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Fundamentalismo

En principio, la palabra fundamentalismo se refiere a un movimiento islmico que propugnaba una estricta aplicacin de la ley cornica a la vida social.1 Tambin se refiere a un movimiento cristiano basado en una interpretacin literal de la Biblia, surgido en Estados Unidos durante los inicios de laPrimera Guerra Mundial.2 En un sentido ms amplio, se le llama fundamentalismo a cualquier corriente religiosa o ideolgica que promueva la interpretacin literal de sus textos sagrados o fundacionales (por encima de una interpretacin contextual), o bien la aplicacin intransigente de una doctrina o prctica establecida. Los fundamentalistas consideran determinado libro como autoridad mxima, ante la cual ninguna otra autoridad puede invocarse y la cual debera imponerse sobre las leyes de las sociedadesdemocrticas. Generalmente se habla del fundamentalismo religioso, pero el fundamentalismo poltico no es menos comn. Algunos ejemplos de libros comunes entre fundamentalistas polticos son Mi lucha, de Adolf Hitler, y el Libro Rojo de Mao. El fundamentalismo poltico no necesariamente se relaciona de manera directa o indirecta con las religiones tradicionales, sino que promueven una cosmovisin radical e inclusoantitesta. El trmino tambin se identifica con las corrientes antimodernistas de distintas religiones. A veces se lo confunde con el milenarismo y con el mesianismo o se lo asocia con fanatismo o extremismo, aunque este ltimo trmino se suele reservar para actitudes especficamente polticas. El trmino integrismo, que es el tradicional en espaol para referirse a este fenmeno, est semnticamente muy prximo, aunque en una interpretacin estricta el fundamentalismo designa un fenmeno moderno (una forma de rechazo a las consecuencias secularizadoras de la modernidad, pero surgido desde la modernidad tecnolgica), mientras que el integrismo promueve una respuesta tradicionalista.

Origen del trmino[editar]


El fundamentalismo es un concepto moderno que surge como reaccin cuando la sociedad moderna empieza a guiarse por leyes humanas y deja de lado las divinas, afectando a los hbitos y al estilo de vida. El trmino naci a principios del siglo XX en los EE. UU. y rpidamente pas a definir ideologas cristianas protestantes que, enarbolando la infalibilidad de la Biblia, pretendan un regreso a las posturas fundacionales del cristianismo, basndose en muchos casos en nociones reaccionarias. De ah se ha extendido la denominacin a otros muchos movimientos recientes de casi todas las religiones del mundo que predican en contra de la corriente principal de sus respectivos credos, aseverando que sta se ha desviado de sus fundamentos, o que se resisten a aceptar ideas progresistas que han sido admitidas por una gran parte de la comunidad.

En el mbito hispanohablante, su uso es ms reciente an que en el anglosajn: la edicin del DRAE de 1992 todava no lo recoga. Tampoco una enciclopedia de referencia como la Larousse lo incorpora hasta su revisin de 1984, y nicamente aplicado al fundamentalismo islmico. En el corpus de la RAE, un banco de datos que recoge textos de todas las pocas, no aparece hasta 1950, en un tratado jurdico, y la mayora de ocurrencias son de la ltima dcada. A diferencia del mbito anglosajn, su introduccin y popularizacin viene asociado exclusivamente al resurgir del integrismo musulmn. La ltima edicin (2001) del DRAE ya recoge fundamentalismo, aplicado tanto a las lecturas literalistas de la Biblia como del Corn. El trmino tradicional en espaol es integrismo, que no solo se refera a la religin sino a algunas corrientes polticas tradicionalistas nacidas en el siglo XIX. Por ltimo, el DRAE recoge tambin una tercera acepcin ms general y no necesariamente estar asociada a alguna religin: Exigencia intransigente de sometimiento a una doctrina o prctica establecida. En este sentido, el socilogo Peter L. Berger sostiene que el fundamentalismo no procede slo de la religin: Generalmente se cree que el fundamentalismo es malo para la democracia porque dificulta la moderacin y la disposicin al compromiso que hace posible la democracia (...) Pero es importante comprender que hay secularistas tan fundamentalistas como los religiosos: unos y otros coinciden en no estar dispuestos a cuestionar sus opiniones, as como en su militancia, agresividad y desprecio hacia los que discrepan de ellos.3

Las bases del fundamentalismo[editar]


En muchos casos, el concepto del fundamentalismo viene irremediablemente atado a la interpretacin de una Sagrada Escritura (Biblia, Corn, Tor...), sobre la que, no obstante, se sostiene que es infalible, atemporal y universalmente vlida. As, en oposicin al proceso de relativizacin de las "verdades absolutas" contenidas en los Libros Sagrados que se vena dando hasta ahora, encontramos una rotunda afirmacin del valor de cada versculo de los mismos y una apologa de su aplicacin literal, en algunos casos ms all de lo que jams se hizo. Por supuesto esto supone la asuncin de dos supuestos: que Dios otorg a sus Profetas una visin unvoca de su voluntad y que sta est recogida y es disponible de manera directa a los seguidores de la doctrina fundamentalista.

Oposicin a la ciencia[editar]
Esta doctrina contrasta en la mayora de los casos con la moderna visin cientfica de la realidad, que cuestiona gran parte de las interpretaciones antiguas de las Escrituras. La ciencia, desde la Ilustracin, ha ido despojando a las religiones de autoridad en muchos campos; lo que unido al agotamiento delpositivismo cientfico durante el siglo XX, habra llevado a sectores del mbito religioso a una especie de "contraataque" con fuerzas renovadas por el desencanto ante las supuestas promesas incumplidas de una ciencia que sacara a la raza humana de las miserias milenarias en las que se haba visto envuelta.

