There are hundreds of different sub-groups within Christianity. One of the most interesting is Christian fundamentalism. This group of Christians is also one of the hardest to define. According to Paul Merritt Bassett, "Fundamentalism is a term popularly used to describe strict adherence to Christian doctrines based on a literal interpretation of the Bible. This usage derives from a late 19th and early 20th century trans-denominational Protestant movement that opposed the accommodation of Christian doctrine to modern scientific theory and philosophy." This is a fairly broad definition. Because the definition of fundamentalism is so loosely constructed a multitude of groups market themselves under the umbrella of fundamentalism. Fundamentalism also differs from many mainstream Christian groups in its unwillingness to comprise.
[...] Before I can analyze what stage Christian fundamentalism is in, I must first establish that fundamentalism is indeed a social movement (Stewart, Smith, and Denton 2007). The first trait that a group must meet in order to be considered a social movement is that it must be organized collectively (Stewart, Smith, and Denton 2007). The fundamentalist movement is organized collectively in two ways. First, they are organized around the same goals. These goals include issues such as abortion, school prayer, and gay marriage. [...]
[...] The fact that it has been able to withstand these defeats indicates that there is something about the underlying structure of fundamentalism that make it a viable strategy for a social movement. Also, because it has survived these defeats, it seems clear that the movement will continue to remain a viable movement for a long time into the future. It is unlikely that the movement will be able to accomplish most of its goals such as illegalizing abortion or re-instating prayer in public schools. [...]
[...] Christian fundamentalism began as a movement to improve the structure of the church. When it was discovered that this would not allow the movement to sustain itself the leaders of the church turned the movement toward effectuating political change (De Maio 1999). This turning toward politics strengthens the movement significantly because many of the movement's goals will take them a long time to achieve. This focus on long term goals ensures that membership continues to stay high because it will take a lot of resources and people to effectuate the changes the movement hopes to achieve. [...]
[...] Due to its flexible structure and large membership Christian fundamentalism is likely to remain a strong political and religious movement. Bibliography Bassett, Paul Merritt (1997). Christian Fundamentalism. Retrieved on May from http://mb-soft.com/believe/text/fundamen.htm Beck, Alison. (2005). Taking the Long View: Reflections on the Road to Marriage Equality. Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law, and Justice 50-55. Brumfiel, Geoff. (2005). Intelligent Design: Who has designs on your students' minds? Nature 1062-1065. De Maio, Gerald. (1999). Religious Outlook, Culture War Politics, and Antipathy toward Christian Fundamentalists. [...]
[...] The last criteria that must be met in order to call fundamentalism a social movement is that persuasion must be pervasive (Stewart, Smith, and Denton 2007). The fundamentalist Christian movement employs many different strategies to persuade people to support their goals. One of the most innovative strategies that the movement uses is the strategy of apocalyptic discourse (Marty 1994). James D. Hester, a professor at the University of Redlands, defines apocalyptic discourse as, the constellation of apocalyptic topics as they function in larger early Jewish and Christian literary and social contexts. [...]
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