All christianity is “fundamentalism”

What do they believe? What do you think? Talk about religion as it exists today.
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Irish1975
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All christianity is “fundamentalism”

Post by Irish1975 »

“The fundamentals” was a collection of articles in the 1910s, heavily funded and propagated by an American business man, that assailed “the Higher Criticism” and promoted a few essential tenets for (American) Protestant ministers: atonement, resurrection, miracles, virgin birth, and the creation story. Or something like that.

It’s no different from ancient and medieval and Reformation efforts to define dogma.

The same script is always in play, with incidental variations. There must be some essential creed for “Christians”: a list of dogmas that constitute the one true faith. The OT and NT by themselves are not sufficient to define this creed. Heresies must be detected and overthrown. All the “fundamental” Christianities resemble ona another more or less, which is unsurpising given their common scriptural basis.

Today’s Evangelicals reject the label fundamentalist because of its connotations of aggressiveness and stupidity; but they are fundamentalists. They are just like Tertullian or any (Western) dogmatic Christian. They claim to rely on scripture alone while taking their cues from some contemporary authority that they trust, who tells them what to believe.

Some groups adhere to a creed defined long ago, because of a political association that once used violence to stifle dissent in favor of their creed: roman catholics, anglicans, lutherans, Orthodox. Their identity is inherited. But the defining ancestors were just as “fundamentalist” as Jerry Falwell, and probably more so.

“Fundamentalism” should be defined by reference to the meaning of “fundament” or “foundation”, etc. All self-proclaimed christians appeal to fundamentals as their creed, ie something more definite than scripture alone. Neither militancy nor hostility to evolution nor “literalism” nor a method of non-rational propagation is distinctive of modern Protestant “fundamentalists” (a generally despised group). Those features are found throughout the various history of christianity per se.
andrewcriddle
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Re: All christianity is “fundamentalism”

Post by andrewcriddle »

Irish1975 wrote: Sun Jul 16, 2023 11:12 pm “The fundamentals” was a collection of articles in the 1910s, heavily funded and propagated by an American business man, that assailed “the Higher Criticism” and promoted a few essential tenets for (American) Protestant ministers: atonement, resurrection, miracles, virgin birth, and the creation story. Or something like that.

It’s no different from ancient and medieval and Reformation efforts to define dogma.

The same script is always in play, with incidental variations. There must be some essential creed for “Christians”: a list of dogmas that constitute the one true faith. The OT and NT by themselves are not sufficient to define this creed. Heresies must be detected and overthrown. All the “fundamental” Christianities resemble ona another more or less, which is unsurpising given their common scriptural basis.

Today’s Evangelicals reject the label fundamentalist because of its connotations of aggressiveness and stupidity; but they are fundamentalists. They are just like Tertullian or any (Western) dogmatic Christian. They claim to rely on scripture alone while taking their cues from some contemporary authority that they trust, who tells them what to believe.

Some groups adhere to a creed defined long ago, because of a political association that once used violence to stifle dissent in favor of their creed: roman catholics, anglicans, lutherans, Orthodox. Their identity is inherited. But the defining ancestors were just as “fundamentalist” as Jerry Falwell, and probably more so.

“Fundamentalism” should be defined by reference to the meaning of “fundament” or “foundation”, etc. All self-proclaimed christians appeal to fundamentals as their creed, ie something more definite than scripture alone. Neither militancy nor hostility to evolution nor “literalism” nor a method of non-rational propagation is distinctive of modern Protestant “fundamentalists” (a generally despised group). Those features are found throughout the various history of christianity per se.
One issue is that the term 'Fundamentalism' tends to be associated in practice with Dispensationalist views about the Bible and prophecy. I agree that this emphasis is not found in the original "The Fundamentals" articles, but it became increasingly dominant after the 1st World War. Evangelicals who are not Dispensationalists (many are) are IMO perfectly justified in rejecting the Fundamentalist label.

Andrew Criddle
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Irish1975
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Re: All christianity is “fundamentalism”

Post by Irish1975 »

andrewcriddle wrote: Thu Jul 20, 2023 8:50 am One issue is that the term 'Fundamentalism' tends to be associated in practice with Dispensationalist views about the Bible and prophecy. I agree that this emphasis is not found in the original "The Fundamentals" articles, but it became increasingly dominant after the 1st World War. Evangelicals who are not Dispensationalists (many are) are IMO perfectly justified in rejecting the Fundamentalist label.