Oposicin a Occidente[editar]
Estamos ante un movimiento de carcter casi universal, pero, por supuesto, no unitario, ni de objetivos claramente identificables, de hecho a menudo son excluyentes entre s. Muchos grupos definidos como fundamentalistas no usan esa definicin o, por el contrario, rechazan que sta se utilice para gente distinta de ellos mismos. En general, podemos decir que se trata de una reaccin al papel pasivo de lo religioso avalado por laconcepcin del mundo de la Europa contempornea que export e impuso en muchos lugares del mundo unos valores que muchos perciben como una atentado a sus races e identidad. Por ello, en muchas ocasiones se percibe el fundamentalismo como una doctrina anti-occidental y se asocia exclusivamente a los movimientos islamistas que se oponen a los sistemas autoritarios seculares establecidos en el mundo islmico tras la descolonizacin. Sin embargo, en la Historia se han dado otras corrientes de pensamiento que cabra calificar de fundamentalistas en su momento, entre las que cabe citar la Reforma protestante o los almohades yalmorvides que invadieron Al-ndalus. Y, asimismo, existen movimientos fundamentalistas en el seno de pases occidentales y basados en la cultura que se considera occidental. Lo nico que se puede admitir es que el fundamentalismo va contra unos principios que el mundo occidental ha hecho suyos y que su tradicin religiosa (cristianismo) ha asumido, sobre todo un aspecto especialmente importante: la separacin entre religin y Estado y la aceptacin de que las leyes humanas predominen sobre las divinas. Esa diferencia hace que el fundamentalismo sea en unos regmenes (particularmente los islamistas) un instrumento totalitario o bien en otros (particularmente en los democrticos) se limit a ser la ideologa de uno o varios grupos de presin. A ese respecto podramos hablar, por ejemplo, de una oposicin entre el fundamentalismo y la secularizacin de las sociedades; pero no en particular contra Occidente, aunque las sociedades occidentales se identifiquen claramente con ese proceso. Por otro lado, es necesario recordar que en el fundamentalismo no es una forma de conservadurismosino ms bien de tradicionalismo (con todas las reformas que ello precise), de vuelta a los supuestos valores de un pasado idealizado. En ningn caso existe una tendencia a mantener lo presente o inmediatamente anterior, pues precisamente los fundamentalistas se quejan de la corrupcin moral crnica de su entorno y la necesidad de una purificacin. Las cabezas pensantes de los grupos fundamentalistas hacen referencia a un pasado ejemplar que, en realidad, no est recogido en ninguna fuente sino que es una idealizacin de los momentos cumbre de la cultura que les es propia. En las secciones de cada religin se ver a lo que se refiere cada uno.

Fundamentalismo en poltica[editar]

Toda iniciativa fundamentalista est abocada a inmiscuirse en la poltica del Estado en el que se desarrolla por su misma naturaleza moralista y reformista. Ya que el Estado posee el monopolio de la educacin o, al menos, su control en prcticamente todo el mundo, los fundamentalistas se ven constantemente enfrentados a l cuando sus doctrinas son ignoradas o, como ocurre habitualmente, del todo criticadas en la enseanza. Es obvio que cualquier movimiento de estas caractersticas buscar la mayor difusin de sus ideas entre el gran pblico y de ah la necesidad de controlar los vehculos del saber. Los fundamentalistas suelen basarse en escuelas de pensamiento preexistentes y modificarlas a su medida o bien crear las suyas propias. Los partidos y asociaciones de ideas fundamentalistas estn activos en EEUU, Israel y casi todos los pases del mundo rabe, mientras que brillan por su ausencia en Europa y frica. La aceptacin vara desde su prohibicin en Argelia a los ejemplos de fundamentalismo triunfante: el Wahabismo que es la doctrina oficial de Arabia Saud y el rgimen de los Ayatols chies en Irn. Slo viendo las trayectorias de ambos pases encontramos la primera prueba de que el fundamentalismo no es incompatible con una poltica pro-occidental y, por ende, que la orientacin poltica del mismo est altamente condicionada por los factores en los que surge.

Fundamentalismo religioso[editar]
El cientfico y escptico Richard Dawkins apunta directamente al fundamentalismo religioso como una fuente de violencia y de irracionalidad. Poco despus de los atentados del 11 de septiembre de 2001, cuando le preguntaron en qu podra haber cambiado el mundo, Dawkins respondi:
Muchos de nosotros veamos a la religin como una tontera inofensiva. Puede que las creencias carezcan de toda evidencia pero, pensbamos, si la gente necesitaba un consuelo en el que apoyarse, dnde est el dao? El 11 de septiembre lo cambi todo. La fe revelada no es una tontera inofensiva, puede ser una tontera letalmente peligrosa. Peligrosa porque le da a la gente una confianza firme en su propia rectitud. Peligrosa porque les da el falso coraje de matarse a s mismos, lo que automticamente elimina las barreras normales para matar a otros. Peligrosa porque les inculca enemistad a otras personas etiquetadas nicamente por una diferencia en tradiciones heredadas. Y peligrosa porque todos hemos adquirido un extrao respeto que protege con exclusividad a la religin de la crtica normal. Dejemos ya de ser tan condenadamente respetuosos! 4

Adems, incluso cuando los fundamentalistas forman una mayora numrica, su posicin inalterable es la de vctimas de la corriente principal[cita requerida]. De este modo, siempre se aseguran una distancia exculpatoria con los problemas que sus enseanzas y mtodos no abordan o son incapaces de resolver. El fundamentalismo se ve a s mismo como la clave para acabar con los problemas de la sociedad moderna, pero evita afrontar muchos de ellos porque ni siquiera los reconoce como tales, p.ej.: las enfermedades y otros desastres son castigo de Dios y un Gobierno fundamentalista o, mejor dicho, con elementos fundamentalistas (Irn, Arabia Saud) siempre podr argumentar que una catstrofe que afecta al pueblo sucede porque ste no sigue al pie de la letra las prescripciones divinas.

