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Thinking About Fundamentalism


BlueGiant
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Last night I arrived to meet a friend of mine at a diner and both he and the booth across the asile from us were involved in a conversation about religious topics. It should be noted that my friend is a Jehova's Witness and is actually a moderate at that. Actually reasonable, and very adept at the defense of his own religion (tends to be a bit more personal for him). He is a friend that I respect immensely and we work together on a regular basis.

 

And he was actually reasonable throughout the entire conversation (and we have had others that were similar, so this was not a big surprise).

 

The term fundamentalist came up in a few contexts in the conversation and we realized that this word needed a definition, or at least a working one, essentially so we were all on the same page (especially since we were about to slam this group as a whole). Took a minute of thinking, but the eventual definition we came up with was: someone who becomes so focused on their system they only see the rules, and loose sight of the redeeming qualities of their system. They can't see past their own dogma, and they can only remember that it is cool, not why it is cool.

 

This came up in a context about Christian, Islamic, Atheistic, Wiccan and even Discordian fundamentalists (and yes, I have run into one). Our verdict about five seconds later: fundies suck, unsurprisingly. We then started getting into why this occurs and what kinds of features end up in common. The first was the blind (or almost blind) adherence to a doctorine. The second, and possibly more important is that there is a sort of "us-them" dualism set up in their minds, and this dualism tends to unify these people into communities. Whether the "them" group is real or not is immaterial as long as they exist as a symbol, something to rally around (the left-wing media bias comes to mind), and those that question this, as many on this site have found, frequently find themselves in the "them" group so fast that their heads spin.

 

I know a lot of this stuff will get a big "No Shit, Sherlock." from many here. I say "Keep Digging, Watson." The purpose here is twofold. First, since the term Fundie/Fundamentalist gets slung around here like a wild west six-shooter, a strong definition and what differentiates this class of followers from the rest of their beleif system should be addressed.

 

Second, what actually drives this phenomena? What causes people go deny their free will and saturate themselves with a particular dogma? How does it originate? How does it break? A lot of us have been there before, what have we learned from that experience and what have others observed about it.

 

A lot of the answers to these questions seem to be implied on the board. Instead of relying on implicit understandings, by explicitly bringing these things to the fore and stating them, maybe some other useful tidbits will emerge.

 

So, what makes a Fundamentalist?

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Heh, interesting that you should bring this up, because I was thinking a similar sort of thingy earlier today, which I might start a thread on too.

 

To my mind there are 2.5 kinds of fundamentalists. Version 1.0 is simply a person who takes the doctrine of their group literally. "Group" usually means "religion", but doesn't have to - it could be any group that has some kind of rules, dogma, doctrine, or written kind of framework. Fundamentalism 1.0 could very well stop there, with a belief one simply holds for oneself.

 

Version 2.0 is the Fundie-mentalist, the one people are more familiar with, the person who takes 1.0 a few steps further and gets so into that doctrine and dogma and whatnot that they lose sight of whatever the core message of their group is. Many Xians, for instance, claim that the core message of Xianity is love, yet a Fundie-mentalist misses that entirely in their blind pursuit of perfect adherence to doctrine. Pharisees were Fundie-mentalists. Falwell is. Bin Laden is. The nutjobs who come here to preach at us are. The common theme among all of them is that Fundie-mentalists value doctrine higher than love. They'll never admit it; in fact many of them will claim that they're enforcing doctrine out of love, but it's bullshit. Most rabid Fundie-mentalists wouldn't know what love was if it came up and bit them on the ass.

 

Version 2.5 is a historical definition, which is the American Fundamentalist movement. Has common themes with both 1.0 and 2.0, but occasionally Fundamentalists in the historical sense show some atypical, very Jesuslike behavior. (I'll admit I haven't thought this bit out very well here. Oh well. It's been a long week and I'm tired.)

 

I think Fundie-mentalism is about fear. I think it's about fear of losing control. Under that I think is a fear of death. Fundies, in my experience, are all about making themselves happy and content by making the people around them do things just the way they think things should be. It's about being able to be part of a special club that's better than everybody else.

 

I find it interesting that you bring this up, because I've been thinking along the lines lately that the term "Christian" is actually something of a misnomer, or a label not accurately applied, since so many Christians seem not to be trying to follow the teachings of Christ specifically, but rather seem to be following the teachings of the Bible as a whole. And I think the Fundie-mentalist mindset kind of meshes with that idea in a way. (I might post about this later.)

