The cause that outweighs Truthfulness
Fundamentalism is characterised by emphasis on a literal interpretation of selected parts of the sacred literature. It employs few, if any, other interpretive methods. This is due to a lack of subject constraint, in that source literature is often attributed with a meaning that is off topic and often lacks truthfulness. A key part of this is an absence of acknowledgement of maxims as they apply to the sacred literature in which they occur. Via this system of interpretation, fundamentalists promote the cause for saving the souls of non-believers from eternal damnation by converting them to the "one true faith"; that of the particular fundamentalist sect. Hence their cause denies the well documented diversity of human temperament and the indelible uniqueness of human experience and subsequently of individual belief. The fundamentalist cause to proselytise the "one true faith" necessitates the internal regulation and censorship of individual belief against heresy and ideas that may undermine their doctrine. This explains the deployment of a variety of fundamentalist campaigns against individual conscience that include mischaracterisation and persecution. Although this intolerance of alternative beliefs is claimed to be promoted for the sake of religious unity, history has shown that the institution of infallible doctrinal authority is the one difference between organisations that fall to schism, and organisations that don't. Thus the purported fundamentalist cause for "salvation" is really a cause for propagation whose rigid indoctrination of belief serves to divide conformist from non-conformist. This emphasis on indoctrination to the exclusion of all other ideas is diagnostic of cult behaviour as it overshadows individual integrity and comes to outweigh the value of truthfulness. This contrast of reality and doctrine speak to the terror of eternal damnation as an obstacle to truth that excludes incisive philosophical methods, by which any religion may be tested.
What is Fundamentalism?
Fundamentalism is a phenomenon arising in all religions, and is not the monopoly of Christianity and/or Islam. Perhaps the most distinctive features of fundamentalism are its institutionalised intolerance of alternative perspective, its highly selective emphasis on parts of an almost entirely literal interpretation of a sacred text, and its sledgehammer coercion of intellectual conformity to a creed, achieved through the dogma of "salvation by faith" in that dogma. To sum up, the three common characteristics of fundamentalism are:
- Intolerance of alternative beliefs
- Highly selective emphasis on parts of an almost entirely literal interpretation
- Focus on "salvation by faith" in a "God" who would damn a soul for being true to itself
Fundamentalist organisations and groups include the Israelites of Roman times to whom John 6:66 refers, the Spanish Inquisition, the Protestant witch hunters, the Assembly of God (The parent organisation for most fundamentalist churches), the Church of God, Creationists, Evangelists, Pentecostals, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Islamic Jihad, the Taliban, the Wahhabis, Salafis, Deobandis, & Al Qaieda. Fundamentalism is not confined by organisational boundaries. Some Presbyterians and Catholics belong to fundamentalist subdivisions of these parent organisations, which parent organisations are not necessarily fundamentalist at the present time.
The Method of Compound Deception
Fundamentalist religious administrations derive their power from their claim to "scriptural authority" inherent in a specific canon of sacred literature. At its extremes, fundamentalism claims not only the infallibility of its selection of sacred literature, but that this literature contains all knowledge. This attitude led to the book burning practices of the Spanish Inquisition in Europe and the those of Islamic regimes responsible for the destruction of the Sabaean and Zoroastrian literature throughout Persia. This focus on authority as such, requires a legalistic approach to understanding what are otherwise works of spiritual and thus philosophical literature. Implicit in the legal approach is the emphasis on the literal interpretation of those parts of the literature that make the case for the doctrine and authority of the religious administration - and this emphasis is characteristically made to the exclusion of those statements in the literature that fail to support the fundamentalist sect's doctrine.
