“To be a fundamentalist, you have to have a book. And you have to forget the book has a history.”
A New Oxonian Oldie
I’ve been puzzling about this recently: whether there is anything that Christian and Muslim fundamentalists have in common. I’ll leave the Jews and the Sikhs and Hindus to one side for a minute. Just because I want to.
First of all, you have to have a book to be a fundamentalist. It’s no good trying to say you take your religion seriously if you don’t have a page to point at or a verse to recite.
Theoretically, various gurus can exert the same sort of control that a book can exert over the mind of a true believer. But usually gurus begin by pointing at books as well.
That’s what both Jim Jones of People’s Temple, Inc., and David Koresh of Branch Davidian fame did. They were just the messengers, albeit the ones you had to sleep with to get the keys to the kingdom.
They became convinced that they were the fulfillment of texts they’d read one too many times. In the same way, the music of rote repetition seems to inspire Taliban leaders like Mullah Omar and the late and invidious Baitullah Mehsud as well. Fundamentalists read texts written 1000 years ago as though they were hot off the press–like this from the world’s most famous MIA:
“Praise be to God, who revealed the Book, controls the clouds, defeats factionalism, and says in His Book: “But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war)….The Arabian Peninsula has never–since God made it flat, created its desert, and encircled it with seas–been stormed by any forces like the crusader armies spreading in it like locusts, eating its riches and wiping out its plantations. All this is happening at a time in which nations are attacking Muslims like people fighting over a plate of food.” (1998 fatwah)
It’s so easy to forget the Crusades, isn’t it? Especially since the last one ended in 1291 with the interlopers in full retreat, barely managing to keep the booty in their saddlebags as they galloped away.
But to review, two things pop out at us immediately when you think of fundamentalism: you have to have a book that you take deadly seriously, and you have to forget that the book has a history.
The second point is massively important, because it permits the fundamentalist to ignore science, cultural change, and prevents the possibility of seeing the book as being, in any sense, out of date, irrelevant, or out of touch with current political or ethical contexts. If people had prophets then, who’s to say they can’t have prophets now?, say the David Koreshs and Dale Barlows of this world. We say so, say the Omar Bakri Mohammeds and Abu Izzadeens right back. After all, we’re reading different books. We can’t all be right. Fundamentalism is always particular to the truth claims of a group: one man’s fundamentals are another man’s pornography. Both responses to books written a long time ago are manifestations of historical illiteracy.
Another thing, an important feature: fundamentalists have to be right. Not in the sense you and I might be right if we scored a Daily Double on Jeopardy. Right in the sense that there has to be a slope-shouldered, humiliated wrong sitting next to it. Right in the sense that there can’t be a middle way between good and evil.
Fundamentalists have no trouble doing this because the world of late antiquity where their ideas were forged in an atmosphere of petty monarchic rivalries and mythic theomachies–mainly in the Middle East and North Africa, by the way–was an easily divisible cosmos. Us and Them, equated easily to good and evil, in political and hence in religious terms. That’s what Mani taught, what Zoroaster taught before him.
It’s also what Muhammad and his followers preached, what the Qumran War Scroll is all about (1QM, 4Q491-496) and (no good trying to wriggle out of it: read Mark 13.13) what Jesus taught, in his eschatological rhapsodies at least.
The notion that in the end, “all of Darkness is to be destroyed and Light will live in peace for all eternity” is very appealing. But there’s a good chance the person next to you belongs to the other side. At least that’s what you’ve been taught. To be a fundamentalist is to have the religious equivalent of a teenager’s fear of vampires.
That’s what makes the next two characteristics of fundamentalism so important: extermination (in two forms) and conversion. The People’s Temple, the Yearn for Zion (YFZ) Mormons and the Branch Davidian “cults” created or were ready to create manufactured mini-holocausts to vindicate their beliefs.
When the sheriffs’ cars rolled up on the edge of their compounds, the sacred boundary between purity and corruption, they were ready to go home. Everything about the outside world was smutty, dirty, and unchaste–huge horrible spaces swarming with unbelievers who mocked them and raced home in a satanic frenzy to watch smutty, dirty and unchaste television shows.
