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Antifundamentalism in Modern America$
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David Harrington Watt

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780801448270

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801448270.001.0001

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The Future of Fundamentalism

The Future of Fundamentalism

(p.163) Conclusion The Future of Fundamentalism
Antifundamentalism in Modern America

David Harrington Watt

Cornell University Press

This concluding chapter discusses how the fundamentalist/nonfundamentalist binary is a problematic concept to rely on. It is a dichotomy that reinforces the tendency to divide the world into heroes and villains. Getting rid of the words “fundamentalists” and “fundamentalism” will not solve the problem. The problem is not with the words, but with the assumptions, hopes, and habits of mind upon which they rest. If tomorrow everyone were to stop talking about fundamentalism and begin talking about something like “reactionary religious groups” or “bad religion,” there would be no progress. The problem is not with the term per se but with the category itself and with the desire to name a dangerous other. It is about a desire to sort humanity into two groups: those who are virtuous and those who are not.

Keywords:   fundamentalism, fundamentalists, nonfundamentalists, reactionary religious groups, bad religion, humanity

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