Fundamentalismo cristiano[editar]
El trmino fundamentalista en el contexto cristiano se refiere a un movimiento dentro del cristianismo que afirma su adhesin a los fundamentos de dicha fe. En varias denominaciones cristianas hay fundamentalistas no siendo una denominacin en s sino ms bien un movimiento que atraviesa el cristianismo en su conjunto. Dependiendo de la denominacin particular tiene caractersitcas especiales pero en general, se considera el ala conservadora de la Iglesia cristiana. Algunas de las caractersticas ms llamativas que se suelen adscribir al fundamentalismo cristiano son la interpretacin literal del Gnesis y el rechazo a la teora de la evolucin de las especies de Darwin. No obstante, si bien el fenmeno fundamentalista cristiano surge de la asuncin de ciertas posturas conservadoras en el espectro religioso cristiano, el trmino ha adquirido con el tiempo una significacin, sobre todo a raz de su exportacin al mundo islmico, que puede llevar a errores sobre sus verdaderos orgenes y desviar sobre lo que realmente abarcaba en un principio y a lo que se refiere en la actualidad en el mbito cristiano. Orgenes[editar] Se puede fechar el inicio del uso de fundamentalista a finales de la dcada de 1910, tras la enunciacin en 1910 por parte de la Asamblea General de la Iglesia Presbiteriana de los EEUU de los Cinco Fundamentos necesarios y esenciales de la fe cristiana. Esto vino a raz de una disputa el ao anterior sobre si se deba ordenar sacerdotes a un grupo de novicios que se negaban a afirmar el nacimiento de Cristo del cuerpo de una virgen. Los Fundamentos escogidos fueron, pues:

La inspiracin de la Biblia por el Espritu Santo y la infalibilidad de las Escrituras como resultado de dicha inspiracin.

El nacimiento de Cristo del seno de una virgen. La creencia de que la muerte de Jesucristo fue una . La resurreccin en cuerpo de Jess. La realidad histrica de los milagros de Jesucristo.

Siguiendo estas pautas es obvio que hay muchas ideas que hoy se asignaran inmediatamente a un fundamentalista y que, sin embargo, estn ausentes de la declaracin de la cual toman el nombre. Por ejemplo, no se da siempre que quien afirma la infalibilidad de la Biblia argumente tambin a favor de una interpretacin literal de la misma. De hecho, las corrientes 'literalistas' tienen unas races mucho ms profundas que el fundamentalismo y se remontan a las discusiones de antao sobre si la Biblia se puede traducir, etc.

En cualquier caso, s que es cierto que era mucho ms fcil encontrar los rasgos anti-modernistas y anticientficos que hoy asociamos con fundamentalismo religioso en aquellos que suscriban los Cinco Fundamentos. En ello se fij tambin el telogo baptista Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick, cuando en 1922escribi su sermn Ganarn los fundamentalistas?. sta fue la primera obra de difusin con repercusiones que defina a los fundamentalistas en trminos muy parecidos a los actuales. Fosdick dirigi su crtica hacia los elementos de las iglesias presbiteriana y baptista que se oponan al esfuerzo de aquellos que trataban de reconciliar, una vez ms, la Ciencia con la Religin. As, defina a los fundamentalistas como intolerantes conservadores que arbitrariamente haban trazado los lmites de lo que se admita en la discusin teolgica. Abogaba por contrarrestar esto por la integracin en la Comunidad de aquellos que expusieran sus dudas sobre aspectos como la virginidad de Mara o la resurreccin de Cristo basado en lo que demostrara la Ciencia. El sermn fue un xito y se distribuy en forma de panfleto a todos los pastores protestantes de los Estados Unidos. La provocacin a los conservadores estaba servida y el guante fue recogido gustosamente por personajes como John Gresham Machen y Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield, quienes en1929 formaron la Iglesia Presbiteriana Ortodoxa. El fundamentalismo cristiano comenz as como la adherencia a los Cinco Fundamentos por parte de miembros de muy diferentes denominaciones protestantes. Desarrollo del trmino[editar] A lo largo del tiempo, el fundamentalismo se vio asociado a un particular segmento de las protestantismo evanglico que se distingue del resto por su enfoque separatista hacia la modernidad y hacia los aspectos de la cultura que ellos creen que caracterizan el mundo moderno y hacia los otros cristianos que no han decidido como ellos desligarse de l. Como se ejemplific anteriormente, algunas cosas que un fundamentalista se supone que debe hacer son: evitar las traducciones demasiado modernas/liberales de la Biblia y el rezo con instrumentos populares (guitarras, etc.). Tampoco debera consumir bebidas alcohlicas, drogas estupefacientes o tabaco, ni estn bien vistos el baile y, en general, cualquier tipo de actividad o estilo en el que no se establezcan estrictas diferencias y lmites entre hombres y mujeres. Tales cosas pueden parecer inocuas al ajeno, pero para algunos fundamentalistas, stas suponen la punta de lanza de la amenaza para su virtuoso modo de vida y para la fe ms pura que ellos buscan proteger y poner como ejemplo ante el mundo. Debido a la prevalecencia de una escatologa jerrquica, algunos fundamentalistas apoyan con vehemencia el moderno Estado de Israel porque creen que tiene una significacin paralela a la de las Iglesias Cristianas en los designios divinos y le asignan un papel especial en el Fin del mundo.