They had a point of course. The culture is filled with crap and we do tend to regard people who wear gingham dresses (and worry so much about chastity that they will only have sex and babies with a purified leader) as a bit off the beam. It’s a tired observation, I know, but fundamentalism is self-marginalizing:the blessings of secular culture and the contempt of its protagonists for nonconformity serve as proof to every child eight and up that daddy and mommy are “right” because difference is the ultimate distinction.
Unsurprisingly, therefore, self-extermination, a form of martyrdom, is a way in which Christian crazies can vindicate their readings of sacred writ.
Homicidal martyrdom is the trademark of Islamic fundamentalists, a much messier way to do business. You begin with the same premise as the one quoted above from bin Laden, the exemplary coward who has caused the deaths of tens of thousands of his fans, as when he sings the praises of young men who behead unbelievers:
The youths also reciting the All-Mighty words of Quran: Smite the necks…(Muhammad; 47:19). Those youths will not ask you for explanations, they will tell you, singing, there is nothing between us that needs to be explained, there is only killing and neck smiting….They have no intention except to enter paradise by killing you. An infidel, and enemy of God like you, cannot be in the same hell with his righteous executioner. (bin Laden, 1996)
Pleasure to know, moreover, that the martyr-fundamentalist does not experience the excruciating pain of his bleeding or burning infidel victims; they have the word of no less an authority than Saheeh Al-Jame’-as-Sagheer, who lived “in the seventh generation” after the Prophet and attributes the saying to Muhammad. “A martyr will not feel the pain of death except like [sic] how you feel when you are pinched.”
The idea that the martyr dies painlessly while others are screeching around him is meant to be reassuring to the half-hearted volunteer, whose rational soul tells him that he has never witnessed a death free from agony and that comrades who have been wounded in engagements with the unbelievers suffer immensely. Still, they have the word of as-Sagheer ringing in their ears: “With the first gush of [your] blood, [you] will be shown thy seat in paradise, decorated with jewels.”
Finally, fundamentalism is all about conversion, heavily infatuated with growth. It isn’t enough that the fanatic kingdom-comers of the world erect temples. They want to put people in them. That requires a recruitment program.
The statistics speak for themselves. In our stunningly up-to-the-minute culture where we can instantly communicate mathematical solutions and the latest groundbreaking article in medical research from The Lancet around the world with the flick of a key, people who think death can be like a loving pinch or noogie are clocked (in terms of percentage increase since 1989) as follows:
Islam in North America, +25%
Islam in Africa: +2.15%
Islam in Asia: +12.57%
Islam in Europe: +142.35%
Islam in Australia: +257.01%
This is not all “conversion,” of course; but conversion is a geographical and cultural mandate in Islam, and conversion from more lenient to more literal forms of Islam is also on the rise. According to an October 2009 estimate, Taliban numbers of fighters alone–those who are attracted mainly by martyrdom rather than philanthropy and virtue, went from 7,000 in Northern Afghanistan to 25,000. (Reuters, Saturday Oct. 10, 2009).
By comparison, it is becoming more difficult to define what a “fundamentalist” Christian is, potentially because the ground under his feet is more prone to cultural shift. But if we think of biblical literalism, an intolerance of “soft” forms of Christianity (often equated to a kind of mainstream liberal heresy), the importance of conversion (in this case, evangelism), and prophetic fulfillment as the non-negotiables of fundamentalism, the following statistic is, you should pardon the expression, revealing:
Pentecostal and charismatic denominations have grown by 37% since 2001; the Churches of Christ by 48%; the Assemblies of God by 68%. (United) Methodists and Northern Baptist by 0%, Jews, -10% and Catholics, through a healthy infusion of Hispanic and Latino votaries, a mere 11%. The undeniable appeal of taking God’s word seriously is unslaked by contemporary life.
Which causes me to muse: Did you ever stop to think that no matter how many times you read Peter Pan as a child you could never quite persuade yourself that you could jump out of a third story window and fly, just by thinking wonderful thoughts? Maybe you tried launching yourself from the top bunk–just once, but never the window.
I hope I make my point.
In re Islamic Fundamentalists, here are a few pithy quotes from the famous and not so famous to add to your collection:
“The militant Muslim is the person cutting the head of the infidel while the moderate Muslim holds the victims feet.”
