Christian fundamentalism is a Christian theology. While fundamentalists embrace a set of specific doctrines, many nonfundamentalist Christians also share some of these beliefs.
Fundamentalists believe themselves to be returning to past conventional standards, called orthodoxy. However, many researchers believe that fundamentalism began as a reaction against modernization or the rapidly changing Western culture of the nineteenth century, including large technical advances and societal changes. During this time many people moved from family vocations into more specialized jobs that separated families and social groups. Theological beliefs also became diversified as different groups of people came to understand and interpret Scripture differently. As technology such as irrigation and water transportation developed, people no longer felt the same immediate dependence on God. Science developed theories about the creation of the earth, and some questioned God's role in creation. Scripture, too, was studied from a sociohistoric perspective, redated, and compared to other faith traditions' stories. All of this led to a crisis in faith for some, out of which fundamentalism arose as an attempt to reground the Christian faith. The term fundamentalism emerged when a number of pamphlets were published in the 1910s that declared five fundamentals as foundational beliefs of Christians.
In this two-session study, participants will learn basic beliefs of Christian fundamentalists and examine alternative Christian points of view. Participants will be encouraged to define their own beliefs in a spirit of openness and respect for others. Finally, participants will explore ways to respond to Christian fundamentalists.