What Should We Call This Era?
The Cry for Virtue

Fundamentalism: A Formidable Enemy

That's what Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California apparently thinks.

Fundamentalism will be "one of the big enemies of the 21st century," claimed Warren in a recent newspaper column. "Muslim fundamentalism, Christian fundamentalism, Jewish fundamentalism, secular fundamentalism - they're all motivated by fear. Fear of each other."

Do you agree? Disagree?  What sort of factor is religious fundamentalism in today's world? How should the Church respond to it?


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Fundamentalism, as I see it solidifies whatever "truth" it proclaims and hence makes it unusable in a reality that tends to change. Fundamentalism tries to reajust reality to it's dictums. Political, scientific or religious fundamentalisms tend to be unyielding and monolithic "all or nothing" sets of mind and become hostile and even militant in face of serious adversity. That is a reaction to insecurity or even fear, as you put it.

"The Church", as such cannot do anything against it - as the church is divided. However, by embracing and meeting the challenge of diversity churches and christians might be able to get away from the false security fundamentalisms promise.

Theolocially speaking, this might lead us to take a closer look at the meaning of "community" when faced with christians of other professions or people of other creeds. Embracing differences and maintaining identity, changing what needs to change and keeping what needs to be kept.

Just for the record we would be more accurate to call the group in question "extremists".

I think Warren had a great point when he added "secular fundamentalism". In many respects this group actually promotes the other kinds of fundamentalism. Whenever I find myself having extremist tendencies I tend to find that there is a reactive personality that is sick of the aggressive secularism around me. I know it's not a good reaction, but it puts me in touch with the feelings of extremists that take the next step.

fundamentalism - usually evidenced by a literal interpretation of the bible.

depending on where you stand, everyone is a fundamentalist.

could be worse. you could be pomo....

Also I meant to say, I'd worry more about Foundationalism than fundamentalism. I mean Foundationalism posits that knowledge could be started, or started again, from nothing by finding pieces of certain and infallible knowledge, the "foundation," upon which all other knowledge could be constructed. The classic attempt to do this occurred with René Descartes (1596-1650), who believed that if he could conceive anything "clearly and distinctly," he then could rely upon it as being true and build the rest of knowledge on it.

Also, it further posits that no item of knowledge could be regarded as infallible or incorrigible, i.e. all knowledge can be mistaken and can be improved, has been taken as decisive disproof of foundationalism.

So I'd rather be in the we can know camp than the we cannot know camp.




"...'secular fundamentalism'. In many respects this group actually promotes the other kinds of fundamentalism."

That's an interesting thought, Ray. Would you include the humanistic/scientific insistence on evolutionary theory as reflective of this?

"So I'd rather be in the we can know camp than the we cannot know camp."

Yes, and doesn't this position (which is likely far more mainstream than we realize) have significant implications for our missional efforts?

have significant implications for our missional efforts?

If you can't know and don't know how to have a Salvific relationship with Jesus if it can't be known this side of Heaven who will be in the Father's Kingdom...

And this is what you the Pastor / Leader believe.. why follow you?

While I may Dare to Hope for the Salvation of all, I don't read that in the bible. If however I'm getting my truth from Inclusivism, then why preach to the pagan? Wouldn't they be better off not knowing Christ? Then they'd just get into heaven right?

If I don't believe the world is lost and dying why witness? If I don't believe that we cannot live with Christ why share his love?

For sure fundamentalism is a big problem today. But it is insidious, fundamentalism is really the natural progression of individualism. It is the point where we affirm our worldview and negate the possibility that other vantages might have merit. I think it is interesting to look at blatent forms of fundamentalism but it is the stuff that has crept into the cracks of Christian society that really disturbs me.


It is an interesting point that you have chosen to ask for elaboration.

For me evolution presents absolutly 0 problem for my faith. I would say that for any theologically trained Orthodox that's the case (notice the big O).

That being said, if the issue is secular fundamentalism generally rather than Ray's sensibilities personally, then yes - it is fine to say that evolution is the best science on the market right now, it's not entirely fine to stifle discussion on the topic and to ignore all of the good science contradicting the theory as it stands. Indeed most people forget that evolutionary science has, appropriately enough, undergone significant evolution. The theory has been stated and re-stated on numerous occasions. To stifle fair critiques is nothing less than bad science, but that doesn't mean we need to teach Creationism or something of that sort in schools.

I agree with my friend Dennis who says "I hate how Evolution has become the 6 foot winged master-hammer of all anti-religious rants."


Chris I sort of missed your question - it makes more sense now. You were asking if that showed my point in action.

Yes it does.

It's a golden example of two groups of fundi's reinforcing each others extremism. The harder one side pushes the harder the other side pulls. Rather than letting their notions of a material-only universe be challenged by the mystical aspects of man scientists have often chosen to simply become atheists and berait those who disagree with arrogant confidence in their own infallibility.

Rather than have their biblical readings challenged by good science, fundi's often go to extraordinary lengths to prove their misguided notion of 'biblical infallibility', which is usually presented in a very crude materialistic sense of 'infallible'.

extraordinary lengths to prove their misguided notion of 'biblical infallibility',
ah. Now I don't mind you disagreeing with me about Hauweras. If the above quote is really how you think.

I will say that I believe that the bible is inspired and inerrant... but that our interpretations occasionally need work.




Are you trying to stir up the pot, my friend?




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