- Excerpted from "The Battle for God" ~ Karen Armstrong
- Obama, Bush and Carson believe this nonsense?
May 29, 2015 | Today's selection -- from The Battle for God by Karen Armstrong. Essentially all modern religions have a small subset of fundamentalists, and Karen Armstrong argues that these all come about as a reaction against the rapid modernization of the modern world, and the many crises inherent in that modernization. An even smaller subset of these fundamentalists can be characterized as extremists, given to violence in their battle against the secularizing world. Armstrong argues that these movements are not a clash of civilizations, but instead intra-societal disputes. She also argues that attempts to suppress fundamentalism simply make it more extreme:
"One of the most startling developments of the late twentieth century has been the emergence within every major religious tradition of a militant piety popularly known as 'fundamentalism.' Its manifestations are sometimes shocking. Fundamentalists have gunned down worshippers in a mosque, have killed doctors and nurses who work in abortion clinics, have shot their presidents, and have even toppled a powerful government. It is only a small minority of fundamentalists who commit such acts of terror, but even the most peaceful and law-abiding are perplexing, because they seem so adamantly opposed to many of the most positive values of modern society. Fundamentalists have no time for democracy, pluralism, religious toleration, peacekeeping, free speech, or the separation of church and state. Christian fundamentalists reject the discoveries of biology and physics about the origins of life and insist that the Book of Genesis is scientifically sound in every detail. At a time when many are throwing off the shackles of the past, Jewish fundamentalists observe their revealed Law more stringently than ever before, and Muslim women, repudiating the freedoms of Western women, shroud themselves in veils and chadors. Muslim and Jewish fundamentalists both interpret the Arab-Israeli conflict, which began as defiantly secularist, in an exclusively religious way. Fundamentalism, moreover, is not confined to the great monotheisms. There are Buddhist, Hindu, and even Confucian fundamentalisms, which also cast aside many of the painfully acquired insights of liberal culture, which fight and kill in the name of religion and strive to bring the sacred into the realm of politics and national struggle.
Karen Anderson is a British author and commentator known for her books on comparative religion. A former Roman Catholic religious sister, she went from a conservative to a more liberal and mystical Christian faith. She attended St Anne's College, Oxford, while in the convent and majored in English.
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Obama, Bush and Carson believe this nonsense? Jeffrey Tayler, Salon
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