One who has a Absolute and complete belief in one's own rightness, irrelevent of facts, logic, alternative views and any thing else that does not fit in their 'faith'. Often comes with a literal interpretation and complete trust in a ancient religious text such as the Bible or the Koran. Usually have no tolerance for other views.

My parents are fundamentalists. Actually, the belong to a closed fundamentalist sect called the Plymouth Brethern.

When they meet to worship their idea of God on Sunday, they sing and pray. Women weren't aloud to speak during meeting, but we could sing. We also had to wear headcoverings to show the "angels" our submission to God and men. I found that all very oppressive and unnecessary. Most of the women from my parents church do not have jobs, they have children.. and more children.. and more children... I think it's the only way that this way of thinking will survive and they somehow know it.

Fundamentalists also tend to take the bible literally. A lot of them prefer to homeschool their children or send them to Christain Schools. They are famous for being overprotective and keeping their offspring away from things of the "world". That is just like Jesus did, isn't it? He kept to himself because the world really sucked right?

And if Jesus had children, I'm sure he would have beaten them and said, "It's for your own good..." THWACK THWACK THWACK

Speaking from my experience as a skeptical agnostic whose friends and acquaintances were almost uniformly like-minded, I'd say the criteria most non-believers use to judge the general fitness of a fundamentalist as a member of the human race is Are their stated beliefs in agreement with what is held to be good and true in our present society, as expressed in the public square?. Thus, when encountering a fundamentalist either in person or in the media, their conscious or unconscious checklist might run something like, "Do they subscribe to the theory of evolution? Do they support gay/women's/children's rights? Do they believe that all religions ultimately say the same thing, and are therefore all true in some sense? Do they hold single parents and unmarried couples to be equal in status to the nuclear or extended family as an ideal? Do they believe the things all rational, intelligent people clearly ought to in this day and age?"

A Christian who is forming an opinion of a given fundamentalist must use a different criterion: Is this person serving God faithfully?. Such questions are a dangerous business indeed, because whenever a Christian asks "Is this person serving God faithfully?", they are at some point forced to ask "Am I?". For example, it's easy for me to feel superior to prostitute-frequenting evangelist Jimmy Swaggart. But Brother Swaggart spent a lifetime working hard to spread the Gospel, bringing many people to faith in Christ. Can I say as much for myself? There are times when I can hardly talk about Jesus at all in mixed company without blushing at the thought of how medieval and foolish I must sound to my educated, tolerant, broad-minded friends. And even if I had cause to boast, am I so upright and spotless that I would never succumb to temptation as he did?

Thus I tend to take a dim view of fundy-bashing on the part of moderate or liberal Christians, because whatever faults they may possess, in God's sight we are equally culpable in some area.

With respect to the Mormon Church, the word 'Fundamentalist' has a quite specific meaning. Fundamentalist is the self-adopted term for those Mormons who chose to carry on the practice of polygamy, despite its official renunciation by the main line Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in 1890. Many main-line Mormons object to the use of this term, as it implies that Fundamentalists are observing some fundamental religious principle that has been ignored or rejected by the rest of the church. Rather, many Mormons view Fundamentalists as cultish splinter group, divorced from the main stream of Mormon life and faith

In truth, many practitioners of polygamy have been excommunicated from the Mormon church after their activities became public. Nontheless, Fundamentalists lay claim to authority that stretches back into the sacred history of the Mormon main stream. Most modern polygamist groups that lay claim to the title 'Fundamentalist' have their origin in a strange series of revelations made by an excommunicated Mormon named Lorin Woolley. In the 1930's, Wooley claimed that then-LDS President John Taylor had told he and four other men of a secret revelation regarding polygamy in September of 1886. At the time, Taylor was in hiding, charged by the federal government with violating anti-polygamy laws. Church leaders realized that the time was near when the Mormons would have to renounce plural marriage or face destruction.

Taylor, a convinced polygamist, allegedly told Woolley and his associates that God had informed him that the polygamist covenent must be kept in secret, even if it was formally renounced by the Mormon church. Taylor said that God's revelations regarding the propriety and neccessity of polygamy could not be retracted, and so Woolley and several others must carry on the practice in secret while the public church renounced it in order to save itself.

Woolley claimed that Taylor then ordained he and four other men as priests in a new, secret Mormon linneage. All five continued to live with their polygamous wives after the official end of polygamy in Utah (not uncommon practice for church leaders of the time). In the late 1920's, after the death of the four other alleged witnesses to Taylor's revelation had died, Woolley began to speak publicly about Taylor's revelation, and about his own polygamous lifestyle. Many pro-polygamists, dismayed at what they saw as an abandonment of sacred doctrine by the church in favor of political expediency, rallied to Woolley's cause.

