Religionist versus Religious

An ocean of Hassidic hats.Just as nonbelief ranges from agnosticism to strong atheism, belief ranges in its extremity of devotion to supernaturalism and dogma.

Religionist : "a person addicted to religion or a religious zealot." (religionist)

Fundamentalist : "In comparative religion, fundamentalism has come to refer to several different understandings of religious thought and practice, through literal interpretation of religious texts such as the Bible or the Qur'an and sometimes also anti-modernist movements in various religions." (fundamentalist)

Dawkins and Hitchens consider all religious delusion as problematic, and, to the extent that belief in the nonexistent requires suspension of empiricism and logic, I agree with them. However, I am not convinced that mild-mannered acquiescence to various varieties of inculcated magic-thinking is any more socially problematic than belief in ghosts. Silly yes, malignant no.

A bullet-riddled mural of the Ayatollah Khomeini; LebanonThe malignancy, and it is merely the same defect that inflicted the original inventors of religious mythologies, is essentially psychological. These personality defects show up in fundamentalism in its various forms. The rigidities and paranoid hatreds that manifest in fundamentalisms actually run counter to any humanistic ethos in core religious teachings.

At their inception, fundamentalisms are a reaction to unresolved social stresses. However, the continuation of fundamentalist rigidities beyond resolution of the initiating stresses, or beyond sufficient time for emotional adaptation to change, reflects a combination of cognitive and psychological deficiencies. In this regard, American Christian fundamentalism is probably the most pathological because it invents stresses. American fundamentalists, Fistians, have taken to referring to themselves as "evangelicals" to avoid the negative connotations attached to the Scopes fiasco.


...section index...


atheism, Christianity, fundamentalism, Islam, Judaism, psychology, religion, society

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