Now, while still concentrating on that Thumb, begin to think about the world around you. Careful! Don't try to take in everything at once: start with the rest of your fingers, and slowly spread from there. See how your fingers are connected with and dominated by your Thumb. Now, slowly extend your perception to embrace the entire world and everyone in it. The whole world and everyone in it was created by God, and it is all guided by the Thumb.
Pay no attention that there are a lot of thumbs in the world. Your Thumb is THE HOLY THUMB, and was especially given to you by God so that you can use it to guide your life and the lives of others. Remember this: the thumbs of other people are not fit to guide their lives. Those thumbs are heathen thumbs, and those who live by them are Spawn of Satan and are an insult to the One and Only True God who created your Almighty Thumb just for you.
Now let me ask you this: do you feel superior to the Spawn of Satan? Do you feel obligated to show them the light by running their lives for them through the Divine inspiration of your Thumb? Do you have absolute and utter faith in the inviolable authority invested by God in your Thumb? If you answered "yes" to all of these questions, then you are ready to go on to Lesson Two.
Now that you have your Bible, read it, and read it thoroughly. I imagine that some of it will fit in perfectly with your beliefs and morals, since you have been inspired by God to attempt this indoctrination into Fundamentalism. Remember that the more strict and conservative your beliefs, the better: it's difficult to keep your mind shut to new ideas, but to be a Fundamentalist you must keep your mind clean and unsullied by ideas which could threaten your beliefs. You must remember that your beliefs are the ONLY right beliefs, and all others are falsehoods and are totally incompatible with God's Divine Truth.
Now you may be dismayed as you read through the Bible to find that much of it is outside your beliefs, or may even contradict them. No problem! All you have to do is take a black marker pen and blot out those verses which you don't like. Simplicity itself! Now don't you worry if it seems that more of the Bible is blacked out than left behind: just remind yourself that the remaining verses are emphasized all the more.
Remember that the Bible represents YOUR doctrine, and is the Divine statement of your beliefs. It wouldn't do for it to say something which contradicted your beliefs. That would be silly! Besides, nobody is actually going to see INSIDE your Bible. You can wave it in front of people, quote from it, shove it under their noses, hit it with your fist, and even use it as a weapon, but for Heaven's sake don't let anyone READ it!
Now that your doctrine has been established, I would like for you to repeat Lesson One, substituting "Bible" for "Thumb."
Have you done it?
No fair cheating!
Now: do you believe that your Bible is the utter, absolute, and inviolable law of the universe, coming to you directly from God, and that it is your Divine mission to live by your Bible and to feel superior to those fools who don't listen to you and who are guaranteed to burn in Hell?
Congratulations! You are now officially a Fundamentalist!
First of all, let's work on personal appearance: to be moral and upright you must look the part. If you're a man, you must keep your hair short and well-groomed, your face clean-shaven (a beard or moustache is acceptable ONLY if it is IMMACULATELY trimmed), your teeth clean and white, your breath minty-fresh, and your wardrobe strict and unassuming: slacks, tie, and white shirt (preferably long-sleeved so you can roll them up while witnessing) are the clothes of a God-fearing man, and NOTHING else. If you're a woman, you must keep your hair neat and pinned up, your face only slightly made up (only heathens paint their faces), your figure neat and trim (a too-full figure is a dead giveaway for a shameless slut of Satan), and your wardrobe moral and proper: a dress (preferably dark or neutral colored, no plunging lines) is the ONLY proper garment for a God-fearing woman.
I imagine that you're ready to ask me "Now that I know how to dress, how do I act?" That is a very good question to ask, and a somewhat difficult one to answer. Essentially you must follow your Doctrine which is in the Bible, but not TOO closely. You are the wielder of the Almighty Bible, and because of that you are ALREADY Saved, and are concerned more with the conduct of others so that they may also be Saved.
Let's get into some concrete examples. Playboy is a magazine of Satan, and anyone who reads it is in danger of Damnation -- anyone, that is, except you. For you know the ways of Satan, and are familiar with his traps, and you are always vigilant against his foul schemes, and thus you must scan his works constantly so that you may point out their atrocity to others. The same principle also applies to X-rated films, dancing halls, taverns, and brothels. [Note: this applies only to men. Women must stay home and support their husbands, and under no circumstances are they allowed to rest their innocent gaze upon profane situations (unless they happen to be checking up on their neighbors in the name of God and decency).]
Now we get to raising a family. You of course know that you are to raise your children properly and morally, and thus they must never be exposed to anything which is the product of Satan, including comic books (unless they are CHRISTIAN comic books), TV programs (unless they are CHRISTIAN TV programs), heavy metal rock music (there is NO such thing as CHRISTIAN heavy metal rock music), evolution (which is possibly the deepest imaginable insult to the intelligence of God), sex education (you can teach them about moral behavior yourself and at the same time protect their innocent yet corruptible ears from any mention of s-e-x), globalism (God wants us to DESTROY Communism, not cooperate with it), and equal rights (if God had wanted us to be equal, He would never have created women). As for religious education, I am sure you realize that women and children cannot properly develop their own religious faith -- it must be given to them from a higher source: their husbands and parents.
Now we get to the gist of your faith and the justification for your life: the teaching and conversion of others (through guiding their lives for them). It is absolutely essential that you remember from Lesson One that only YOU are fit to guide your life AND the lives of others. All other people cannot in their ignorance of The Way live their own lives properly unless they can see the Light and receive the Salvation of God and Jesus which ONLY YOU may bring to them. Your Way is THE WAY, and all other paths lead to Satan and eternal Damnation, and it is YOUR Duty to show The Way to others so that they may enter (behind you) into Heaven.