En general, el trmino fundamentalista es difcil de aplicar sin ambigedades fuera de los EEUU, ya que las agrupaciones no estadounidenses son bastante menos dogmticas. En su sentido ms amplio, el fundamentalismo se puede aplicar a grupos cristianos tanto catlicos como protestantes. El fundamentalismo, no obstante, es percibido como una fuerza en alza dentro de las asociaciones religiosas y su alcance cada vez ms penetrante. Esta por discernir si esto se produce por el simple cambio en las denominaciones y una nueva forma de mirar a rasgos ya existentes desde antao o por un verdadero aumento en el nmero de personas que abrazan ideas fundamentalistas. Con todo, la Iglesia Catlica y las iglesias cristianas en su conjunto, pese a ejercer eventualmente comogrupos de presin poltica, han aceptado hace tiempo un sistema pluralista que mantiene separados la Iglesia y el Estado y donde la convivencia se basa en un sistema de leyes humanas aprobadas de forma democrtica, todo lo cual contiene los excesos totalitarios que la interpretacin fundamentalista produce en sistemas teocrticos basados en las leyes religiosas.

Fundamentalismo mormn[editar]
Artculo principal:

Fundamentalismo mormn

El fundamentalismo mormn es un movimiento conservador que cree o practica lo que sus seguidores consideran aspectos fundamentales del mormonismo. Esto representa una ruptura de la lnea de mormonismo practicada por la Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los ltimos Das y una vuelta a doctrinas y costumbres que los fundamentalistas creen ha sido un error abandonar, tales como lapoligamia, la Ley de la Consagracin, la Teora de Adn-Dios, la expiacin con sangre, el sacerdocio patriarcal, elementos de la investidura mormnica. Los fundamentalistas mormones han formado numerosas sectas muchas de las cuales se han establecido en comunidades aisladas en reas del Oeste de los EE. UU.

Fundamentalismo judo[editar]
La mayor parte de las escuelas judas creen que el Tanaj (el Viejo Testamento) no puede ser entendido literalmente o aislado, sino que necesita de un acompaamiento conocido como la Tor oral. Este material est contenido en el Mishn, el Talmud, la Guemar y el Midrsh. Sin embargo, el judasmo ortodoxo, si bien no lee el Tanaj literalmente, s que lo considera divino, infalible y transmitido sin cambio esenciales; dando adems una gran importancia a las palabras y letras concretas empleadas en el texto. De manera parecida, algunos miembros del judasmo ortodoxo, ms concretamente los jaredes, ven la Mishnah, el Talmud y la Midrash como divinas e infalibles en contenido, aunque no en trminos. Los judos jasiditas a su vez defienden la infalibilidad de su propia interpretacin de las fuentes tradicionales

de la verdad. Por ltimo, los karaitas, segn ellos mismos, "son una secta juda que no reconoce la autoridad de la tradicin postbblica incorporada en el Talmud y en los trabajos rabnicos ms tardos". En definitiva, son estos ltimos elementos junto con los sionistas acrrimos, conocidos habitualmente como ultraortodoxos, los que se pueden considerar como los verdaderos judos fundamentalistas. Sin embargo, en su relacin con el Estado de Israel, se ve lo opuesto de sus posiciones. Algunas corrientes jasdicas muy minoritarias descreditan el sionismo como una hereja, se enfrentan activamente con el Estado israel y todos los judos que se identifiquen con l y se niegan a hablarhebreo, usando en su lugar el yiddish. Esto se debe a que consideran que la existencia del Estado de Israel impide la llegada del Mesas. El sionismo religioso, por el contrario, cuyo padre espiritual fue Abraham Isaak Kook (1865-1935), ve en el Estado de Israel el inicio del tiempo mesinico e interpretan acontecimientos como la Guerra de los Seis Das como seales que lo confirman. De importancia poltica es la reivindicacin juda con el apoyo divino de la Tierra Santa, Eretz Israel. Esta postura fue defendida por fundamentalistas como los del grupo ya desaparecido Gush Emunim (Bloque de los creyentes, fundado en 1974), para los cuales las renuncias territoriales israeles equivalan al sacrilegio, lo que llev a uno de ellos al asesinato de Isaac Rabin en 1995. Dicha visin se opona al sionismo secular, segn el cual los judos deban ser una nacin como las dems. El fundamentalismo religioso en Israel no reviste el peligro que tiene en otras partes de Oriente Medio pues, adems de que no existen autoridades rabnicas que aprueben la violencia, las creencias religiosas eventualmente extremistas, adems de ser minoritarias, son contenidas por un sistema democrtico que, como en todas las democracias occidentales, mantiene separada la religin y el Estado.

Fundamentalismo islmico[editar]
Artculo principal:

Fundamentalismo islmico

En espaol, hasta tiempos muy recientes, el islmico era el fundamentalismo por antonomasia. Se trata de un movimiento religioso-poltico musulmn nacido en el siglo XX que aboga por la estricta interpretacin de las leyes cornicas y su reglamentacin en el mbito civil y penal, y por una vuelta al rigorismo en la aplicacin de los preceptos religiosos a las conductas pblicas y privadas. Se caracteriza tambin por su actitud antimoderna, su proselitismo y su proyeccin universal, mediante la guerra santa oyihad, que es interpretada y aplicada de forma ms o menos violenta segn el grado de moderacin de sus lderes. Uno de sus razonamientos tpicos ms antiguos en el que se basa el fundamentalismo islmico puede encontrarse en la leyenda de Al-Khidr y Moiss, en la que este ltimo cuestionaba las actitudes

irracionales del primero, sin comprender que Al-Khidr posea un conocimiento superior emanado directamente de Al. El triunfo de la revolucin iran (1979) estimul el fundamentalismo rabe y le otorg una dimensin antioccidental y de rechazo del imperialismo. La retrica antiimperialista se incorpor desde entonces y absorbi en muchos aspectos al panarabismo laico. Irn, al igual que Pakistn, Sudn y otras naciones de mayora musulmana, haban ensayado un cierto laicismo anterior, que fue completamente barrido de esos pases. En el plano legal, esto se tradujo en la incorporacin de la ley islmica, redactada hace un milenio, a su sistema jurdico.

