Fundamentalism, Truth, Fear -- What Are The Roots?

RootsImage via WikipediaI thought THIS POST by David Hayward has some good insight on fundamentalism.  I, too, wonder if the the more conservative side of evangelicalism will become more and more entrenched in fundamentalism and grasping at certainty as things in the world seem to become more and more uncertain.  Or, will folks find some ancient, historic roots in finding beauty and truth in mystery.  I don't think that's only a concern for right-leaning evangelicalism, but also churches such as The United Methodist Church as we discuss issues such as hospitality and homosexuality.  Where will we draw the lines?  And is our line drawing based on how we understand the truth of God's revelation to us or based on the fear or those who think differently or are different than us?

David's post gave me pause today.

Go check out David's blog (and his art...and his book),  but his whole post is printed below:


Fundamentalism, in many ways, used to rely solely on the inherent truth of its system as the source of its certainty.

It has become more complicated. Now, fundamentalism, although it still depends on the inherent truth of its system, is more of a reaction to the increasing mystery and uncertainty of our world. Fundamentalism is only going to become more rigid as our world becomes more unpredictable. As innumerable questions mount, the ground of fundamentalism will rise to meet them.

I have seen this in my own life as well as in others: I’ve seen conversion to fundamentalism when the questions and uncertainties are just too overwhelming to be assimilated by the mind. I’ve also seen conversion away from fundamentalism for the exact same reasons.

Which makes one wonder if the actual root of fundamentalism is fear.
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1 comments

  1. I believe ALL religion is based on fear and ignorance. Fear of what happens to us at death. Ignorance of the facts of the world. For example, lightening comes from the sky. The first humans had NO idea what caused it but, from their experience, everything has a cause. Since it comes from the sky, there must be something or someone up there hurling those bolts at us... voila, God is born. Now we know where the lightening comes from and why. Time to give up the 'sky' cause.