How do we address the rise of religious fundamentalism?
Jim Wallis is an evangelical Christian reverend known as a writer and activist. He founded Sojourners Magazine in 1971 and currently serves as its Editor-in-Chief. His most recent book is The Great Awakening: Reviving Faith and Politics in a Post-Religious Right America (2008). He teaches a course on religion and politics at Harvard University. In 2000, he received the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience award. Born in 1948, Wallis attended Michigan State University and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
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
The answer to bad religion is not secularism, but better religion.
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