Fundamentalism’s Distorted View (and why you shouldn’t accept it)

Fundamentalism’s Distorted View (and why you shouldn’t accept it) February 22, 2015

Fred Clark on letting fundamentalism define religion

The quote above comes from one of several recent posts by Fred Clark, addressing the problem of allowing fundamentalism to define religion.

The other two posts are about how the fundamentalist paradigm distorts religion, and why you should not take the word of some faction when they say they are the “real true Christians.” Both those posts contain charts showing how fundamentalists equate conservativism with authentic religion. And that is no surprise – what should surprise us is that very frequently that equation is accepted without question even by people who are not themselves part of such fundamentalist groups.

Of related interest, Eric Reitan tackles a problematic Facebook meme. And Haroon Moghul responds in Salon to Graeme Wood’s article about ISIS in The Atlanticwhich a lot of the above is interacting with.

And of course, a lot of this discussion is also interacting with President Obama’s recent comments about Islam:

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  • TomS

    fundamentalists equate conservativism with authentic religion.
    I question the implication that fundamentalism is conservative. F may claim to be a return to the origins, the “good old days” or “faith of our fathers”, but it is loaded with novelties, modern reactions to modernity.

    • Yes, the fact that fundamentalism is regularly conserving something that is decades old, and not ancient or historic, also deserves to be highlighted, and highlighted often.

      • Jonathan Bernier

        On a related note, conservatism traditionally refers to someone who wanted to maintain such feudal values as monarchy, aristocracy, inherited privilege, etc. It entails a commitment, in what has become a somewhat archaic phrase, to church and crown. Now, in principle no American has been committed to the crown since the Revolution, so I question whether the United States of America has ever had a genuine conservative tradition. That said, modern conservatives in America really do love the idea of inherited privilege (inherited genetically, by being of European descent, and fiscally, by having rich parents), so maybe…

  • Martin

    Fundamentalists remind me of the “orthodox” Patristic writers: they make such a big noise that it’s easy to assume they are the dominant sect and the default position for Christianity.