 

My latest philosophy on religion is that it's a form of ego-stroking or mental masturbation: self-worship, under the guise of being one of god's holy people. It makes a fundie feel superior. The weird thing is that I think a lot of fundies really have just piss-poor self-esteem, because there's this whole aspect to Fundie-mentalism that involves making sure followers know what worthless, sinful scumbags they are. I mean look at the shit-and-run "You weren't ever a real Xian" thread in the Lion's Den right now - the OP is a prime example. He both elevates and debases himself at the same time. It's fucked up. I suspect what's going on is a deep self-hatred, which a Fundie tries to soothe with a belief system that still makes him better than everyone else. Hell, I've met at least a few Fundies who didn't even think I was fully human. Go figure.

 

I certainly hated myself deeply when I was a Fundie. Yet I still felt I knew more than other people did about god and the universe. I had an ex I've mentioned on these boards before who was a hardcore Fundie. He also had an unhealthy attachment to porn. At the bottom of it was a deep sense of painful shame at the fact that he had a sexual drive. I mean shit, he hated himself for having feelings that are intrinsic to being human. That's crazymaking. How can you deal with something as crazymaking as that, other than adopting or creating a belief system to relieve it that's just as crazy?

 

There's actually a good article about Fundie-mentalism here. It has some additional interesting things to say.

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..good thread. :grin:

 

I don’t know, but for me it’s a mindset that everyone else is wrong, except you. In one word, I would describe it as self-righteousness.

 

I don't think fundamentalism sets out to be an arrogant, 'everyone else is wrong' type attitude but that is where it ends up.

 

First I think we have to differentiate between fundamentalism and literalism.

I read fundamental as foundation - ie some base to build from. You can't have a house without foundations etc

Literalism - although often closely related to fundamentalism - is different and more to do with the house than the foundation.

 

For example:

The bible says God made the Earth in 6 days.

Christians believe 'fundamentally' that God made the earth.

HOW did he make it and HOW LONG did he actually take is another matter and is a question of how literally you read Genesis - and in that area there is a huge difference of opinion.

 

The point that cannot be argued and that is fundamental to Chritianity is that God exists and made the earth.

 

So leaving literalist thinking aside and concentrating purely on the fundamental/foundation beliefs then Christianity can be boiled down to just one thing - That Christ died for everyones sins and that he is the only way to God.

 

This is an exclusive stance and the source of why Christians;

Preach / evangelise

See all other religions as evil

See all non Christians as unsaved / lost (that self righteous attitude thunderbolt mentioned)

Tr to 'win' you back

Think they are right and everyone else is wrong (Them and Us - Blue Giant)

 

So for a christian NOT to do any of the above they are questioning the core foundation of their faith

 

 

Without a core foundation where would any religion be?

Organised religion needs the foundation of a simple message that can be taught to kids and adults alike irrespective of their mental capacity. Not all people can or want to tackle difficult issues... they like a simple / clear message that gives them something to hold on to - a mission in life. A purpose.

 

Sorry i have not given any answers just my view on the source of the issues of fundamentalism

 

My question is

Has the fundamental Christian message been over simplified so it encompasses all thinking capabilities and so misses the point as Blue Giant says? If so what is the point?

 

I don't know :Hmm:

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A lot of the answers to these questions seem to be implied on the board. Instead of relying on implicit understandings, by explicitly bringing these things to the fore and stating them, maybe some other useful tidbits will emerge.

 

So, what makes a Fundamentalist?

 

Thank you BlueGiant from the bottom of my heart. I truly mean that. :HappyCry:

 

I found this board looking for answers to that very question.... I have found implicit answers.... but I will be watching this thread closely. As I too want to know what makes a fundamentalist?

 

(For those of you who don't know, our 15 year old daughter has two female friends who are getting caught up in all of this. It is in fact the reason I found this board... I was searching the internet looking for a better understanding of what they're dealing with and found you all. I stayed because I do find answers here... and sometimes you are just down right funny the way you go after the fundies.)

 

The one thing I've decided, these past months watching the two teens I'm familiar with, is that the "church" they are involved in has an exclusive country club appeal. It appeals to people who never grew out of the highschool need to be in the "IN" crowd. I could be completely off base here... but it explains a lot to me.

