Religious Fundamentalism

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  • Topic: Islam, Sharia, Islamism
  • Pages : 5 (1991 words )
  • Download(s) : 193
  • Published : November 15, 2001
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Compare and contrast Jewish, Christian and Islamic Fundamentalism. How far can each be understood as a reaction to liberal-capitalist modernity?

Fundamentalism: The belief in old and traditional forms of religion, or the belief that what is written in a holy book, such as the Christian Bible, as being completely and literally true. The Cambridge International Dictionary of English Fundamentalism: a: a movement in 20th century Protestantism emphasizing the literally interpreted Bible as Fundamental to Christian life and teaching; b: the beliefs of this movement; c: adherence t such beliefs. Webster's English Dictionary. Fundamentalism is a religious phenomenon which has taken 20th century politics by storm. As defined by Webster's English dictionary fundamentalism has a direct correlation with Protestant Christianity; however, it has in the past, and is currently, impacting many other forms of religion. Since the 1970's many religious movements have emerged into political governments and ideologies all over the world. The dominating religion in Europe is Catholicism; Hinduism is very strong in eastern Asia; Judaism is the ranking religion in Israel and Israeli's political decision; and finally, Islam is the principal religion in the Middle East. Islam is the second largest religion in the world, second only to Christianity which has been the main religion in the United States and is actually making a strong comeback in America. According to Kepel (1994) all of these religions share the characteristic of challenging the way society is organized: either its secular foundation, or the way it has deviated from a foundation based upon religion, as in the United States for example. When the American government was constructed by its founding fathers, the guidelines for America's laws and ideas where based on what Biblical principals, Christian values and morals. The founding fathers wanted their Christian faith to play a major role in the American government and law, but they did not want government to rule over the church or the church to rule over government. Therefore, they added a clause in the constitution that discusses the separation of church and state to ensure that the church and the people attending those churches could worship freely without the will of government hindering their worship. In the past thirty years separation of church and states has come up in many court proceedings through many cases brought forth by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The ACLU believes the concept of separation of church and state means that no government building or place of business can display or have within its contents of instruction anything that would be of a religious connotation. For instance, the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. displays the words "In God We Trust" and many City Halls throughout America have displayed the manger scene at Christmas time. The ACLU's argument is that these symbols are a violation of church and state. Another example, is the Supreme Court ruling on Roe vs. Wade, a court decision which gave women unlimited rights to abort their unborn child. Many believe that the decision in favor of Roe vs. Wade by the Supreme Court was a strong indicator that government will not allow religion to play a role in their decisions. Another decision made by the Supreme Court which gave rise to Christian Fundamentalism in America was when the Court decided not to allow prayer in public schools. Because of these types of decisions being made in America, several organizations were formed to activate Christians to get involved in the political world to combat the liberalism they believed was becoming prevalent in politics and developing government policies. In the late 1970s, an organization that was created to activate a moral foundation in government was the Moral Majority developed by Rev. Jerry Falwell. Later, Pat Robertson, founder of Regents University and the 700 Club TV program in...
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