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Why Use The Term Fundamentalist?


Asimov
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I'm seein a lot of members on this board (Antlerman, Sage Nabooru, Open Minded...) using the term "fundamentalist" to apply where I don't think it applies.

 

I've been called a fundamentalist, Dave has been called a fundamentalist, and I'm not sure but a few others might.

 

I'm not slammin you guys for doin it, I'm just curious what you mean by it. Since a fundamentalist generally needs a doctrine to be fundamental about and or in certain contexts needs to be a Christian in order to be a fundy...why use it?

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I have a few definitions in mind when I use the term. Which one I'm thinking of depends on context.

 

As I understand it, the original definition of Fundamentalist was someone who was part of an earlier 20th century American Protestant church movement, which was driven by a desire to return to the "fundamentals" of Christianity - i.e., its "fundamental" principles, beliefs, practices, and so on. As I understand it, the Fundamentalist movement is a continuing phenomenon. When I use the word "Fundamentalist" with a capital F, I'm thinking of an adherent to this particular movement.

 

The next definitions are tangentially related to the first, in that they're partly inspired by the doctrinal legalism a lot of Fundamentalists seem to exhibit.

 

A fundamentalist with a small "f" is, to my mind, a member of any group who has the tendency to place strict adherence to said group's doctrine as a priority in life. More often than not, a fundamentalist is a member of a given religious faith, but I suppose they could belong to any group that has a set of rules to live or work by.

 

Another way to put this might be to say that a fundamentalist of any kind tends to take the doctrine of their group (again, usually religion, but not always) literally. So you could have a fundamentalist Christian, or a fundamentalist Muslim, or a fundamentalist Amway salesman, or a fundamentalist Wiccan, or what have you.

 

I tend to start using the word "fundy" when someone's adherence to doctrine or dogma clouds their ability to use their head, or care about people, or starts becoming extreme enough that it's laughable, or in some other way just sort of goes over the top.

 

That's basically what I keep in mind when I'm talking or writing about the subject. I suppose I use the term for the same reasons I use any other label or word: it's a starting point for defining what I'm talking about.

 

Hope that helps a little.

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Asimov,

 

I think you are correct in your observations. Fundamentalist refers to religion of certain traits.

 

The most fundamental trait of fundamentalists in xtianity is that they beleive the bible to be the inspired word of god. If you don't believe that in some way, you might be a wack job but not necessarily a fundy.

 

In my observations, this is the single most relevant indicator and one rarely need not look deeper than this single item to figure out who is who.

 

Fundamentalists also believe in a "personal" god but so do non fundy wack jobs.

Fundamentalists believe in the saving of the soul through the cleansing of Christ's blood. So do other wack jobs.

 

Regarding Gwen's comments:

Another way to put this might be to say that a fundamentalist of any kind tends to take the doctrine of their group (again, usually religion, but not always) literally. So you could have a fundamentalist Christian, or a fundamentalist Muslim, or a fundamentalist Amway salesman, or a fundamentalist Wiccan, or what have you.

 

This is where I would use the term "Dogmatic" which can happen in computer programming or board games. These are people who follow a (religious) protocol (prescription) and believe that any corruption of that protocol will lead to bad results. Dogmatic may be code for "Anal retentive" but not necessarily fundamentalist.

 

Bhuddists, who espouse the middle way have dogmatic bhuddists who will tell you the one correct way to meditate or whatever. I don't think one could characterize the dogmatic Bhuddist a fundamentalist.

 

Although I see common elements in the dogmatic person and the fundamentalist, I see them as distinct.

 

Mongo

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I think it has more to do with the behavior of the person that holds whatever belief it is they have even non-religious. Maybe dogmatic would be a better term to use, but I don't think that has the overall 'feeling' as the word fundy. Therefore, we/they adopt the word for the connotation it provides.

 

Here is something that may help explain why we choose that word...just remember, I didn't write it (but I could have)! :)

 

Ever dealt with an Atheist Fundamentalist?

