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Is Anti–Fundamentalism the Fundamentalism of the Anti-Fundamentalists? Essay

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1 Proposed title
Is anti–fundamentalism the fundamentalism of the anti-fundamentalists?

2 Background
This study is, in the first place, not a study about the object of fundamentalism, the fundamentalist, but rather about the subject, the anti-fundamentalist – about the accuser rather than the accused, about the prosecution not the defence. I use the word ‘anti-fundamentalist’ instead of ‘non-fundamentalist’’ to make a distinction between those who publically oppose fundamentalists and those who can not be classed as fundamentalist.

The meaning of the word ‘fundamentalism’ has been redefined so often that the meaning became ‘obscured’ (Carpenter, 1997: 4). Definitions became relative to changing contexts and have almost been denatured as a descriptive term. It became evaluative and pejorative with the aim to stigmatize. Juergensmeyer says the term is “less descriptive than it is accusatory.” (De Sousa, 2007:86).

Yet, the word remains emotionally charged. The question is – why would people use such a strong word? This question is at the core of this study.

Karen Armstrong describes fundamentalism as a reactionary movement against modernity, and globalization, and as a reaction against Enlightenment ideals such as Darwinism and empirical science. (Armstrong, 2004:ix-xi). Or as Ruthven says, fundamentalists “do not or cannot fully accept religious pluralism” (2004:46). Is it equally possible that liberalism, the secular society or liberal theology have difficulties in dealing with principled commitment to the established, sacred and transcendental values of conservative Christianity? ” Reactions are fierce which is clear from James Barr’s feelings: “I think we have to be clear … that we must get rid of the whole thing, ...


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...aracter of theology. The early church. A quarterly for church renewal. Volume 13. Number 4. Fall 2004 http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/ref-rev/13-4/13 4_franke.pdf Date of access: 07 Feb. 2011
Hughes, J. 2010. Problems of Transhumanism: Belief in Progress vs. Rational Uncertainty The institute for ethics & emerging technologies. http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/3777 Date of access: 07 Feb. 2011
Ruthven, M. 2004. Fundamentalism. The search for meaning. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 246 p.
Schneider, K. J. 2011. Books. Personal website. http://kirkjschneider.com/books.html Date of access: 15 Feb. 2011
Van den Berg, F. 2007. A Political Philosophy: Arguments for Conservatism by Roger Scruton. Philosophy Now online magazine http://www.philosophynow.org/issue63/A_Political_Philosophy_Arguments_for_Conservatism_by_Roger_Scruton Date of access 27 Jan. 2011


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