tisdag 10 november 2009

Fundamentalismens fall

Läste en intressant artikel om det. Fundamentalismen verkar vara på utdöende, till förmån för ökad acceptans, förståelse, pluralism, ekumenik och mystik.

Här några utdrag:


"When your view of reality is the only acceptable one, you cannot compromise. Almost from its inception, American Protestant fundamentalism split into warring factions. Its bellicosity toward “liberals and modernists” was quickly turned on fellow fundamentalists who were seen as not tough enough on the enemy. Since the Bible told them not to be “unequally yoked together with unbelievers,” the question of with whom one could properly associate became deeply vexed. The most ardent partisans seceded from their denominations, and soon began to quarrel about whether they should even fraternize with their fellow fundamentalists who wanted to remain in their previous churches to fight the “liberals.” The fundamentalists organized new seminaries to protest the older ones they thought had become “modernist,” but soon these new institutions split over fine points of doctrine.


This tendency toward factionalism exists in other religious movements, of course, as it does in political, artistic, and cultural ones. But in religious fundamentalism such breakups become especially lethal because the stakes are so high: eternal salvation or damnation hang in the balance.


Another reason why fundamentalists are faltering today has to do with the world outside. The fundamentalist world view is unbending and monochrome, but today’s world is variable and multi-hued, and the plurality is more and more visible.


Fundamentalism is defined by its one-way-only exclusivism. But today spiritually inclined people view the once-high walls between religious traditions as porous. They borrow freely. Synagogues and churches incorporate Asian meditation practices into their services. Instead of a single churchly allegiance, people now assemble “repertories” of elements from a number of sources. They may attend Mass, take a yoga class, and keep a Buddhist devotional book on their bedside table. Clerics often denounce this as “cafeteria style” religion, but the current of religious history is flowing against them.

Father Thomas Merton, the leading Catholic contemplative writer of the 20th century, died while staying at a Buddhist monastery in Bangkok. Martin Luther King attributed his commitment to non-violence to Gandhi, who in turn said he learned it from Jesus and Tolstoy. The Dalai Lama has written a reverent biography of Jesus. For none of these profoundly religious men did the appreciation of other faiths weaken their anchoring in their own. In fact each said that it enhanced it.

The very nature of human religiousness is changing in a way inimical to fundamentalist thought. The most rapidly growing spiritual groups today focus not on someone else’s authority, but on a direct encounter with the divine. Whatever else it may mean that so many people call themselves “spiritual but not religious,” it suggests they still yearn for contact with the sacred, but are suspicious of the scaffolding, the doctrines, and hierarchies through which it has often been conveyed.

In Christianity, the fastest-growing wing of the church is the Pentecostal/Charismatic wave, which is spreading swiftly around the world, even in mainland China. It now numbers about 600 million, accounting for one in every four Christians. One writer has called them “main street mystics.” Young Jews have a growing interest in their Hasidic and mystical heritage. Among Muslims, it is the gentle but ecstatic Sufi version that is growing fastest, not the suicide bomber cults. All these movements, especially since they seem particularly attractive to the young, represent a fatal threat to fundamentalism.

The plethora of emerging new spiritualities has its own problems, of course. They are often intellectually incoherent or melt into a self-centered narcissism. They can become vacuous and faddish. (Madonna and other Hollywood celebrities are now “into Kabala,” the ancient Jewish mystical tradition.) They can become highly individualistic, lacking any vision of social justice. Esoteric and snobbish at times, they often fail to reach the poor and dispossessed people for whom Jesus, the Buddha, and the Jewish prophets had such concern.

But a tectonic shift in religion is underway, and the fundamentalist moment is ending. A new and promising chapter in the long story of human faith is beginning."

Läs mer här.

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