But so do Christian fundamentalist. Let me explain.
What Is Fundamentalism?
Britannica defines fundamentalism as a “type of militantly conservative religious movement characterized by the advocacy of strict conformity to sacred texts.”
Richard Dawkins expanded fundamentalism to mean religious advocates who stubbornly cling to entrenched positions that defy reason…or evidence that prove otherwise.
And Alistar McGrath suggested fundamentalism characterized atheists as dogmatic.
What ever the stripe–it scares me. A
nd it reminds me of a book by Chris Hedges called I Don’t Believe in Atheists.
The Scary Essence of the Fundamentalist
Hedges levels this: ”The fundamentalist murders, plunders and subjugates in the name of humankind’s most exalted ideals.”
And then: ”All fundamentalists reject intellectual investigation.”
In essence, Hedges argued that just as Christian fundamentalist avoid complex arguments and stick to sensational, general and sweeping claims to brush aside arguments–Mark Driscoll’s been accused of this–atheist fundamentalists like Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens do the same thing.
I’ve seen this on the micro level, too. It hit me hard yesterday during a brewing discussion over homeschooling at Daniel Florien’s Unreasonable Faith blog.
Claidheamh mor interrupted: “Will my fellow nonbelievers let the f*ck up on homeschooling a bit, and see the real danger in the anti-science brainwashing of children?”
He goes on to quote Evita, “Get them while they’re young, Evita; get them while they’re young,” missing the obvious: Wouldn’t he want to teach his children evolution while they’re young…BEFORE they could think for themselves?
An Extraordinary Statement by a Non-Believer
Here’s my point. Hedges says:
We build a democracy by accepting that we are all tainted by prejudice, often captive to the irrational, and frequently blinded by the self-interest.
I confess: I fall into this category. So would Claidheamh mor. So would you. We are all guilty.
The danger is not pacifism or militarism. It is the poisonous belief in human perfectibility and the failure to accept our own sinfulness, our own limitations and moral corruption. IDBiA
This last statement I find extraordinary coming from a professed non-believer. But I head the very same thing from British writer Theodore Dalyrmyple.
It’s a recognition of Romans 3:23: we’ve all fallen short of the glory of God. We are corrupt. Broken. And perfectibility in this life is impossible.
Fundamentalism of all stripes scares me. That I could fall into the trap, too. It humbles me in the way Romans 3:9 humbles me:
What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin.
None of us has an advantage over the other.
Romans 2 tells us we all practice iniquity–whether we admit it or not–and store up wrath and the revelation of the righteousness of God for the day of judgment.
Towards the end of his book Hedges writes:
The danger we face does not come from religion. It comes from a growing intellectual bankruptcy that is one of the symptoms of a dying culture.
Over to You
There is a good argument that God has abandoned this culture. This country. Maybe even you. What do you think? Do you believe in the perfectibility of the human race in this world or not? Do you have horror stories of fundamentalists–in any camp? Am I irrational?
I look forward to your thoughts. Brutal and all.