Andrew Criddle
If the label is useful at all, and not a mere insult, it needs a clear and non-pejorative meaning. If Dispensationalism is the de facto meaning of ‘Fundamentalism,’ then just call it Dispensationalism.

It seems that scholars of religious studies have wanted to isolate a definite phenomenon in modern religious thought and practice. I’m not well versed in their literature, but have they been persuasive? Eg, Karen Armstrong.

My thought was that commitment to ‘fundamental’ dogmas would seem to be the essence. But that’s just dogmatic christianity. Any dogmatic Calvinist or Catholic might qualify. But the point of the concept was to differentiate a modern style of religion from traditional types, which this approach fails to do.

Is it dogmatism plus dispensationalism? Could there be a non-dogmatic dispensationalism, when the latter signifies belief that history is carved up into ages? The association of F’ism with D’ism seems either redundundant or arbitrary.

Consider Wikipedia’s definition of Fundamentalism and tell me it isn’t pointless:

Unwavering attachment to a set of irreducible beliefs

As opposed to attachment that wavers? Beliefs that are reducible, hence logically derivative from other beliefs?

What are we talking about…
andrewcriddle
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Re: All christianity is “fundamentalism”

Post by andrewcriddle »

Irish1975 wrote: Mon Jul 24, 2023 10:32 pm
andrewcriddle wrote: Thu Jul 20, 2023 8:50 am One issue is that the term 'Fundamentalism' tends to be associated in practice with Dispensationalist views about the Bible and prophecy. I agree that this emphasis is not found in the original "The Fundamentals" articles, but it became increasingly dominant after the 1st World War. Evangelicals who are not Dispensationalists (many are) are IMO perfectly justified in rejecting the Fundamentalist label.

Andrew Criddle
If the label is useful at all, and not a mere insult, it needs a clear and non-pejorative meaning. If Dispensationalism is the de facto meaning of ‘Fundamentalism,’ then just call it Dispensationalism.

It seems that scholars of religious studies have wanted to isolate a definite phenomenon in modern religious thought and practice. I’m not well versed in their literature, but have they been persuasive? Eg, Karen Armstrong.

My thought was that commitment to ‘fundamental’ dogmas would seem to be the essence. But that’s just dogmatic christianity. Any dogmatic Calvinist or Catholic might qualify. But the point of the concept was to differentiate a modern style of religion from traditional types, which this approach fails to do.

Is it dogmatism plus dispensationalism? Could there be a non-dogmatic dispensationalism, when the latter signifies belief that history is carved up into ages? The association of F’ism with D’ism seems either redundundant or arbitrary.

Consider Wikipedia’s definition of Fundamentalism and tell me it isn’t pointless:

Unwavering attachment to a set of irreducible beliefs

As opposed to attachment that wavers? Beliefs that are reducible, hence logically derivative from other beliefs?

What are we talking about…
There is an interesting discussion of the connection and differences between Evangelical Dispensationalist and Fundamentalist here

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Irish1975
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Re: All christianity is “fundamentalism”

Post by Irish1975 »

A useful definition of christian fundamentalism would connect it with the rejection of Darwinian biology. Everything else is secondary.
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Leucius Charinus
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Re: All christianity is “fundamentalism”

Post by Leucius Charinus »

Irish1975 wrote: Sat Aug 05, 2023 1:01 pm A useful definition of christian fundamentalism would connect it with the rejection of Darwinian biology. Everything else is secondary.

Dawkins writes the following:

Fundamentalism and the Subversion of Science

Fundamentalists know they are right because they have read the truth in a holy book and they know, in advance, that nothing will budge them from that belief. The truth of the holy book is an axiom, not the end product of a process of reasoning. The book is true, and if the evidence seems to contradict it, it is the evidence that must be thrown out, not the book. By contrast, what I, as a scientist, believe (for example evolution) I believe not because of reading a holy book but because I have studied the evidence.

p.282
The God Delusion
Ch 8: What's wrong with religion? Why be so hostile?

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