 

The stunted emotional growth of the adults "in charge", the constant emphasis on a pecking order for decision-making, the strong authoritarian structure, the need to separate themeselves from the rest of society, etc... :shrug:

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A lot of defenitions depend on context. If you have an accepted definition from religious studies, go for it. Then again, I get the feeling that the sense it is used with here is a bit different than the sense used in accademia.

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Yeah, by all means post what the religious studies definition says.

 

I don't doubt that it'll probably vary from what's been posted here; but I can say that I posted a personal definition, not an academic one. It wouldn't surprise me to see something in the "standard" definition that isn't the same as my own working definition. Plus it might bring up stuff that nobody's considered before.

 

So yeah, why not. Post away. We can't like everything. ;)

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Second, what actually drives this phenomena? What causes people go deny their free will and saturate themselves with a particular dogma?

 

The biggest reason that I see for that kind of behavior is good old human ignorance and spiritual laziness. Most people don't want a "fuzzy" universe; they don't want questions, they don't want theology or philosophy -- and they certainly don't want to have to think. They want answers, dammit. And they want the right answers -- and the only way they can have the right answers is if everyone else has the wrong answers. Ergo, fundie wackos.

 

However, I also think Gwenmead is on the right track about self-loathing. Especially since Christianity feeds that emotion rather than treats it.

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However, I also think Gwenmead is on the right track about self-loathing. Especially since Christianity feeds that emotion rather than treats it.

 

Ok... I've a question for all of you regarding Fundamentalist Christianity feeding the emotion of self-loathing.

 

I've noticed that young people (10,11,12 year olds - late highschool years) are particular targets of the evangelists. Back to the original question: "So, what makes a Fundamentalist?"

 

How in the world do the fundies rope bright, intelligent and promising young kids into that type of belief system?

 

I am really interested in the details here... what do they preach and teach to "feed the emotion" of self-loathing?

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However, I also think Gwenmead is on the right track about self-loathing. Especially since Christianity feeds that emotion rather than treats it.

 

Ok... I've a question for all of you regarding Fundamentalist Christianity feeding the emotion of self-loathing.

 

I've noticed that young people (10,11,12 year olds - late highschool years) are particular targets of the evangelists. Back to the original question: "So, what makes a Fundamentalist?"

 

How in the world do the fundies rope bright, intelligent and promising young kids into that type of belief system?

 

I am really interested in the details here... what do they preach and teach to "feed the emotion" of self-loathing?

In a nutshell... they preach about how humanity is seriously screwed-up and it's all our fault for it. Then, they teach about how someone came along and took the blame for them so they're gonna get away with it. (which appeals to kids quite a lot, when you think about it... being bad and getting away with it, it's like paradise to a lot of kids)

 

It's the old "create a problem, then sell the suckers a 'cure' for it" scam...

 

 

The only problem is, it removes any shreds of self-confidence they had and replaces it with, you've guessed it, self-loathing. (only problem?? Ok... one of the problems)

 

 

 

 

It just occured to me that this...

In a nutshell... they preach about how humanity is seriously screwed-up and it's all our fault for it. Then, they teach about how someone came along and took the blame for them so they're gonna get away with it.

...is pretty much immoral.

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Before I render my opinion on what fundamentalism is, I will give my thoughts on “religion” and Spirituality.

 

I define Spirituality as an Internal Process which includes:

1 - Devotion to the Divine Within.

2 - Dedication to Metaphysics.

3 - Respect for the Individual Rights of others.

 

I define religion as an external framework in which Spirituality (whatever you want it to be) is supposed to Operate. Religion consists of tradition, ritual, observances, “commandments” and dogma/doctrine.

 

Fundamentalism is the rabid focus on the externalities of religion.

 

The fundamentalist:

 

1 – Is exclusionistic

That is to say that they believe they have the “only true” way, and everyone else is an “infidel”. (religionism)

 

2 – Desires control

The desire for control is paramount in the religionist. This is also a desire of the statist. The fundamentalist will typically seek out the statist to help achieve control and domination over the populace. Methods of control include home-made “commandments” and other sundry bullshit.

