Fractured Fundamentalisms

Extremism exists in every major faith, and sometimes turns violent


02/26/2007 11:45:31 AM

Unlike many on this site, I gave up my religious beliefs a long time ago. Mainly because the Christian religion that was spoon fed into me never had the transforming power in truly making a difference in this world we live in. Renouncing it had a redeeming effect and has provided me the freedom in seeking and discovering spiritual knowledge from others sources that my Christian religion never could. And this ongoing quest has changed my life for the better. As I see it, the clergies of our day are too set in their ways and will never be able to realize that without a true spiritual awakening (akin to a monk)no amount of preaching with the Bible is going to make a difference in this world we live in.


07/16/2005 05:00:30 PM

arammell, you preach a fine sermon, except for your concept of tolerance. I know some fine Baptists that have a lot of tolerance, and they wouldn't accuse someone who equates tolerance with love as a "politically correct left". Not that being left is awful--it's just the way some "politically correct rights" use it.


07/11/2005 06:13:43 PM

Peace. This is a very good and balanced article by Karen Armstrong, as usual for her. There is one point I would particularly comment on, and that is that whilst she says that Muhammad [pbuh] and his followers and companions were attacked by the Meccan army, she also says that "terrible things were done on both sides". Muslims were reluctantly permitted to fight back in self defence, and did not do any terrible things as such, other than to have to kill in self-defence. If she simply means that killing in itself is terrible, I fully concur, but no atrocities as such were committed by Muslims in self-defence. In the first battle [at Badr], there were 313 ill-equipped Muslims who were attacked by a thousand well-trained and well-armed soldiers of the idolatrous Meccans. It is clear that Muslims were forced to defend themselves. And with the help of Almighty God, the Muslims were victorious in this battle. Peace.


06/21/2004 12:32:33 PM

aramemell, It is an interesting semantic point to call people who disavow intolerence as "intolerent". But that's all it is, a play on words. As one who believes our country must maintain its separation of Church and state I don't feel I'm intolerent to point out that you shouldn't use my tax dollars to promote your particular religion. I don't think it's intolerence for me to point out that fundementalists beliefs in action deny a significant minority, homosexuals, their equal rights under the Constitution. We wouldn't deny you the right to believe as you please. It's your actions we stand up to. That's not intolerence.


05/01/2003 03:11:14 PM careful...sounds like your being pretty dogmatic about people being dogmatic. Maybe this is the whole problem with the politically correct left who preach "tolerance." According to the staments you and others are making on this site we all must change our thinking to yours! Isn't this what you claim is wrong!!!!!! There is no tolerance in the message of tolerance hypocrictal bigotry in the name of a heathly society. It demonstrate imaturity because people can't stand to hear anybody say something that is a threat to their way of thinking!!! Praise God my math teacher didn't apply this concept to her teaching...she would have just allowed me to say 2 plus 2 is five and never corrected me out of fear of offending me with what she believed was (AND IS) an abosulte truth!!!


05/01/2003 02:59:06 PM

add to below...Finally, for Fundamentalist not to share their faith with some one would from their prospective be the true terrorist act...if they don't share Christ with you then essentially from their viewpoint they are saying they would rather you go to hell...SO...the next time some one share's the Gospel with you, don't be hypocritical and start comparing them to bin Ladend, instead...thank them for caring for you and either continue listening or share with them that your not interested at this time!


05/01/2003 02:58:52 PM

"Fundamental Evangelical Christians" are simply people who believe in the basic fundamentals of Scripture.INCLUDING LOVE! This is the Southern Baptist who believes Jesus Christ is the only way to receive salvation and therefore because he believes this basic fundamental he is motivated out of love to demonstrate this truth through deeds AND WORDS...mainly sharing the Gospel while helping people! The fundamental Islam movement has lead to nations like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Chad and Sudan where people are being killed, and put in jail who share Christ! BIG difference! 99% of Christian groups are simply sharing their beliefs (what everyone on beliefenet likes to do).


05/01/2003 02:34:02 PM

SAGE1967...please be correct in your comments. No one would dare say Evolution as fact...especially with the piles of genetic data staking up against it. Even agnostic Canadian scientist are running from it. They are not acknowledging God or creation but they are saying Evolution is impossible!!! Gene research is clobering this THEORY!!!