Both Mohammed and Christ taught peace and abstention from aggression (Suras 4:90, 8:61, & 17:33 cf. Matthew 5:38-42, 26:52, Luke 6:27-31). Yet Christian fundamentalists quote Christ according to Matthew 10:34-36, "No, I did not come to bring peace, but a sword!" and those of the "survivalist" flavour quote Christ saying "Let he who has no sword sell his garment and buy one" (Luke 22:36) and leave out the the fact that Christ reconsidered when the disciples pointed out that between the twelve of them there were two swords; to say, "that is enough" (Luke 22:38). Muslim fundamentalists quote Sura 2:190 to justify Islamic military expansionism forgetting that to fight "in the way of Allah" is not to fight in the way of man but to fight in the way that pardons and promotes tolerance (Sura 7:199) and advocates justice and charity (Sura 16:90). It is due to this misinterpretation that Islamic Islamic Jihad fundamentalists, use Sura 4:74 about non-combatant martyrdom and Sura 2:201 concerning the gift of life for the pleasure of Allah, to advocate terrorist bombing attacks. How then, does the murder of non-combatants so explicitly forbidden in Sura 2:178-179 serve the pleasure of Allah? The way of Allah is right and justice according to Sura 5:8 and Sura 42:42, it is the "middle way" of moderation (Sura 2:143), it is to enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil (Sura 3:104), and it is pardon and tolerance (Sura 7:199). Yet beyond this limitation (Sura 42:42) do these particular fundamentalists take the "Fight those who believe not..." of Sura 9:29 out of its strictly wartime context to oppose the tolerance enjoined by Mohammed (Suras 2:256, 7:199) and commit suicide in order to bring death and pain to the infidel in contravention of Suras 2:195, 4:29. As a testament to the fundamentalist exclusion of certain "Satanic" verses to which Rushdie (1988) alludes, Muslims and Christians have been at war with one-another for centuries. The Christian fundamentalists who advocated war suppressed such words as "turn the other cheek" and "he who lives by the sword dies by the sword". According to the Qur'an, Mohammed commands Muslims to never initiate hostilities and cease hostilities whenever the hostiles so cease (Sura 4:90; 8:61). The Islamic fundamentalists say, "Kill them wherever you find them" and leave out the all important context and conditions limiting material conflict to defensive measures only. Christ forbids deception (Matthew 19:18, Mark 10:19, Luke 18:20) and yet the fundamentalism of Christianity is defined by the deceptive emphasis of a narrow selection of data in the absence of large portions of available data.
Selective censorship on the part of fundamentalists is not confined to sacred literature. Setterfield (1981) is soundly accused of fraud (Price, 1990; Plimer, 1994) for failing to disclose the contradictory portion of evidence that he was aware of at the time of writing. The Christian fundamentalist apologists, Coppedge (1973) and Morris (1974), assert that some nineteenth century Hawaiian lavas were dated by Funkhouser & Naughton (1968) with several conflicting million and billion year old dates. What Coppedge (1973) and Morris (1974) leave out is the fact that Funkhouser & Naughton (1968) were dating the older mantle xenoliths described as ultramafic enclaves in the lava, and not the lava itself; as those who bother to read the title of the paper, its abstract, or even the entire paper discover. This falsehood by Coppedge (1973) and Morris (1974) was documented by Dalrymple (1983) and subsequently reasserted by Bowden (1991) in spite of the correction. Dalrymple (1994) restates the correction and once again it is ignored and the falsehood is reasserted by Snelling (1998). Snelling (1998) also goes on to buttress his assertion that many modern lavas yield excessively old dates by saying that Dalrymple (1969) found Potassium Argon dating to be unreliable. Once again, reading the text of Dalrymple (1969) we find that this paper says the opposite; that potassium argon dates are highly reliable, with 25 out of 26 samples yielding no significant amount of excess Argon and those samples that do can still be dated with the 39Ar/40Ar method. Once again, the excessive ages come only from the mantle xenoliths whereas the lava without the xenoliths yields the expected Potassium Argon age of zero. Although this evidence yields the fascinating confirmation of the fact that the xenoliths are indeed much older than the lava, the implications are lost when differentiation of lava and xenolith material are censored from the argument.
What many outside the sciences fail to understand about evidence based disciplines (eg. Armitage, 2005) is that there is no such thing as obsolescence of evidence. If in the course of investigations, new and contradictory evidence is found, the contrast renders the original findings of great importance because contradictory evidence raises questions about the contextual assumptions upon which hypotheses are founded. So when authors such as Armitage (2005) attack critics of climate change catastrophism for misusing the "legacy" of scientific research to impart a lack of agreement with the catastrophist scenario, he fails to grasp two things; firstly, that science is driven by disagreement, making consensus an abomination of the scientific process; and secondly, the simple fact that this "legacy" does indeed raise serious doubts about recurring catastrophist interpretations of discreet selections of climate data. If we are to defer to Armitage (2005) we can "prove" anything, such as the conjecture that the speed of light, a universal constant, is changing (eg. Setterfield, 1981), or even that lava we saw erupted yesterday was actually erupted millions of years ago (eg. Coppedge, 1973; Morris, 1974; Bowden, 1991; Snelling, 1998)!
