Fundamentalism

One of the most frightening aspects in religion today is Fundamentalism.  This reaches into all three monotheistic religions, and beyond them.  One recent example of many is Westboro Baptist Church, Topeka, Kansas.  It was featured in a 20/20 feature that can be seen here:  http://youtu.be/50r0CnKq7_k.

In the feature, we’re introduced to a family and to a church who believes that it is their mission to tell those with whom they disagree that God hates them and they are going to hell.  As is the case with every example of Fundamentalism, the presenting issue is rooted in how their sacred texts are interpreted.  In this case, the interpretation of the Bible includes the view that God hates homosexuals and people, including American soldiers, who defend a country where lifestyles such as this are permitted.

The most telling part of the feature, and of the Fundamentalist phenomenon within religion, is how this approach affects the people who are involved.  In this family, the oldest daughter ends up disagreeing with some of things her family and church believe.  She is immediately voted out of the church and disowned by her parents.  Perhaps these kinds of visible and self-produced results of Fundamentalist approaches, and not arguments questioning how they interpret sacred texts such, are Fundamentalism’s greatest and most effective critic.

3 thoughts on “Fundamentalism

  1. Greg,
    How true. Let them be their own best critics. Most would agree that they speak for themselves.
    Where I have questions is with the word fundamentalist. Strictly speaking I am one. I believe in the five fundamentals of the Christian faith as outlined by a Presbyterian minister in a book called The Fundamentals. If I am getting my history right this is where the word came from and now it is being used to describe groups that I don’t identify with and above all else need the Grace of God… as we all do.

    • Hi Luke. You make an important distinction. There is a small “f” version and a big “F” version. You’re talking small “f”. I am talking big “F”, and the phenomenon of Fundamentalism not just in one religion but in religions in general. There was a project funded by the American Academy of Religion called, ‘The Fundamentalism Project‘. It gives some really interesting findings about the general shape of Fundamentalism in religions. I think the case above might fit. Thanks for the comment, I’ve put big “F”s above! P.S. I think you’re safe to call yourself a small “f” fundamentalist if you want, but the big “F” meaning is so much more common now that it might overshadow your meaning in regular conversation. Best!!

  2. to me i dont see it as religion it looks more like a cult anyone that will disrespect everyone including fallen soldiers and other religions isn’t worth anything to me i don’t agree with the americans bout all the wars they start but the government lies to there troops if they would speak the truth and tell them we are invading this country solely for the oil how many people would join them but that gives no one the right to show up at there funeral preaching hate

    ps do you have a website for this so called church i have a few words of wisdom i would like to share 😀

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