Fundamentalism and Christianity

  • Peter Herriot


Religion is one of the major modern functional social systems. A superficial historical glance reveals immediately that it cannot be dismissed as an increasingly private and minority activity, continuously losing out to the ongoing march of secularism. Such a theoretical approach is based on a Western perspective, biased by a preoccupation with its own situation of decreasing religious adherence and practice. Nevertheless, religion is apparently less successful than the other major global function systems in achieving its own main aim, which is enabling a global appreciation of the transcendent. This is perhaps due to the difficulties of demonstrating success in this somewhat abstract enterprise, and also to problems in defining its boundaries with other social systems. Fundamentalism, too, constitutes one of modern religion’s major impediments. By its opposition to modernity, fundamentalism directly confronts modern social systems, denying their right to exist. Hence the association of fundamentalism with religion results in huge costs to religion in terms of its reputation in the eyes of other systems. It also uses up a lot of its resources in combating it.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Herriot
    • 1
  1. 1.Birkbeck, University of LondonLondonUK

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