 

3 – Uses fear tactics

This can either be threats of “divine retribution” or out-and-out physical violence. This is also a tactic used by the statist.

 

4- Is ignorant

The sheeple must be kept in ignorance. If they are not, they will “rebel” and leave. This is why materials exposing doctrinal fallacies have always been destroyed or banned by the prelates and the controlling hierocracy.

 

5 – Uses brainwashing techniques

Brainwashing is a prime vehicle for control and guilt-mongering. For maximum control, this is started at an early age. Hate of anyone else not holding to the “correct” dogma is one of the indoctrinational themes.

 

6 – Gives literalist interpretations of “scripture”

Even though there may be no empirical foundation in history, archaeology, Science or demonstration of power by “believers” for said “scripture” (e.g. the bible) it’s all “true” anyway…

 

7 – Has “herd” mentality.

The precious Individual Mentality of the individual is surrendered to that of the herd, and the fiends who control the herd, and exploit said herd for their own benefit and self-aggrandizement.

 

8 – Employs circular “reasoning”

A strong example of this is in Xtianity, where OT literalized myth is used to “prove” NT pseudepigraphical constructs, in a seemingly endless cacophony of regurgitation.

 

9 – Is completely clueless as to Spiritual, Esoteric and Philosophic Gnosis

One of the most horrific examples of this in all history was the brutal and savage murder of Hypatia of Alexandria in 415CE by the lunatic parishioners of the deranged “saint” Cyril. Of course, these types of individuals are less than animals.

 

10 – Engages in persecution, discrimination, terrorism and other forms of societally stultifying behavior

One look at the ‘dark ages’ will tell anyone with half a brain that this is true. With Xtian fundamentalist insanity on the rise at present in the U.S., and their hypocritical alliance with the most corrupt government in the history of this country, we are once again at the precipice of the abyss of the ‘dark ages’……

 

Fundamentalism is a societal cancer which destroys humanity. It must be stamped out.

 

True Spirituality Transcends religion.

 

K

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Fundyism is so appealing for a lot of reasons, and I think one of them is because most people really want something lively and seemingly important to commit their lives to. Especially in our youth, we all get fired up about certain things, and many times those little causes we latch onto were provided by someone else.

 

But in general, humans love drama and strife and controversy, and Xianity provides all three, as well as a holy crusade to spend one's life on. You can think you're doing something really great and high-falutin' with your time on earth by believing in Jesus and fighting to spread the faith, and those who oppose serve as convenient outlets for hatred and anger. See a problem in the world? Blame it on this or that segment of society, add the constant fear of a devil, and presto! A whole world of things to fight against to go with the things you're trying to spread. Xianity, especially the fundy kind, gives many people that holy war they can fight in their own lives, or vicariously through their favorite preachers and evangelists.

 

Plus, having a fundamentalist attitude is very dramatic and exciting, and I think lots of people crave that. Especially in this world where we easily get trapped in a day-in, day-out rut of work and sleep and more work, people want something out of the ordinary to spice up things, even if they don't realize that. Fundamentalist religious views certainly shake up people's worlds.

 

I was a lot like that. I was an angry youth and Xianity provided me with easy (though mostly made up) answers to the problems of the world. It gave me a whole variety of enemies to hate and little causes to crusade for, all in the name of truth and righteousness and the Lard Almightah. I could fight and have my crusades here on earth and when I died I was assured a glorious afterlife. What's not to like, right?

 

Basically, fundyism feeds some human desires and can be very appealing, so lots of folks latch onto it, never knowing the poison that is in the apple until their souls are sick from it.

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Open_minded, you'd also asked about why puberty-age kids are an easy target for Fundies. I have some thoughts on that.

 

Puberty-age kids are extremely emotionally vulnerable. Plus they're young, they're still just kids. They're at a stage where they're only just beginning to start the phase of life where the groundwork for who they become as adults is being laid. As I understand it, not only do kids' hormones and physiology start shifting then, but there's actually changes in brain development right around then too. Get 'em at the right time, and you can impact their thinking, possibly permanently.

 

Plus it's right at the time when sex first starts becoming an issue. And boy, we know what kind of control Fundie-mentalists just have to have on sex, now, don't we.

