Fundamentalism and Abrahamic Faith

Despite the fervent hopes of some of the more radical atheists, if “bronze-age religions” were really in danger of dying, none of the Four Horsemen (Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennet, and Sam Harris) would have expended so much passion in their crusades against those faiths. The fear among the more vocal of the New Atheists seems to be quite the opposite: that somehow fundamentalism in the Abrahamic creeds are threatening to throw the “Enlightenment” into reverse.

What this implicit fear obscures are the voices of moderation within each of the faiths that quietly fulminate against the social destructiveness of fundamentalism. I see Jewish thinkers like Jonathan Sacks and Joseph Telushkin (and the late Lubavitcher Rebbe) waging a gentle war of wisdom against religious extremism within my faith. There are Christians and Muslims engaged in the same effort.

A theologian explained to me once that “religion is man’s response to his ultimate concern.” That places a burden of relevance upon all faiths that demands their evolution or their extinction. Regressive forces like fundamentalism inveigh against evolution.

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