Por su parte, las guerras rabe-israeles, junto con un furibundo antisionismoque resucita aspectos del viejo antisemitismo al hacer a los judos culpables de todos sus males, exacerb tambin el fundamentalismo islmico. En el plano ideolgico, el fundamentalismo islmico parte de unos cuantos supuestos sencillos:

El Islam fue glorioso en tiempos pasados gracias a la observancia estricta de la sharia. Occidente, paradigma de la perversin y la corrupcin moral, arruin aquel esplendor del pasado. La cada de Occidente permitir que el Islam lo herede.

Por la violencia de su ala ms extremista, y por la proliferacin de sus actuaciones en el mundo entero, el fundamentalismo islmico es con diferencia el ms agresivo de todos los existentes. Entre sus manifestaciones ms criminales, y sin nimo de ser exhaustivos, se encuentra el magnicidio del presidente egipcio Anwar Sadat (1979) por su acuerdo de paz con Israel; el atentado a la AMIA (el mayor de Argentina) los atentados del 11-S en Nueva York o los del 11-M en Madrid (el mayor atentado terrorista de Europa).

Fundamentalismo hind[editar]
Por fundamentalismo hind se comprende a los grupos fanticos seguidores del hinduismo, principalmente en India. Dichas agrupaciones son ultraconservadores y nacionalistas, consideran queIndia debe ser una nacin solo para los hindes, y promueven la expulsin de musulmanes, cristianos y otros credos religiosos. Promueven una interpretacin literal del hinduismo que incluye la restauracin del sistema de castas reduciendo a las castas inferiores a la esclavitud, la subyugacin absoluta de la mujer y la prohibicin de las religiones no indias as como de los smbolos occidentales (llegando incluso a destruir comercios donde venden tarjetas de San Valentn). Los hindes fundamentalistas han estado relacionados con el conflicto entre hindes y musulmanes indo-pakistan, el conflicto entre hindes y sikhs en Panyab y ataques a minoras. Algunos partidos

de extrema derecha como el BJP han sido relacionados con fundamentalistas en sus filas. Mahatma Gandhi fue asesinado por fundamentalistas hindes.

t has been more than a century since Nietzsche proclaimed the death of God. The prophecy was widely accepted as referring to an alleged fact about increasing disbelief in religion, both by those who rejoiced in it and those who deplored it. As the twentieth century proceeded, however, the alleged fact became increasingly dubious. And it is very dubious indeed as a description of our point in time at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Religion has not been declining. On the contrary, in much of the world there has been a veritable explosion of religious faith. Ever since the Enlightenment, intellectuals of every stripe have believed that the inevitable consequence of modernity is the decline of religion. The reason was supposed to be the progress of science and its concomitant rationality, replacing the irrationality and superstition of religion. Not only Nietzsche but other seminal modern thinkers thought sonotably Marx (religion as opiate of the masses) and Freud (religion as illusion). So did the two great figures of classical sociology. Emile Durkheim explained religion as nothing but a metaphor of social order. Max Weber believed that what he called rationalizationthe increasing dominance of a scientific mindsetwould destroy the magical garden of premodern worldviews. To be sure, the two had different attitudes toward this alleged insight. Durkheim, an Enlightened atheist, saw modern secularity as progress. Weber was not happy about what he sawostensibly the imprisonment of modern man in the iron cage of rationality. But, happily or nostalgically, both agreed on what was supposedly happening. Not to put too fine a point on it, they were mistaken. Modernity is not intrinsically secularizing, though it has been so in particular cases (one of which, as I will argue in a moment, is very relevant for the phenomenon of secularism). The mistake, I think, can be described as a confusion of categories: Modernity is not

necessarily secularizing; it is necessarily pluralizing . Modernity is characterized by an increasing plurality, within the same society, of different beliefs, values, and worldviews. Plurality does indeed pose a challenge to all religious traditionseach one must cope with the fact that there are all these others, not just in a faraway country but right next door. This challenge, however, is not the one assumed by secularization theory. Looked at globally, there are two particularly powerful religious explosionsresurgent Islam and dynamic evangelical Protestantism. Passionate Islamic movements are on the rise throughout the Muslim world, from the Atlantic Ocean to the China Sea, and in the Muslim diaspora in the West. The rise of evangelical Protestantism has been less noticed by intellectuals, the media, and the general public in Western countries, partly because nowhere is it associated with violence and partly because it more directly challenges the assumptions of established elite opinion: David Martin, a leading British sociologist of religion, has called it a revolution that was not supposed to happen. Yet it has spread more rapidly and over a larger geographical area than resurgent Islam. What is more, the Islamic growth has occurred mostly in populations that were already Muslima revitalization rather than a conversi on. By contrast, evangelical Protestantism has been penetrating parts of the world in which this form of religion was hitherto unknown. And it has done so by means of mass conversions. By far the most numerous and dynamic segment of what I am calling this evangelical diffusion has been Pentecostalism. It began almost exactly one hundred years ago in a number of locations in the United States, as small groups of people began to speak in tongues and experience miraculous healing. From its beginning, Pentecostalism was actively proselytizing, mostly in America (though there were early outposts abroadeven, curiously enough, in Sweden). But the big Pentecostal explosion began in the 1950s, especially in the developing countries, and it has been intensifying ev er since. The boundaries of Pentecostalism are somewhat vague: It is a multidimensional phenomenon, with explicitly Pentecostal denominations, local Pentecostal congregations with no denominational affiliations, and Pentecostal-like