– Marco Polo
“I studied the Kuran a great deal … I came away from that study with the conviction that by and large there have been few religions in the world as deadly to men as that of Muhammad.”
– Alexis De Tocqueville
“The Islamic conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. It is a discouraging tale, for its evident moral is that civilization is a precious good, whose delicate complex of order and freedom, culture and peace, can at any moment be overthrown by barbarians invading from without or multiplying within.”
– Will Durant
“How dreadful are the curses which Muhammadanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Muhammadan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property – either as a child, a wife, or a concubine – must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.”
– Sir Winston Churchill
“We have stood mute when Cyprus was conquered and the Greek Orthodox churches were razed and the stones from the churches were used to build mosques. We made no protest when the Sepulcher of Saint Joseph was destroyed in Palestine and a mosque erected using the rubble for the foundation. We made not a whimper when Buddhist and Hindu Temples in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, and Ceylon were destroyed, losing hundreds of years of cultural heritage in the process.”
“It is our right – our duty – to protest while a nation/faith erects a monument to their victory on the battlefield and tombs where our countrymen, loved ones and valiant heroes became the war dead.”
– Anon. (Comment regarding the so-called “ground zero mosque’ in New York City.)
A nice anthology–what is the source of the quote attrib to Marco Polo? I ask only because the idea of “moderate” vs any other kind of Muslim seems askew in his era….
I googled it -I found all those in a slightly longer list of quotes of ‘non muslim thinkers’ on Islam,compiled by Ayesha Ahmed, which he has published on several sites. However he doesn’t attribute sources for any of the purported quotations which includes others from Bertrand Russell to the current pope.
Am highly skeptical of that…
In any case didn’t the term ‘moderate Islam’ arise well after some twentieth century Protestants became the first ‘Fundamentalists’, and the West applied the term to Fundamentalist Islam in order to differentiate Shia from Sunni, which became known as ‘moderate Islam’? And anyway a Shia (arguably the so called militant) and the Sunni, wouldn’t be collaborating. There might be something funny going on in translation here but I’m highly skeptical of nearly all his ‘quotes’, all without references. And everything googled…
Yes yes yes
According to Wikipedia, Marco Polo wrote “Il Milione” circa 1300, which introduced Europeans to Central Asia (including Islamic Persia) and China. “Marco Polo maintains a Christian bias against some of the religions he encounters along the way,” says Wikipedia. “Most notable of these is his depiction of Buddhism as “Idol-worship”, partaking in both sexual indulgence and the taking of multiple wives. He also makes several derogatory comments regarding Islam.” This source also notes that, “Il Milione was translated, embellished, copied by hand and adapted; there is no authoritative version.”
So, it is within the realm of possibility that Signor Polo could well have made the statement attributed to him. I personally think the word “moderate” was a mistranslation of the Italian word for “slave.”
I was well aware of the dates of his life and his Christian bias. However I would never depend on Wikipedia and am skeptical of anything without proper reference. I have no evidence that he differentiated between types of Islam in this way. Maybe he said something vaguely like this, maybe he didn’t, maybe somebody else did, maybe they didn’t.
also I can be a bit of a pedant about double checking references … sometimes they’re wrong.
The term may be new, but was there not a fundamentalist turn in Islam as the reconquista in spain proved more and more successful?
There is obviously something askew with the quote as given; pardon Steph’s and my grittier than average approach but we belong to the Universal Church of Hermeneutical Suspicion.
OK. I’m way too subtle. I first qualified the reference as, “Wikipedia says.” I then used another qualifier “This source also notes,” to mean the information is delimited to Wikipedia; accuracy notwithstanding. This is followed by, “Il Milione was translated, embellished, copied by hand and adapted; there is no authoritative version,” which suggests that what Marco Polo actually wrote, given Wikipedia’s understanding anyway, should be approached with some degree of caution. That lead to my final qualification, “it is within the realm of possibility,” to suggest, (but apparently lacking the appropriate emphasis for some readers,) that what Wikipedia asserts is contingent per se.
Now, that said, there is the issue of whether it is possible, if not probable, that the relatively modern English words “fundamentalism” and “moderate” have equivalents in the thirteenth and fourteenth century Italian language, including its Venetian variants. Lacking any other evidence, then, it’s a question of reasonableness; e.g., dully salted.
