Gunnar is correct. The term fundamentalist is applicable to revealed religions -- i.e. religions in which an Absolute Truth is claimed, supported by a written Text, usually referred to as The Book. The Book is increate, it always existed and was transmitted to one or more Chosen Individuals. It is a cookbook,so to speak, filled with recipes.

While the Book may be greatly contradictory in its narrative and wide open to interpretation, the fundamentalist knows that his interpretation is the ONLY ONE.  If the fundamentalist can parlay this into a theocracy he makes life as it is lived by the average person absolutely unbearable. This makes the fundamentalist very happy because then he can begin the process of weeding out all those who disagree or simply show signs of flagging. Soon there will be fewer and better believers.

Since all ruling fundamentalists know the truth, they eventually come to loggerheads with each other. This usually involves savage internecine war since the two new factions are both in  possession of absolute truth.  

This kind of behavior is most inherent and persistent in the Yahweh religions, first with Judaism starting in the Antiochene period through the early Roman Empire--which led to the birth of Christianity. It started with the Christians in the second century and stretched on through the Heresies, The Schisms and the Reformation. It began with Islam with the Sunni and the Shia.

Ever heard of a fundamentalist Buddhist? Hindu? Tried, now and again and found wanting. Why? No Book. Or no central Text. The ones that come close to that seem to ask more questions than provide answers.


on 2/25/04 11:50 AM, William Gray at [log in to unmask] wrote:

   I see your point, but why is tolerance a given?Why should tolerance be pursued at all costs? Isn't something like restoration a much better goal? I'd much rather learn to like or to love someone than just learn to stand them. Tolerance is not a compliment to anyone.

Best wishes,

>>> [log in to unmask] 02/25/04 12:56PM >>>
am 25.2.2004 17:41 Uhr schrieb [log in to unmask] unter [log in to unmask]:

I fail to see the meaning of "fundamentalism in a pejorative sense" -- since
fundamentalism is incompatible with tolerance, this sounds like a pleonasm.