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Fundamentalism or TraditionChristianity after Secularism$
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Aristotle Papanikolaou and George E. Demacopoulos

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780823285792

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823285792.001.0001

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Fundamentalism as a Preconscious Response to a Perceived Threat

Fundamentalism as a Preconscious Response to a Perceived Threat

Chapter:
(p.241) Fundamentalism as a Preconscious Response to a Perceived Threat
Source:
Fundamentalism or Tradition
Author(s):

Wendy Mayer

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823285792.003.0014

Fundamentalisms bear a family resemblance for a reason, and that reason lies in the human brain. Using cognitive theories of morality, many of the features of fundamentalisms can be shown to be independent of religion. They are triggered rather by largely automatic moral intuitions, which elicit specific social behaviors. This helps to explain why fundamentalisms are not specific to transcendental religions or in particular to monotheisms but develop across a wide variety of religions. What the individual religion contributes is, for the most part, what specific values it holds sacred. In this respect, if in Catholic and Orthodox Christianity tradition is, in itself, a sacred value, in fundamentalisms tradition is something that is appealed to for authority, as well as subjected to reduction, rewritten, and coopted. This research suggests that fundamentalism is something larger than a purely modern phenomenon. In demonstrating that the reactivity of fundamentalisms is triggered by threats to the sacred rather than secularization itself, it opens up the way to exploring the phenomenon in the longue durée across a significantly larger range of historical periods and cultures.

Keywords:   Jesse Graham, Jonathan Haidt, moral psychology, neuroscience, Roman Catholicism, social psychology

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