 

Plus it's also a time when kids go through another stage of differentiating from mom and dad, and figuring out life on their own. They'll try on different ideas and personas and all kinds of stuff, all through adolescence. They don't know who they are yet, not completely. Kind of like they've got the core of it there, but childhood isn't really over and full adulthood is a little ways off, so there's this uncertainty about who they want to be and how to get there. Even kids who are bright and healthy and don't have to deal with the added burden of, say, dysfunctional families.

 

Throw a dysfunctional family into the loop, and all bets are off. Dealing with the dysfunction really just puts everything on hold until escape is possible, because all a kid's energy is going towards dealing with the chaos and just surviving.

 

I know that when I was 11 to about 15 or so I felt utterly unloved, unwanted, even outright despised by my family, especially my mom. She spent most of her time at the bottom of a vodka bottle; the rest of the time she was either sleeping it off, or joyfully trying to make me over in her image, or furiously reaming me out for not being perfect enough to please her. That kind of shit takes its toll. I can remember the bottomless depth of feeling so unloved, but it's hard to describe in such a way that anybody else gets it, unless they've been through the same.

 

I know that I was ripe and desperate for someone to love and take care of me, even show the remostest bit of kindness. I also felt that I was some of the most unlovable, worthless scum to walk the earth. I was convinced that I was unloved because there was something deeply, fundamentally wrong with me, and that if I could just find a magic formula to fix it all, I'd suddenly be lovable and my life wouldn't be miserable anymore.

 

That kind of formula makes it really really easy for a kid to be exploited. And the Fundie message is very well-matched to the needs of someone trapped in that kind of thinking.

 

Think of it. The Fundie message tells us that we're worthless, sinful, wicked scum, but that there's a way out. There's a way to become "clean" again. All you have to do is say some version of the sinner's prayer, then follow whatever rules they lay out for you. It provides structure, and the promise of redemption - the promise that someday you won't be an awful, sinful, disgusting piece of trash.

 

The problem is that Fundie systems have to keep people in their place. And of course the best way to do that is to emphasize how awful a follower is. Put the emphasis on reminding people that they're nobody without Jeezus, nobody without the church, nobody without their youth pastor to tell them what to do - keep telling them that they're terrible, and "prove" it by pointing out various behaviors labeled "sinful". Do they flirt with boys? SIN! You're not worthy! Do they think for themselves? SIN! Not worthy! And so on and so on and so on.

 

In fact if you want to know about tactics, check out domestic violence sites. Take a look at how emotional abuse works. It's the same damn thing. Convince the victim that they're just fundamentally terrible and worthless without you, and then offer them a way out. Seems like magic. And seems like a blessing for someone young, unloved, and vulnerable.

 

Hell, brainwashing like this can and does happen to strong, independent adults - who you'd think would be much more immune to that sort of thing than a kid would.

 

Anyway this is what I think. It's long, sorry 'bout that. But thanks for reading if you made it all the way through.

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In fact if you want to know about tactics, check out domestic violence sites. Take a look at how emotional abuse works. It's the same damn thing. Convince the victim that they're just fundamentally terrible and worthless without you, and then offer them a way out. Seems like magic. And seems like a blessing for someone young, unloved, and vulnerable.

 

Hell, brainwashing like this can and does happen to strong, independent adults - who you'd think would be much more immune to that sort of thing than a kid would.

 

Anyway this is what I think. It's long, sorry 'bout that. But thanks for reading if you made it all the way through.

 

You're welcome :)

 

That's basically what keeps me away from Xianity, the fact that all it really is is just an abusive relationship. You are told you're trash without Jesus, told that the only way you have a chance in hell of getting to heaven (hehe) is by selling your soul to Jesus and doing everything your priest or pastor says, and told you will suffer for all eternity without him if you dare to leave him. Having been in an abusive relationship (though not this bad) it's little wonder I felt moved to get rid of Xianity when I got rid of my ex. There's no way I'd go back to her, especially now that I have a wonderful young lady in my life. I wouldn't return to the abusive bitch of Xianity any sooner.

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...I know that I was ripe and desperate for someone to love and take care of me, even show the remostest bit of kindness. I also felt that I was some of the most unlovable, worthless scum to walk the earth. I was convinced that I was unloved because there was something deeply, fundamentally wrong with me, and that if I could just find a magic formula to fix it all, I'd suddenly be lovable and my life wouldn't be miserable anymore.

