Fundamentalism

A comparison of some fundamentalism we see in the world and their implications. 

              The other night I was speaking with someone, we were attending a religious study that evening.  He commented in particular that he was a Liberal Democrat, that this was probably noticeable  by his statements.  Yes, this was true, but that admission is not the real point of this commentary.  What he said, which does tend to be a Liberal Democrat point of view, was that it wasn't Islam which was the problem but "religious fundamentalism". 

Ok, I've heard this before on the news from politicians and political commentators and such and didn't pay much thought to it at those times.  But now, having been in a discussion and it came to my attention in person, I started thinking about the concept more in depth. 

               Religious "fundamentalism"; means strictly adhering to a religions' fundamental tenants.  The individual claimed that Judaism, Christianity and Islam all have the same problems with those who adhere to their particular religion's "fundamental" writings and teachings.

                After giving this several days of thought, it seemed to be a shallow, "superficial" term to use to try and explain away something a person has not studied or understands any deeper than a quick sound bite or catch phrase like "religious fundamentalism". 

              Looking at the three religions, some very interesting and stark differences as well as similarities emerge. 

Judaism, in its "fundamentals" has the now famous "Ten Commandments" and the Torah as its guidelines.  What sticks out in those, as it relates to this, are the commands by God to go into the cities already occupied and to slay every man, woman, child, livestock etc.  However, on the surface this may seem similar to what the Muslims are doing today, there is though a definite difference.  The Israelites were not to then expand past the borders of the land promised to Abraham.  There was no "manifest destiny" to expand and conquer the world for Judaism.  Keep this point in mind.  They were also told to treat the traveler the same as any other citizen of Israel, making no difference in treatment under the law. 

                  As far as "fundamentalism", the Israelites were eventually expelled from their lands for NOT following God's commands, for NOT being a "fundamentalist" per se.  The Diaspora is the end result of not obeying God's fundamental instructions.   So in this case, Judaism, IF they had been "fundamentalists" and obeyed the Ten Commandments as well as the core Commands of God, their history of persecution and the loss of their national homeland would be virtually non-existent. They would not have been expelled and driven into all the world to suffer as they have.

       Moving on to Christianity and its fundamentals, we see at the core are the same as in Judaism, the Ten

Commandments, only now the New Testament has been added to clarify the Commandments of Tanach (Old Testament). 

       Jesus / Yeshua taught clarification of the Torah / Old Testament.  He taught nothing new.  He taught "religious fundamentalism" to the Tanak (the "Old Testament").  When asked what was the greatest Commandment, His reply was a direct quote from the Torah, in short to Love God, and followed it up with loving your fellow man.  In this concept, if you love God you love your fellow man; if you love your fellow man, you are following God's commands and thereby loving God.  They are intertwined. 

Nowhere in the New Testament does it teach to go out and conquer the world by military force or violence.  Quite the contrary.  Jesus taught to "turn the other cheek", to give if someone steals from you, to forgive your enemy and pray for them.  He teaches, and as expanded upon by Paul, that it is only God who has the right of revenge, not you, me or anyone. The sins of two thousand years of "Church Christianity" is a result of NOT following the fundamental tenants of the faith. 

               This is contrary to those who think the ancient Church was "fundamentalist" or that those who continue to persecute in the name of Jesus or "Christianity" are acting in accordance to any fundamental teachings of the New or Old Testaments. 

              The religion of Christianity was and is demonstrably misused for persecutions diametrically opposed to the fundamentals of the faith.  Nowhere in the New Testament does it teach to kill, torture, commit suicide or participate in any act of violence on behalf of the faith.  Instead it teaches to do just the opposite.  As believers in Jesus / Yeshua we are commanded to be prepared to suffer torture, persecution and possibly even death for the faith.  If the "Church" and Christianity at large was "Fundamentalist", and I mean truly following the actual fundamentals of the faith as written, none of the persecution of the Jews or anyone else would have taken place inclusive of the infamous "Inquisition" as well as other horrors and atrocities committed by alleged believers in Jesus / Yeshua.  The two world wars would not have taken place, nor the Holocaust!  All these would have been stopped if believers were actually Fundamentalists to the what is written in the New Testament. 

This brings us to Islam.  Contrary to the other two religions, Islam teaches, in specific, to kill those who do not believe in Allah according to the Q'uran and Hadith. 

Islamic Basics:

The Quran = "thus says Allah"

The Hadith = "Thus says Mohammed"  These are the writings / sayings and actions of Mohammed.

A true Muslim is obligated to believe in and follow both.  It is true that Muslims will ask to be pointed to any passage in the Quran which orders violence, they will cite these as being "obsolete" or in "self Defense".  But, in response, it must be asked "Do you consider Mohammed to be the best authority to interpret the Koran?"  It also must be taken into consideration that, the very definition of Fundamentalism means they are not "obsolete". 

If the Muslim denies the authority of the Hadith (aka Sunnah), then he is denying Mohammed's authority as prophet.

Any argument to the contrary is matched with the words of the Quran "O you who believe, obey Allah and obey His messenger and those in authority among you.  If you fall into dispute about a matter, refer it back to Allah and His Messenger if you believe in Allah and the Last Day." (Qur'an 4:59)

Thus they are required by the Quran to obey and believe both the Quran and the Hadith.  If they deny the Hadith, they are disobeying Allah and the Quran.

        The Sunnah is everything besides the Qur'an that came from allegedly "God's" messenger.  It explains and provides details for the laws found in the Qur'an."  There are approximately 200 commands in the Hadith which instruct the believer to spread jihad by the sword even against unprovoked countries for the sole purpose of the spread of the worship of Allah.

         Without going verse by verse, the Q'uran stands in stark contrast with the Bible, Judaism and Christianity. Muslims who carry out these acts of "terrorism" are actually being "Fundamentalists".  The kind of "fundamentalist" referenced to at the beginning.  

          Contrast that with how the same kinds of atrocities carried out by Jews and Christians are going against their religious fundamentals.  For some reason, though obvious, it seems to be ignored how what Muslims are doing is truly "Religious Fundamentalism", and what the other religions had done was not "Religious Fundamentalism" according to their sacred writings.  Those who point to "Fundamentalists" as persecuting or are violent in some way, are not seeing people following the fundamentals of the faith but the fundamentals of a particular "dogma", "Doctrine" or "Denomination"; typically a very narrow interpretation which excludes those writings contradicting their desired goals, actions or doctrine. 

As stated at the outset, to say the problem is "religious fundamentalism" is ignorant of the facts and little more than a superficial catchy sound bite. 

If someone thinks the writings and teachings of the Bible are the same in the basic tenants as with the Q'uran and Islam, then they have not done their due diligence and actually read and studied the different texts.  These writings are not the same and actually, contrary to popular misguided belief, do not teach the same core values and tenants.   A final point is, the two sets of writings do not speak of the same "god". This is borne out in the archeology and history of the religions and region.