I’m watching a documentary called The Fundamentalists. In it, one of the people interviewed said that fundamentalism is rooted in the fear of annihilation. I found that to be an interesting claim. When I have talked to fundamentalists in the past they have made claims about being attacked and oppressed. It’s obvious that they believe these claims despite evidence to the contrary. So why are fundamentalists so afraid?
We live in a culture where many people take “I’m a Christian” to be synonymous with “I’m a good person.” A culture where most people are Christian, or at least claim to be. A culture where people trust atheists to the same degree that they trust rapists. Wearing the badge of religious is much like wearing a protective cloak. Being religious is more socially acceptable and governments are more likely to go out of their way to put laws in place for the religious person. We expect our leaders to be religious and religious groups easily band together to force laws to be passed that clearly favor one religious group over every other. And in the west, the Christians are protected over every other.
It is true that people are getting less religious, and that more people are willing to call themselves atheists. But we are still a small minority. Christianity is still a powerful force. And it is moderate religion that seems to be shrinking. Fundamentalist believers still seem to be growing in number.
So what are the fundamentalists afraid of?