Fundamentalism is the Zombie after the Death of Modernity

Fundamentalism is a by-product of modernity. And after the death of modernity, we should think of fundamentalism (whether religious or secular) as the walking dead—the last shambling and ugly vestiges of a dualistic world-view shattered by the 20th century’s plunge into darkness.

Any worldview, religious or not, that relies on the props of modernity — Enlightenment-style rationalism, an obsession with material evidence, extreme individualism — is doomed. Because modernity itself is doomed.

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2 Responses to Fundamentalism is the Zombie after the Death of Modernity

  1. Burk Braun says:

    Always a treat to hear from you.

    You will note that the original writer, Piatt, has a markedly different understanding of postmodernism and modernism that you do. He seems to mean simply diversity of viewpoints and participants- a sociological observation rather than a philosophical “truth”.

    This significantly moderates the point that your other writer tries to draw from him.

    But on the whole, if religious fundamentalism wanes, the new atheists would only be too pleased. It is indeed the most pernicious backwardness that we oppose. But it isn't going away. The Arab spring seems to have gone into some kind of middle-way mode where many of it cultures remain torn between fundmentalism and modernism, in a social sense.

    Be that as it may, obsession with material evidence will without any doubt retain its place in our evaluations of reality, unless we do indeed fall back into goat herder mode. That is axiomatic, and if we do, we will then recover “belief” in all the fables humanity used to believe in, in that state.

    How do you speak about physical reality without regard to material (physical) evidence? Hmmm


  2. Darrell says:


    Piatt is a pastor who regularly contributes to blogs such as this one: -that maintains a view of postmodernism very similar to mine.

    This is nothing, absolutely nothing, in his referenced piece here to suggest he has a different understanding than I do. His positing it as a movement/sensibility more than a set of fixed ideals (or creeds, written statements and so forth) is simply to note that we must talk about it differently than we would modernism, which believes such things can be reduced to fixed ideals, creeds, and such. He is noting the very distinction that makes it post-modern.

    He notes, “Emerging church [read post-modern church] does not promote a specific Christology or set of theological ideals, as this would be contrary to the very concept [modernity’s influence] from which it came.”

    He then specifically notes a change in the way we “think” and “view” the world and life [read postmodern and modern], that change over time and these philosophical changes make their way down eventually to the way people communicate with each other and organize their lives (sociological changes).

    He writes, “I think that any time a new worldview [read postmodernism] begins to take hold, there will be some degree of push-back from those entrenched in the prior way of seeing things [read modernity].

    Thus, philosophical changes eventually lead to sociological changes. He would not oppose the two (as modernity is always want to do), but show the connections. Postmodernism (and any significant philosophical movement) always leads to sociological changes and even the way we think about sociology! Modernity too was always a philosophical understanding with a sociological expression.

    But, more to the point, it was Wallace’s comments that were of note. Perhaps more importantly, we see the continuing influence and impact of postmodernism.


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