Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Fundamentalism, Cults and Lewis Bostwick
Over the past 4 years I have taken many classes in psychology and have ready a good text book and scientific journal article. Many times I came across issues surrounding fundamentalism and its rigidity. Fundamentalism is the main cause of many problems with our society and the world at large. Fundamentalism in the Christian/Catholic faith has led to the oppression of women and ostracizing of LGBT individuals from many cultures. Fundamentalism in the Islamic faith has lead to over zealousness and ultimately is the main cause of the 9/11 disaster.
Fundamentalism is characterized by a drive to return to "fundamental" root and adherence to a strict doctrine (religious or otherwise).
In many cases it takes scripture (Bible, Koran, Talmud, etc)as infallible and free of error and literally.
Often there is a strong degree of belief perseverance in Fundamentalism. I have also come across this in people who do not want to accept scientific facts in favor of their own personal beliefs. The rigidity of the mind is quite profound.
Fundamentalism is also part of a cults beliefs and practices, albeit skewed and quite distant from the doctrines most "normative" faiths expound. However, there are distinctive difference between the fundamentalist church and the cultic church. In the cultic church there is often the "practice" of superstitious belief systems. They may include augury (i.e. clairvoyance), faith healing, spirit guides and or demons and angels. Although one may believe in these things in a fundamental or normative church, they are highly questionable practices and often met with skepticism. This is not the case with a cultic church.
The main characteristic of both the fundamentalist organization and the cultic one is the presence of belief perseverance. Even despite evidence to the contrary, even when it is right in front of their face, people will still hold onto their beliefs over the facts.
It should also be noted the fundamentalism is not necessarily religious in its nature. It can also be social, political and even economic to name just a few. I have met a few fundamental accountants in my day and let me tell you, they are a bitch to work with. They are always right, never wrong, hate ambiguity, rigid thinkers, blame other, always hostile and very authoritarian. In short a petty tyrant.
In regards to cults like the Berkeley Psychic Institute, their beliefs are very rigid and to question them is to face ostracizing. As I have stated prior, Lewis did not like criticisms or any dissension from his doctrines of "psychism". If you questioned, you were first humiliated to try and get you back in line. Oh it was called "lighting up your pictures" which you had to blow. I call it psychological abuse and harassment. Then if you were not humiliated enough, you were told to leave as your "energy" was being a bad influence on the church.
Would I call Lewis a fundamentalist? The answer to this question is an absolute yes! Lewis was very rigid in his thinking and his reasoning. He despised intelectualism and anything which had to do with reality. He even wrote about this from time to time. He was convinced that the "psychic" reality was the truth and the one we live in false. Something which many of his followers like Michael Tamura have come to try and indoctrinate others into believing as well. Lewis also was anti psychiatry and anti psychology despite the fact that parts of the "reading" process are forms of psychoanalysis and Jungian psychoanalytical processes. All in all, Lewis was a complete Fundamentalist who would not budge from his position despite the evidence to the contrary that psychic abilites do not exist whatsoever.