On Fundamentalism

Quote from John Shelby Spong, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism

‘The fundamentalists will appeal to the need for emotional security by trafficking in religious certainty. The system they create will survive momentarily – it might even flourish for a time – but it will not endure. Delusions can be immensely satisfying. For short periods of time people seem to enjoy turning off their brains and listening to those who assure them that all is well. […] Fundamentalism is both an expression of and an assisting cause in the terminal sickness that hangs over religious life today. When the depth of that sickness becomes obvious, it will leave in its wake disillusionment, despair, and pain. No seeds of renewal are contained in a literalism that is itself afraid of truth.”

I would have to add that there is also a form of fundamentalism present in Atheism – it’s trafficking not in religious certainty, but rather in an exagerated confidence in science, and particularly in the extent that theories such as evolution can explain all reality. I have to say that I don’t have a problem with the theory of evolution, except Darwin himself did not claim absolute truth, and he was open to other theories that may explain reality better.

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5 thoughts on “On Fundamentalism

  1. I think there are fundamentalisms of many kinds, Daniel. There is also, oddly and in a weirdly oxymoronic kind of way, a ‘liberal fundamentalism’, which refuses to enter into dialogue with ‘those evo fundies who are so bigoted and intolerant’, etc. – failing in the very statement to see the irony of their own intolerance whilst feeling a kind of smug superiority that at least ‘they’ aren’t as intolerant or stupid. And of course, going against the very essence of what ‘liberalism’ is. Something I’ve often pondered on.

    Liking yer blog, mate.

  2. I agree with you, Nik! I must admit I don’t have much experience of liberal fundamentalism, but I agree: any system of thought can become fundamentalist when it claims to be the only valid one.

    If I’m the only one who’s right, then all the others must either be converted to my way of thinking, or they must die. Of course God will throw them all in the fires of hell, but I could help if he asked me to, couldn’t I? And who can argue with the statement: “God told me to…” 🙂

  3. I haven’t got my heating on at the moment D. The fires of Hell are sounding quite appealing 😀
    Although, in athiest fundamentalism, God wouldn’t be throwing anyone into the fires of Hell… neither exist…. so humiliation and bad manners [Dawkins, so so rude] are the ‘hell’ of choice, no?
    Hope probation’s going well.

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