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View Diary: I am a fundamentalist (278 comments)

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  •  diary was written independent of any other (9+ / 0-)

    in an attempt to reclaim the word

    the use of the word fundamentalist being limited to extreme conservative religious types is a 20th century phenomenon, dating from the publication of The Fundamentals or  The Fundamentals: A Testimony To The Truth, originally written by A. C. Dixon and later by R. C. Archur, and published in Los Angeles by the Bible Institute of Los Angeles in the 2nd decade of that century.

    I do not accept limited the use of the term "pro-life" to those who oppose abortion but in fact may support aggressive wars of choice and the death penalty.

    I am quite well aware that my choice of language is provocative.  It is intended to be so.

    do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

    by teacherken on Wed May 05, 2010 at 02:49:33 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Reclaiming words (6+ / 0-)

      can be a kick in the pants sometimes.
      One day, like about ten or so years ago, I was at a rummage sale at a synagogue in Canton, Ohio. We were downstairs looking at children's stuf in  aroom supervised by I guess yo'd call him lay clergy or something, this guy was enduring aggressive Christian proselytization from a rather animated and unkempt looking woman. jesus this, Jesus that.
      Finally, I'd had enough. I walked up to her and said firmly, "Excuse me, but i think you are a guest here, and this is no way to act."
      She literally RAN from the room.
      A conversation ensued with the gentleman, in which I referred to myself as a "pagan".
      The guy was mortified. He thought I was being self-deprecating. My explanation of what i meant, and how neopagans have reclaimed thta term, led to his explaining to me the concept of tikkun olam.
      Quite an enjoyable encounter.
      I also found a baseball cap there with "Parliament Funkadelic" embroidered on it. To this day, when envious funk fans ask me where I got that, i tell them, "At a synagogue."
      The reactions are occasionally quite amusing.

      Muéstreme su identificación.

      by kestrel9000 on Wed May 05, 2010 at 02:59:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Webster's (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lonely Texan

      http://www.merriam-webster.com/...

      M

      ain Entry: fun·da·men·tal·ism
      Pronunciation: -tə-ˌli-zəm\
      Function: noun
      Date: 1922

      1 a often capitalized : a movement in 20th century Protestantism emphasizing the literally interpreted Bible as fundamental to Christian life and teaching b : the beliefs of this movement c : adherence to such beliefs
      2 : a movement or attitude stressing strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles <Islamic fundamentalism> <political fundamentalism>

      — fun·da·men·tal·ist -tə-list\ noun

      — fundamentalist or fun·da·men·tal·is·tic -ˌmen-tə-ˈlis-tik\ adjective

      The common theme would appear to be the word "literal."

      I am all for reclaiming words if there is some upside to doing so, however I don't see that with this one.  I get what you are trying to do here, but I think the semantics muddy the waters as much as anything.

      I dissent your dissent

      by snout on Wed May 05, 2010 at 03:10:54 AM PDT

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      •  & other dictionaries offer different definitions (4+ / 0-)

        as well as place those they offer in a different order

        my intent is clear, whether or not you agree with it.  

        I intended to provoke a conversation.  

        I do not intend to surrender the meaning of words

        fundamentalism as in adhering to key fundamentals does not have to be being a pure literalist, which the Founders clearly were not.  After all, some of Marshall's key opinions read the constitution in a mixed fashion between those things that were literal and those things that could be interpreted more broadly.

        do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

        by teacherken on Wed May 05, 2010 at 03:14:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  While I understand your objection (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zett, KJC MD, glendaw271, DawnN

        the current connotation of "fundamental-ist" an imperfect derivative of its own root word:

        fun·da·men·tal   [fuhn-duh-men-tl]–adjective

        1. serving as, or being an essential part of, a foundation or basis; basic; underlying: fundamental principles; the fundamental structure.
        1. of, pertaining to, or affecting the foundation or basis: a fundamental revision.
        1. being an original or primary source: a fundamental idea.

        In the broader and, imho, more accurate context the term "fundamentalist" is appropriately applied by teacherken in this diary.

        I'm not me minus anything; I'm me plus this experience. ...Michael J. Fox

        by Mlle Orignalmale on Wed May 05, 2010 at 03:25:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  But wasn't the word originally coined exactly for (4+ / 0-)

      that reason?  I understand the point that you are making, and it is very powerful.  But the word "fundamentalism" was created specifically for a religious movement, was it not?

