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Premodern, Modern, and Postmodern

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: January 26, 2005
Latest Update: January 29, 2005

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Index of Topics on Site Notes on Karen Armstrong's Battle for God
Karen Armstrong's Introduction:
"One of the most startling develoments of the late twentieth century has een the emergence within every major religious tradition of a militant piety popularly known as "fundamentalism."
Batlle for God, at p. xi.

Fundamentalism has played a major role in our last two presidential elections, and there has certainly been a lot of militant piety on all sides. Most of us are confused by all this, having thought that separation of church and state meant that these would never become issues in our world. We were wrong. The old adage that we must not discuss religion for politeness' sake has done us more harm than good. This semester, Spring 2005, we plan to talk about religion.

Karen Armstrong sees her work in Battle for God appropriate across most of the world's religions, not just the monotheisms of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

First of all, we need to examine what Armstrong is calling "fundamentalism":

"At the outset of their monumental six-volume Fundamentalist Project, Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby argue that the "fundamentalisms" all follow a certain pattern. They are embattled forms of spirituality, which have emerged as a response to a perceived crisis. They are engaged in a conflict with enemies whose secularist policies and beliefs seem inimical to religion itself. Fundamentalists do not regard this battle as a conventional political struggle, but experience it as a cosmic war betwen the forces of good and evil." From Battle for God, at p. xiii.

To this definition of conflict between good and evil, Armstrong adds that fundamentalists, shaped by our culture, have adapted rationalism. As one young woman in says, "Sure, evolution should be taught along with all those other theories, but the Creation should definitely be up there in the curriculum."



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