One week after the bombings in Boston and I still feel the urge to write about this so much.
In a radio interview with Dan Rodricks last week, I used the term "character fundamentalism" to indicate a kind of thinking that, while not explicitly religious, was nevertheless fundamentalist and iniquitous to a functioning democracy.
I just posted an excerpt from chapter three of In Defense of Religious Moderation on the blog Religion in American History (http://usreligion.blogspot.com/). As the editor, Paul Harvey, notes, the "post is particularly timely here after the events in Norway and yesterday's commemoration of 9/11, both of which suggest that the ancient ideal of moderation still has an awful lot going for it."
The book I've been blogging occasionally about for the last year or more is now coming out in June. I've just written this op-ed piece to accompany its release:
Who After Osama? My Answer Is Salome, or, Salome Korkota's Secular Dream After Postmodern Fundamentalism
I am no big fan of conspiracy theories. I think all kinds of myths have their deep flaws. Rather I believe that often genuine mistakes are made and those mistakes become crimes after a while.
Q: What are everyday fundamentalisms?
Physicists Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow have recently used the term "model-dependent realism" to talk about the extent to which humans can approximate knowledge of the world as it really is, independent of our senses and the media we use to grasp it. The idea is basically that different conditions require different models of reality, and there is no sense at all in talking about a model-free reality.
When we believe something in a moderate, as opposed to a fundamentalist, way, we tend to think of it as subject to contestation, to correction by further or better knowledge, to discussion and interpretation. When we believe something in a fundamentalist way, in contrast, we think of it as ultimate and unchanging, never subject to further interpretation or discussion.
José María asked: Do "fundamentalism" and "moderation" take on the same "connotations" (to use your word) when the "doctrinaire faithful" are seen as existing within a so-called "pre-political" realm (they are thus gathered as an "ecclesia" proper) as they do when the "state" makes its appearance as "the" overarching and all-encompassing form of community?
A key issue in the debate around atheism concerns what happens at a cognitive level when we say we believe something.
An uncertain faith is the title of the manuscript I am currently working on. It refers to an alternate definition of faith to that used by atheists to dismiss religious believers, namely, belief without evidence.