The very very Baptists

The Facebook group Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) Cult Survivors (and their Supporters) is interesting.

You know what I’m talking about. You went to an IFB (Independent Fundamental Baptist) church three times a week. The Christian school you attended was connected to your church/cult, or you were home-schooled. Your church was committed to the “Doctrine of Separation” and strong discipline. You believed Billy Graham was the “bad guy” and that all other churches and religious organizations were/are disobedient and in “sin” (i.e. you were taught even the Southern Baptists were/are “compromising liberals”). Your church also controlled nearly every aspect of your life. Your family may have even needed to get permission from the pastor before going on vacation (if you dared leaving in the first place). If you are female (heaven forbid), you most likely wore long skirts and the IFB clothing item known as “culottes” most of your life whenever you went in public (you even went swimming in them).

You’re familiar with most if not all of the following:

“Bus Ministry”
Gospel tracts
King James Onlyism
“The Bible says, ‘Touch Not God’s Anointed’ and that means ME!”
“Let me tell you something big boy, you rebel against your parents and you go down across town to that Southern Baptist Church and let me tell you something, you’ve stepped out of the will of God! You hear me? You just want to hear that mamby, pamby preaching from those preachers who water down the gospel of Jesus Christ and that is nothing more than your rebellious heart crying out in your SIN!”
“Pants on women is sinful!”
“Christian Contemporary worship music is demonic!”
“Rock music played backwards tells you to kill your parents!”
“Going to the cinema is a sin!”
“Billy Graham has done more damage to the cause of Christ than any other man alive! He’s a heretic!”
Screaming, ranting, and raving pastors

And much much much more.

You know…it becomes more and more clear, the more I dig into this, that there are a lot of people being harmed by whacked-out fundie christianity in the US. I sort of vaguely assumed that they were mostly happy inside their bubble – I thought they shouldn’t be, but mostly were – but that was a lazy thing to think.


  1. 'Tis Himself, pour encourager les autres says

    Atheists keep being told that goddists receive comfort from their religion. I fail to see how IFB and similar cults can be at all comforting.

  2. Sili says

    Atheists keep being told that goddists receive comfort from their religion. I fail to see how IFB and similar cults can be at all comforting.

    I’m sure it’s comforting to the men. Isn’t that all that matters?

  3. 'Tis Himself, pour encourager les autres says

    I don’t even see it comforting to the men. “Step one inch out of line and spend eternity in a pit of fire” doesn’t sound comforting to me.

  4. jasondick says

    I’m pretty sure that they largely believe they are very happy. They don’t know just how bad they have it.

  5. Ophelia Benson says

    Why are you sure of that though? All the accounts I read say “I pretended to be happy but my life was HELL.”

  6. jasondick says

    Well, I was very much part of fundamentalist Christianity when I was young. And all that talk about how Christians are happy, fulfilled people while non-Christians lead empty lives devoid of meaning, well, you start to believe it. Even if you actually feel like crap, you believe you don’t.

    It wasn’t until I left Christianity that I noticed just how crappy I actually felt. I had no idea that I was suffering under a massive weight of guilt until it was lifted.

    Now, it’s possible that my experience doesn’t mirror everybody else’s. And personal experience is about the worst form of evidence. But still, it makes quite a lot of sense to me. Because if Christians actually knew how bad they had it, why would so many remain Christian?

  7. Ophelia Benson says

    Oh I see what you’re saying – they believe they’re happy as opposed to being happy. Sorry, I missed the nuance.

  8. Carlie says

    Having grown up Southern Baptist, I’m always surprised when I find denominations that were more whacked out than ours. Of course, those IFB people might have been railing against the hippie liberal southern Baptists of the late 1970s and early 1980s; I’m sure they'[re more similar now since the right wing took over the convention.

  9. says

    What’s with the hating on Billy Graham? This whole thing reads like the most absurd theological purity test.

    ‘Follow the Gourd’, ‘Follow the Sandal’ etc.

  10. abb3w says

    Wikipedia points to Pew, and suggests IFBs are about 2% of the US population.

    Too lazy right now to track down the birth rates and rates that they’re hemorrhaging members to other creeds and the NOTAs.

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