Thursday, May 24, 2007

What Is Fundamentalism?

It seems that the Islamic Fundamentalists have hijacked the word "Fundamentalist"and now it is synonymous with "violent religion".

This has not always been the case. At the turn of the last century, a group of evangelical Christians began to call themselves "fundamentalist" to differentiate themselves from a modernist movement which denied the deity of Christ as well as the inspiration of the Bible, among other things.

The term "Fundamentalist" only meant that they adhered to the FUNDAMENTAL, or basic, traditional, doctrines of Christianity.

We all have studied courses, such as "The Fundamentals of Math" ..does that make one a violent mathematician? I took a course in college called, "The Fundamentals of Test and Measurement" I a violent test giver? Or, "The Fundamentals of Language"...does that make my speech violent?

What I want to express here, is that I am a "Christian Fundamentalist". I adhere to the basic Christian doctrines, I am not violent, nor do I wish to kill or inflict violence on anyone that disagrees with me. I can no longer use the term "fundamentalist" in many places without people assuming I am a violent person.

I found the following article which compares some of the fundamental teachings of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam to be enlightening. Although it in no way shares the complete statement of faith of the religions, it does show the primary motivation for the treatment of others as taught by each religion.

The problem is not in being a fundamentalist. The problem arises in what fundamentals you believe in.

What Is Fundamentalism?

Christian fundamentalism:
"Love your enemies, bless them who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven."
-Matthew 5:44-45

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it, Thou shalt love your neighbour as yourself."
-Mathew 22:37-39

Jewish fundamentalism:
"Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might."
-Deuteronomy 6:4-5

"You shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbour as yourself."

1. You shall have no other Gods before me.
2. You shall not make unto yourself any graven image bow

....down yourself to them, nor serve them.
3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain...
4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
5. Honour your father and your mother...
6. You shall not commit murder.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.
10.You shall not covet ...anything that is your neighbour's.

....-Exodus 20:3-17

Islamic fundamentalism:
Regarding infidels (non-Muslims), they are the Muslim’s inveterate enemies.
-Sura 4:101

Muslims are to "arrest them, besiege them and lie in ambush everywhere" for them.
-Sura 9:5

Muslims are to "seize them and put them to death wherever you find them, kill them wherever you find them, seek out the enemies of Islam relentlessly."
-Sura 4:90

Allah will give "a far richer recompense to those who fight for him."
-Sura 4:96

Anyone who fights against Allah or renounces Islam in favor of another religion shall be "put to death or crucified or have their hands and feet cut off on alternative sides."
-Sura 5:34

A Muslim is permitted to kill any person if it be "a just cause."
-Sura 6:152

"Fight them until Islam reigns supreme."
-Sura 2:193

"Cut off their heads, and cut off the tips of their fingers."
-Sura 8:12

"When the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush."
-Sura 9:5

Muslims are to be "ruthless to unbelievers."
-Sura 48:29

"Allah loves those who fight for his cause."-Sura 61:3

Used with permission


Mishel said...

You said,
"The problem is not in being a fundamentalist. The problem arises in what fundamentals you believe in." So true!

Very interesting read. : )

SiouxSue said...

I am a fundamentalist Christian and proud of it. As my church, Episcopal, spins out of control in a frenzy of non-Biblical, liberalism, I am thankful for the few strong souls who are leading those of us willing to be led in a fundamental direction.

Ardeshir Dolat said...

When one mentions Islamic Fundamentalism, one shivers because of what Islamic fundamentals are. The examples in the article you found are just the tip of the iceberg. Islam truly is a horrifying religion and desperately needs some serious and extensive reform and modernizations to make it more acceptable in the 21st century. The problem is that those violent Suras in the Qoran are so clear that you just cannot interpret them in any other way!! Even if a brave and moderate ayatullah with authority declared that those violent Suras are not words of God and cannot be words of God and therefore rewrote the whole book, the problem of Islamic Fundamentalists would still remain.

Jungle Mom said...

Welcome Sioux!

Jungle Mom said...

ardeshi dolat: I believe that the religion if severely flawed! True Faith will stand the test of time, if not, it is impotent.

Brooke said...

Great post!

The difference in fundamentalists seems to be whether or not they explode...

Jungle Mom said...

brooke, good point!!!

Frieda said...

Interesting post. I believe Muslim religion has to go through some sort of renaissance as Christianity and Judaism has done. Muslim religion is too aliened with politics and statehood. I have learned that Sufism is kinder, gentler version of Islam. But they have been pushed to the side and just today there was a news that they have arrested their leader.

But I do agree with you that faith will stand the test of time.

Glenn Bartley said...

Sorry but I do not agree with you on your ideas of a fundamentalist Christian, Jew or Muslim. I agree with Mishel when she said it depends on which fundamentals in which you believe, and that goes for any religion because there is debate among the inner circles of each of them as to just what are the fundamentals, how how far to take them.

