chapter  1
14 Pages

‘Furiously Religious’: Contextualising Fundamentalism

This chapter explores the idea of being chosen' and argues that without it fundamentalists are not fundamentalists. Religious and non-religious cultural groups throughout history, including the ancient Jews, the Romans, Victorian English imperialists and of course the Nazis, have made claims to being unique', special' and indeed a chosen' people. It is a recurring ideological device to demarcate a cultural group or set of beliefs as separate from the rest and typically in opposition to competing beliefs. A belief in being chosen' or special' can serve a range of socio-political needs including, offering resistance, legitimising colonisation, justifying opposition and war, as well as reinforcing related beliefs such as racism. Being chosen' is both an individual and a communal identity; indeed one might argue that one cannot be a member of a wider community of chosen' unless one has experienced the personal revelation of being chosen.