Religious Fundamentalism can be found in all of the world religions including, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism. It is an extreme form of religious ideology in which the followers passionately believe that they embrace immutable truths and principles upon which not only their personal salvation depends, but also the fate of humanity.
As a consequence of this kind of irrational and highly charged thinking, overt intolerance of human behavior outside of the particular belief system comes to represent normative behavior. Those individuals within groups based upon fundamentalist principles necessarily adopt conformist attitudes and lifestyles and adhere to well-delineated sanctioned behaviors and societal roles. Within this myopic worldview there lies the concept of a people chosen specifically by god to embody his teachings. This concept is either implied or explicitly stated.
It is not unusual and often quite likely that ingrained thought patterns that embrace fundamentalist religious ideology lead to intolerance, aggression and violence towards those who hold differing beliefs – such individuals are invariably seen as a threat to the existence of the constricted universe in which true believers reside. This kind of hatred has its origin in fear.
Although those individuals who claim themselves to be Christian Fundamentalists do not in any way approach a majority of United States citizens, they seem to have gained an inordinate influence within the political arena and especially within the Republican Party. It is through the Republican Party operatives and through their influence within the Supreme Court that their constricted and highly repressive worldview is now being foisted upon the entire population.
This authoritarian-based worldview is predicated upon a system that seeks to actively suppress and undermine a woman’s inherent right to her own body and her reproductive system and that seeks to caste withering judgements upon consensual sexual behavior and sexual identity that deviates from a self-imposed norm they wish to apply to everyone. One of the guiding principles behind this kind of behavior especially in regard to women is that they have a clearly defined God-given purpose and, therefore, must never be allowed to deviate from that pre-determined role.
Another inherent aspect of this Christian Fundamentalist mentality is a belief in the inherently dominant role played by male of the species and the seldom-stated belief in the supremacy of the white race. This attitude was made especially clear after a highly intelligent and eloquent black man was chosen as President of the United States. This new reality was seen as shocking evidence that national attitudes were changing in a way that seriously threatened an entire universe of belief. Rather than finding a reasoned and intelligent pathway to acceptance, the choice was made to obstruct and undermine in any and every way possible. Rather than accommodate a changing world, the choice was to use whatever means possible to repress and thwart the movement of history. This strategy, of course, led the way to the rise of Donald Trump – clearly, a diseased personality that reflects and amplified these views and gives them credence while he holds none of them to his heart. These fundamentalist views are held so strongly that even democracy and the rule of law are no longer worthy of preservation if their dissolution is required to achieve the desired end as the violent assault on the Nation’s capital on January 6, 2021 clearly demonstrated.
Since the system of beliefs that is representative of the fabric of Christian Fundamentalist ideology is essentially delusional in nature, truth is not of any real significance and in the right environment and under the appropriate conditions the lie becomes the fundamental vehicle for both validation and control. The lie has been effectively used in a brazen attempt to undermine the peaceful transition of power in the last presidential election; to postulate that the global threat of climate change is, in fact, a well-engineered hoax; that science is not to be trusted and even individuals who dedicate their entire lives to the wellbeing and health of the nation like Dr. Fauci are to be construed as enemies of the people and that the deliberate termination of a newly fertilized human ovum while residing within a woman’s body well before the time it is, in fact, a viable human being is to be regarded as a murderous act.
The above represents my analysis of the horrific social and political circumstances we currently face. It must be remembered that the views encompassed by Christian Fundamentalism are not held by a majority of the nation’s population, and if our Democracy and the Rule of Law remain intact, we have the collective capacity to make our voices heard especially for the sake of future generations of Americans.