Selective literal interpretation that totally ignores the contextual structure and prominent key statements to corrupt or even reverse the meaning of the "Word of God", is characteristic of fundamentalism. The definitive "In all things" clause of Matthew 7:12, and the implications regarding salvation in Matthew 6:14, Mark 11:25, Luke 6:37, and the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4) are completely excluded from fundamentalist discussion. In fact, Christian Fundamentalist organisations such as the Assembly of God unanimously discourage the recitation of the Lord's Prayer or any other formal prayer purportedly in favour of liturgical virtuosity. As fundamentalists discourage silent prayer (Eg. Blanchard, 1990), I suspect liturgical virtuosity has more to do with giving the cleric an opportunity to pry into the most intimate concerns by hearing the prayers of his followers.
If the Bible is really all about love and reciprocity as per Matthew 7:12; 1John 4:8,16; Romans 13:8; then originally Hellenistic arguments over whether Jesus is Man, God, or otherwise are as foreign to the text as the subject of child-rearing is to Balena (2006); a manual on visual basic programming strategy. Although a fundamentalist approach to understanding Balena (2006) could imply the imperative to nurture one's software from the use of the term, "child", nobody who reads Balena (2006) tries to nurture their software because the word, "child" in modern programming, is used to describe the relative structural context of an object. If everyone knows that when Seirawan & Silman (2003) use the term, "fork", it has nothing to do with etiquette because they are talking about chess; how is it that sacred literature cannot be treated with the same degree of respect and academic discipline - unless the objective is to deceive?
Spiritual Extortion & The Bedrock of Religious Intolerance
The cause universal to all fundamentalist organisations is the salvation of souls from the putatively unforgivable sin of disbelief and ignorance. The literal interpretation of selected passages from the sacred literature paints a picture of a people damned by a sin committed by their ancestors, or alternatively the "sin" of not being in the correct religious affiliation. Either way, we are all going to Hell; not the nice shady peaceful place of Greek mythology, but a place "of everlasting burning..." and of "...suffering, with weeping and gnashing of teeth and in which there is no rest day or night" (Blanchard, 1990) where our souls are destined to suffer all the torments of an infinitely cruel and sadistic mind - for all eternity. This truly disturbing news comes with some "good news". Apparently, if we confess the prescribed declaration of faith and do what we can to proselytise that faith to save as many souls as we can from this truly "terrible end", then we will be saved ourselves. All of this is buttressed by the literality of interpretation of the selected texts presented as evidence of this terrifying state of affairs.
The need to be saved from damnation by disbelief and error brooks no room for doubt, questioning, or alternative opinion. In such a catastrophic light, there can only be one doctrine; the "one true faith" by which salvation comes exclusively. There is only one way of life;
- Praying, prescribed scripture study, and fellowship to reinforce the way of life in every detail.
- Working to financially support full time proselytisation by the fundamentalist institution
- Proselytising to add new members and expand the institution's sphere of influence
Anything that subverts the absolute influence of the leader over the led is regulated and censored because heresy only serves to undermine the authority of the fundamentalist administration. For this reason, dissent is, explicitly or implicitly, mislabelled as heresy and subsequently portrayed as a spiritual "danger" or "poison". This is especially the case with external or competing organisations (eg. Smith, 1980, 1985, 1989). The singular way of life under a singular authority denies the diversity of needs implicit in a wide range of diverse temperaments. In this sense, fundamentalism denies the indelibly unique nature of belief as extrapolated from inimitable individual experience despite the well documented evidence yielded by numerous temperament studies (Keirsey & Bates, 1984; Palmer, 1991, 1995; Novichkov & Varabyova, 2007; Stern 2007).
In the case of Christianity, salvation ministry teaches salvation by confession of faith in Christ (Blanchard, 1990) when Christ taught severally that God's forgiveness of our sins depended upon our forgiveness of the sins of others against us (Matthew 6:14; Mark 11:25; Luke 6:37; the Lord's Prayer: Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4). Islamic fundamentalist leaders speak of the "terrible end" that awaits the infidel, but Mohammed teaches that salvation is based on how we live our lives rather than what beliefs we adopt (Suras 2:62, 2:277, 5:69) and goes on to say that there is no compulsion in religion (Sura 2:256) and that persecution is worse than murder (Sura 2:217). When Muslim fundamentalists defend conversion by the sword, these Suras raise the question of who is lying; Mohammed or the Muslim fundamentalists who contradict him?
