Characteristics of Religious Fundamentalism

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Characteristics of Religious Fundamentalism Donald Taylor defines Fundamentalism as involving a group of people who perceive a challenge an ultimate authority, usually God, in which they believe, they decide the challenge cannot be tolerated and reaffirm their belief in the authority and oppose the challengers, often using political means o further their cause. One characteristic of religious Fundamentalism is that most Fundamentalist groups have a charismatic, authoritarian leader. This person is usually male, who may claim to be divinely informed. An example of this was the Christian Fundamentalist People's Temple religious cult led by Reverend Jim Jones. He had such control over his followers that when he asked them to take their own lives in a mass suicide, they did so willingly, with mothers even feeding cyanide mixed in Kool-Aid to their children. Another characteristic of Fundamentalist religion is that Fundamentalists are the supporters of a minority viewpoint. They see themselves as the righteous remainders of 'traditional' religious understanding. Even when they are numerically a majority, they perceive themselves as a minority. This means the can allow themselves to 'stand up' for 'traditional' values and can, in doing this, oppress others. For example in some cases Islamic Fundamentalists have taken over Eastern countries (thus growing to become the majority suppressing the minority of non-Fundamentalists). They have insisted upon 'traditional' values being upheld; they had little contact with the Western world and women were made to cover their entire bodies and dismissed from work outside the home. O... ... middle of paper ... ...ews say 'Blessed art thou o Lord, that I was not born a woman.' With this at the very core of religiosity it isn't difficult to see why it is sexist, but having men in power in churches and religion serves to compound it. Even things as central to religions as female images compound female oppression. Female deities are found in all religions and always take on either the motherly, caring role or appear dangerous and threatening. In few are they the dominant image. Sexist notions in religious books and passive, subjugated female deities at the core of world religions can only serve to have negative consequences for women. Although religion has positive effects on women, these could be achieved without the sexist ideology, and in conclusion it is true that religion, in general, has negative consequences for women.
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