I think all of them (fundamentalists/extremists) are to be feared because they take the religion to its extremes, and thereby they take their hate, or simply non-tolerance of others to the same extremes. I am not one of those type who says we have to embrace diversity and be tolerant of everything, as you are well aware, but nor do I think anyone should be so extreme as to be against anyone of not like mind as themselves. I think the word extremist would better fit than fundamentalist, but they are often one and the same no matter what religion is invloved; and that means they quite often are dangerous to the community on the whole.

I guess in general I think spiritulaity is a good thing, but that religion, as it was fundamentally organized many centuries or even millenia ago, was a way for man to explain his surroundings, including all of the universe, or was a way for God to explain it to an ignorant and simple man (who may well have misunderstood the word of God - therefore all the different religions, and interpretations of each religion)). Fundamentalists seem never to allow change to their religion from their point of view as to just what is fundamental, and this makes them extreme, and extremism is not always a good thing, it can be very bad indeed.

All the best,
Glenn B

Jungle Mom said...

Glenn, Actually, Mishel was quoting me. I said,"The problem is not in being a fundamentalist. The problem arises in what fundamentals you believe in."
I also believe RELIGION is worthless, in and of itself. It is about a personal relationship with God.
Many religions are only a type of social club, until you have a personal faith and relationship with God it serves no real purpose.
And yes, extremism is usually bad. I regret that the word "fundamentalism" has been tainted. that is the point I wished to make.

WomanHonorThyself said...

excellent distinctions hun!


I am definately fundamental in the things that I believe in and stand for. I believe every person has the God given choice to make their own decisions about what and who to believe in. I just want people to give me the same right. The post was very educational and thank you for sharing it with us. connie from Texas

serendip said...

Outstanding post. You'll enjoy this site:

Michael said...

Interesting comparison/contrasts. Thans for posting...

Jungle Mom:
You said, True Faith will stand the test of time, if not, it is impotent

To that I would add, true faith doesn't need to slaughter all the others to prove that it is not impotent.
I think that Islam's violence is a symptom of inner weakness and spiritual emptiness.

Gayle said...

The word "fundamentalism" has indeed been tainted. Our language is fluid and takes on new meaning all the time. Unfortunately, not all of the "new meanings" are positive. For example, look what's been done to the word "gay". In describing that we are in a wonderful mood, we never use the word "gay" anymore!

Like Sioux Sue, I am also an Episcopalian, and there has indeed been a huge effort by liberals to take over the church and turn it away from fundamentalism. We are fighting hard (with non-violent means of course) to get it back.

Personally, I've exchanged the word "fundamentalism" for "traditionalist". I suppose sometime in the future I'll have to find another word to take the place of that one, because I'm sure the meaning of it will change too.

Excellent post... it makes a person think. :)

Deborah said...

I will pray for you what a mighty task the Lord has placed on your lifes. love always me

Glenn Bartley said...

Oh yes she was quoting you, sorry about my mistake there.

I guess the whole fundamentalist thing gets so screwy because o one can agree on just what are the fundamentals. Of course some religions differ so much from one another as they are very different such as Islam and Christianity, so much so that even fundamental issues like good and bad are almost oposites in some regards between these two religions. As a matter of fact, it appears that regarding Islam, it is opposed to the fundamentals of what constitutes good versus bad as to every other major religion on this planet. On that I could not agree with you more in how you pointed out some of those differences.

All the ebst,

luvvom said...

Well, just to confuse everyone...I'm reformed in theology!...strict OPC'er and no that doesn't mean Only Perfect Church :o)...Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

Jungle Mom said...

Gayle: Yes, th word, Fundamentalist, is no longer descriptive of what we actually believe.

Jungle Mom said...

Michael, so true! If my faith is real, and my beliefs are correct, on that merit alone ,I can rest assured. If others, do not agree, I need not force them!!
I do however, feel that we should be able to share our beliefs without conflict.

Jungle Mom said...

serendip, Thanks for the link!

Sire said...

The "problem" is that the notion "fundamentalist" has become something subjective (it used to be an objective term, describing for example what you stated).

Btw, is there no new window for the comments any more?

Daughter of the King said...

Fantastic article/writing....

I am a independent,Fundamental, Baptist....And finally...I would say...NOT being tossed about with every wind of Doctrine...

To GOD be the Glory...
Your writings are a treasure.

Philip. said...

A well written, interesting post!


Anonymous said...

Love your blog - one question, tho:
I hope your son isn't only a citizen of Venezuela. My parents emigrated there and made that choice for me when I was born there, and I'm very lucky to have been able to claim my European nationality, but not easily. I thank God I'm not a captive to Chavez.

