One thing Fiddler on the Roof and Fundamentalism have in common

Fiddler on the Roof is one of my favorite movies. I recently watched a documentary about the author of this work and found it very interesting. One thing I learned was that in the original writings, the father in Fiddler never does reconcile with this daughter Chava at the end of the story. In the movie, the family is leaving for America and the father tells Chava “God be with you” and it is implied that he comes to terms with her choice to marry a non-Jew and that there is a reconciliation of sorts. In the writings, this does not happen. The father is forever estranged from his daughter by his own choice. One of the commentators in the documentary says this is why: the daughter marrying a non-Jew is basically an act that forces him to confront everything he stands for. He can either pick his faith or he can pick his family. It cannot be both.

I like that the movie implies that he picked his family while still retaining his faith and am disheartened to know that the original work by the author did not really end that way. Pretty typical of Hollywood glossing things over and giving us what we really want, a happy ending.

Now we get on to my point. The Fiddler on the Roof is like Christian Independent Fundamental Baptists in at least one way. The denomination (or cult as many people see it) forces members into a corner where they can stick with their chosen style of faith or they can side with their family and friends. It cannot be both. You cannot show acceptance or love for people with different opinions while still holding onto the basic foundation of Fundamentalism. The basic foundation is “I am right, you are wrong, and I cannot allow you to be in influence on me and my children so either we all be the same in every way or you are no longer welcomed”. This concept is one of the things that I hate about Fundamentalism. It makes you choose. Everything is black and white. You cannot stand in the middle. You cannot accept anyone else that is standing in the middle or standing on the other side. They do not know how to agree to disagree nor do they know how to love while still disagreeing. You can forget about expecting most of them to actual learn from anyone outside of their circle so changing their minds is almost never an option.

The documentary helped me understand why people I have been friends with for 15 years would drop me like a hot potato once I no longer attended their church. And why people that have been friends with my husband since he was born are no longer speaking with him. It doesn’t make it okay though.


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