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View Diary: Being an atheist in America (242 comments)

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    I was on two trains of though there.

    No problem; just ignore that part in my other message (which you've probably already read by now...).

    You are asking for examples of fundamentalists who do not rely on traditions or canons? What about the unibomber?

    What makes him a "fundamentalist"? You defined "fundamentalism" as sticking to a rigid interpretation of a text, belief system, etc. What was the text, belief system, or whatever which he rigidly interpreted?

    Perhaps you need to expand on your definition of "fundamentalism" here to be more clear; however, I'm wonder where you came across this definition. I haven't seen in it any of the scholarly literature. Are you aware of the Fundamentalism Project? They put out a very good series of books on the nature of fundamentalism around the world and the definition they use is a bit more comprehensive than what you are using.

    No offense, but I'm not interested in continuing if you end up using an ad hoc definition of fundamentalism which you develop in order to justify what you've said so far. That wouldn't really be a definition, it would be a rationalization. Instead, what you need is a definition which is fairly and broadly supported by the nature of fundamentalism as it exists across diverse cultures and religions.

    Charles Manson was a fundamentalist in his own right.

    How? In what way was he particularly "rigid" in his interpretation of anything? I include "particularly" here because it's important that this rigidness be distinguished from the rigidness of others who definitely aren't fundamentalists.

    It's interesting that the only examples you offer are bad people. Once again, I'm getting the impression that fundamentalism is being equated with Bad Things — if it's not equated with simply being a jerk, it's equated with evil and violence. I don't accept that. Fundamentalism doesn't make a person annoying, arrogant, or evil.

    There are lots of liberals who are arguably rather "rigid" when it comes to their opposition to the war in Iraq and/or George W. Bush generally. Would they be examples of "fundamentalists" who are not relying on traditions or canons? They seem to fit, based upon what you said, but if that's so then most people are fundamentalist about something. I think that would empty the term of any real usefulness.

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