The fundamentalist community has strong walls and high gates to protect itself against the world around it. In order that fundies may soil themselves as little as possible with the evil that lurks outside the sacred bubble, they attempt as much as possible to replicate every facet of secular life in fundamentalist hues inside this shell.

In short, the fundamentalist organization will attempt to become everything to you who are held in its dread sway. They are your church, your employer, your schools, your social sphere, your sports team, your library, your music publisher, your landlord, and oh, so much more.

This creates the happy circumstance where, to many people, leaving fundyland means not only losing your church but also your children’s education, all your family friends, your job,  and maybe even  your house. Many are those who grunt and sweat under a weary life in fundamentalism because they have no idea where they would go or how they would live if they left.

How do you get a job in the outside world if you know nobody there and your qualifications only exist inside the fundamental sphere? Would you risk consigning your children to the deviltry of public schooling if leaving your church meant that they could no longer attend the one they are in now? How do you make friends of the evil people in the cold, cruel world?

Hopefully one day you’ll find out that the pay is better, the people are nicer, and life is so much sweeter outside those walls. The only difference between a castle and a prison is whether you’re trying to keep the people out or in.

68 thoughts on “Insulation”

  1. My hubby and I worked together at a Christian school that was attached to an IFB. I don’t think all IFB’s are bad, but this one was one that typified almost all of the awful things described on this site. And yet leaving the church would mean losing our jobs as well, not to mention having to find new friends. The Lord intervened by making sure we lost our jobs there before things got *really* bad. (Insert long, sad story here.) We got plugged into a good church, ended up with much better jobs, and made lots of new friends as well as keeping the best of the old friends. It felt like a disaster at the time, but being fired was one of the best things to ever happen to us.

  2. Re: Home school

    My kids all graduated from home school. Not a fundy home school, I will add.

    Allendale Academy is an umbrella school that keeps the students’ transcriptions, and they are acceptable anywhere as long as you have covered your own individual state’s requirements for high school graduation.

  3. Ah SNAP! Nice, this really really hit home. This is why both my parents and in-laws are stuck in Fundy land. All of their friends are part of the church…they are taught to fear and or flee from unsaved, or liberal Christians, so they have 0 close friends from outside of that circle. While they all work jobs outside of the bubble that doesn’t make it any easier. They are also taught that any other church which isn’t identical to theirs is a bad or wrong church…so if you wanted to leave where else would you go? There isn’t another for miles…and that is on purpose. And even if there is another one they are probably linked in such a way that it wouldn’t make a difference which one you went to.

    The fear of the unknown is a powerful motivator. This is why I am so, so, so, so very happy that I didn’t fall prey to the Christian service BS that BJU throws at you. I was an education major and the heavy indoctrination we went through was that Public school is bad go teach in Christian school. Their lack of accreditation forces many to work in the Christian school and all of their job opportunities lead towards Christian service. The problem is once you go in how can you ever get out? Public schools likely won’t view the Christian schools as experience, you are paid so little that there isn’t much hope of educating yourself out of it. And you are so closely tied to the ecosystem that leaving it is completely unknown and feared greatly. Beyond that the kids at public schools are wretched. So you spend your life stuck.

    I’ve worked secular jobs, my wife is now working in the public schools. We have wonderful Christian friends, but we also have wonderful non Christian friends. Life is good and the Lord is good and we are thankful. I believe Fundamentalism insulates itself as a manipulation tool to keep the prisoner trapped in their world…fearful to go outside, fearful of the unknown.

  4. @ Mark – that’s what you’re supposed to do. It’s that disciple making thing Fundyland doesn’t get. At. all. As long as they stay busy “winning souls,” passing out tracts and working in their church, they think they’ve got it all right. The reality is they do very little disciple making activities. The churches are so insular, they end up preaching to the choir. I know a guy who grew up in the same church I did who’s now a United Methodist minister for this very reason. He got tired of preaching to the choir.

  5. Everyone’s favorite cash-strapped fundy college, Maranatha Baptist Bible College, actually has it written into their faculty/staff contracts (mind you they use contracts, an easier way to let you go if you fall off the fundy wagon) that faculty/staff children are required to attend the college for at least two years, or that faculty/staff person would be at risk of losing their job (really, a better option if you think about it).

    I’m sure all of the other students whose fundy parents are forcing them into this high cost low quality education appreciate footing the bill for the faculty/staff kids who attend at no charge, all in the name of “keeping it in the family.”

