Share all you like, but please copy it right and in context.
Mentioning that you got it from Grooving With A Pict would be right neighborly of ya.
And feel free to feed the fish below (or leave some feedback)!
There was an error in this gadget

Your Blogger For The Evening:

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Six Signs that Your Depiction of Fundamentalists Relies More on Media Stereotypes than Historical Research

Ten Signs That You Might Be a Fundamentalist - Free Online Library
Do all ten of the characteristics apply to all fundamentalists? In reality, folks are probably fundamentalist by degrees. However, the two elements of certitude and a supporting, indoctrinating subculture are universal characteristics. I want to end with an assignment. Go back over the list and write the inverse of each point. What would such person or society acting on reverse characteristics look like?
My main objection to the article is that I could not find a characteristic that either didn't apply to all fundamentalists, or, even if it did, also applied to the general population (although in some cases, with minor changes in terminology; note that I added the second item, edited the third and moved several lower than what they originally were):
  1. You fail to notice that the first four items in the above list, with minor changes in terminology, are applicable to a wide variety of people. For example, if one substitutes "irrationality", "irrational", and "rational" for "Dominion of Darkness", "evil", and "righteous", one winds up with the views of many atheists. Furthermore, the tenth item is applicable not only to much of Christianity (e.g., I've heard many non-fundamentalist Christians question whether I'm really a Christian because I'm a fundamentalist), but other religions as well.  
  2. You believe that the more vocal, more controversial, and more political fundamentalists speak for all fundamentalists and are totally unaware (or else ignore) the original definition of the term "fundamentalism". This is akin to saying that Madalyn Murray O'Hair or the new atheists represent all atheists. Thus, items 6-10 are not characteristic of all fundamentalists.
  3. You believe there is such a thing as "Islamic fundamentalism" (an idea that is refuted in the link to the original definition of fundamentalism above).
  4. You view the terms "Religious Right" and "fundamentalist" as synonymous.
  5. You believe that "theological conservatism" must necessarily lead to "social and/or political conservatism".
  6. You have no explanation as how one can reject the fundamentals of the Christian faith and yet still be considered "Christian".
[Update: If I were to this over again, I would have split the second into two as follows:
2. You are totally unaware of (or else ignore) the original definition of fundamentalism and therefore believe that one can be fundamentalist "by degrees".  On the contrary, either one believes all five of the fundamentals or one doesn't.
3. Because of this second error, you mistake the more vocal (strident?), more controversial, and more political faction(s) of fundamentalism as the authentic representatives of the movement.
Furthermore, I would have added an eighth sign:
8. You consider a Inherit the Wind as a historical recreation of the events of the Scopes Trial.]

A few more notes:
1) I realize in cases of ex-fundamentalists such as Mr. (my apologies if I should use "Dr." or some other honorific instead) Alexander's, personal experience probably plays a larger role than media stereotypes. The point I was trying to make in the title, however, remains: most of these characteristics are either not true of all fundamentalists or are also true of most of culture as well (with perhaps minor changes in the terminology used as noted).
2) My mention of "media stereotypes" is not meant to imply a belief in a general media conspiracy against fundamentalists, but rather that the media tends to focus on controversy because that's what tends to sell.
3) As for the assignment mentioned in the last paragraph, I doubt that such a person really exists. I think that everyone displays a certain amount of certainty about his or her beliefs (otherwise, why hold them?). Furthermore, I've yet to find a subculture that didn't have some beliefs beyond question... or someone who has said "question everything" who hasn't added a (usually unspoken) "except for what I tell you" to it. Besides, my first question after someone tells me to "question everything" tends to be "How can I be sure I'm questioning everything and not just looking for rationalizations to believe what I want to believe?".
4) As for an assignment I'd like to give: study the original fundamentalists and note the differences between them and how fundamentalists are portrayed today (for those interested, a good start might be my "Myths about Fundamentalists" series).
While my response originally appeared on the webpage linked at the beginning of this article, it appears to have been subsequently removed.

No comments:

Post a Comment

(Your comments go here. Thanks!)

RSS-Pect The Groove

Grooving With A Pict

Groove Back