Fundamentalism and Its Discontents

Robert Wuthnow

in Christianity in the Twenty-First Century

Published in print June 1995 | ISBN: 9780195096514
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853380 | DOI:
Fundamentalism and Its Discontents

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Fundamentalists are the perpetual malcontents, the reactionaries, who dislike what they see in the movies, what they read in the newspapers, and what they know to be going on in liberal churches. If there is a dialectic of some kind between fundamentalism and modernity, then the other side of the coin is to see how modernity has been influenced by fundamentalism. This chapter argues that liberal and moderate Christians have often let the fundamentalists define their agenda, so that it is they who are acting out their discontents with the fundamentalists. In other words, it deals with religious liberalism—the non-fundamentalist constituency in mainstream or old-line churches that makes up a significant majority of the ways in which people define their faith. The chapter tries to answer three issues: whether and in what manner liberals have let fundamentalists define their agendas for them, the cultural forces that may keep fundamentalists going in the future, and what the possibilities may be for liberals (and moderates) to seize the initiative.

Keywords: Christians; liberals; fundamentalists; fundamentalism; religious liberalism; modernity; discontents; reactionaries

Chapter.  4987 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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