Fundamentalism is a catch-all term for a broad family of approaches to religion. No country is immune: fundamentalism is found all over the world and although there are endless varieties, these various versions show remarkable similar characteristics. Among these characteristics are strong patriarchalism, strict exclusionism, “literal” truth of certain writings, acceptance of violence, and belief in the end of the world (mostly by fire although some favor ice).
Interestingly, fundamentalism is a relatively recent invention. Scholars assert that it is a broad response to modernism and it is often helped along when secular governments fail.
How it Works
Interestingly, the idea of fundamentalism is a relatively recent invention. Scholars assert that it is a broad response to modernism and it is often helped along when secular governments fail. Fundamentalism is often linked with extreme aversion to social and cultural change. It could also be said that Fundamentalism is defined by unwillingness to change and a strong desire to impose a certain set of beliefs and ideals above others. In order for fundamentalism to exist there needs to be some change that threatens the ideals and beliefs of a group of people. Examples would include the debate over separation of church and state by Christian Fundamentalists in the United States, or even some acts of terrorism carried out by Islamic fundamentalists against consumeristic “western” societies.
Marty, M. and Appleby, S. (1991) Fundamentalisms Observed. Chicago: Chicago University Press.