Let's look again at a concrete example: art and literature. Only YOU can say what is moral and upstanding in art and literature and what is not. Any work of "art" or "literature" which you feel is profane, blasphemous, or otherwise immoral is instantly the product of Satan and it is YOUR responsibility to make sure that its ugly blot upon the moral fibre of the Wonderful God-fearing Land of the Free is wiped out utterly so that our Glorious Nation may Shine Out as a Star of Righteousness amidst the Black Cloud of Satanic Communist Corruption which Blankets the World.
Well! Your heart must simply be bursting with Pride, Patriotism, and Love for God right now! And I'd bet that right now you'd rally behind a Leader who believes in the same things that you do. You guessed it: your next step is to find a religious Leader whose beliefs are YOUR beliefs, and who knows that YOUR way is HIS Way and that YOUR Way is THE Way to Salvation. Once you get behind that Leader, life becomes simpler. He knows YOUR beliefs, and thus if you ever feel any doubts about how to run your life, HE can make your decisions for you. All you have to do to insure your fidelity to him and to God is to follow him without question, and to give him as much money as you can so that he may bring the Way of the Lord to everyone in the World.
Remember that Fundamentalists have to stick together and rally under a Leader, for in numbers is Power, and in Power is the ability to change the World for the better. So remember that though YOU are the instrument of God through the guidance of your Bible, you also have the responsibility to make sure that your influence is felt, and the best way to do that is to join up with those who have CLOUT, so you can fulfill your wildest dreams: ban books and movies, ban abortion, enforce prayer in school, establish a national religion, create a national moral and dress code, and more! With the proper Leader, all this can be in your grasp.
Well now, I'd say that you're just about ready to go out into the world and begin your career as a Fundamentalist. But not quite yet: you must first prepare yourself to face the opposition.
Biblical scholars: these vermin use their high-falootin' technical jargon and book-learning to pervert the words of the Lord and read things into the Bible which aren't there. The Bible was written by God for YOU to use, and contains EVERYTHING you need to know for Salvation, plainly stated in black and white and red. There is nothing archaic or mystical about it: it speaks out in the Words of the Lord and speaks directly to YOU.
If the scholars say that the Bible evolved (note the use of heretical words) over a period of millennia, changing and altering from one translation to another, you can reply that the WORD OF GOD TO MAN is immutable, and speaks out exactly the same way today as it did to Moses. If they say that the historical and cultural context was completely different then, you can reply that MAN IS MAN and has not changed his sinful ways since Adam. If they say that you completely misunderstand the situations behind the composition of the Bible, you can reply that THEY completely misunderstand the situations behind the composition of the Bible. And if they say that they can prove their point because of years of scholarly and scientific research studying the Bible and its history, you can reply that the only true scholarship is FAITH and TRUST in the WORD of the LORD.
Scientists: these unfortunate heathen have strayed from the path to Heaven, ensnared by the trickeries of Satan, believing in them utterly. As a result, they cannot accept the eternal Truth contained in the Bible. You must tell them that God is perfect, and the Word of God is therefore perfect, and cannot contain falsehood. Therefore anything which is in your Bible is the absolute Truth.
If the scientists say that they have amassed countless evidence to support their atheistic theories, you can reply that their evidence was given to them by Satan to trick them into disbelieving in God. If they say that the processes which shaped the Earth can still be seen happening right now, you can reply that Satan is still working right now to deceive those who cannot comprehend the Truth which is in your Bible. And if they say that the Bible is not completely factual, but is rather mythical in many places, you can reply that they simply do not understand that God speaks not in mysterious ways, but speaks directly to Man through your Bible, and speaks not in riddles or symbols, but only speaks the absolute and utter Truth.
If other Spawn of Satan say that the Bible cannot speak the utter Truth because it is inconsistent in what it says, you can reply that there is no inconsistency in your Bible: everything that you have in your Bible perfectly supports your beliefs (remember Lesson Two). If they quote passages from the Bible which they claim contradict your beliefs, you can reply that Satan has inspired them to pervert the words of the Lord and to twist their meaning around in order to try to subvert the Truth. If they say that you are being totally ignorant and irrational in your absolute belief in your Doctrine, you can reply that they are being totally ignorant and irrational in their absolute refusal to believe in your Doctrine. And if they say that you are shutting your eyes to reality, you can reply that they are shutting their eyes to God.
There now! Isn't that easy?
All you have to do to counter their arguments is to turn their arguments against them. In fact, you should easily be able to defeat the arguments of a wide variety of heretics, such as Theologists, Democrats, Liberals, Peaceniks, Environmentalists, and Humanists. And you don't need a fancy scientific vocabulary to do it! If you keep your mind on the straight and narrow path, God (and/or your Leader) will do your thinking for you. And if things turn against you, all you have to do is proclaim the Truth even louder, letting your Zeal and Faith drown out all unbelievers, and causing the weakened opposition to crumble under the force of your Inspiration.
That's about all that I have to give to you. I hope that these lessons were informative and helpful toward your long and difficult quest toward Fundamental Salvation. From now on, it's up to you (and your Leader) to show The Way which leads you and your flock to Eternal Life.
May God bless you, and give you the Power to glorify His works in preparation for His Coming. Amen.
The Circular File