In respect of Islamic "salvation", Suras 2:62, 2:277, 5:69, of the Qur'an make a very broad definition of necessary belief, well beyond Islam, such that the criteria for salvation are defined by the good a person strives after. This is confirmed by the principle that there is no compulsion in religion (Sura 2:256) and further reinforced by the assertion that committing persecution is worse than committing murder (Sura 2:217). Yet mullahs, by excluding these verses from their teaching, often demonise those outside their particular Islamic sect, claiming that theirs will be a "terrible end".
Fundamentalism is an anathema to proper literary analysis, sound reasoning, comprehensive factual accuracy, human diversity; and by extension to personal integrity. This necessitates a coercion of individual conformity to a creed and social system that are not necessarily conscionable.
Gagging the voice of Conscience with Threats of Ostracism & Death
Proselytising the belief that all are condemned but those who believe in the correct doctrine is perhaps the most coercive form of extortion. It is the ultimate argumentum ad baculum or "argument or else", because it threatens the non-believer with eternal torture in the afterlife. If the case of such a God was indeed true, there would be no need to make such threats. Generally, this argument is made to stop the individual from discovering the truth by discouraging them from further investigation. Smith (1980, 1985, 1989) warns of the horror of eternal damnation as a possible consequence of being deceived, yet how can one be justly held accountable for being deceived?
Fundamentalists go on to label people who don't agree with them as "heretics", "infidels", bigots (Ankerberg & Weldon, 1993), procrustean dogmatists (Morris & Whiticomb, 1961, p. 114, 212), liars (Smith, 1980, 1985, 1989; Ham, 1987), as well as fascists & traitors (LaHaye, 2003). This ad homenim attack serves two purposes; to discredit those who disagree so that their arguments are neither heard nor investigated, and to discourage further disagreement by others whose point of view might lead to ostracism. Furthermore, legal slurs with criminal implications such as those made by LaHaye (2003) speak to the threat of prosecution for expressing an alternative point of view should the Christian fundamentalists ever gain so much power. History has shown that as far as Christianity is concerned, such threats to the person (agrumentum ad baculum) are not empty sabre-rattling. Giordano Bruno was burned alive with the blessing of both Protestant and Catholic authorities for the apparently "terrible" crime of suggesting that the sun is a star. Galileo was convicted of heresy for telling the truth as he knew it, and forced by the Catholic Inquisition to recant on pain of torture and execution. The IRI and the Taliban are well known Muslim fundamentalist institutions who murder those whose opinions classify them as belonging to unprotected minorities. In Iran, Baha'is and Atheists are regularly detained on an arbitrary and indefinite basis and are often "executed". This is solely because their beliefs are not compatible with the "religious" administration that has infiltrated, subverted, and corrupted an otherwise legitimate Government.
Slandering, threatening, ostracising, persecuting, and ultimately murdering people on the basis of their beliefs are as unconscionable acts as one can be asked to perpetrate. Yet, for the sake of "saving souls" such dire actions are promoted by fundamentalist organisations. This requires that fundamentalist administrators overcome the faculty of conscience and empathy in order to sell the idea that such terrible wrongs are actually right.
Undermining Conscience with the Myth of Conscientious Relativism
Conscientious Relativism more popularly mischaracterised by the term, "Moral Relativism", is a fiction propagated at an institutional level, whereby the misattribution of conscience to individual value systems or moral principles creates the delusion that conscience is relative to the individual and thereby of little or no importance when compared to authoritative pronouncements and institutional requirements. The falsehood that morality is relative rather than empathic is a fundamentalist doctrine (Smith, 1980, 1985, 1989; Ham, 1987; Ankerberg & Weldon, 1993; LaHaye, 2003). This deceptive tactic is intended to repress conscientious objection on the grounds that conscience is relative and not being absolute or universal, must be "defective" in dissenters.
The myth of moral or conscientious relativism is refuted by the empathic principle that "morals" are only the circumstantial product of conscience, and conscience is the universally recognised sense of empathy or reciprocity, whereby all human beings are capable of considering the feelings and rights of others. This is not to say that people can't lie about acting in good conscience, but such lies are falsifiable because they can always be questioned in terms of reciprocity. The discipline of philosophy and the numerous philanthropic endeavours of humanity are evidence that human beings are quite capable of determining for themselves what constitutes good conduct.
