What is religious fundamentalism? – World Atlas


A United Nations building bombed in Baghdad in 2003 by a Salafi jihadist group pushing religious fundamentalism to deadly extremes.

Religious fundamentalism refers to the belief of an individual or group of individuals in the absolute authority of a sacred religious text or the teachings of a particular religious leader, prophet and / or God . These fundamentalists believe that their religion is beyond any form of criticism and therefore should be imposed on others as well. Logical explanations and scientific evidence have no place in these belief systems if they go against their religious fundamentalists. For fundamentalists, religion dictates every area of ​​their daily life, and they also attempt to involve the entire society in their own belief system, often through the use of force.

The early concepts of modern religious fundamentalism

The concept of modern religious fundamentalism was introduced with the publication of Foundations, a series of books published between 1909 and 1920 calling on Christians to believe in certain religious doctrines of Christianity. The term “fundamentalist” was soon used to describe a section of Protestant Christians who had a separatist attitude towards modernity. In recent years, the term has been used to refer to the most extreme believers of all religions around the world.

Fundamentalism in the world

Most of the world’s religions tend to be associated with fundamentalist elements. Christian fundamentalists, who have an absolute belief in the words of the Holy Bible, are found all over the Christian world. At the turn of the 20th century, Christian fundamentalists, like those in the United States, protested against the theory of evolution advanced by Charles Darwin and also supported the temperance movement against the sale of alcohol. Currently, part of Christian fundamentalists believe in “premillennial eschatology,” in which they view the world as doomed until Jesus returns and defeats the Antichrist. Jewish fundamentalism is quite prevalent in Israel, where Jewish fundamentalists make constant efforts to establish an Orthodox Jewish culture in the region and strictly enforce halacha, Jewish religious law, in all aspects of Israeli life. Islam is also a religion riddled with fundamentalists. Islamic fundamentalists believe in the literal interpretation of the Holy Quran and Hadiths and attempt to apply Sharia law in all aspects of Islamic life. Ibn Taymiyyah was one of the first Islamic fundamentalists who launched a reform movement in the 13th century against Islamic scholarship, criticized the Shiites in Lebanon as the Rifa’i Sufi order, and also unleashed jihad against the invaders. Mongols. Islamic fundamentalism has also grown in recent years and currently exists as the foundation of legal systems in many Islamic states around the world.

Many Islamic terrorist organizations, such as al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, and ISIS, also hold fundamentalist attitudes and view Western civilization as a symbol of secular modernization that threatens traditional Islamic values. Unlike the Abrahamic religions, fundamentalism in Indian religions is much more moderate, but not completely non-existent. Hinduism, being the oldest religion in the world, does not attribute supreme authority to any particular sacred text, nor to a single prophet or God. Hinduism is a complex of multiple sets of beliefs advocated by a large number of sacred texts, including the Vedas, the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads and the Brahmins. Thus, the universal beliefs of this religion continue to dilute the attitudes of its few fundamentalists. In the case of Sikhism, however, the Khalistan movement of the 1980s, which witnessed the assassination of Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, is often referred to as a Sikh fundamentalist movement with the aim of creating an independent Sikh state. Believers of Buddhism and Jainism exhibit very little fundamentalism and, since these religions are based on the apology of peace and non-violence, violent application of any kind is not practiced by followers of these religions. However, the Soka Gakkai sect of Nichiren Buddhism in Japan, which denies the credibility of all other forms of Buddhism, is sometimes referred to as fundamentalist.

Ongoing implications

The extreme fundamentalism in the world today is responsible for a lot of misery, claiming many innocent victims. A society with fundamental beliefs engenders a closed attitude towards life to the degree of paranoia and, in some cases, nurtures aggressive behavior. Fundamentalism closes the door to the acceptance of modern ideas and scientific principles and to the exchange of thoughts between societies around the world. The difference between “good” and “bad” is clearly demarcated in such societies, and any experimentation is not allowed. The right to say “no” is dissolved, and often those who live in the same society, although initially non-believers, become subjects of “addiction to approval”, or to gain respect and acceptance in their society, they must start to follow the fundamentalist principles themselves. , although they may be unable to identify with them. Since fundamentalists do not lend ears to the voices of others, others may also be less inclined to hear them. This breeds feelings of violence against others and often leads to conflict. Fundamentalism is often practiced by believers to keep their belief systems and traditions from being swept away by waves of modern change, but in the process, they can become so entangled in the limits of their beliefs that they are unable to get out of despair without resorting to acts of violence and aggression.


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