eruptions within mainline Protestant and Catholic churches. If one subsumes these groups under the general heading of charismatics , there are four hundred million of them, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center. Religious dynamism is not confined to Islam and Pentecostalism. The Catholic Church, in trouble in Europe, has been doing well in the Global South. There is a revival of the Orthodox Church in Russia. Orthodox Judaism has been rapidly growing in America and in Israel. Both Hinduism and Buddhism have experienced revivals, and the latter has had some successes in proselytizing in America and Europe. Simply put: Modernity is not characterized by the absence of God but by the presence of many godswith two exceptions to this picture of a furiously religiou s world. One is geographical: Western and Central Europe. The causes and present shape of what one may call Eurosecularity constitute one of the most interesting problems in the sociology of contemporary religion. The other exception is perhaps even more relevant to the question of secularization, for it is constituted by an international cultural elite, essentially a globalization of the Enlightened intelligentsia of Europe. It is everywhere a minority of the populationbut a very influential one. Secularism thus finds itself in a global context of dynamic religiosity, which means that it faces some serious challenges. We might distinguish three versions of secularism. First, the term may refer to accepting the consequences for religion of the institutional differentiation that is a crucial feature of modernity. Social activities that were undertaken in premodern societies within a unified institutional context are now dispersed among several institutions. The education of children, for example, used to occur within the family or tribe, but it is now handled by specialized institutions. Educational personnel, who used to be family members with no special training, must now be specially trained to undertake

their task in teacher-training institutions, which in turn spout further institutions, such as state certification agencies and teachers unions. Religion has gone through a comparable process of differentiationwhat used to be an activity of the entire community is now organized in specialized institutions. The Christian Church, long before the advent of modernity, provided a prototype of religious specializationthe realm of Caesar separated from that of God. What modernity does is to make the differentiation much more ample and diffused. One path for this development is the denominational system typical of American religion, with a plurality of separate religious institutions available on a free market. The American case makes clear that secularism, as an ideology that accepts the institutional specialization of religion, need not imply an antireligious animus. This moderate attitude toward religion is then expressed in a moderate understanding of the separation of church and state. The state is not hostile to religion but draws back from direct involvement in religious matters and recognizes the autonomy of religious institutions. The second type of secularism, however, is characterized precisely by antireligious animus, at least as far as the public role of religion is concerned. The French understanding of the state originated in the anti-Christian animus of the continental Enlightenment and was politically established by the French Revolution. This second type of secularism, with religion considered a strictly private matter, can be relatively benign, as it is in contemporary France. Religious symbols or actions are rigorously barred from political life, but privatized religion is protected by law. The third type of secularism is anything but benign, as in the practice of the Soviet Union and other communist regimes. But what characterizes both the benign and the malevolent versions of lacit is that religion is evicted from public life and confined to private space. There have been tendencies in America toward a French version of secularism, located in such groups as the American Civil Liberties Union or

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. What may be called the ACLU viewpoint is pithily captured in an old Jewish joke: A man tries to enter a synagogue during the High Holidays. The usher stops the man and says that only people with reserved seats may enter. But it is a matter of life and death, says the man. I must speak to Mr. Shapirohis wife has been taken to the hospital. All right, says the usher, you can go in. But dont let me catch you praying . The punch line accurately describes the ACLUs position on any provision of public services (from school buses to medical facilities) to faith-based institutions. All typologies oversimplify social reality, but it is useful to think here of a spectrum of secularisms: There is the moderate version, typified by the traditional American view of church-state separation. Then there is the more radical version, typified by French lacit and more recently by the ACLU, in which religion is both confined to the private sphere and protected by legally enforced freedom of religion. And then there is, as in the Soviet case, a secularism that privatizes religion and seeks to repress it. Its adherents can be as fanatical as any religious fundamentalists. All these types of secularism are being vigorously challenged. Even the moderate version of secularism, as institutionalized in an American-style separation of church and state, is being challenged by the contemporary religious movements that reject the differentiation between religious institutions and the rest of society. Their alternative is the dominance of religion over every sphere of human life. For obvious reasons, most attention is now focused on the radical Islamic challenge. This challenge is represented by the ideal of a Sharia statethat is, of a society in which every aspect of public and private life is subjected to Islamic law. Muslims differ as to whether this view is essential to the faith as proclaimed i n the Quran or whether it is a later accretion that could be modified. Regardless, the call for an allembracing Islamic state resonates strongly among contemporary Muslims. It is by no means limited to Jihadists, who want to establish such a state by violent means. Many Muslims who have no inclination toward terrorism or holy war have similar views.

