Christian Fundamentalism & Islamic Fundamentalism: A Handy Comparison

The Christian fundamentalist will, inevitably, not recognize the similarities between his religion and radical Islam. In order to assist him, I have compiled this useful chart:

Fundamentalism

- God is vengeful, angry, vindictive, violent, and so is His prophet (Muhammad with a saber, Christ with a sword)

- The incarnation in effect never happened. “[Radical Islam] will not allow that God has descended into flesh,” wrote C. S. Lewis and Charles Williams, “or that man has been exalted into Deity.” Women, the body, and the whole material world are viewed with suspicion.

- God’s principle method of revelation is a sacred book which is to be obeyed without question

- Wine is forbidden

- The unaccommodating literalism with which the scriptures are to be read reduces the mystery and paradox of life to an austere certainty

- Unbelievers are infidels who inhabit an inferior place in society, and, if necessary, violence must be used to keep them down. There is no need for self-critique because there is never any chance of being wrong.

Non-fundamentalism

- God is merciful, just, kind, compassionate

- The incarnation is God’s principle method of self-revelation. To paraphrase Jessica Espinoza, He came and lived in the streets, not with the religious leaders, who feared Him, but with the people who loved Him. In doing so He blessed the body, manhood, womanhood, and the whole material realm.

- Because of the incarnation, God reveals Himself by analogy, in the things of this world. Life is sacramental – a sign-post – and wine is a sacrament.

- “Life [is] a paradoxical and multifold affair of deeply layered levels of meaning, from the strictly literal to the profoundly spiritual.” (Ralph C. Wood)

- We recognize our place in the world, our obligation to society, and our indebtedness to previous cultures. Unbelievers are not an inferior species but fellow human beings with a tremendous capacity for good as well as evil.

In the words of Lewis and Williams, “[Radical Islam] stands for all religions that are afraid of matter and afraid of mystery, for all misplaced reverences and misplaced purities that repudiate the body and shrink back from the glowing materialism of the Grail. It stands for what Williams called ‘heavy morality’ – the ethics of sheer duty and obedience against the shy yet (in the long run) shameless acceptance of heaven’s courtesies flowing from the ‘homely and courteous lord.'”

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4 thoughts on “Christian Fundamentalism & Islamic Fundamentalism: A Handy Comparison

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