Understanding fundamentalism

How to Recognize Fundamentalist Thinking

Two Methods:

Fundamentalism is a concept that often, historically, had religious connotations. However, it's a common term that describes a way of expressing ideals and related activities to express (from the point of view of the speaker) a perceived, accurate, ideological focus. Here are some common factors among those referred to as fundamentalists.


  1. Understand the definition:Identifying persons who hold a "strict adherence to the fundamental principles of any set of beliefs" -- as viewed by another individual. The use of the word "fundamentalist" is often intended to denote a certain point of view, but "fundamentalist" may be used in a negative connotation, being pejorative (derisive) of particular scientific, political or religious concepts.
  2. Understand that seeking to recognize fundamentalism may be educational and informative.This is not to indicate that fundamentalism is "on-/off-beat", centered versus eccentric (different) or "good" versus "bad".
  3. Do not equate "fundamentalism" with being "religious".As, some of the unflattering literature on fundamentalism was written by people who consider themselvesquite religiousbut who have differing doctrines and understandings. Confusing or mixing the two concepts will lead to misconceptions in identifying fundamentalist expression and activity (behavior). Judging the fundamentalist harshly could lead to social stigma, discrimination, prejudice, bias and possibly hatred.
  4. Appreciate the differences among varied types of fundamentalists.The term has been historically used to describe various, diverse groups, religious movements, political movements and philosophical or scientificschools of thought. The term itself has several definitions in use and meaning.
  5. Seek a common set of behaviors and indicators that are dominant/common in the different uses according to a particular definition.

Indications by Usage

  1. Use the word responsibly to credit and acknowledge a defined set of concepts, or beliefs or their advocates.Following is a list of some of the different uses of the term throughout history:[]
    1. Religious Fundamentalism:
      1. Fundamentalist Christianity recognizes an adherence to a basic set of Biblical, fundamental principles to preserve unity and harmony among believers. These fundamentals include a literal interpretation of the Bible as the divinely inspired and infallible Word of God and the necessity of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ's atonement. Some consider Christian fundamentalism to be identical with evangelicalism. Jesus said -- "...go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:19,20 NIV). While Christian fundamentalists hold unswervingly to their basic tenets, they encourage open-minded study of the Bible, intellectual discussion of "true" (Biblical) versus "false" (non-Biblical) doctrines and whether some traditional practices are/are-not Biblical.
      2. Islamic Fundamentalism:[]This includes advocating return to the "fundamentals" of Islam:The QuranandThe Sunnah. Definitions vary as some insist that Islamic belief requires all Muslims be fundamentalists and is, also, a term used by outsiders to describe perceived trends within Islam; whereas, some figures of Islamic fundamentalism may be termed "Islamists". Some say that "Radical Islam" is the term for movements beginning in the 1920s -- and that, some say, is not a return to the more historic fundamentals.[]
      3. Jewish Fundamentalism[]
      4. Mormon Fundamentalism[]
      5. Hindu Fundamentalism[]
      6. Atheistic Fundamentalists.[]- Observeatheistic fundamentalismas whether there is a strong disdain toward those who espouse religion, and some would say, a dogmatic opposition to what appears to bereligious tradition. Some atheist thinkers, such as Richard Dawkins, argue that no such fundamentalism exists, and that the term is meant to be disparaging of atheists' concepts.
    2. Non-religious Fundamentalism:
      1. Political Conservatism (Fundamentalism) including being "strict constructionist", being a "constitutional originalist" to follow the traditional meaning of the constitution and the basic law, not some modern, re-formed meaning.
      2. Scientism (Fundamentalism).[]- Consider that beginning in the nineteenth century, some scientists stated scientism as the view that all aspects of the universe are knowable through themethods of the scientistand that advances in all forms of knowledge could be made throughscientific progress; whereas, philosophy had historically relied onintuitionand other modes of thought as the source of knowledge and as equal or preferred toempirical investigation.
      3. Market Fundamentalism.[]- check to verify whether there is a strong belief inlaissez-faire, free-market systems of financial regulation. The recession was not due to regulation, but to schemes including an over-trusted kind of certificate called the "Collateralized debt obligation"; this is a type of structured asset-backed security (ABS) whose value and payments are supposed to be derived from a portfolio of fixed-income underlying assets[](but many were like bad mutual-fund shares). CDOs securities are split into different risk classes, but many bad "CDOs" were over-rated conglomerations of some good preferred stocks, bonds and too much of over-valued bad mortgages as some trillions of dollars of poor "investments" sold around the world -- and the related, bad-mortgages were a major cause of the banking crisis, also devastating to the economy. Some left-economists declared that the global financial crisis, so caused, of 2008 destroyed market fundamentalist's ideas of free markets. This expression, "market fundamentalism," was promulgated by George Soros in his 1998 book,The Crisis of Global Capitalism.As is "atheistic fundamentalism", "market fundamentalism" is often used as a pejorative to designate perceived, ideological dogma with which one may disagree.
  2. Be as objective as possible realizing indicators depend upon ones point of view -- or, perhaps, bias.Do not go looking for "signs" in persons toprovethey are indeed fundamentalists after you question their being so. Instead, only use this as a reference. In other words -- if, by chance, unintentionally, you encounter some of the indicators in a person's expressed views, look for the other indications very closely, trying to prove that they arenotthere! If you fail to eliminate them, you can relatively well identify the person as fundamentalist.
  3. Be sure that the indicators listed under "Common Indications" apply before going any further.

