Fighting Fundamentalists vs. Fighting Fundamentalism

Fighting Fundamentalists vs. Fighting Fundamentalism November 12, 2015

fighting fundamentalists vs fighting fundamentalism

Dealing with an exploitative dictator by overthrowing that ruler and replacing them with oneself as dictator is fighting the dictator, but not dictatorship. Likewise, one can fight fundamentalists in a manner that is equally fundamentalist and so does not fight fundamentalism.

This was a comment I left on a recent blog post about diagnosing and treating unreformed fundamentalism. See also Libby Anne’s response to Allan Bevere’s post, in which she offers some interesting push-back on a number of points.


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  • jekylldoc

    I heard an interesting definition of “fundamentalism” by implicit implication, rather than by direct address, putting fundamentalism into the background rather than the focus: there are strands of Christianity, said an atheist, who continue to dialogue with the rest of culture. Fundamentalism, implicitly, is the strand who takes “dialoguing with the rest of culture” to be somehow inappropriate.

    These are people who can go into a bar, sinful as it is, because they know the only thing they are going to do there is witness, to try to save those unfortunate souls.

    The idea that they might respect those people in the bar, much less have a beer with them or share a joke or a song, is too flexible to contemplate.

    • charlesburchfield

      yes the brittleness and rigidity of: ‘stand not next to me I’m holier than thou’. */=0

    • Timothy Weston

      I knew one guy who described dialogue as “compromise on the installment plan”

      • jekylldoc


        I think that is an insightful description. Fundamentalism tends to take it as given that Christians have been given all truth, and that there is nothing in the rest of culture that is worth adapting to.

        Of course in practice they change a lot. Television, material goods, jewelry, accepting divorce and remarriage, and on and on. Things that used to be set in stone by the word of God turn out to be somewhat different, later on.

        So considering dialogue to be slow-motion compromise may in fact just turn out to be fooling oneself. The idea that secular culture has nothing to offer Christians is simply laughable.

        One of the things that dialogue can help with is revealing which battles to pick. By hearing about the way things work for others, and the values that others care about, we can better discern which things are okay to compromise on, and which things need a firm stand.