 

That kind of formula makes it really really easy for a kid to be exploited. And the Fundie message is very well-matched to the needs of someone trapped in that kind of thinking.

 

Think of it. The Fundie message tells us that we're worthless, sinful, wicked scum, but that there's a way out. There's a way to become "clean" again. All you have to do is say some version of the sinner's prayer, then follow whatever rules they lay out for you. It provides structure, and the promise of redemption - the promise that someday you won't be an awful, sinful, disgusting piece of trash. ...

 

Anyway this is what I think. It's long, sorry 'bout that. But thanks for reading if you made it all the way through.

 

Oh Gwenmead :HappyCry:

 

Thank you so much for sharing such a personal story.

 

I did make it all the way through and it answered the most fundamental question that I have had for months. Why would these bright young girls choose to go to a church that made them feel so awful, especially when their home life is so awful (one of the girls has two alcoholic parents)?

 

And now I know. You helped me understand what they are feeling, you are an adult who used your own experience to speak for children who - right now - cannot speak for themselves.

 

I don't know that understanding this will make it any easier to get through to them. But it helps to understand, on a very deep level it helps. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

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.

 

First I think we have to differentiate between fundamentalism and literalism.

I read fundamental as foundation - ie some base to build from. You can't have a house without foundations etc

Literalism - although often closely related to fundamentalism - is different and more to do with the house than the foundation.

 

For example:

The bible says God made the Earth in 6 days.

Christians believe 'fundamentally' that God made the earth.

HOW did he make it and HOW LONG did he actually take is another matter and is a question of how literally you read Genesis - and in that area there is a huge difference of opinion.

 

....

 

That Christ died for everyones sins and that he is the only way to God

 

Robert, who is decided what are the fundamentals. Isn't it the christians themselves?The christian god is certainly not coming down on earth and telling christians what the fundamentals are.

 

One persons fundamental is another persons heresy/principle. A lot christians out there do not take stance that Jesus is only way to God. Have you ever heard of the christian sect called the Universalist?They certainly don't believe that he is the only way. They think that Jesus will save all mankind(off course all sect come at the expense of ignoring or rationalising certain contradictory verses)

 

A lot christian will call you heretic because you don't believe in the word of god, eg the earth was created in 6 days. The 6 days creations and story of Adam is critical for their theology.

 

Just hear any of jason gastrich debate with a atheist.

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Sorry I didn't post earlier...I meant to, really. I've been so damn busy that I couldn't get around to it.

 

Okay...bear with me for a minute. The reason that I said many of you aren't going to like this is because of the murkiness in the definition...but hey, it's religious studies, right? Religion never makes sense...

 

Anyway, someone mentioned earlier that Fundamentalism referred to the historical movement in the US when Christians circulated around a series of pamphlets. Yep. That's it. If you want to get to the most basic definition of Fundametalism, it is the movement that was basically arguing against some more scientific/Enlightenment thought patterns. It was reactionary, and happened around the 1920's if I remember right...maybe a bit earlier. The pamphlets were called "The Fundamentals of the Faith." I bet you could look up some of the info online...I haven't tried yet.

 

Now...as far as how fundamentalism has been used in the field...it varies. Some people, myself included, don't think that utilizing the word is a good idea, and that there cannot be a good definition to encapsulate all religious movements that have been characterized as "fundamental." There simply aren't ENOUGH similarities between all of them to make a definition useful. I would rather examine each tradition independently, and give descriptors accordingly. Many in the field also find it rather misleading to use the word to describe anything but Christian movements, because that is where the word came from in the first place.

 

Anyway, others have kind of tossed in the towel with the attitude that, well, the word is here and is used all the time, we may as well try and find a definition for it or make some sort of category. There was a HUUUUUGE multi-volume work done in the 90's by two scholars, Martin Marty and R. Scott Appleby called "The Fundamentalism Project." I must say, I have read a bunch of it, and have barely made a dent in all of the info. I like a lot of what they did and find it pretty useful for the most part. They are highly reputed scholars, and, generally, they outline fundamentalism to be a militant group (i.e. use violence) to achieve the goals of returning their society to a model of an idealized past. In other words, most fundamentalist movements depend on an imagined past where their religion was practiced perfectly in society, and they are determined to return to that. The problem is that the past never really happened they way that they thought it did.