However, if we redefine conscience as something relative, then the assertion that one has, "acted in good conscience", loses meaning. In this sense, the individual is deprecated to the level of being incapable of good conduct without the direction of a supreme moral authority. This authoritarian approach allows subordinates to defer responsibility for their actions to the supreme authority and thereby be directed to commit any atrocity no matter how heinous. However, the implications for loved ones who adopted dissenting views are frightful and individuals who sacrifice their conscience to the god of authority are faced with a new need.
The Promise of World Unity
How Infallibility & Conformism Instigate Schism
Unity through conformity is an idea whereby the need to protect loved ones from the consequences of dissent, is met by stifling all discussion outside the administratively approved doctrine. This is only possible through the implementation of an infallible doctrinal authority that cannot and must not be disputed. Thus the view that diversity of belief is a cause of disunity is promulgated (e. Smith, 1980, 1985, 1989) out of fear of schism from loved ones and all that this implies in the face of doctrinal intolerance. Ironically, we have all observed that some of the most enduring relationships are based on disagreement.
If we wish to pursue unity we need only look to the rather long and detailed history of human civilisation to see what works and what doesn't. In terms of formal organisations, those that lack administrative accountability due to the implementation of administrative infallibility are prone to schism because it is inevitable that amongst the indelibly unique experiences of individuals, one or more will emerge with reason to seek redress regardless of whether the organisation accommodates them. An organisation that claims its administration is infallible will never consider the legitimacy of any redress sought against itself. If there is no system of redress, the only alternative is schism. Additionally, the claim to administrative infallibility can attract the attention of sociopaths who desire the status and freedom from accountability afforded by infallibility for themselves.
When we compare scientific organisations with religious organisations, the major distinguishing features of scientific organisations are found in the presence of administrative accountability and a complete lack of organisational doctrine. This guarantees that those disagreements from which many new ideas and research emerge, may be conducted with neither restriction, prejudice, nor enmity. The Royal Society is an example of a veritable "Tower of Babel" with respect to the diversity of ideas and beliefs held by its members, because the Charter of the Royal Society makes no stipulation regarding beliefs or opinion with respect to membership or good standing. As a result, the Royal Society has stood undivided for more than 350 years, unlike any other religion or religious organisation that has ever existed. It is clear that a lack of administrative infallibility is the reason for the success of this and other scientific organisations, in avoiding schism.
As it happens, schism is the greatest cause of disunity and the most popular justification for an obsessive-compulsive phase of ethnic cleansing. Ironically, it is fundamentalism by the very pretence of fostering unity that ultimately creates the great divide between conscientious and authoritarian forms of faith. After all, the absolute authority of infallibility is too great a prize for those who repress empathy to to pass up.
Why Does Philosophy Terrify Fundamentalists?
Fundamentalists of all stripes are prone to wanton deprecation of philosophy as a discipline. They like to make bold statements claiming that philosophy is all questions but no answers; an empty pretence to spirituality. Perhaps some questions of philosophy are indeed questionable. That I may pose the question of my existence, for example, surely answers itself. Yet, the challenge philosophy poses the religionist, is that of proving one's religion; not just from the so-called "Word of God", but that it is indeed the "Word of God" as supported by the necessary precondition that every precept must logically deduce from a maxim, itself induced from verifiable reality. I would suggest that much more so than science, philosophical considerations are the most definite rebuttal of fundamentalist assertions regarding the nature and function of sacred literature, because the linguistic and symbolic ambiguities of religious literature introduces shifting goalposts that are impossible to test scientifically. However, systemic philosophical illogic (Eg. overlapping magisteria of multiple maxims) is irrefutable evidence of error; albeit "divinely" inspired or otherwise.
From a logical perspective, a philosophy is derived from its maxim (from propositio maximus, meaning "most important proposition"), and thus this maxim sets a point of reference whereby any interpretation of statements in the applicable literature may be tested (See Understanding Sacred Literature). This allows a wide variety of interpretive methods to be deployed, which is dictated by the varied writing style and composition of sacred literature. However, as oversight denies authority, systems of contextual analysis constrained by maxim only serve to undermine features of authoritarian agenda that are not necessarily supported by the canon of literature. For this reason, fundamentalist administrations either deny maxims or misidentify them with statements ambiguously associated with sectarian exclusivity (Eg. John 14:6 cf. Matthew 7:12; Kitab-i-Aqdas Section 1 cf. Kitab-i-Ahd, Ninth Ishraq).
