Question: How do we address the rise of religious fundamentalism?
Jim Wallis: We have a fundamentalism in all of our great religious traditions – in Christianity, in Judaism and in Islam.
And the answer to fundamentalism is what I call “prophetic faith”, engaged faith. So you don’t sort of say, “There’s something wrong with the whole idea of faith.” You say, “This religion has gotten skewed. It’s gotten manipulated by fear, by political agendas, by ideology, even by hate, and even by violence.”
Fundamentalism is basically a distortion of religion based on fear. And so the best way to handle bad religion is better religion. Faith is supposed to bring us not easy certainty, but deeper reflection; not to bring us triumphalism, but rather humility; not to bring us cynicism about the world, but hope that in fact even the big things can, indeed and have been changed.
July 3, 2007