 

In response to some of the posts, another commonly identified characteristic is the model of reality that many accept. George Lakoff recently wrote a short book that you can buy at Borders, called "Don't think of an Elephant." He's a linguistics prof, and wrote it in response to the 2004 elections, trying to get the idiot Dems to figure out why the public isn't liking them so much right now. Anyway, he identified a "punishing father" model, and a "nurturing parent" model. Well, take a wild guess as to which one fundamentalists ascribe to?

 

As far as all of the discussion about not accepting logic, etc, one has to be a little more careful. While there are indeed people who aren't well versed in science and their own bible, a lot of movements are indeed pretty rational and logical...WITHIN the system that they operate in. As we all know, people have "good" answers for almost all of the questions thrown at them. And, people only accept as rational and real pieces of information that fit within their view of reality. It's as simple as that. Even us...

 

 

***After just reading a couple of posts in other places...I wanted to add something else. This is my own personal mini-rant. The reason that I added that last paragraph there is because it is so incredibly easy to point the finger at other people, but, I've gotta say, some of the stuff I read on this site is just as idiotic as some of the stuff I have read on "fundamentalist" sites. SERIOUSLY!!! Especially the hatred of Muslims...I just don't get it. It makes me so goddamn angry....simply because we've got to be BETTER than them, not sink to the level of condemning others for their beliefs. I mean...we were there once too, right? I was totally someone who would have been labeled a fundamentalist...at least for a while. I find myself to be perfectly logical, and did back then too. How am I supposed to know that, if given more information, I might not change my mind again? I mean, that is all that got me AWAY from Christianity...I learned stuff that I didn't know before, and after several years of examination, decided that I could no longer ascribe to or accept it as a personal religion for myself. AAARG! Ok. I'm done.

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One persons fundamental is another persons heresy/principle. A lot christians out there do not take stance that Jesus is only way to God. Have you ever heard of the christian sect called the Universalist?They certainly don't believe that he is the only way. They think that Jesus will save all mankind(off course all sect come at the expense of ignoring or rationalising certain contradictory verses)

 

Hi Pritish Yeah i know there are differing opinions within Christian circles - you can find this even without going to sects IF you can get christians to talk honestly and think independantly

 

But I think that for Christianity the Heaven Hell / one way to go thing is THE core fundamental that is key to what this thread seeems to be about

 

Its viewing everyone else either as an enemy or as 'lost' (needs converted).

Its why today chritians feel they need to save you and parents in real agony over their childrens deconversion. Its also the basis for all the stuff being talked about by OM and gwenmead and the exploitation of kids.

 

The problem is that there are twisted people with control personalities who use this fundamental to their own good ... but also the bigger issue is the 'Church' cannot disagree. If a guy wins a young girl for Christ then the Church HAS to agree thats a good thing .. it can;'t NOT agree becasue that would be unbiblical

 

So the church has an internal problem with this even for the good and honest Christians

 

Anyway have to go ... hope that makes sense I'll re-read it again later!

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But I think that for Christianity the Heaven Hell / one way to go thing is THE core fundamental that is key to what this thread seeems to be about

 

 

Here is the funny thing. The OT(especially the first 5 books) does not even mention a single thing about the concept of Heaven/Hell where people go when they die.

 

At most you have the resurruction in Daniels, which talks about eternal life, but even there are 3 outcomes after the resurrection.

 

To me I think this is one of those concepts that the Nt writers took from the geek. After all they wanted to package it towards the gentiles

 

Its viewing everyone else either as an enemy or as 'lost' (needs converted).

Its why today chritians feel they need to save you and parents in real agony over their childrens deconversion.

 

I understand that. I think the worse nightmare a fundie parent can have if their son turns out gay. Boy that is timebomb waiting to explode.

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I think that religious fundamentalism is similar to other forms of "group think", and it's appeal and genesis is the same as these others. These other forms of group-thinking can be military boot-camps, or political systems like communism, of which North Korea is a prime example, their entire country haveing the self-righteous isolation that a pentecostal church wishes it could in their most feverish dreams. There are other small-scale types too, covered in these books at these links.

 

Both of these books are easy to read and very informative.