What would Jacques Derrida do?
My point was that the perception of a distinction between fundamentalist belief and non fundamentalist or moderate, liberal, modernist or any other form of belief, didn’t occur in Islam until the twentieth century, as an analogy (and a bad one) to the American Christian phenomenon which wasn’t conceived until the end of the nineteenth century. Islamic fundamentalism is more about a revivalism in reaction to and in its relationship with the modern West. I don’t know what Derrida would have done – maybe he’d read Marco Polo – but I’m pretty sure he was also a member of the Universal Church of Hermeneutical Suspicion and would have been equally skeptical of nearly all of the purported ‘quotes’ on Ayesha Ahmed’s page.
Oh, I don’t even want to know what Derrida would do — no matter what he would say it would most likely destroy any chance for dialog of any kind.
My comment was not so very semiological anyway. I am willing to accept that there is something we call today fundamentalism and that in the past we saw behavior that was not dissimilar. (Although I think modern fundamentalism in the United States has one unique quality — it appears to be a product of literacy, not of lack of literacy.)
Joseph, let me offer some slightly different takes on fundamentalism.
1) Fundamentalists have a book. Yes, but so do others in the same tradition. The real question is how do they differ from those others in how they relate to the book and the tradition. I think fundamentalists tend to take the tradition very personally to the point of conflating their sense of self with the tradition. They are the tradition, and that step toward identification can have a very mystical quality to it, one that makes it easier for them to adopt other mystical paths of reasoning, while still retaining an often astonishingly rational perspective on the world in general.
2) I think environment is very important. The fundamentalist often feels (and generally they are correct in this) that pressure has been placed on their tradition. They relate to their tradition so initmately that they think the self-same pressure has been placed on them. (Note how the gentleman in the other thread reacted to your attack on secular humanism — he seemed to take it personally — he kept saying that we were attacking secular humanism — which we were?)
3) These intimate feelings associated with the tradition lead the fundamentalists to want to preserve, protect and conserve their tradition. They will even change the tradition radically if they think these changes will protect the tradition. (Inconsistent on one level, but not so inconsistent on the level that matters, the level of defense and reprisal against the attacks coming from the environment.)
4) Small, cult fundamentalism is, to my mind, different from fundamentalism in a large established tradition. The small cult has no real need or desire to grow. It tends not to evangelize beyond a certain point, the point at which a community ceases to be personal (somewhere around 100 members, I would suspect, is the upper limit). In small cult fundamentalism personal contact with the leader is essential; so large is not a good thing.
I think when you turn toward an environmental view of fundamentalism, it begins to take a different shape than if you focus on the inevitably irrational behaviors. Because when it is large and working across a larger tradition so many other environmental factors are going to come into play that will eventually undercut or tone down the irrational behavior, particularly the violent irrational behavior.
However I think we have seen a number of small cult fundamantalist groups that have formed within the larger traditions. Al Qida is one such group because it works in small isolated cells that retain the qualities of the small cult and the radical violence that small cults seem somewhat more capable of than do larger fundamentalist movements. When large fundamentalist movements turn to violence, e.g. the inquisitions of the middle ages, they must do so within an agreed upon political and even legal structure. Small cults have no such problem; thus suicide bombers are more likely to come out of the cult mentality than out of the large tradition fundamantalism.
Just a few thoughts off the top of my head.
I think we are on reasonably safe ground in concluding that Jacques Derrida would do nothing; he is, after all, dead.
So is Winston Churchill, whose approach to ‘Muhammadanism’ may be supplemented by another of his comments:
“I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion.”
He was talking about Hindus at the time…
C’mon Stevie: you know that Derrida being dead would not inhibit his ability to say something.
Oh bugger! I forgot the ouija board…
To those who pray at the alter of the Universal Church of Hermeneutical Suspicion, the case of the alledged Marco Polo attribution may be solved. Using my trusty Google machine, I searched a number of sites looking for the quote. I finally came across one (http://jillosophy.blogspot.com/2008/09/great-thinkers-on-islam.html) that offered these quotes:
“DR M. SABIESKI (PROFESSOR OF PHILOSOPHY)
“The militant Muslim is the person cutting the head of the infidel while the moderate Muslim holds the victims feet”.