Nor is such a view of religion dominating all of society peculiar to Muslims. The ideal of a Sharia state has strong similarity with the ideal of a halakhi c state propagated by some Orthodox Jewish groups in Israel. In India, the ideology of hindutva has similar ambitions, as have powerful groups within Russian Orthodoxy calling for a monolithic unity of church and state (a phrase used recently by a high o fficial of the Moscow Patriarchate). In all these cases, the term fundamentalism is appropriate. In progressive circles in America, comparable ambitions are frequently attributed to evangelical Protestants and Catholics. The attribution is empirically untenable. Only a very small minority of evangelicals, in the United States and elsewhere, want to set up a Christian state. As to the Catholic Church, the last time it sought to establish a Catholic state was when it supported the Nationalist side in the Spanish Civil War. Since the Second Vatican Council, such a stance is unthinkable. Indeed, as Samuel Huntington has pointed out, the Catholic Church has become an important factor in democratization, notably in Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Philippines. One must make an important distinction between movements animated by genuinely religious motives and movements where religious labels are attached to agendas that are nonreligious. Admittedly it is difficult to decide which motives are genuinely religious and which are not. There are, however, fairly clear instances of both. A suicide bomber in the Middle East may be trusted when he says that he is doing so to witness to the greatness of God. Social scientists (most of whom are quite secular in outlook) tend to believe that religious motives are suspect, that they are used to legitimate the root causes underlying a conflict. This is a bias that fails to understand the motivating power of religious faith. And yet there are also clear instances of religious labels stuck on agendas rooted in

very material interests. One such case is the Bosnian conflict, where religious markers were attached to clashes of political and ethnic interests. As P.J. ORourke once put it: There are three groups in the Bosnian conflict. They look alike, and they speak the same language. They are divided only by religion, which none of them believe in. Another case is Northern Ireland. And this case is again nicely illustrated by a joke: A gunman jumps out of a doorway, holds a gun to a mans head and asks, Are you Catholic or Protestant? Actually, says the man, Im an atheist. Ah, yes, replies the gunman, but are you a Catholic or a Protestant atheist? A country in which the challenge to secularism is politically prominent right now is Turkey. The Turkish Republic was founded in 1923 by Atatrk, who was decidedly anti-Islamic and probably antireligious in general. He wanted to civilize Turkey, and civilization for him meant the secular culture of Europe. His political model was the French onepublic life made, as it were, antiseptically free of religious symbols and behavior. Thus Atatrk proscribed the traditional fez as male headgear, insisting that Turkish men don European-style hats or caps. (This, by the way, had a very visible anti-Islamic implication: It is difficult wearing headgear with a visor in front to touch ones forehead to the ground in the mandatory obeisance of Muslim prayer.) This secularist ideology was firmly established in large sector s of Turkeys society, particularly in the Kemalist political and military elite. It was dominant in urban, middle-class populations. Back in the Anatolian hinterland, a deeply Muslim culture continued to prevail, with people paying lip service to the Kemalist ideology but at the same time passively resisting it in family and community life. In recent years, this resistance turned politically active. A series of avowedly Islamic parties entered the political process, challenging the Kemalist orthodoxy. For a while, the military intervened to stop such parties from taking power. But this has become progressively more difficult. One reason is that masses of Anatolians migrated to the urban centers, bringing their Muslim culture with them. Another is that Turkey (partly motivated by the elites desire to have the country admitted to the European Union) has become more democratic, and, as a result, all those unenlightened people

are actually voting. And yet another reason is that some in the elite have come to doubt the old secularist orthodoxy and become lukewarm in their resistance to political Islam. At present, an Islamist party is in power. Its leaders say they have no desire to overthrow the secular republic or to establish a Sharia state. So far the m ilitary has not intervened, limiting itself to muttering threats. The most visible challenge from the religious side has been the insistence by many Muslim women on their right to wear the headscarf, the symbol of Islamic modesty, in public institutionsa practice still prohibited. (It is interesting how often headgear has become a flashpoint for conflict between secularists and pious Muslimsfrom the male fez to the hijab .) The outcome of these Turkish debates has importance far beyond Turkey. The Pahlavi regime in Iran consciously tried to emulate Atatrks secular state. Again there was passive resistance by a strongly religious populace. And again the latter finally attained power. But the difference between the two paths to power clearly shows that the challenge to secularism can take very different forms: In Iran, an Islamic state has been set up by revolution and is marked by an oppressive dictatorship in which the Shiite clergy exercise hegemony. In Turkey, the Islamic party came to power through democratic elections, and thus far (though the Kemalists continue to have dark suspicions) it has not only observed the rules of the secular state but has actually made it more democratic. What the two cases have in common was the blindness of the Enlightened intelligentsia to see what was coming. My only visit to Iran occurred in 1976, two years before the Islamic revolution. With one exception, all the intellectuals I met were opposed to the shah, and most of them expected a revolution. None of them expected the revolution that actually occurred, however, and I never heard mention of the Ayatollah Khomeini. About the same time, my wife was lecturing in Turkey. On her way through Istanbul, she noticed green flags (symbols of Islam) flying from houses and storefronts. She asked her host (an Enlightened university professor) whether these flags signified a resurgence of Islam. Not at all, replied the professor,

