a CONSERVATIVE THEOLOGICAL movement which arose in American PROTESTANTISM in the 1920s in opposition to "MODERNISM." Fundamentalism should be understood primarily as an attempt to protect the essential doctrines or "fundamentals" of the CHRISTIAN FAITH from the eroding effects of modern thought. The doctrines considered essential by Fundamentalists include
   the VIRGIN BIRTH of JESUS, His RESURRECTION and DEITY, His substitutionary ATONEMENT and SECOND COMING. Finally, they lay great stress on the authority of the BIBLE which is usually expressed in terms of its INFALLIBILITY and INERRANCY. The roots of fundamentalism go back to the nineteenth century when EVOLUTION, BIBLICAL CRITICISM, and COMPARATIVE RELIGION began to challenge the authority of the Biblical REVELATION. A significant offensive against MODERNISM was launched in 1910 with the publication of The Fundamentals a series of tracts written by conservative scholars to counter certain theological tendencies they considered dangerous. In a relatively short time the fundamentalist image became stereotyped as close-minded, belligerent, separatist, and uncultured. Even though the original Fundamentalists were well educated scholars--some from leading universities, such as Graham Gresham Machen at Princeton-- the movement as a whole quickly became identified with a rejection of education and a reactionary rural nostalgia for earlier times. Recently the term "fundamentalism" has been applied to MUSLIMS and members of other FAITHS who wish to retain their TRADITIONAL BELIEFS. Although there may be some merit is such usage, it is very misleading because many people identified thus are simply anti-Western. For example the Iranian REVOLUTION is usually described as "fundamentalist Islam" while the Saudis are seen as pro-Western and therefore more LIBERAL. In reality the Iranians interpret the QUR'N in a far more liberal and open manner than the Saudis who are much closer to CHRISTIAN fundamentalists in their religious beliefs and practices than the Iranians. The use of "fundamentalism" in this context is, therefore, not very helpful.

Concise dictionary of Religion. 2012.

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