Word of the Day: Fundamentalism

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Fundamentalism (fŭn’də-mĕn’tl-ĭz’əm) in a religious sense is an effort to return to “fundamentals,” or founding principles. It was first applied in the early 20th century to an American militant conservative Protestant movement that rejected the new science of textual criticism, insisting instead upon a literal interpretation of the Bible. The term is now used to describe anti-modernist elements in any religion.

In the first statement of principles in its 143-year history, the Conservative movement of Judaism resoundingly rejects fundamentalism – be it Christian, Moslem or Jewish – and steers a moderate course that favors loyalty to tradition ”without resigning from the 20th century.” (New York Times)

What is usually called “Hindu fundamentalism” in India has been influenced more by nationalism than by religion, in part because Hinduism does not have a specific sacred text to which conformity can be demanded. (Encyclopedia Britannica)

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