Furthermore, the details of the strategy deployed by fundamentalists for the purpose of deceiving or otherwise coercing people into dissimulating their indelibly unique beliefs is one that is most philosophical in exploration. Moreover, by offering an alternative means of reducing survival stress imposed by fundamentalist catastrophism, one may give reason back to those who were robbed of it by the perceived threat of catastrophe; at which point, fundamentalism literally falls apart. Consider the question of salvation from the eternal flames of damnation, so central to fundamentalist proselytisation. By presenting a Creationist audience with Mathew 6:14 & Luke 6:37 which state with all the authority and truthfulness of Christ that forgiveness from God is conditioned upon our forgiveness of others for everything they have done to offend us as individuals; one may offer an alternative path to salvation solving the spiritual survival conundrum and rendering the remainder of the Creationist dogma subject to the same degree of scrutiny as any other proposition. Until this alternative source of salvation is availed, the words of Blanchard (1990, p. 19) may seem eminently reasonable,
...and he [God] is perfectly just in sending sinners to hell.
After all, he is giving them what they have chosen.
They reject God here; he rejects them there.
Yet the panic inspired by a catastrophic approach to logic, only serves to obscure the significant points censored by Blanchard. It is a matter of philosophical discipline that these points may be clarified. Blanchard's opening volley above, speaks to the mathematical balance of both sides of an equation. We shall see. If I were to explain some choices to you and you were to disbelieve me and choose what I know will cause you harm, does this excuse me from allowing you to make a choice I know you will regret? It is well documented in moral philosophy that choices made in absence of credible information are not informed choices and therefore cannot be justly fixed with respect to accountability. Even the Bible, which Blanchard quotes, comes in several different canons; all of which differ due to the doubtful authentication of its content. Blanchard then goes on to argue that "They reject God here", but leaves out the puny lifespan of a person's rejection in this life and compares this with "he rejects them there" leaving out the infinite term of rejection that applies. Perfect justice is mathematical balance - on both sides of the equation. Do you see any balance here? You hold an opinion that God apparently disagrees with for seventy odd years, and in return for God's dubious claim to seventy odd years of pain and suffering on your account, are you then to be punished with pain and suffering of unimaginable intensity for all eternity? Doesn't that seem just a little excessive, especially given that God being God, is free from all things including pain and suffering? May I point out that justice (as opposed to equity) is a philosophical concept that is mathematical and not arbitrary. An eternity of suffering is simply not commensurate with a geologically insignificant lifetime of doubt. In fact no finite human being is remotely capable of perpetrating the quantity and severity of crimes that can be justly punished by infinite and eternal suffering. This is the kind of philosophical argument that fundamentalists cannot answer without either admitting that God is after all, only human; or otherwise employing some form of deception.
Fundamentalism depends on using the survival instinct to hijack the individual's rationality, in order to escape the scrutiny it would otherwise have to endure (and subsequently fail). However, once the hijacker is disarmed s/he can no longer control the hostages. It is precisely this risk inherent in the philosophical exploration, that makes philosophy such a terrible threat to fundamentalism.
Fundamentalism universally deploys a campaign of selective literalism to argue the case for eternal damnation and offer an escape by intellectual capitulation. Intellectual coercion is the hallmark of fundamentalism as the subject is deceived - usually by omission of important facts, threatened with eternal damnation in the event s/he dies without conversion, threatened with slander and ostracism if s/he persists in views that run counter to the fundamentalist doctrine, and where the law allows, threatened with personal harm if s/he persists with a dissenting opinion. It therefore comes as no surprise that fundamentalism fulfils the key criteria for a cult (Tobias & Lalich, 1994). However, the behaviour of fundamentalists in their endeavour to control and manipulate people highlights the key role of intolerance as the foundation of coercive environments such as cults. In this sense, fundamentalism constitutes an anti-religion and in the context of the Devil being called the "False One" and a deceiver, the "Anti-Christ" or "Dajjal" of Christian and Islamic Apocalypse can be understood to be a symbolic reference to fundamentalism. A pointed coincidence in this regard is that whereas the number of the beast is most commonly given as 666 by Revelation 13:18, John 6:66 putatively by the same author, tells of the consequence of fundamentalist literalism. The lesson of philosophy is that your mind belongs to you - and you owe nobody your integrity, not even God.
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