I read this book so long ago, it seems. I’m sure that I was not engaged in his thesis so well.
Fundamentalism is still such a hot topic, that I could not resist picking the book up again and going over what Karl had to say.
I must have understood it the first time around. Because I was not surprised when I read (in Chap 1) that contrary to a lot of popular opinion, fundamentalists largely do not interpret scripture literally. I knew that, and I was glad to read it again.
He also points out there that many Catholic beliefs that are based on literal interpretations of scripture.
I think that is the point that bothers me so much. I get labeled as a fundamentalist for taking something in the Bible literally – when that alone does not make one a fundamentalist.
Karl also points out early that the verbal sparring for and against fundamentalists and fundamentalism often includes *ad hominems * that fundamentalists are emotionally incompetent people. He points out that is incorrect also.
Fundamentalism developed, as Karl recounts, as a reaction to protestant liberalism in the 19th century. The term “fundamentalist” was coined in 1920.
Fundamentalism incorporates assumptions and “doctrinal presuppositions” about scripture, at the outset. And, fundamentalism not only overlays those over the book of scripture, but develops its own apologetics on a reconstruction of church history. The inherent contradiction in fundamentalism involves those assertions, while simultaneously holding that there is no basis for authority in the church, namely, it uses authority that it claims doesn’t exist.
Therefore, fundamentalism is an attack on the magisterium of the Church ( any church, for that matterl). Disputes over literal interpretation of scripture are important, but we should not lose sight that these are disputes over Church authority and teaching, at the heart of the argument.