the Lord’s Supper are the only two Ordinances
    S-Seperation Ethically and Ecclesiasticlly
    S-Seperation of Church and State

    Ok, so these are supposed to be distinctives of Baptists, right? Makes me wonder just how many Fundamentalists really are Baptists…

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