Most Mormons dismissed Woolley as a crack-pot and a liar. Great effort has been expended over the years to disprove his claims of a private meeting with Pres. Taylor on the date that he names, with some success. Nevertheless, dissafection with Mormon renunciation of polygamy, combined with doubts raised about the authenticity of Mormon President Wilford Woodruff's public renunciation of polygamy meant that there was constant interest in the Fundamentalist cause.

Even if they had no interest in practicing polygamy, many Utah Mormons, the descendents of polygamists who had been oppressed by federal authorities, were unwilling to attempt to prosecute this rebel movement. While the official mouthpieces of the LDS have attempted to distance themselves from Fundamentalists, regularly excommunicating those who dabble in it or write in favor of it, in truth opposition to polygamy and Fundamentalism has not been that strong. Up until the last year, no polygamist had been prosecuted in Utah since 1953, following the disasterous raid at the Short Creek settlement. Exact figures for the number of individuals involved in the Fundamentalist movement are difficult to find or verify (for obvious reasons), but there is every indication that it is alive and well in Utah, Idaho, and a number of other areas settled by Mormons. Currently operating Fundamentalist groups, many of them tracing their linneage to Lorin Woolley, include the Apostolic United Brethren, the Church of Jesus Christ in Solemn Assembly, the United Order Effort, the Church of the First Born of the Fullness of Times, and a number of independent groups.

I think there is a problem in defining a fundamentlist. Most people see fundamentlism as a criticism, although I personally feel that I'm an open minded Islamic fundamentalist. BUT (and it's a big but) that is not in today's society definition of the word, because then I'd probably be percieved as a terrorist and I would like to think myself as the antithesis of that.

A fundamentalist has generic beliefs based literally on some text or body of research, and for me this is embodied within the Quran. However, I'm open to discussion about it, and if indeed it is Proven with clear evidence that it is not The Absolute Truth then I would re-evaluate my beliefs because there is no compulsion in religion (not mine anyway).

One can only criticise someone for being a narrow minded fundamentalist if they rendered themselves unable to accept a reasonable discussion of their beliefs.

For example, scientists would be fundamentalists in the worst sense if they refused to accept that Scientific Truth is not absolute, and that all scientific theories are incomplete and may be overthrown in time.

The reasonable discussion doesn't have to be rational, since lots of important things such as poetry, art, relationships etc. cannot be reduced to rationality!


Having said all that, I feel that I could have a rational discussion about my belief. So please feel free to enquire! :)

The term fundamentalist was coined in 1917. Ironically, fundamentalists chose the word because they felt that "conservative" would be too prejudicial; they wanted to find a word that wouldn't have any negative connotations.

The name derives from the idea that Christian ministers should be required to affirm some fundamental beliefs of Christianity. The fundamentals usually chosen are:

  1. The verbal inerrancy of the Bible.
  2. The literal truth of the virgin birth.
  3. The bodily resurrection of Jesus.
  4. The doctrine of substutionary atonement.
  5. The personal return of Jesus Christ to the earth.

Other lists were created. The term "fundamentalist" also drew on the publication of The Fundamentals, a multi-volume collection of articles on Christian teaching by conservative theologians that was funded by Lyman Stewart (one of the owners of Union Oil), published in 1910, and distributed in the tens of thousands to Christian ministers.

Fundamentalism was originally a movement in a few northern Protestant Denominations, especially the American Baptist Convention and the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America. Between 1922 and 1926, fundamentalists, particularly Presbyterians, attempted to pass regulations requiring ministers and teachers to affirm these fundamental truths in order to function within their denominations. Although most Baptists and Presbyterians shared the beliefs of the fundamentalists, fewer were willing to enforce doctrinal standards on their clergy. The fundamentalist movement was definitely defeated after the public relations disaster of the Scopes Monkey Trial. Thanks to the courtroom performance of Clarence Darrow and the satire of H. L. Mencken, fundamentalism was firmly associated with ignorance and Appalachia--even though its leaders were northern pastors and professors, particularly the staff of Princeton Seminary.

By 1930, the fundamentalists had been totally defeated by their modernist opponents. The victorious modernists enthusiastically endorsed the view of fundamentalism as a rural, backwards-looking movement, and developed the idea that fundamentalism is a social phenomenon rather than one based in Christian belief. Thus, the term "fundamentalism" was applied to any religious movement whose opponents wanted to label as anti-modern.

From 1930-1960, fundamentalists built educational and organizational structures that gave their movement a firm grounding. Fundamentalism first returned to the attention of the non-religious media when Billy Graham began his successful revivals and the growth of evangelical Christianity and the religious right. Although "evangelicals" have avoided the label of "fundamentalism" because of its negative connotations, modern evangelical Protestants are the direct intellectual descendants of the early fundamentalists.

For more details, check out Christian Fundamentalism.

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