Title

An epistemic theory of religious fundamentalism

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Adam, R 2011, 'An epistemic theory of religious fundamentalism', The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society, vol. 1, no. 1, pp.81-96.

Peer Reviewed

Peer-Reviewed

Abstract

This paper introduces an epistemic theory of religious fundamentalism. Binary Epistemic Theory (BET) locates fundamentalism as a relationally dualistic, literalistic, and absolutistic “way of knowing” within a cycle charaterised by the creation, emergence, opposition, convergence, and collapse of binaries (e.g. good and evil, subject and object, faith and reason). The theory foregrounds the complexity of epistemic encounters with relativity. Such encounters remain understated in traditional teleological or linear theories of development that privilege growth beyond relativism (e.g. Perry, 1999/1970; Fowler, 1981). Accordingly, BET engages linear and cyclic interpretations of epistemic trajectories in order to argue for a “relational and contextual understanding” (Reich, 2002) of fundamentalist ways of knowing.