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See Article History Fundamentalism, type of militantly conservative religious movement characterized by the advocacy of strict conformity to sacred texts. Once used exclusively to refer to American Protestants who insisted on the inerrancy of the Bible, the term fundamentalism was applied more broadly beginning in the late 20th century to a wide variety of religious movements.
Indeed, in the broad sense of the term, many of the major religions of the world may be said to have fundamentalist movements. For a discussion of fundamentalism in American Protestantism, see fundamentalism, Christian.
The study of fundamentalism In the late 20th century the most influential—and the most controversial—study of fundamentalism was The Fundamentalism Project —95a series of five volumes edited by the American scholars Martin E.
Marty and Appleby viewed fundamentalism primarily as the militant rejection of secular modernity. They argued that fundamentalism is not just traditional religiosity but an inherently political phenomenon, though this dimension may sometimes be dormant.
Marty and Appleby also contended that fundamentalism is inherently totalitarian, insofar as it seeks to remake all aspects of society and government on religious principles. Despite its unprecedented breadth, The Fundamentalism Project has been criticized on a number of grounds.
One objection is that many of the movements that Marty and Appleby categorize as fundamentalist seem to be motivated less by the rejection of modernity than by social, ethnic, and nationalistic grievances. Indeed, in many cases the people who join such movements have not suffered more than others from the stress and dislocation typically associated with modernization, nor are such stresses and dislocations prominently reflected in the rhetoric or the actions of these movements.
The term modernity itself, moreover, is inherently vague; Marty and Appleby, like many other scholars, use it freely but do little to explain what it means. A third objection is that the significant negative connotations of the term fundamentalism—usually including bigotryzealotry, militancy, extremism, and fanaticism—make it unsuitable as a category of scholarly analysis.
On the other hand, some scholars have argued that the negative connotations of the term aptly characterize the nature of fundamentalist movements, many of which seek the violent overthrow of national governments and the imposition of particular forms of worship and religious codes of conduct in violation of widely recognized human rights to political self-determination and freedom of worship.
For a discussion of modernism in the history of the Roman Catholic Churchsee Modernism.
The term fundamentalist was coined in to describe conservative Evangelical Protestants who supported the principles expounded in The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth —15a series of 12 pamphlets that attacked modernist theories of biblical criticism and reasserted the authority of the Bible.
The central theme of The Fundamentals was that the Bible is the inerrant word of God. Associated with this idea was the view that the Bible should be read literally whenever possible and that believers should lead their lives according to the moral precepts it contains, especially the Ten Commandments.
Fundamentalists opposed the teaching of the theory of biological evolution in the public schools and supported the temperance movement against the sale and consumption of intoxicating liquor. Nevertheless, for much of the 20th century, Christian fundamentalism in the United States was not primarily a political movement.
Indeed, from the late s until the late s, most Christian fundamentalists avoided the political arena, which they viewed as a sinful domain controlled by non-Christians.
A basic theme of Christian fundamentalism, especially in its early years, was the doctrine of separation: The apolitical attitude of many Christian fundamentalists was linked to their premillennial eschatologyincluding the belief that Jesus Christ will return to initiate the millennium, a thousand-year period of perfect peace see millennialism.
There is no point in trying to reform the world, according to the premillennialists, because it is doomed until Jesus returns and defeats the Antichrist.
Thus, whereas premillennialism implied political passivity, postmillennialism implied political activism. Belief and practice, however, do not always coincide. Starting in the late s, many premillennialist fundamentalists embraced the political activism traditionally associated with postmillennialism, which resulted in a distinct tension between their political acts and their eschatological beliefs.The Blog of Scott Aaronson If you take just one piece of information from this blog: Quantum computers would not solve hard search problems instantaneously by simply trying all the possible solutions at once.
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