How Do You Define Christian Fundamentalism? Prejudice, Discrimination, and Racism

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What comes to mind when you hear the term Christian fundamentalist? Many people immediately think it is someone who has ultra-conservative Christian based religious beliefs. There is a negative connotation associated as well; many think of Christian fundamentalists as closed-minded, prejudiced and discriminatory, and “right wing” when it comes to political matters. Christian fundamentalists themselves will tell you that the Bible is to be interpreted literally as it is the sacred word of God. They will also tell you that they have been “reborn” or converted, and accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior. If they do all of these things, they are assured that salvation will get them into heaven. They have a duty to be evangelical and share their beliefs to help others be ready because your “day” can happen anytime. Christian fundamentalism arose in the late 19th century in the United States as a movement to keep Christian doctrines and beliefs in adherence to the Bible in a rapidly changing modern society. Advances in scientific theories such as evolution threatened traditional Christian beliefs. Early in the 20th century, fundamentalist churches were founded and “advocated as a return to primitive Christianity” (Spuhler, 1985). This movement was met with criticism from church “liberals” and modernists who wished to make biblical teachings relevant to contemporary issues. The fundamentalists who opposed the teaching of evolution were looked down upon by their critics, and labeled as “back woodsy” and ignorant. Political coalitions sprang up and took credit for influencing the elections of various high profile ... ... middle of paper ... ...hat have been empirically studied about it. I did gain a deeper understanding of this phenomenon. I had no clue that so much research has been conducted that empirically proves the correlation between this belief system and prejudice, discrimination, and racism. I found there to be quite a bit of conflicting information within the context of the intrinsic/extrinsic categorization of Christian fundamentalism. I agree with several of the studies that I read that address the need to reevaluate the definition of these terms in regard to religion. Not everything about Christian fundamentalism is negative. I envy somewhat the ability to worry less about one’s mortality, and the strength of their convictions.

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