Common Indications of Fundamentalism

  1. Understand that "strict adherence to, or absolute belief in" any set of basic ideas or principles is fundamentalism, in essence for any given conceptual system as delineated in detail below:]
    • Watch for "absolute beliefs in certain ideas", and "not desiring to discuss questioningly with doubts" about concepts. Beware though, that this can be easily misinterpreted; for instance, if the discussion is allowing for each other to be right, do not try to prove the other wrong.
    • Expect defensive positions (to show that one is "not" wrong) when a discussion propagates towards opposing or criticizing one of the followers or tenants of their beliefs.
    • Understand their scripted/set views (on concepts) that they consider true (holy, true scripturally, historically and current in religious concepts -- or considered essential, empirical and observable in the case of scientific or political fundamentalism).
    • Understand voluminous and defined behavior are often indicators because the concepts must be firmly advocated, and the advocate ready to give an account.
    • See how the importance of fundamental concepts is magnified and focused because of the desire to be sure to adhere to them. So, then taking the scriptures as literally true is "it", e.g.: "the [one] Way, the Truth and the Life" leaves little doubt of this being a straight and narrow way. But trusting God for grace by faith is fundamental (in Christianity), not perfectionism!
    • See quoting and following authority such as of the Bible or of leaders as indicative, of a system of fundamentalism which is definitive in nature; following this pattern:
      • You must believe in A, and if you do not believe in A, then you are not a B(allowing no exceptions). An example of this without letter symbolism could be: "You must believe in baptism by water, and if you do not believe in it, then you are not a Christian."

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  • Just because someone shows some of the indications above does not in any way mean they are indeed strictly speaking, ideologically fundamentalists.
  • The reader should understand that the concept of fundamentalism is subjective/based on interpretation. Some of the religious groups who are viewed to be fundamentalists by some may consider others to be fundamentalists, e.g.: keyed to ones vital issues.


  • Avoid calling someone a fundamentalist unless one calls oneself so. The word may have an accumulated pejorative connotation to that person and could make the conversation turn toward an undesirable, personal direction, instead of toward the facts, if one does not accept that designation.
  • When discussing the issues of the concepts of a perceived fundamentalist, try not to use any harsh or prejudicial words. Never dispute their focal point of belief by using words that they may consider as openly offensive. This will usually lead to nowhere that would be helpful for understanding one another's points of view.

Video: No, Atheists Aren't Fundamentalists, and Here’s Why

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Date: 06.12.2018, 01:30 / Views: 51235