Sunday, March 20, 2005

Ah fundamentalism, the simple life...


According to Moby, the greatest faultline in the global village right now is not between Christianity and Islam, liberals and conservatives, or left and right. It is between "complexity and simplicity". "The world being complicated is very threatening to some people," he argues. "I think that's what has spurred the rise of fundamentalism - people taking comfort in old certainties that never really were certainties. That song is about that mob mentality, that almost narcotic effect when like-minded people get together and scream. Whether they are football fans or Republicans or religious fundamentalists, they all sound and look the same. There is no subtlety to a crowd."
From today's Age

I don't know if that's a fair thing to say about the popularity of Islamic fundamentalism, but I think it's fair to say about Christian fundamentalism in America. What do you think?



Blogger CK said...

How are you defining fundamentalism?

Historically, it derives from adherance to a set of fundamentals (including the virgin birth of Jesus, creation in 6 days, etc.)

Now it seems to be a popular catchall phrase for "conservative Christians, evangelicals or anyone who is suspiciously religious."

Further, when we say "simplicity" what are we defining? Their view of cosmological origins? Of a unity of human purpose/teleology? Of the the underlying simple "truths" that objectively exist?

3/21/2005 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger MelbournePhilosopher said...

Well, I don't know what Moby thinks. But here's what I think.

Fundamentalism doesn't mean what it used to - not to most people anyway.

Going with the new definition, the problem of fundamentalists is that they over-simplify. They do not genuinely go back to the "fundamentals" of their religion in terms of being true to the source materials, but rather they simplify all moral problems into being primarily about a "fundamental" issue.

For example, in the case of that woman in the US on life support, they claim "life" as the "fundamental" issue rather than considering a wider argument.

When the US went to war with Iraq, it boiled down to a "fundamental" issue of W.M.D..

When someone bucks the religious trend (remember the case of the schoolgirl back around 9/11 who I think refused to sing the anthem and then got expelled) in the U.S., the response is intolerance of an atititude outside their simplistic view.

I don't think there is anything wrong with people adhering to the fundamentals of a religion, but there are problems when a complex issue is seen only in light of one particular aspect.

Even the phrase "conservative Christians" no longer means a Christian with conservative values, but has come to include the same overtones of simplicity and anti-intellectualism.

3/21/2005 11:43:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home