Features of Fundamentalism Mnemonic


Paul Regnier shared the above useful mnemonic for remembering key features of fundamentalism. Here is his further explanation of the points:

Science – Rejection of scientific views when they conflict with sacred texts. However, many fundamentalists have made effective use of modern technology to promote their message.

Elect – The view held by some fundamentalists that they are part of a spiritual elite, chosen by God for a particular mission. In some cases, this may justify violence.

Patriacrchy – The view that men and women have different roles, with women subordinate to men. In fundamentalist groups this is seen as being ordered by God, not the product of culture or history.

Authoritarian – Blind obedience to authority, as opposed to individual freedom and conscience. This may involve obedience to the teachings of a religious text or a religious leader.

Reaction Against Modernity – Fundmentalism is seen as being a reaction against the modern world. Fundamentalists view themselves as being distinct from, and separate to, modern secular society.

Apocalyptic – The view that we are living in the last days, and that the world as we know it will shortly be brought to a sudden end.

Texts – Belief that a sacred text is inerrant (contains no errors). Fundamentalists hold that their sacred texts are literally true, and are hostile towards attempts at historical or literary criticism of them.

Ethically Conservative – The moral commandments of religious texts are seen as being binding for all time. In practice, this tends to lead to a conservative moral position, for example opposing homosexuality.

Dualism – Dividing the world into clear categories of good and evil, right and wrong, “with us” and “against us”. There is little room for ambiguity or grey areas in fundamentalist thinking.


Click through to read the rest. Are there any features you would add, remove, or alter?



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  • TrevorN

    Hmm, my community gets 7.5 out of 9, I reckon.

    • David Worsley

      I would be tempted to say9 out of 9 Trevor!

      • TrevorN

        I gave it a pass on authoritarian, and a half on reaction to modernity (although unfortunately the modernity it brought to christianity was capped at around about 1860.)

        • David Worsley

          What about obedience to a religious text? (Or in some cases E I )?

          • TrevorN

            I think it’s double dealing to have Texts as a category and also Authoritarian – if the only authority is the text, without a privileged authority interpreting the text for you.

          • James Walker

            in most fundamentalist churches I’ve attended, one is expected to submit to the authority of scripture as taught by the authority of the pastor or church elders.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Right. “Sacred texts as inerrant” and “authoritarian institutional structure with male headship of the home and the church as unquestioned” are two separate things.

  • AtalantaBethulia

    Here’s how we defined Fundamentalism at Unfundamentalist Christians.


    I would personally add the following:

    Tend to favor retributive justice, including corporal and capital punishment
    Understand God primarily as the stern judge

  • Herro

    So Jesus of the gospels get what? 4-7? And an ancient guy like him couldn’t ever qualify for rejection of modernity and rejection of science.

    • James Walker

      We can’t honestly ascribe any of these 9 to Jesus as portrayed in the gospels. We simply don’t have enough information to definitely attribute points 1, 2, 3, 5 or 6 to Him. The gospel portrayals would seem to exclude Him from points 4, 7, 8 and 9.

      **edited from “7” to “9”. miscounted due to presbyopia. I despise being over 40. 😉

    • James Walker

      You do realize, don’t you, that the terms “modernity” and “science” can be viewed as relative to the times in which one lives? We don’t have enough information to determine whether Jesus (as portrayed in the gospel accounts) rejected the modernity that may have been present during Roman occupation of Israel or whether He rejected the “natural philosophy” of His day.