Venezuelans don't take kindly to non-Latinos even in the best of times, so I hope your son has other options besides being a Venezuelan citizen.

I'm sorry that you're leaving under these circumstances - my family members also are leaving behind a land they grew to love. But that Venezuela was an idyllic bubble, and its gone for good.

This is a great Venezuelan emigree site

that'll might keep your memories of Venezuela alive.

It's politcally incorrect to say so, but the extranjeros did a tremendous amount of work to build Venezuela from the 19th century to being a modern, prosperous country.
And it's deteriorated a great deal since the nationalizations - just look at the history. But it's hard to love a society that resents you.

Venezuela's loss.

jennifer said...

Rita excellent post. The word has been hijacked for sure. It is a sad state of affairs when we first had to start calling ourselves fundamentalist, then had to defend the word.
I think this is what happened to the word discriminate. It simply means to make clear distinction, and now as a society we use the word as a negative.
Well such is the times. But I will not deny being a fundamental Christian ever.

Jungle Mom said...

Sire, I am showing my ignorance here I that do not know what you mean by, "no new window" ???

Jungle Mom said...

Philip, welcome!

Jungle Mom said...

Anonymous. my children have dual citizenship. What we are discovering ,though, is that Venezuela only recognizes them as Venezuelan. For instance, a daughter of a friend of ours, who also held dual citizenship, tried to enter the country as an American during Christmas break. The onidex, people immediately saw here place of birth on the US passport as being Venezuela, so she was not allowed in on her US passport.

Also, some of the new education laws, which if enforced, would require my oldest daughter here at home to pay the monthly "obligatory social service" each month. This could be anything from painting a school in a dangerous barrio, to required marching in an anti-American demonstration. This is not an option for us! So far, things are still not totally enforced, but with the direction of the government, there is little reason to think it will get better.

Jungle Mom said...

Anonymous, thanks for the link. What great fotos!!

Sire said...

JM: I was referring to the fact that the comments to your posts used to open in a new web browser window, but they do not any more. Is there any particular reason why? I personally preferred having them open in a new window.

Jungle Mom said...

Sire: I changed it so that some others would find it easier to link over to those who leave comments. Just curious, why do you prefer it the other way?

Sire said...

I am just accustomed to have it this way. Moreover, an advantage of a new window is that you can quickly switch back to the post you're commenting on.

You may want to have a look at Haloscan; with Haloscan, it's also quite easy to "link over to those who leave comments."

FeathersMcGraw said...

Excelent post JM!

"We all have studied courses, such as "The Fundamentals of Math" ..does that make one a violent mathematician? " LOL

John Kaiser said...

Thanks for an excellent post.

Sarah Joy said...

You made an excellent point about the difference in "the fundamentals".

No one who uses the words of the Bible to commit violence on another is a fundamentalist. They may be believers, but what they believe in not the Bible. True believers from the time of Christ and on have believed in soul liberty. (Going back to the church history post.) Jesus made it clear that He wanted people to come to Him of their own free will.

The way Islamists pervert the minds of their most innocent children to hatred and violence is no comparison.

A true Christian fundamentalist believes he has the right to tell you about Christ. A true Islamic fundamentalist believes he has the right to cut of your head and blow up your kids if you won't convert.

Anonymous said...

JM - I'd advise that you check with the State Department. If you're children are Americo-Venezuelans ( talk about a minority!), I'd be wary of having the Chavista extranjeria decide what their nationality is. My sibling became a US citizen, and as part of that foreswore any allegiance to other states, but in the case of dual citizenship, if you do remain in Chavez' Labyrinth,
you might want to assert that they are US citizens, not Venezuelans.

Best of luck to you and yours. God Bless.

Pam said...

Well said Feathers! Would anyone want to go to a Doctor or Dentist who didn't understand the fundamentals of their field? Of course not! We Christians shouls know the fundamentals of our faith, the 'BUILDING BLOCKS" so to speak.

Jungle Mom said...

That is why we are leaving next month. We don't want to risk anything . Many Americans are staying, but with our children's ages and dual citizenship, it is too risky! the problem with having the kids here as Americans is that they need a Visa and that is not happening either.

groovyoldlady said...

Fundamentals are the basics, NOT the extremes.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you could declare yourselves as undocumented immigrants there to do the work Venezuelans won't do- that should get the world media to lobby for you and decry the imhumane Venezuelan immigration system...;)

Elmer's Brother said...

I'm afraid that anymore fundamentalist is used as a perjorative than an accurate description of what one believes.

Herald said...

I found the contrast very well done!! Unfortunately the words "fundamentalist and fundamentalism" are largely unusable today because of the way they have been tainted, although "perveted" might not be too strong.
Thanks for this post and your posts about the current troubles down there.
To answer the question you left at my blog: I found your blog through a post at another blog
Will be praying for y'al.