Print

Print


I'm not so sure; under the second of your definitions, I imagine you could find admirable applications of the term, assuming the right "basic principles" are applied.  Put differently, choose your own favorite set of "basic principles" -- would a "strict and literal adherence to" them  be something you would condemn?  As a product of the Enlightenment, you may hesitate at the words "strict" and "literal", but surely there are some principles that could be applied that way without offending you?  Perhaps not, but for most people I suspect the answer is yes.

That's the point I was getting at: it's the principles, not the manner in which they are pursued, that typically drive whether people regard the characteristics associated with "Fundamentalism" as a good or bad thing.  If they conclude it is a good thing, people tend not to call it "Fundamentalism", but rather "ideological commitment", "consistency", or some such.

I am not a Fundamentalist myself, as the term is commonly applied (thought I have some principles I suppose I would qualify regarding, under Webster's second defintion).  While my dominant experience with "Fundamentalism" is the unattractive sterotype that doubtless arises from a certain reality (as most stereotypes do), I have met and conversed with a number of self-proclaimed Biblical fundamentalists, and have found that the run the gamut from tedious to engaging, closed-minded to thoughtful (really), and stupid to smart.  Certainly, they tend to be socially conservative, but even that is not an iron-clad rule.

I suppose what I am saying is, bring your tolerance -- which I know to be a deeply-held principle -- to bear with respect to this group.  While I am sure you will not likely find many soul-mates among them, I believe you would find that there is more there than you expect.

Tom Kissane

In a message dated 2/25/2004 12:56:41 PM Eastern Standard Time, Gunnar Jauch <[log in to unmask]> writes:

>
>Dear Tom,
>
>in my view, there is no need to re-define fundamentalism.
>
>My Webster gives two versions:
>
>1 A strict belief in the literal interpretation of the Bible (or in the
>Koran, I would add.), and
>
>2 A movement or attitude stressing strict and literal adherence to a set of
>basic principles.
>
>I fail to see the meaning of "fundamentalism in a pejorative sense" -- since
>fundamentalism is incompatible with tolerance, this sounds like a pleonasm.
>
>
>Gunnar
>