Tuesday, October 27, 2015


Quotable: On Fundamentalism

Fundamentalism ... differs from traditionalism or orthodoxy or even a mere revivalist movement. It differs in that it is a movement in conscious, organized opposition to the disruption of those traditions and orthodoxies.

Tradition, orthodoxy, and revival exist within an ongoing, stable system. Fundamentalism exists in the midst of change. Clifford Geertz describes this difference in Islamic societies he has studied as the difference between "being held by" one's beliefs and "holding" those beliefs, between having faith and having reasons.In a culture in which there is a great deal of stability and agreement on the way life should proceed, beliefs are part of the fabric of life. To be part of one's culture and to affirm those beliefs are inseparable. In such situations, one is held by beliefs about ultimate reality. But once that culture is disturbed by change or outside intrusion or mobility, beliefs lose their taken-for-granted character. They must be consciously held.

Source: Nancy T. Ammerman, "North American Protestant Fundamentalism" in Fundamentalisms Observed (Univ. of Chicago Pr., 1991) by Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby, eds., pp. 14-15.

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