 

These groups all, christian fundie-ism included, use similar tactics in greater or lesser degrees of severity to implement and sustain influence over people. These are covered very clearly. Here you go :

 

Thought reform and the psycjology of totalism

 

Cults : Faith, healing and coercion

 

The second book mentioned, "Cults...", I consider to be the most overall illustrative of these ideas, and is written by an absolutely brilliant psychiatrist, and is a pure intellectual pleasure to read. Also, any works of standard social psychology are illuminating in showing how these are cross-cultural phenomena, giving a broad view. "....same bullshit, different day, different time zone..."

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The term fundamentalist came up in a few contexts in the conversation and we realized that this word needed a definition, or at least a working one, essentially so we were all on the same page (especially since we were about to slam this group as a whole). Took a minute of thinking, but the eventual definition we came up with was: someone who becomes so focused on their system they only see the rules, and loose sight of the redeeming qualities of their system. They can't see past their own dogma, and they can only remember that it is cool, not why it is cool.

 

This came up in a context about Christian, Islamic, Atheistic, Wiccan and even Discordian fundamentalists (and yes, I have run into one). Our verdict about five seconds later: fundies suck, unsurprisingly. We then started getting into why this occurs and what kinds of features end up in common. The first was the blind (or almost blind) adherence to a doctorine. The second, and possibly more important is that there is a sort of "us-them" dualism set up in their minds, and this dualism tends to unify these people into communities. Whether the "them" group is real or not is immaterial as long as they exist as a symbol, something to rally around (the left-wing media bias comes to mind), and those that question this, as many on this site have found, frequently find themselves in the "them" group so fast that their heads spin.

That was awesome BG!

 

I have selected an area from your post that I would like to address if I may.

 

This is why I find it cool: This dualism you address can be directly related to the allegory of Adam and Eve. Look and this story as a representation of humanity as a whole...this story chooses to call humanity Adam and Eve. When humanity ate from the tree of knowledge (an natural process - curiosity), the fruit from this tree was infected with lies (the serpent). We ate the lie that we are separate from each other and that we are not as good as the next person or that we are better than the next person or vise versa. We now know good and evil, but do we really? The problem with this kind of knowledge (good and evil; right and wrong) is that it is abstract and is not true, but we still believe it. Once we believe it, we put our faith in it. This sets up the us vs them mentality and forces us to judge. We have believed the lie that duality exists, when in reality, we are one with all that is.

 

This dualism is the only so-called 'sin' there is and this leads us to exactly what we have today and what you are observing yourself! We are continually searching for perfection outside of ourselves. We may think we see it in others and desire to be like the other, when in reality the other person is also searching for perfection. We believe 100% that there are other people that are better than we are, no matter who we are. It is a fruitless search because we are searching for something that cannot be found outside of ourselves. We already have it!

 

Now, isn't that about as cool as it can get? :grin:

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So leaving literalist thinking aside and concentrating purely on the fundamental/foundation beliefs then Christianity can be boiled down to just one thing - That Christ died for everyones sins and that he is the only way to God.

 

This is an exclusive stance and the source of why Christians;

Preach / evangelise

See all other religions as evil

See all non Christians as unsaved / lost (that self righteous attitude thunderbolt mentioned)

Tr to 'win' you back

Think they are right and everyone else is wrong (Them and Us - Blue Giant)

 

So for a christian NOT to do any of the above they are questioning the core foundation of their faith

 

 

Without a core foundation where would any religion be?

You see, I think they are not understanding the core foundation of their faith at all. I think that what you have listed above is a result of that misunderstanding. This is against what the myth is speaking for. The contradictions appear when it is read as a god-breathed, holy book, when deep-down, the core message is that we are no different than anyone else. I'm not saying that parts weren't added to enforce what you have written above, but the purpose of the myth is what I stated, IMO. They are trying to put themselves into a culture that is no longer in existence.

 

Myths are supposed to adapt to the changing times and cultures of people. So, when this myth addresses people of that time, what good would it do for us? We don't live in that time. But, there are also profound truths that are timeless in myths. If we try to carry the insights that were meant for a specific time and apply them to today, the myth has lost it's meaning. I don't live with war ourside my front door, so the parts that deal with that is not applicable to me. I hope I made a little sense.

 

If that is what is seen to be their core foundation, then they should look harder and deeper into the purpose of what a myth is supposed to do. Their foundation may break only because it is not solid. What will catch them when they fall is something that will never crack.

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