04/14/2003 12:55:36 PM

Fundamentalism of any faith is out of place in the 21st century, and often conflicts with scientific fact (ie, evolution). Furthermore, and as demonstrated by Armstrong, fundamentalism often conflicts with the corresponding faiths key foundations of belief. As polictically incorrect as this sounds, fundamentalism historically has been a tool for mankind to oppress the masses.


04/10/2003 03:29:09 AM

I'm sorry but I really think that the fundamentalists are crazy and an embarrassment to rational, honest believers everywhere of all religions. God is truth; you can't tell a lie to justify the Author of All Truth. Besides, they're just afraid because stuff changed fast in the last couple of hundred years. And fear isn't 'holy.' Fear God alone, don't fear men, etc. Besides, these fundamentalists can never seem to keep their religion straight from their conservative political views. Thank God for the secular authorities!


10/24/2002 11:01:01 PM

I hope I get the opportunity (if I make to heaven?) To ask JESUS what he thinks about all the people who call themselves christians yet murder one another. Timothy McVeigh was no christian. There are many forms of terrorism. Satan plays both ends of the fence. The one thing ISALM does is, it murders freedom of choice, and that is an evil fruit we must never bear. However JESUS is much greater than I and for the sins of such a world he gave his life on the cross for. At that moment of decision may we all have the same eternal love one for another.


09/05/2002 10:16:00 PM

That last post was supposed to be an answer to Lunaea's question. I've never done one of these before and sorry I cannot explain "cult" like I would like to. There are some very good books all about profiles of a cult.


09/05/2002 10:14:14 PM

Actually the term "cult" carries some extra issues with it most of the time, which is why it is unwise to go about labeling everything a cult. Not all small religious "fringe" groups are cults. Cults carry with it an attitude of isolationism and of an over-adulation not only of the ideals taught within that cult but also the cult leader. The leader is exalted to one who cannot be questioned, at least not without hostile retaliation of one kind or another. Another cult trait is the hypocrisy and freedoms of the leader. One of these freedoms is the "right" of the cult leader to freely engage in sex with a follower without question. Ironically enough, this trait once upon a time was visible in an atheistic group known as Objectivism. Philosopher Ayn Rand fit the profile of a cult leader.


06/27/2002 12:36:49 PM

After reading Karen's apologetics i can see that the P.R campagin funded by Hamas, Hezoballah and other "freedom fighters" is well underway. However it all comes down to the fact that it is all a bunch of tired trite excuses as to why Muslims can't act like decent human beings..The religon was made up by an epilpetic pedophile. The pretensions of it being a religion of peace is apparent in the Quran. And if you can stand the boredom of reading it, you can see it for yourself..


05/19/2002 06:39:11 PM

Karen Armstrong is correct when she says that Protestant fundamentalists in the USA have not resorted to as much violence as is evident in other parts of the world. But I suspect that picture would look different if the 1st Amendment did not require separation of church and state. Protestant fundies are people of flesh, and if they think that they are completely immune from aggressive urges, then they are mistaken. Remember Operation Rescue?


04/08/2002 10:31:07 AM

I should like to venture the suggestion that MODERNISM is the most dangerous and problematic of all fundamentalisms. After all, look at what it's doing to the global environment, and think of what it's going to imply for the environment should the rest of the world all seek to follow in the footsteps of the West in attempting to become modern, secular and free-market so as to increase its share of material wealth and power.


04/06/2002 07:18:44 PM

Extremism is not related to religion, it is more related to people. The other whatever it is, scares us. Without understanding the other we are afraid of it, Claude-Levi Strauss has said that. As of religion the difference of religion and cult, I think they are many. Altough their basics is the belief, the cult is sometimes regarded as more zealous and particular to a group of people. Practically all religions have evolved in time, before 1492 the judaic center of Cordoba in spain was the center of judaic studies, and jews of eastern europe were regarded as of a different religion. After the inquisition, the jews of spain were desperate to get back their lost heritage and started recognizing the people of the north east as jews. A good book to understand this is the "13th tribe" by Arthur Koestler. Behaviors, practices, and thoughts have also evolved in Christianity as well as in Judaism. As a result, there is no standard Bible for the whole world, and no standard thinking for judaism.