“MARCO POLO (WORLD TRAVELER)
“The law which their prophet Mohamed has given to Muslims is that any harm done to any one who does not accept their law and any appropriation of his goods, is no sin at all.”
The Polo quote sounds much more reasonable. But just who the hell is this “DR M. SABIESKI (PROFESSOR OF PHILOSOPHY)” you no doubt ask while still on your knees at the alter? Well, there is no such “professor” that I could find. So, the name could be make up, or maybe an anagram, or even some kind of inside joke.
In any case, mystery solved. Kind of. Please don’t forget to leave a few shekels in the collection basket on your way out of the church to help recruit more converts.
Afraid someone who simply advertises as “professor of Philosophy” with no further bona fides is dodgy in the extreme, like the quote. A bit like Professor Harold Hill, with the 76 trombones. Your effort in myth-busting is to be commended, Herb!
I am no less suspicious. It is still a ‘quote’ with no reference to a primary source. Probably, this blogger and the infamous “Ayesha Ahmed” share the same (illegitimate) source. There are lots of false ‘quotes’ floating round the internet and you see them repeated everywhere. Even in literature, things attributed to Jesus almost verbatim in Matthew and Luke for example, whether they were interdependent or dependent on a similar source, I have reason to suggest cannot be historically true. For example the temptations in the wilderness and then the rending of the temple veil which is in Mark as well, cannot be historically true. And while I’m pretty sure I’ve read everything published by Albert Schweizer, for another example, I never read him say ‘There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats’. Yet I read it quoted without reference to a primary source all over the internet. I know he loved music and quite probably liked cats but I have no reason to believe he said that.
If you would not mind, could you delete my two comments above, and this one.
Nearly all articles and blogs on ‘Fundamentalism’ mention the ‘Crusades’. I have yet to find one that mentions the Muslim invasion of Europe. A.D. 711 to 1248 saw the Emirate of Cordoba in which Christians were unmder subjection as dhimmitis in their own land. The Crusades should be seen in context not quoted out of context!
An enlightening revival, a beautiful and welcome spring refreshment. I wonder if there’s such a thing as fungusmentalism? If there is, I wonder if it hangs uncritically on the words of four heros, plus one more, with maybe the additional thrown in or kicked out once in a while. And if it did exist, would it faithfully defend these heros until death? If there is such a thing as fungusmentalism, of it, I would be very very suspicious.
I wonder what would happen if this new testament of heros, was canonised. Would the heros or gospeliers, and the letter writers, become saints, or divinised as gods? And what would the revelation be? I wouldn’t trust it, would you?
and would all their writings be collected into one “Good Gnus Bubble[sic]” (RJH)? Very suspicious, possibly apocryphal.
Joe, when you visited Miami back in 2006 you mentioned that the Catholic Church was fundamentalist; not fundamentalism of the Book but of the Church. Your statements help me better appreciate the risky impact of church fundamentalism on people.
I also think that there is a common ground between Muslims and Catholics: they must be obedient to a hierarchy that is prompt to establish theocracies. Up to the present, this has been our problem in Latin America. The influence of Pius II was not only felt in Europe with the Jewish persecution. In Latin America the church created theocracies by means of Concordats to get state financing of the church and official privileges to teach catholic morals and dogma in public school and wherever populations were confined. It also got judiciary privileges, to get priests and religious tried by church courts, rather than the Judiciary branch of government; and to get the state to validate church marriages by not admitting divorce. (Abortion and gay marriages were not social issues in those days but now politicians inserted it on the reform 2010 Constitution, which is worst).
In other words, both Muslims and Catholics have political theologies that create an impact in the public sphere and can be extremely dangerous. Even thought Pentecostal and Evangelicals are growing in the USA and Latin America, their impact is more in the psychic of individuals: alienation from reality in the Marxist sense. We face a revival of religion as opium of the people. Isn’t this the reason why in America the working class votes against their own interests and think themselves as middle class?
I wrote an article about how the policies of the Vatican from 1930 to the present have affected Church-State relationships in the Dominican Republic. I raise the issue of the new political theology expressed by Ratzinger: separation of church and state. Who will end the Concordats, the local churches or the states? It made it to the press. It is in Spanish, if you can read it: http://argeliatejada.blogspot.com/2011/04/iglesia-estado-y-lamboismo-dominicano.html
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Joe, in the patriotic humanist struggle, your are our Zhukov.