    I know several people with tens of thousands in student loans from places like this (underpaid fundy parents who force the kids to go but refuse to pay a dime), who walked away and attended four more years at a quality state university, for which they also footed the bill. Grand total? Two wasted years of fake education, two wasted years out of the job market, and thirty grand in student loans for something that didn’t even transfer. Sounds like someone’s tithing potential is taking a hit in the name of fundydome.

  6. @Michelle —

    I know I’m offering an answer to your question kind of late in the game…. Sorry about that.

    I taught at BJU for many years and eventually left (or was dismissed or resigned or was forced out… take your pick). I now teach at North Greenville University just up the road from BJU in Tigerville, SC.

    NGU a fantastic school where we enjoy a relaxed atmosphere, a passion for Christ, and academic rigor that stands up to secular scrutiny. But what might be of particular interest for you is that NGU is very used to the process of working with students transferring from BJU. What would be otherwise unaccredited coursework from BJU is validated when a transfer student graduates because s/he then holds a degree from a regionally-accredited institution. More and more, the secret is to find an accredited institution used to that sort of thing and willing to work with you.

    I’ll put some “bragging” points about NGU below. If you’d like more information, please let me know.

    = = = = = = = =

    NGU is four-year liberal arts university affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention and is accredited by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). The Cline School of Music is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), among the most highly respected accrediting agencies in higher education. America’s Best Colleges, compiled by Forbes and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP) ranked NGU as number 154/600 in its study last year, higher than all public institutions and third highest among private schools in South Carolina. More information is available on my blog:

  7. I knew the analogy about the castle/prison rang a bell for some reason. Alcatraz! When you try to escape either one, there are sharks in the cold water waiting to eat you alive. Ok…now I can move on.

  8. Thanks, Apathetic, JessB, and Grant. I’m not at a place in my life to pursue a degree right now (young children), but it helps to know, especially so I don’t try to take a few credits to appease my mother in the meantime; she’ll probably feel better about my not finishing if I let her know this information as well. I was also home-educated, so I may need to investigate more on that angle as well.

  9. Michelle, honey, if you’re old enough to be married and have young children, you’re old enough to not have your mother telling you what to do. Gently tell her to back off, because it’s none of her business.

    Stuff Fundies Like = parental control no matter how old you are.

  10. I just came here from and…well, wow. I am far outside the fundy sphere—I am a raised-Catholic atheist—and have had no exposure to fundamentalist culture. Reading the posts and your comments has left me completely stunned. Wow. Shocking, really.

    Don’t stand for the bullying and coercion, folks. Even heathen liberal atheists like myself are loving folks that will welcome, support and encourage you. Fight the good fight, do what you know is right, and hang in there.

  11. This is so true. I have a few friends outside of church, two of my brothers have a good circle as well, but the rest?
    For my parents and younger siblings, church friends is all they know. Church events, everything. And they will never leave, except for another church like it. I want to cry now.

  12. I think this kind of isolation is probably why so many children raised in ultra-fundamentalist circles loose their faith completely if/when they actually go out into the world. They might have a lot of head knowledge about the Bible (and sometimes not even that), but they are very weak as Christians because they have spent their lives getting told what they are to believe, they are never encouraged to question or think for themselves, and they often haven’t had any chance for their faith to be seriously tested while living at home. So if they get a job in the secular world, or they go to a secular college, they run into major opposition. Only now they have no basis to refute any the of the cleverly hidden lies that they hear in the world, and “because that’s what mom, dad, and the pastor told me” isn’t going to keep them strong in the faith. How sad. Christian parents wouldn’t need to be terrified of their children going to a secular college or working outside the church if they allowed them to become strong, well-adjusted Christians as children and teenagers.

    😯 Wow, longer rant then I was expecting.

  13. This is my first post on this blog. I just recently escaped from 33 years of craziness. It’s hard for me right now because I’m trying to literally re-learn how to think and act for myself in every situation that presents itself. This site is helping me to heal, at least a little here at the beginning. I know I’m not crazy anyway. I came across this post at the top of the webpage and it intrigued me. I can’t believe how appropriate it is at this time in my life. I recently watched the Disney movie, Tangled, with my daughter, and it’s amazing how similar the situation was for that princess and those of us in Fundyland trying to get out. Complete isolation because everything outside the walls is evil. Her entire life being filtered through an IFB filter…..eye opening. 😯

  14. If they’re using ACE, Abeka, or BJU, they aren’t learning anything, anyway. The Mennonite materials are better than those, even. You’re putting your kid in a warehouse, not a school.

    1. Mennonite materials are okay in some respects. The graphics are poor quality, and like every other cult, they inject religion into everything. Why diagram sentences about religious doctrine? Why do math about how many bushels of tomatoes you’ll need for the wimminz to use feeding the church men at the potluck?

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