1. Fundamentalists are the most "scientific" of all believers.
They need their facts straight, and they all have to fit
scripture, which is why they are so concerned about proving
evolution wrong. There is nothing "mystical" about the Southern
Baptist Church. They dropped such doctrines as transubstantiation
and adoration of the saints long ago, because such beliefs
were thought to be superstitious. But it is disturbing to such
believers, who consider themselves to have such a firm grasp
on the truth to be proven wrong, since they themselves are
veterans at proving the irrationality of others' beliefs.
Who were the most purely rational of all the Christian theologians ?
Saint Augustine and Calvin.
2. Mystics do rely on the unknown - but they generally do it for
their own reasons and urges. Since mystics reject man's ability
to understand all the reality there is to know by way of their
senses, they seek that knowledge through extrasensory means.
This sort of thinking is impervious to scientific rebuttal -
it takes a sort of arrogant "faith in science" to assert that
man can "know" about all the things mystics are interested in
knowing. But I think it is fair to say that it is not a desire
to deny the scientists their due which impels mystics on this
strange and often lonely path.
3. There are many shades in between fundamentalists and mystics.
The Christian charismatics are into what they experience. For these
people, mysticism and fundamentalism are combined. They seek
experiences, somewhat analagous to the Greek "mysteries", not to
seek some Gnostic truth hidden to man, but to reaffirm the
theologically appropriate basis for their belief. You can spend
lots and lots and lots of time trying to debunk their sense
perceptions, but here again, such people are responding to deeper
urges than trying to figure out why lightning strikes where it does.
4. Of interest are also people who call themselves "Reconstructionists"
who, in effect, are reinterpreting traditional religion in such a
way that God's presence is not necessary to spiritual life. This
is a bit of novelty in Western culture, and I'm not at all sure
that it is going to get anywhere. But here again, the activity of such
people gives the lie to the statement that if science were successful
it would sweep religion off the table. Not likely.