Sunday, July 24, 2011
The Deadly Disease of Religious Fundamentalism, a Timely Warning
Religious fundamentalism is not strictly religious, not at all. It is also a social and political movement that seeks "imposative" reform. It exists to impose a narrow religious, social and political order. It is not interested in democracy. It rejects tolerance and liberalism. There are powerful reasons it takes root and flourishes in the far right.
I have been doing a fair bit of reading on religious fundamentalism and so it came as no surprise to learn of the handiwork of Anders Behring Breivik, a Christian fundamentalist. It came as no surprise to read that a Christian fundamentalist had calmly butchered scores of innocents for nothing more than their peaceful beliefs.
You can learn more about creeping fundamentalism in books such as Phillips' American Theocracy, Bacevich's The New American Militarism, Hedges' American Fascists, McDonald's The Armageddon Factor, and many others. However I think the best scholarly treatment of the causal link between radical religion and violent extremism is a paper by Douglass Pratt, Terrorism and Religious Fundamentalism: Prospects for a Predictive Paradigm, 2006, published in the University of Marburg Journal of Religion which can be found, in PDF format, here.
At page 8, Pratt explores twelve key factors, common to all fundamentalist religions, that "...move a fundamentalist mindset from the quirky to the critical, from atavism to aggression, from benign eccentricity to socially endangering activity."
Terrorism and Religious Fundamentalism is a genuine eye-opener and a must-read for any progressive. It's only 15-pages in length and deserves to be read in its entirety. Do yourself a favour and follow the link above.
In case the link isn't working, try this: http://www.uni-marburg.de/fb03/ivk/mjr/pdfs/2006/articles/pratt2006.pdf