To the fundamentalist, life is a series of tests wherein the Christian is confronted with a temptation or decision that in an instant may weigh him in the balance and find him wanting. One wrong move, one little slip, or the smallest of infractions may send even the most committed fundy’s life hurtling out of control and leave him destroyed, useless, and more than likely dead in some horrible fashion.
The result of this belief results in some astounding acts of post hoc thinking, wherein the a preacher looking back upon the events will declare that it was Wednesday the 24th of June at 4:30 p.m. when little Tommy decided to skip the mid-week service and thereby sealed his fate to die in a freak cement mixer accident two days later. I mean it’s obvious, right? How could we fail to draw the obvious conclusion that one small slip can meet with unimaginable consequences?
Yet, those who study risk can tell you that almost inevitably no disaster is the result of a single decision. It takes a confluence of events compounded by multiple bad choices and usually involving more than one person’s actions to end up with a truly horrific outcome. Unfortunately, those kinds of stories just don’t have the same clear cut relationship of action to consequences that the fundy craves.
A lingering glance, a wrong word, a flare of temper, a resistance to authority, a hair out of place, or a simple act of defiance and the hammer of God’s wrath will fall upon the hapless person and smash them to bits. It’s a wonder that while walking on this precarious tightrope of sanctification that the fundy has any time to care about anybody or anything other than himself.