      So how can you "reclaim" the word?  Aren't you instead simply "claiming" it?

      That's where I am having difficulty.

      •  You could split (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        happymisanthropy

        the same hair about the word, "pagan" too.
        If you wanted to.

        Muéstreme su identificación.

        by kestrel9000 on Wed May 05, 2010 at 06:53:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Not to mention use of "sacred" in relation to (0+ / 0-)

        a text written by, of and for the people, and intended from the start to be reviewed and changed by the people as the world changes.

        Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

        by RandomActsOfReason on Wed May 05, 2010 at 10:13:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  which has a procedure to change it built in (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          happymisanthropy

          so that if someone does not like how it is understand they can undertake the process of change as is outlined.

          That does not make it less sacred.

          As far as my use of that word, sacred, I might point out that I am following the pattern of the Founders, as you can read at the end of the Declaration:

          And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

          They had no trouble using sacred in a way very different than implying a purely religious meaning.

          do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

          by teacherken on Wed May 05, 2010 at 10:46:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Are you an Originalist? (0+ / 0-)

            your continued reference to the intent of the Founders (not even the Framers), your insistence on ignoring what you state is "only 100 years" of common usage to reframe commonly understood terms like "fundamentalist", your insistence on using "sacred" to refer to text, knowing how, particularly in reference to "fundamentalism", that implies inerrancy and an unquestioning approach, all seem to suggest an Originalist approach to the Constitution.

            Is that the case?

            If not, can you explain why you have difficulty acknowledging that your use of commonly understood terms in ways that commonly raise certain connotations is correct, no matter what evidence might be presented to the contrary? Such an approach suggests, in fact, a fundamentalist mindset in the way it is more commonly understood.

            Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

            by RandomActsOfReason on Wed May 05, 2010 at 10:58:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  you seem to insist on misreading (0+ / 0-)

              when many thoughtful commenters understand precisely what I am doing.  I have made clear in multiple comments my intent.

              Stop obsessing on what you think the common understanding of fundamentalist is and pay attention to where I have made clear, in a number of comments, my intent to claim a different - and perhaps earlier - meaning of the word.  Why limit understanding of the word to what some of a particular religious orientation began asserting more than halfway into the history of our Constitution?

              Enough.  You have made the point you want to make.  I have responded as I have chosen to respond.  Continuing to repeat the same point over and over gains nothing.  

              do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

              by teacherken on Wed May 05, 2010 at 11:04:34 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I asked a question, engaging in dialog (0+ / 0-)

                Apparently, your answer is no, you are not an Originalist.

                I am not engaged in "making a point", I am attempting to engage you in the very type of discussion you claim to be interested in engendering with what you yourself have characterized as a deliberately provocative post using terms you knew would be controversial.

                I am asking questions in order to try to discern how you define things and your approach to these issues, because you are not responding directly to discussion of the concerns about the use of the provocative terms.

                I am forced to try to discern your intent through further questions, because you are not being helpful in direct response.

                If we could get past this belief that I am attacking you, rather than questioning your framing, and the assertions you make in relation to that framing, we could have  a productive and informative discussion.

                Since you are an educator, I assume you value such discussions over antagonistic polemics.

                I would like to explore the practical consequences of taking the approach you suggest, of redefining terms and taking a dogmatic approach to communication, rather than one that would engage others and seek common ground.

                It seems to me that if you say you are a fundamentalist about something, and someone else says they are a fundamentalist about something, there is little opportunity for learning from one another, let alone chance of changing anyone's mind.

                It is a fundamentally oppositional and unproductive approach to civic life, in my view.

                It also seems to me a poor model for education.

                I would sincerely like to discuss these issues with you, taking you at your word that you posted this diary in order to provoke thoughtful discussion.

                We both agree on core principles, both support the Constitution mightily, and both are equally distressed at the assault on its principles.

                I am not sure why you feel the need to pose enemies, when I have merely questioned your framing strategy.

                Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                by RandomActsOfReason on Wed May 05, 2010 at 11:20:03 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  It would be helpful if you would respond (0+ / 0-)

      to the responses to your provocation :-)

      Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

      by RandomActsOfReason on Wed May 05, 2010 at 10:12:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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