 

I have. She sent me an e-mail a couple of weeks back angry that we were using “Ayn Rand's name in our commercials.” We don't actually have any “commercials,” but I don't think she was coming from a place of healthy rational reasoning, to begin with. I assumed she was some sort of Christian Fundamentalist who wanted us to remove Ayn Rand from our site because she was against anything Godless. So, I replied telling her to allow us the same freedoms we allow her :) It turns out she was just an Atheist who, ironically, worships Ayn Rand as her God. Hence, an Atheist Fundamentalist, whom I'll refer to as “D-dub,” for the sake of anonymity.

 

The weird thing about this whole e-mail conversation is all the irony and shadow-projection in D-dub's responses. For one thing, she mentioned how Ayn Rand was a supporter of Rational Objectivism. Yet, everything she said wreaked of irrational, baseless, Subjectivism. Example (yes, she really wrote in all-caps… *sigh): “YOU ARE NO MORE THAN BLATENT RELIGIOUS CON ARTISTS! I WILL TELL YOU EXACTLY HOW TO USE YOUR STUPID WEBSITE, WHEN YOU ILLEGALLY, AND IMMORALLY AND BLANTENTLY [sic] TRY TO USE THE COPYRIGHTED NAME OF ANOTHER PERSON AND THE AYN GROUPS…FOR YOUR OWN SELFISH, IDIOTIC MYTHOLOGY AND CARTOON EXISTENCE.” I'll let you spot all the shadow projections in that statement, but I find it slightly curious that, as an Atheist, she doesn't want us quoting her God.

 

 

The rest is here: http://matthew.zaadz.com/blog/2006/11/ever..._fundamentalist

 

So, I use the word because I understand it more in the way the person holds their belief (strict or rigid), whether it be one of religion or philosophy (someone elses or their own). In other words, not open-minded to any other way of seeing things.

 

No offense to Ayn, of course. :grin:

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Fundamentalism: 1.) Movement or attitude stressing strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles.

 

2.) An approach to a belief system that emphasizes following a particular set of basic principles and opinions often called doctrine. The assurance and peace-of-mind that comes with fundamentalist responses to uncertainty attracts many. They seem to cluster in the political and religious arenas to help each other maintain faith in, what they believe is a more consistent and coherent worldview.

 

Any person who holds a set of beliefs and literal adherance to basic principles is a fundamentalist whether the fundamentals are shared by others or not. It does not necessarily have anything to do with religion.

 

Typically when I start calling another atheist a fundy, it means that they are blindly and strictly following their own personal fundamental beliefs without backing up their ideas.

 

As with fundamentalist Christians, they tend to argue from the position of "this is the way things are" using the basic logic fallacy of "Argumentum ad ignorantiam." (i.e., "Nobody has ever proven there is a god, so therefore there is no god.") They steadfastly refuse to accept they might be wrong or not know everything there is to know.

 

It's also a behavioural thing. Fundy Athiests show the same characteristics in debate as Fundy Christians. They tell others what to think, tend to be overly obnoxious, confuse their opinion with fact, and you can smack them around with heaps of facts and prove beyond doubt that their position is false or erronous, and they will STILL steadfastly hold to their idea out of sheer stubborness.

 

Atheism does not equal reason or freedom from delusion.

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I guess there are all kinds of fundamentalists, but when we say it, we mean fundamental christian.

 

I'd say for me, the term fundamentalist could be interchanged with innerantist or literalist.

 

They are people who take the bible absolutely literally. Word for word and believe the bible to be without error.

 

Someone who says - "God didn't really create the world in six days" - to me begins to move away from the fundamentalist label.

 

Once someone begins to understand that much of the bible is allegory or symbolic, they begin to move away from fundamentalism and towards liberalism.

 

From my perspective, liberal christians seem to be much more intelligent people in general than fundies.

 

I was a fundy. :loser:

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To me, a fundamentalist is someone who takes most of the Bible or another religious book, such as the Koran, literally.

 

Now, to me, a fundy is someone who is arrogant, stubborn, and close-minded. Anyone can be a fundy, not just Christians.

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