An interesting trend keeps popping up in some of the blogs I visit. I think I notice it more among conservative/fundamentalist Christians than liberal Christians, but given that I have the liberal outlook, I could be blind to it.
I find that for those who hold that truth is more multi-faceted, or that God can be experienced in more than one religion, or even that more than one religion can be true, there's more of a dialogue. If people differ, they are willing to explore why the other person believes as they do, or follows the path that they do. Disagreement doesn't automatically mean that the person disagrees with God.
In a more fundamentalist mindset, it's not the case. If I say that I don't believe the fundamentalist's position, I'm not ask why, my position is not explored. Rather, I'm flat-out told I'm wrong, and why. Not only am I wrong, I'm apparently also disagreeing with God, or have a problem with God.
That's the frightening aspect about it. There seems to be no hint of self-examination on the fundamentalist viewpoint, no willingness to step in the shoes of another. Instead, there's almost an elevation of the fundamentalist mindset, putting it on equal standing with the viewpoint of God.
How can common ground be reached with that perspective? Or compromise, or the middle road? I'm not on God's side, so I'm automatically in the lost/unsaved/hellbound/second status role.
Simply because the Bible might be inerrant does not mean that one's interpretation is at the same level of inerrancy. Yet how often do any of see that awareness? Rather, it comes across more that the person's method of understanding the Bible is also inerrant.
Perhaps this is because fundamentalism does seem to be simplistic, in many ways. It's tied to the idea of the Four Spiritual Laws, or there's this certain set of beliefs one must have to be saved. There's no hint of the depth or complexity found in the Bible in that mindset. Which, granted, if it's thought that every single book in the Bible carries the same core message, than it's easier to be simplistic than complex. If you feel that the message of the Bible is simple and inerrant, then there'd be very little you could do to misunderstand it once you do properly understand the inerrant message.