Join Date: May 2002
Location: standing on the shoulders of giants
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Interesting, Super Pickle. I have never defined fundamentalism as you have here. To me, as applied to Christianity, it has always meant absolute literal interpretation of the Bible as the law of God. I have always believed fundamentalism allowed no room for symbolic interpretations or recognition of historical contexts (at least, as long as it's convenient- there is a lot in the Old Testament that is not adhered to literally by modern day Christians). This pick and choose mentality seems to me an inherent flaw in fundamentalism and smacks of hypocrisy. Thus, I tend to view fundamentalism in a negative light. In contrast, your defintion of fundamentalism seems to speak more to what is at the heart of a faith, not the texts and laws surrounding it, "the original axes of the faith." Wouldn't it be nice if this were true! I don't think it usually functions this way though- too often, here and abroad, hatred, bigotry and prejudice ARE carried out due to a concrete, literal interpretation of a piece of a text that is picked out of a faith's larger context. The legalism you refered to comes into play because of this.
I hope this is not offensive to you, but I tend to equate fundamentalism (as I define it) with small-mindedness. To me, those who practice their faith this way are unable to conceptually grasp the larger parameters of their faith, the real heart of their religion, the axes I think you are referring to, and instead are only able to dwell within in the context of literal, and in small bits. I equate fundamentalism with an unwillingness or an inability to see the whole picture, "the common ground," as you called it, although I would hope that this commom ground can be extended beyond any one faith's "factions, denominations and sects" to include ALL humanity.