04/06/2002 07:00:14 PM

Someone asked the difference between a religion and a cult. I read an article once detailing the defining characteristics that make something a cult. The biggest thing that i remember about it is that in order to be a cult, there has to be a blind obedience to one certain leader- when this one leader controls everything and dictates everything that the followers must believe, when there is no allowance for self-determinism or interpretation, that's the number one sign that the group is a cult. Hope this helps you, Lunaea.


04/04/2002 11:12:22 PM

Freedom of religion also means freedom from religion. I don't need the president, the pope, jerry falwell, the 'right-to-lifers' or anybody else to dictate morality to me. While most of us probably have many beliefs in common with the above, I believe we should never concede to them the right we have to make our own moral decisions. This, I believe, is how to fight fundamentalism and its attendant evils.


04/04/2002 06:20:25 PM

Fundamentalism kills. The trouble with fundamentalism is that, for its adherents, it's not enough to be allowed to practice their beliefs and choose a particular lifestyle. Oh, no. They have to try to make *everybody else* do things their way, too. This is why nations need a secular government.


04/02/2002 07:16:02 PM

I recognize that many many people die horrible deaths every day, and that it might seem that Americans don't care until it happens to us, but that's not really the case. Its human nature to react strongly to the kind of images we saw September 11, and, right or wrong, we don't see as many images of other acts of terrorism as we do those that happen here at home. (Cont.)


04/02/2002 07:14:39 PM

(Cont.)As for OBL, he made it pretty clear in his home videos that he was, indeed, involved in the WTC attacks. Why would you want to defend someone who so clearly believes that violence is a good thing?? As for the MidEast far as this American can tell, its a pretty bloody price to pay for a little bit of land! And please don't blame Americans that those involved are willing to blow each other, and themselves, to bits over foolish pride. I know that everything and everyone is connected, and I weep for all of the suffering. But I also know that only a fool kills for land. And only a liar claims that his god said it was ok. As for the US destroying Muslim nations...the U.S. has also gotten involved on behalf of Muslims in other lands, so please recognize the issues as they truly are: all of the fighting boils down to greed, as it always has. If a person is willing to blow themselves up they should at least know why they're doing it.


01/26/2002 09:47:50 PM

aslamu alaikum everyone well....what i think is that they have no realy proof about osama bin laden doing the world trade center bombing! its really annoying that the US goes crazy about ONE bombing o ONE day! but, the US will help to destroy muslim countries everyday! (by supporting israel) not sayin that dont care...cuz i really do...i was jsut as mad as every1 else...but honestly. c;mon! they go overboad!!!


12/19/2001 12:03:14 AM

There is as much good in America as there is bad. Or at least some measure of good to consider. It's okay and expected to point out the bad but don't ignore or gloss over the good. Instead of the attitude of just tearing America down,let us seek the demise of the bad and then build on the good. The American ideals of Life,Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness are core values compatable with Islam. I believe Imam W.Deen Mohammed would say something to that effect.


10/15/2001 03:31:36 PM

Sociologically, popular use of these terms has often been to describe their acceptance. A "religion" referred to a larger group which, true or not, was at least safe to coexist with. "Cults" have always been seen as a threat. Theologically, the difference has to do with orthodoxy, or sticking to the truth. True religion sticks to its orthodox teaching while a cult either invents new doctrine or perverts the existing ones.


10/12/2001 01:06:12 AM

According to much scholarship (as I have been taught), defining a religion is difficult at best, but you generally know it when you see it. Religion does not equal belief and is more closely aligned to culture than belief: they both give us memories of things we never experienced first hand but now remember as being part of our personal and social history. A religion you might say is a culturally accepted constellation of behaviors, practices, thoughts, interpretations, insights, and inspirations that support a perceptual focus into the nature of existence and posits an existence that lies beyond the physical world. A sect is a break off of a religion -- usually as a reformation. A cult is a unique new religion that is quite distinct from the mainstream religious traditions. Christianity was a Jewish sect, that became a Christian cult under Paul, and that grew to be a world religion over time. I hope this helps a bit.


09/28/2001 10:12:41 AM

Does anyone truly know the difference between a cult and a religion/belief?