Fundamentalists Are Dangerous
What is a Fundamentalist? Fundamentalists are often described as conservatives, but Fundamentalist can also be liberal. Fundamentalism is simply extreme or literal commitment to an ideology. We may call them dedicated or “staunch supporter” but fundamentalists are the standard bearers of religion, ideologies, etc.
Fundamentalists are dangerous. They are dangerous in their commitment to the extreme applications of their beliefs. Such applications generally impose control over others. Fundamentalists are so committed to perception of being “right” that imposing on the freedoms of others seems justified.
Americans are sensitive to Christian fundamentalism. Christian fundamentalism came into full bloom in the early 20th century with the Scopes Monkey Trials. The general acceptance of Modernism in American culture called all belief systems into question that were not based on naturalistic evidence.
The acceptance of Darwinian evolution as the explanation for life and the dismal condition of the church during that time created a backlash against the Judeo-Christian worldview that shaped our nation from colonial times. Christian Fundamentalists emerged from the Scopes Monkey Trials as being “ignorant”, “mean”, and “irrational”.
Christian fundamentalism became dangerous in the 1990s with the bombing of the Internal Revenue Service building in Oklahoma City. Other random acts of violence against abortion clinics and providers have added to the negative perceptions of Christian Fundamentalists.
Islamic fundamentalism has been a problem in the Middle East for much of the 20th century. The dangerous nature of these radicals came to the forefront of American consciousness on September 11, 2001. We continue to hear stories on almost a daily basis of fundamentalist Muslim killing themselves and others through bombings.
What do fundamentalists have in common and that serves as the root for why they are dangerous?
A literalist or right/wrong view of life. A belief that they are right and objectors are wrong. They know best how others should live. Objectors should be coerced into compliance or punished.
People can easily see the dangers of religious fundamentalism. What about ideological fundamentalism? Ideological fundamentalism can be as damning to individual freedom as religious fundamentalism.
Ideological fundamentalism is just as dangerous when their ideology imposes control over others. Socialism and Communism are ideologies that share the four factors listed above. Socialism espouses that the “right” way for society to function and the path to utopia is found through government control and limited freedom. Only through strong government control, their control, can fairness in society be achieved. Opponents of the ideology are opponents of the state, progress, and of their fellow citizens who are in need of a stronger government.
Goal of Fundamentalism
Tragically, all fundamentalists have one goal in mind – control. Fundamentalists of all types fear freedom. They feel constrained to their beliefs and want others to share their same burden. In the case of religious fundamentalism they likely feel they will be punished in some way by God if others do not conform to the degree they believe is acceptable. Ideological fundamentalists fear they will lose power or control over life and society.
In the end, fundamentalists are dangerous because there is no place in their world for freedom. Freedom of choice. Freedom of expression. Freedom of disagreement. To be free, is to place their limited worldview at risk.