they are just put up by migrants from the provinces, ignorant people, who will never have much of an influence. On a much more recent visit to Turkey, I had an experience that may serve as a metaphor for the religious challenge to secularism, not only in Turkey but everywhere: A main tourist attraction in Ankara (indeed, just about the only tourist attraction) is the mausoleum of Kemal Atatrk. It is an imposing building, on a hill from which one gets a panoramic view of the city. At the time of my visit, in the center of the city one can see only one big mosque (built quite recently by the Saudis). Thus the city center, Atatrks capital, was quite literally a public space cleansed of all religious symbolism. But Ankara has expanded enormously since the 1920s, and the center is ringed by a great number of newer urban areas. As far as one can see, every one of these has a mosque. Thus Islam is besieging the capital of Kemalist secularism not only politically but physically. Two instructive additional cases of a secular elite facing a popular religious challenge are India and Israel. When India be came independent in 1947and Nehru gave his famous speech celebrating Indias tryst with destinythe new state was explicitly defined as a secular republic. No hostility to religion, Hindu or other, was implied by that phrase. After all, Gandhi served (and still serves) as a national icon. Mainly it was to set India off against Pakistan, which became independent at the same time, defined as a state for Muslims. By contrast, India was understood as a state in which all religious communities were to feel at homeHindus as well as Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, and Christians. India today is still defined in its constitution as a secular republic, in the sense of neutrality with regard to all religious communities. But, as a matter of fact, India is one of the most religious countries in the world, and more than 80 percent of its population is Hindu. Inevitably, this has political repercussions. In recent decades, the Congress party, which had presided over the founding tryst, has continued to uphold the secularist ideal (which is why Muslims mostly vote for it). But the major opposition comes from a party rooted in a vigorous affirmation of Hinduism as the

core of Indian civilization. And the party, now called the BJP, has periodically held power both in several states and in the Union government. Israel is remarkably similar in its secular and religious dynamic. The state proclaimed its independence a year after India. It did identify itself as a Jewish state, but this identity in no way implied that it would be a state with Judaism as the established religion. Like India, Israel has been a democracy from its beginning, and its non-Jewish minorities of Muslims and Christians were supposed to be full citizens. As it turned out, there have been tensions between the dual identity of Israel as a democratic and a Jewish state, especially since the acquisition of the Palestinian territories after the l967 war. It is not surprising that Arab citizens of Israel have been uncomfortable as a result of these tensions. But what is directly relevant to the present topic is that many religious Jews have been uncomfortable by the secular, religiously neutral character of the state. For a long time the political and cultural elite was strongly secular. There is no precise equivalent to Indias BJP in Israel, but the major opposition party, the Likud, has drawn much of its strength from Jewish voters who resent the secular elite (to be sure, for many reasons, not just because of its secularity). Again not surprisingly, many Arab citizens have been voting for Labor. Yet another instructive case is the United States. The religious challenge to secularism has been an important fact of American culture and politics for the past forty years or so. Unlike modern Turkey, India, and Israel, the American republic was not created under a secularist banner. The American Enlightenment was very different from the French, and the Founding Fathers, though some were not particularly pious Christians, were certainly not antireligious. Nor did the First Amendment have a secularist intention but rather was intended to preserve peace between the different denominations of what was then a mainly Protestant nation.

This arrangement worked very well for a long time. And the circle of tolerance has expanded steadilyfrom the different Protestant denominations, to Catholics and Jews, and finally to just about any religious community that does not engage in illegal or clearly outrageous behavior. What has changed in more recent times (I suspect, beginning in the 1930s) was what could be called a Europeanization of the cultural elite. This elite was increasingly secular, and its politics became increasingly secularist (a sort of Kemalization, if you will). All along, though, the general population continued to be stubbornly religious. This religiosity, especially in its evangelical version, was looked down on by the elite. H.L. Menckens contemptuous treatment of evangelicals in his writings (notably in his account of the so-called Dayton Monkey Trial) ably represented this elite perceptionand still does. To be progressive came to mean secular. The United States continues, by any measure, to be the most religious society in the Western world. Sooner or later, this situation had to lead to a political clash. Just as in Turkey, India, and Israel, the nonprogressive populace was going to rebel against the eliteand it was going to use the mechanisms of democracy to do so. There were two clear flashpoints sparking the rebellion. Both involved the Supreme Court, the least democratic of the three arms of government: the 1963 prohibition of prayer in the public schools and the 1973 prohibition of laws against abortion. And, as a result, in a curious reversal of the earlier relation to class by the two major parties, Republicans won the allegiance of the religious rebels and Democrats reflected the secularist biases of the elite. In recent elections, it turns out, degree of religious commitmentProtestant, Catholic, or Jewishwas the single best predictor of how people were going to vote. I think the positioning of the two parties was accidental; it might just as well have been the other way around. But once the dichotomous identification became established, secularists and strongly religious voters both became important elements of the two parties. They supply the activiststhe people who write checks,

who volunteer in campaigns, who ring doorbells, and who address envelopes. All this is fascinating for any social scientist trying to understand contemporary cultural and political developments. Should it matter to anyone else? The answer is yes, if one is concerned for the future of democracy in the contemporary world. There is the general view that fundamentalism is bad for democracy because it hinders the moderation and willingness to compromise that make democracy possible. Fair enough. But it is very important to understand that there are secularist as well as religious fundamentalistsboth unwilling to question their assumptions, militant, aggressive, contemptuous of anyone who differs from them. H.L. Mencken was just as much a fundamentalist as William Jennings Bryan (though Mencken was wittier). There are fundamentalists of one stripe who think that religious tyranny is around the corner if a Christmas tree is erected on public property. There are fundamentalists of the other stripe who believe that the nation is about to sink into moral anarchy if the Ten Commandments are removed from a courtroom. In plain language, fundamentalists are fanatics. And fanatics have a built-in advantage over more moderate people: Fanatics have nothing else to do they have no life beyond their cause. The rest of us have other interests: family, work, hobbies, vices. Yet we too must be militant in defense of certain core values of our civilization and our political system. It seems to me that a very important task in our time (and probably in any time) is to be militant in defense of moderationa difficult task but not an impossible one. PETER L. BERGER is director of the Institute for the Study of Economic Culture at Boston University. This essay, in a slightly different form, was delivered as a William Phillips Memorial Lecture at the New School for Social Research on October 10, 2007. Permission to publish it here is gratefully acknowledged.