There are different types of fundamentalists, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Communists, and a whole lot more. This is not a complete list by any means, but sufficient to tell the story.
Fundamentalism often has a religious connotation, since the term was originally used by Christians who wanted beliefs to be taken back to their fundamentals. So if the Bible said the world was created in six days, that’s exactly what it meant, no argument. There was no room for evolution, since it was not mentioned in the Bible. This literal belief system resulted in an emphasis on the origin of the beliefs and a rejection of any other opinion or explanation.
Fundamentalists, no matter what their beliefs, all have the same characteristics: intolerance for anyone else’s viewpoint; a belief that they are following the only true way; that things must be done exactly as they say; and all people who are not in their sect are grossly mistaken, stupid, or just plain evil.
Each sect believe that God has given them specific instructions in their particular “Bible”. The word of God cannot be challenged. And how do we know that it is the word of God? Because their book/ document/ Bible/ says so, and since it is God’s book, God would not lie about it in his own book!
God not only gave them instructions, but provided (through inspiration) the only possible interpretation of God’s words. All other interpretations are false, evil, or satanic. Therefore anyone who does not follow the teachings of the particular fundamental sect is not on their side. To be on any other side, means you are against them. There are only two sides: God or Satan.
It might well be thought that if God wanted his book to be understood by everyone, He would have written it in such a way that everyone would agree with the meaning, everyone would understand it. After all, how hard could that be for God? Surely easier than creating a galaxy. There would be no need for different religions or sects or interpretations. It would be clear to everyone from the moment it was written for all eternity, no matter which language people spoke, or which country they came from. Surely that is what a Supreme Being would do?
On the other hand, if the sacred text was written by humans who were not inspired by God, then the result would be what we have today: hundreds of different religions and sects, all fighting each other, and all claiming to be the true word of God.
Fundamentalists like to proselytize, they want to spread out and get the mass of people on their side, so there can be no dissent, no discussion, no breakaway sect. Having a large congregation gives them more power and money that comes with having a good role-up.
Fundamentalists always have a hierarchy, with God sitting on the throne, the chosen people sitting on his right, and the unbelievers down below, burning in hellfire for all eternity, because God is just, God is kind, and their God will not tolerate disobedience, dissent, or even discussion. Also according to his Earthly disciples, God is jealous, vindictive, and authoritarian — even somewhat insecure — requiring constant praise.
The reality is that the fundamentalist’s God, is created out of their own beliefs. Recently a man in Burma was convicted of “insulting Buddhism” by posting a photo of Buddha wearing DJ headphones on a FaceBook page. Can you insult the wind? Can you insult the universe? Or even an ant? An insult cannot harm either an ant or a galaxy, it is just something trivial in the mind of the person. How can the Almighty God, creator of the universe, be insulted? You see, it then becomes clear that the particular sect has created God in their own image. Sect leaders are easily insulted because they are insecure, so they imagine that God is just like them: a petty, vindictive, jealous, totalitarian God.
Many of the books that fundamentalists follow were written by people who believed the world was flat, that the Earth was the centre of the Universe, that the world was 6,000 years old, that there was no life outside of the Middle East, and that flying machines, telescopes, computers, would all be classed as the work of Satan.
Ah, but to compensate, there is the Bible’s Old Testament which provides instructions about how to look after your slaves; where to buy your slaves (Lev. 25:44), how to sell your daughter as a slave (Exodus 21:7), and if anyone does work on the Sabbath, how they shall be executed. (Exodus 35:2). There are instructions on executing anyone who curses their father or mother. Yes, there are a whole lot more similar instructions. Nevertheless, since it is God’s Word, it cannot be disputed.
Are these the ideal teachings to be following?
One of the odd things about fundamentalists is the way they reject scientific knowledge: evolution, biology, astronomy and yet at the same time they are quite willing to use technology to spread their teachings: video recording, internet, televison, cable TV, DVDs. Oh yes, and weapons come in handy: bombs, WMD, nuclear-tipped rockets, biological weapons, whatever kills the unbelievers. And make no mistake, all who are not with them are the enemy.
Many Christians in the US want government laws to be subservient to Christian teachings, maintaining that they are the word of God and cannot be challenged by anyone.
There are a sizable group of Christians that believe The Rapture will suck 60 million Americans up to the lap of God. Everyone else will suffer the tribulations of the end of the world, fire, plagues, disease, starvation. And as for those left behind, let them suffer, they should have followed the one true religion.
It is no surprise that Sharia law is wanted by many Muslims. There are countries that rule by Sharia law, once again they allow no discussion, no dissent, no freedom. They specialise in punishments, afraid of education, but ready to kill everyone who is not following their particular view of religion or culture. If the fundamentalists are given more power, the deaths, stonings, beheadings, and amputations will be sure to increase. They do not believe women have the right to education, the right to drive a vehicle, or even the choice of a husband. Their beliefs go back thousands of years, and they are proud of this.
The Haredim Jews, who believe they are under direct instruction from God and Abraham, are ready to kill any Palestinians who venture onto the land that was “given to them by God”, or more usually obtained with the help of American military weapons. They have their teachings, which again were handed down by God, and must not be argued about, just accepted, and like most fundamentalist documents, there is an emphasis on rules, obedience, and punishments.
Death seems to be the focus of Fundamentalists. The Khmer Rouge, in Cambodia, wanted to take their country back to the fundamentals, which meant the stone age. They did not believe in education, machinery of any kind, medicine, or anything that was less than 2,000 years old (apart from AK-47 rifles). They declared their rule to be Year Zero (1975). The nation would be returning to the beginning of civilisation. The result was mass starvation, mass slaughter, with 30% of the population dying in a few years before the Khmer Rouge were overthrown by the Vietnamese army.
And for those who don’t follow the dominant religion of the day: be prepared, for it will be back to the dark ages with witch-hunts, torture, forced conversion, and drowning of children before they grow up to be agents of Satan.
If these groups ever get total power, the eventual outcome will be the destruction of education, replaced by selected teachings of the fundamentalist dogma: the earth is flat, the centre of the universe, humans were created just as they are by God. If you argue, you are opposed to God, if you are not with them, you are against them! No stem cell research, no research into… well anything, because everything that you need to know is already in the scriptures!
Fundamentalists, don’t care about the environment because Jesus is coming soon and the world will be destroyed. The Bible/ Quran does not talk about Climate Change, so it is not real. If God wanted you to know about Climate Change, he would have included a chapter in the Bible/ Quran.
The best way to prevent this looming disaster is through education. Is it any wonder fundamentalists want to have total control over that?
Here is a quote from: “Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now” by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Published by Harper, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers.
“For it is not just Al-Qaeda and IS that show the violent face of Islamic faith and practice. It is Pakistan, where any statement critical of the Prophet or Islam is labeled as blasphemy and punishable by death. It is Saudi Arabia, where churches and synagogues are outlawed, and where beheadings are a legitimate form of punishment, so much so that there was almost a beheading a day in August 2014. It is Iran, where stoning is an acceptable punishment and homosexuals are hanged for their “crime.” It is Brunei, where the sultan is reinstituting Islamic sharia law, again making homosexuality punishable by death.”