A sickness called fundamentalism

Everything healthy may become ill. Religion, contrary to what critics such as Freud, Marx, Dawkins and others contend, is part of a healthy reality: the search by the human being for the Ultimate Reality, that gives final meaning to history and the universe. That search is legitimate and is found in the oldest expressions of the homo sapiens/demens, but it also has unhealthy expressions. One of them, the most frequent now, is religious fundamentalism, that is also found where a unique form of thinking reigns in politics.

Fundamentalism is not a doctrine in itself, but an attitude and a form of living a doctrine. The fundamentalist attitude appears when the truths of its church or its group are understood as the only legitimate ones, to the exclusion of all others, which are deemed erroneous and therefore to have no right to exist. Those who imagine that their point of view is the only valid one are condemned to be intolerant. This closed attitude leads to contempt, discrimination, and to religious or political violence.

The niche of fundamentalism is historically found in the Northamerican Protestantism of the late XIX century, when modernity emerged not only in technology, but also in democratic forms of political coexistence and the liberalization of customs. In this context a strong reaction arose within the Protestant tradition, loyal to the ideals of the «founding fathers», all derived from the rigors of the Protestant ethic. The term fundamentalism is linked to a collection of books published by Princeton University for Presbyterians under the title, Fundamentals: A Testimony of Truth, 1909-1915.

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