An Introduction


Religious Fundamentalism is one of the major political issues in our world today. We can see it everywhere: Islamic Fundamentalists in the Middle East trying to create theocracies, and doing anything to attain that end; Jewish Fundamentalists in Israel trying to force the Palestinians out of their chosen land at all costs; Christian Fundamentalists in the United States trying to keep the teaching of evolution out of public schools and the laws of their own God in.

The term "Fundamentalism" first came into use in the 1920s to describe the conservative movement in the Protestant Church of the United States against liberalism and modernism. The term has come to encompass a large range of religions, beliefs, and practices. These alternate meanings, however, are very complex and controversial. Some people claim that the term "fundamentalism" can and should be broadly applied to religions and movements other than the Protestant one in the United States. Others say that the differences are too extensive, and that type of generalization should not be made.

This website focuses only on the original definition of the word "fundamentalism", partly because of the controversy surrounding the word, and also because in doing my research, I found so much information that it would have been a huge project to try to cover religious fundamentalism in general. It seems to me that there are many differences among the fundamentalist movements in the three main world religions (Christianity, Islam, and Judaism), and knowing about one helps a great deal in understanding the others. Also: when the word "Fundamentalism" is capitalized, I am referring to the specific Christian Fundamentalist movement. When it is not capitalized, I am referring to any fundamentalist-type movement within any religion.

I've tried to be as unbiased as possible in a very controversial topic. Please be aware that I am not professing my own opinion.


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