Yikes!!! Fearless patriotic ‘hero’ of wars, controlling nuclear testing resulting in deaths… No analogies – they’re always wrong. The pen is mightier than the sword and Zhokov spoke with a gun. Words, not bullets! Words are more powerful and Joe can bring the present up to date with its history with more clarity, poetic satire and wit than pretty much anybody else. And I think the ‘humanist struggle’ is about education… it’s not a war or a revolution of violence.
Long live the Revolution!
Oh yes indeed, long live the revolution!! Power to the as peaceful as possible!! And power to the pen… yours.
The real problem with fundamentalists is not that they have a book. It’s that they think they know what the book means. Whereas language is radically ambiguous.
Unfortunately fundamentalists think that words have absolutely solid, certain meanings.
So they don’t understand how language works. So threfore they don’t understand their own holy book.
By the way, this doesn’t mean I’m a materialist. I’m not. But fundamentalists are a menace to any true spirituality.
See my new Blog entitled Soul Reasons.
Graham Dunstan Martin
I’m not even sure what “language is radically ambiguous” can possibly mean. Does it mean that your words don’t line up with the meaning or your intention for them? Does it mean that the best we can do is approximate or guess at what another means? Could you explain to me how it is that language works?
Sorry I’ve not replied for a while, but here goes. You ask how language works. Wow! That’s quite a subject. Here are a couple of points.
People tend to think crudely of meaning as if it coincided with dictionary meaning. But that’s merely a word’s denotation, its ‘outer surface’, as it were. It’s possible to analyse the meaning of a word into the things it implies, presupposes, etc. These are termed its connotations. But these connotations vary from context to context. But also from person to person because my knowledge, understanding and experience of the world is always different from yours. A woodcutter’s experience of ‘trees’ is quite different from mine. A fisherman’s notion of ‘fish’ is quite different from mine: I don’t have the same experience of them. I don’t have the same definition as you of the same words, because you and I don’t have the same experience either of words or of the world. When you say something to me, I interpret it in terms of what I understand by the words you use. You do the same. Hence, when we talk to each other we have to take a lot on trust. Hence it’s hard for communication always to be 100%. We hardly notice this nor does it matter most of the time, but sometimes it becomes a problem.
Hence the words of a book will always be read differently by different readers. There are no doubt better and worse readings too. By the way, does a writer always realize all the implications of what he writes? Of course he doesn’t.
But there’s also the question of the extension of words. If you’ve got the speaker in front of you, you can ask him. But how broad is the intended extension or reference of “Thou shalt not kill”? Who does that apply to? Your tribe? Your nation? Animals as well? Every human being? Who do you include within “everyone”? Does it apply to murderers too? Are there any exceptions, and which ones are they? Or is it just a guide asking us to refer to what we might make of it these days? The commandment didn’t come with a commentary. Even if it had, the commentary couldn’t possibly have covered all the possible interpretations.
That’s what I mean by saying that language is “radically ambiguous”. Statements of truth, history, morality, religious truth, etc, are up for discussion. Anyone who thinks he can or should simply hand over the interpretation of texts to some alleged “authority” or other is copping out.
Nor have I mentioned metaphor.
By the way, have any readers of this blog come across Edmond Wright’s book “Narrative, Perception, Language and Faith” (Palgrave Macmillan 2005)? Much thought-provoking obsservation as to how language works, and as to the approximations inevitable in our understanding of others’ words — and even of our own! This shouldn’t drive us however to extreme relativist conclusions — as I fear it may Edmond.
Reblogged this on The New Oxonian.
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BEWARE THE MAN OF ONE BOOK
One can often recognize herd animals by their tendency to carry bibles.
Allen Wheelis, “The Signal”
Evolutionists do not treat the Origin of Species the same way conservative Christians treat the Bible.
And of course many Muslims believe the Koran was divinely dictated, word for word, something many conservative Christians do not believe concerning the Bible, especially those who have studied textual criticism.
Communist fundamentalists had Marx’s Manifesto and Mao’s Little Red Book.