Fundamentalism: Defensive Grasps
I define a fundamentalist as anyone who not only has the answers for himself, but has them for all the rest of us, but has them for all the rest of us too. Fundamentalism is a peculiarly potent form of flight from modernity, usually by turning the tools of modernity -- technology, communications, travel, weapons -- back on themselves. It is always a reaction, born of a perceived assault on one's most basic identity and values.
But I've come to understand it as an extreme manifestation of a more basic instinct alive in our culture, mundane and universal -- the defensive grasp at certainties stoked by the bewildering complexity of the age in which we live. Moral libertarians and secular analysts can be as derisively dismissive as religious moral conservatives. A fundamentalist temptation, both secular and religious, accompanies twenty-first-century tumult and runs across the spectrum of our beliefs. (Krista Tippett, Speaking of Faith, Viking, 2007, pp. 14, 15).