Fundamentalism is alive and kicking. How do I know? Well, read or listen to the news.
Fundamentalism is the main motivation for many people and is a sub-function of their “Fear”. It must be a fundamental motivation of our self-centredness we call “I”. “I’m right,” nothing else matters. And if “I” is not right I have to work towards it and bring it about. That is what fundamentalism is all about. That is the position some people want to achieve and when they have achieved it, they must defend the position to all comers.. New rules will be established and with those new rules new rulers will assert their power over people. This is what happens with revolutions. They get rid off an old fundamentalism and over time create their own.
“Fear” tells us, that our position is the fundamental bastion we have to defend at all costs. This is our “Fundamentalism”, our line in the sand, so to speak. The more fundamentalism is about, the more the others, the non-fundamentalist people, become marginalised and they in turn become non-fundamentalist fundamentalists.
According to the all knowing Wikipedia “Fundamentalism is the demand for a strict adherence to orthodox theological doctrines, usually understood as a reaction to Modernist theology”.
I think it is more fundamental than this. Because it is also an ‘unwavering attachment to a set of irreducible beliefs’ who do not need to be religious at all. I think fundamentalism is tribal. It is, we are right and you are wrong. What we are saying to others is, if you do not want to be my brother, than you are my enemy and I hit you as hard on the head, or worse, as I can. Those sentiments are older than religions, they came with us, and our DNA, out of the jungle.
Gun ownership in the US is a form of fundamentalism. They swear they need their guns to survive.
It seems to me that religions developed because some wise people, usually men, were sick and tired that people in ‘dog eat dog societies’ were knocking each other off. Over the generations those same religions became fundamentalist themselves because they became tribal too.
The great teachers, Moses, Siddhārtha Gautama, Jesus or Mohammed were all peace loving people who wanted to free people from their fundamentalist fears.
To penalise someone because of a breach of a so-called religious law is actually showing mistrust in your God. It seems to me, it is assumed, that the culprit is getting away with it and God might not send the perpetrator to hell.
Capitalism is fundamentalist too, as was Communism. Communism is gone for almost twenty five years. Younger people might ask what it was. It is hard to imagine that it put fears into the rich for over seventy years, ever since the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 in Russia.
“Maximising profit” is a fundamental rule of Capitalism. Ayn Rand was a typical prophet of this form of fundamentalism. Her promoting of individual rights went so far that she even rejected altruism. Yet scientists tell us today, that altruism is part of our DNA and has survival value.
From Bolivia reaches us the news that people should have the right to send their children to work and to contribute to the economic well being of the family. It is argued that families should be able to decide freely whether to send their children to school or to work. For this very reason Nineteenth Century England sent the children of the under classes into the coal mines.
We know of course where that argument leads to; reduced wages and conditions. Bolivia is the testing ground now and if it works there, it will be introduced in other countries too.
In Australia we are heading for “capitalist fundamentalism”. Less money for education and sciences will be spent. Dumbing down the population and freeing up the labour market are all part of economic orthodoxy – fundamentalism !
Fundamentalism is part of the human make-up. Enlightenment and respect for others can be an antidote, not more. We have to work hard at avoiding that fundamentalism will rule our lives.