Ironicschmoozer’s Weblog

Just What Is an “Evangelical,” Anyway?

I found this brief magazine article to be accurate and well-researched.  It talks about the roots of evangelicalism in Britain and the US in the 18th century and distinguishes it from fundamentalism (which is a modern, 20th century, reaction of some religious people to perceived modern threats, such as Biblical scholarship, evolutionary theory, and planetary geology. (Hence, you can be politically progressive and evangelical, but not fundamentalist.)


This article is from the current issue of US Catholic, a magazine published by the Claretian Order, in Chicago.


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If you’re really interested in the fundamentalist/evangelelical mindset, Karen Armstrong’s book “The Battle for God: A History of Fundamentalism” (c.2000) is a must-read. She examines Christianity, Judaism, and Islam in depth as case studies of the roots of the fundamentalist impulse in so many human religions and other groups.

You’ll have one after another “Oh, yeah” realizations. You’ll also benefit from her analysis and explanations of the obvious and subtle reactions, interactions, conflicts, and results which have arisen from fundamentalism and the countereactions to it.

Armstrong teaches you a lot. She explains the old, old, story, that humanity seems to resist learning from.The enormous effects arising from the Western World’s struggles with the Middle East, African, and Islam are simply another misstep in a long series. Seems like we’re totally committed to repeating the mistakes of the Nineteenth Century European colonialists. The same mistakes that we’ve repeated for a couple of thousand years of recorded history!

Comment by ernest perez

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