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Human beings will be happier - not when they cure cancer or get to Mars or eliminate racial prejudice or flush Lake Erie but when they find ways to inhabit primitive communities again. That's my utopia.
~Kurt Vonnegut
Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Systemic causes of fundamentalism and religious violence

Fundamentalism is both a religious phenomenon, a political movement, and a state of consciousness. It is characterised by profound dissatisfaction about society, preoccupation with religious beliefs, expectation of imminent apocalypse, assumption of a cosmic battle between the forces of good and evil, concretisation of this in terms of actual groups of human beings, and the claim of divine authority to justify violence against the perceived enemies. Like other totalitarian worldviews such as fascism, Stalinism, and neo-liberalism, it claims absolute righteousness for its own beliefs: "God is on our side!" Throughout the millennia, fundamentalism has appeared in many forms including Hindu, Jewish, Christian, Islamic and other varieties, and has led to genocides, crusades, jihads, witch-hunts, tortures, inquisitions, deportations, pogroms, holocausts, terrorist attacks, revolutions, fatwas, coups d'├ętat, human rights violations, collective suicides, and wars.

Fundamentalism is nothing new, but it is lately attracting so many adherents that it has become a global issue. Consider the Christian variety. In the USA, for example, Presidents Reagan and Bush would not have been elected without the backing of the Christian fundamentalist voting block; their advocates now sit on most school boards, where they censor the curriculum and oblige educational textbook publishers to re-write schoolbooks in order to avoid blacklisting and economic boycott.

posted by Cyndy | link | | |
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