Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fundamentalism Explained

In Fundamentalism and the Abandonment of Reason, Dr. Jeff Mirus explains that contemporary definitions of fundamentalism are far too self-referential to those who denigrate it. He does better, saying fundamentalism involves starting with the idea that a sacred text is clear and simple for anyone to understand, and propping that idea up by taking a few concepts from that text (either the Bible or the Qu'ran), and interpreting everything only through those ideas. In other words, it's properly a form of heresy, which is picking and choosing which doctrines and dogmas you're going to subscribe to, while ignoring the rest, and everything not visible through the distorted lenses of those "simple, clear" doctrines and dogmas is ignored.

He aptly points out that there's a secular equivalent: ideology, which presumes that all of Creation is simple and clear when you interpret it through a few fixed ideas, while ignoring everything not visible through the lens of those ideas. Of course, ideology and fundamentalism feed upon and reinforce each other. The escape is a fuller and more catholic worldview. Tolle, legge.

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