Today in the Awareness Course we were discussing religious fundamentalism and how this as increased across the world in recent years as a reaction to increased secularism in Europe and yet has different roots in the Middle East and America. Fundamentalism is often viewed negatively. To be fundamentalist as it is associated with very arrogant thinking and literal interpretations of scriptures. None of identified ourselves as fundamentalists but maybe we would have done many years ago. Unfortunately we didn’t really get a chance to discuss evangelicalism.
We had a bit of a history lesson not only looking at how the Enlightenment in Europe heralded the way for secularism but more interesting tracing history back to Middle East we were also noting that there was a time when Christians, Jews and Muslims lived together in a greater harmony than today. Eventually their cultures were suppressed by the Ottoman Empire which apparently they have never recovered from and they are still trying to re-establish their cultural identities today but very much in conflict with each other. I wondered what they had in the past that we don’t have today.
We then briefly turned our attention to the States. It was interesting to note that Americans prefix their national identity with say English-American or Afro-American. We discussed how this American identity is reinforced seeking a common enemy – terrorism today – ‘reds under the bed’ 50 years ago. We finished off mentioning that although associated with influences of moral majority/right wing fundamentalism it is surprising how much immorality comes out of American media.