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Using material from item A and elsewher Essay

Using material from item A and elsewhere, assess the view that the growth of religious fundamentalism is a reaction to globalisation As mentioned in item A ‘much has been written about the decline of religious beliefs and the secularisation of modern societies’ this states that the growth of fundamentalism represents a culture which tends to be a clash between the sacred an secular. Fundamentalism refers to ‘black and white’ thinking that opposes modernism or any sort of progressive beliefs about religion and social topics. Rejecting modern beliefs does not particularly make fundamentalist group violent. Whilst the item mentions ‘they reject modern interpretations o faith as having lost their ways because teachings have been watered down’ this supports the idea that fundamentalist groups tend to oppose anything that challenges their religious interpretations and opinions. There are various characteristics of fundamentalism; a sociologist Bruce indicates the fact that religious text are seen as perfect.

Referring back to the item it suggests that ‘fundamentalism seek a return to a literal interpretation of their holy book and strict obedience to religious teachings’ this supports Bruce idea as such holy teaching must be read literally-be it the bible, quran or the torah for e.g. Homosexuality is seen to be a sin, and fundamentalist groups are strongly against this view. Although there are many holy teachings and beliefs, one consequence of this is that fundamentalism rejects religious pluralism; there can be but one literal truth. This reflects on the important implications for what school teach for e.g. in some Christian schools in USA, the obect the scientific explanations of creation. Another aspect of fundamentalist is there is a profound rejection of modern society. Living in the modern world is seen as problematic because of the variety of choice; including too much choice of religion, sexuality, lifestyle etc.

As mentioned in the item ‘while fundamentalism may have views that differ greatly from the mainstream’ this supports the perception that fundamentalists reject the idea of choice and assert the value of tradition. Lastly, another characteristic is activism. Activism is strongly encouraged whereby fundamentalists are vocal in their struggle of good against evil. In their ways of active approach many fundamentalists resort to violence in bid to express both their hatred of modernity and the need for tradition values to return for all. Examples of extremist fundamentalism include the shooting of Malala, bombing of abortion clinics, 9/11 etc, Islamic fundamentalists. Quoting from the item ‘some sociologists argue that one response to globalisation has been the growth of religious fundamentalists’ This was the central view of Giddens whom mentioned that globalisation has turned the whole planet earth into a ‘global village’ such that every point on the planet is constant and lose touch with the rest of the world via electronic, satellite or telephone communication.

This has had a huge impact on fundamentalism. There are clear examples of how globalisation has helped fundamentalist groups for e.g. Terrorist groups such al-qaeda have various websites to both communication members and grow in numbers. Depite the fact that fundamentalists are against modernity, they can be seen as hypocritical groups as they tend to use modern ways and technology to spread their views. Another clear example is represented by the Miss World beauty Pageant in Nigeria 2002 A ‘blasphemous’ article was published by a newspaper office suggesting the prophet Muhammed (pbuh) would have liked a Miss World Beauty Queen. This had raised riots by Muslim fundamentalists which claimed over 100 lives. Assessing the view that globalisation has a growing state of fundamentalists, if such articles were not published, would there be such a large scale of fundamentalist activity?

However growth in fundamentalism can be due to other factors beside globalisation. A response to secularisation; once again Bruce identifies fundamentalism is caused by secularisation- he argues the decline in religion in modern society, combining the views of science and rationality, undermines traditional faiths which supports evidence from the item as it mentions ‘but fundamentalism seems to go against this trend’ and therefore this does not truly suggest that globalisation is the main reaction to the growth of fundamentalist groups. Almond et al agree secularisation and modernisation produces fundamentalist however implying that it is caused by facets such as low levels of education and high levels of inequality, economic problems displacement of people by war, and western resentment and hatred. This also ties in with such facts that fundamentalism is more likely to develop when; there is just one sacred perfect text which followers can argue, a religion must have a common enemy etc.

Such aspects determine that globalisation is not the only factor, there are many other ways of fundamentalist groups increasing Another aspect may be certainty in a world of choice. Fundamentalists groups tend to have an appeal to those who seek a moral anchor in a world of unlimited choice i.e. young people. Modernity creates a moral ambiguity- unaware of what to do and therefore leading to a profusion of choice and a lack of guidance. This verifies the idea that globalisation is not the only reason as to why fundamentalists is growing, but attracting people in other ways. Lastly, Karen Armstrongs view also supports the view that it is not due to globalization.

She argues there is nothing in Islamic religion which tends to lead towards fundamentalist beliefs. Many Islamic leaders and followers are in favour of westernisation and modernisation. However her argument differs to many as she states that the west has tried to impose modernisation too rapidly in these countries and as a result, this has lead to mass resentment f the west by many Islamic populations in the world, thus encouraging Islamic fundamentalism. In conclusion, although gloablisation does play a major role as to why fundamentalist groups are promptly growing, we cannot assume this is the only way. Assessing the view of this, it does need to be taken into consideration that there are other elements which have an impact of fundamentalist groups vastly spreading such as secularisation, economic problems, certainty in a world of choice etc.


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