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The Paradox of Fundamentalism

Reader comment on item: There Are No Moderates: Dealing with Fundamentalist Islam
in response to reader comment: Islamic Fundamentalism is the problem

Submitted by Gaby (United Kingdom), Nov 6, 2008 at 09:53

It is a difficult subject to talk about fundamentalism. Many individual holds irrational beliefes that they cling to and are certain of no matter how many times they are told to accept the contrary. Although many of these people's beliefes will be harmless to others and in this way different to fundemental beliefes, they do share a similar basic nature and should be understood this way.

It is this nature of fundementalism which makes it virtually impossible to iradicate. How do we stop people who need fullfillment from finding that in the irrational beliefes that make them feel secure? It seems that all those who turn to religion, drugs, self help groups, fantastical daydreams and even those who embed themselves in scientific finding are trying to make an easier life, a more bearable existence and answer thier pressing questions, and these are the same reasons that drive people to become fundementalists.

People should therfore spend less time simply condemning fundamentalists and instead focus on the greater structural problems that allow and encourage agents to behave in these extreme ways. We as a global community should seriously consider the conditions and authorities of the countries which have patterns of extreme groups. We should think about the ways our capitalistsocieties function and the way in which this spurs these groups on and seperates both our societies from understanding one another.

To those who do hold extreme interpretations of Islam all that can truly be asked is that you consider the world from what Rawls called the original position. This consideration entails imagining a yourself in a pre social state; consider that you stand behind a 'viel of ignorance' with no idea of what gender, religion or race you and with no possesions. In this state you are asked to crate the skeleton of a society, and in doing so you will create the best conditions for even the worst of in society as you do not yet know whether this position will be held by yourself. As you would not yet know what religion you would belong to or what country you would begin your generations in would one still believe that aggresively persuing a beliefe is was the right thing to do?

Ultimately my last point is moot. Although it may interest those of a more philisophical nature by holding normative ideals it is certainly not assumed that it will persuade anyone from thier belief, nor is it designed to do so. If only people of different religions were more content that their belifes were right and could thus allow contray belifes to function in the security that they would have no impact on the followers of thier own , then maybe we could all just get on with our lives and live.

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