Fundamentalism: Defensive Grasps

We hear much about Fundamentalism, especially in regard to conservative Christianity and Islam. But what fuels the turn to Fundamentalism? I like the definition of Fundamentalism given by Krista Tippett of Speaking of Faith.
She begins:

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.

And where does it come from?

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).

I may find fundamentalism as an untenable belief system, but it is helpful to understand where it comes from and why. Krista Tippett has listened well and provides a most useful definition.
My review of the book can be found here.


Mike L. said…
Thanks for the timely post Bob! I read it just in time to include a quote in my post today.

I haven't read Tippett's book, but it did catch a couple of interviews and podcasts. She sounds interesting.

I think you'll like the book. It is really full of grace and is an eloquent statement of faith that is open to hearing God wherever God chooses to speak!

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