• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Similarities and differences between 21st century religious fundamentalism and 20th century European Fascism

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Religious fundamentalism is the belief that social and political life should be organized on the basis of what are seen as essential religious principles that are supported by a belief in the literal truth of scared texts.1 Fascism, on the other hand is a totalitarian ideology that centers itself upon the leader and possesses the 'anti-factor' whereby it rejects a whole lot of other ideologies such as liberalism and communism. At first glance, there seems to be not much connection between 21st century religious fundamentalism and 20th century European Fascism; however a more detailed comparison between the two ideologies will reveal similarities that caused the former to be viewed by some as the "new fascism" and differences that made this view irrelevant. In the first half of this paper, I am going to compare and contrast the various similarities and differences between 21st century religious fundamentalism and 20th century European Fascism and then show that to deem religious fundamentalism as a new form of fascism is really unjustified. In the remaining half of the paper, I will make an argument for my belief that 21st century religious fundamentalism should indeed be considered as an ideology and also the basis of its mass appeal. Due to the complexities and varieties of 21st century religious fundamentalism and 20th century fascism, the similarities and differences listed below can be seen as generalizations and thus proven wrong by certain sects of religious fundamentalism or certain style of fascism. ...read more.

Middle

Many religious fundamentalists believe that political power should be subordinated to religious power whereby the Bishop, the Rabbi, or the Ayatollah should be able to make the final decision on social issues.10 The best case scenario for religious fundamentalists would be as in the case of Iran where they actually govern however, compromises are made between religious fundamentalists and secular authorities.11 This belief that political power should be subordinate to religious power is of course the direct opposite of fascism whereby churches (religion) should be subordinate to the state. 21st century religious fundamentalism also possess other aspects in their ideology that is absent in 20th century European Fascism. Some of these attributes are otherworldliness and messianic spirit (where fundamentalists are concerned with the sacred and devote energy only in activities consonant with the words of God), against science (rejecting critical interpretations of the Bible and Darwin's evolutionary theory), belief in the supernatural, moralism and the subordination of women.12 After showing the differences between 21st century religious fundamentalism and 20th century European Fascism, I will like to conclude that to brand the former as "new fascism" is not only unfair but incorrect. Next, this paper shall argue for 21st century religious fundamentalism to be accorded its rightful status as an ideology. Before I start defending my belief that religious fundamentalism is an ideology, I will like to provide the definitions of political theory and political philosophy. This is because of the commonly interchangeable usage of ideology, theory and philosophy and thus a clear distinction between the three terms will be helpful to my argument. ...read more.

Conclusion

The basis of 21st century religious fundamentalism's mass appeal must be its political vision of the world and the kind of a new society that it can bring to the world. Faced with social problems such as rising crime rates, teenage pregnancy and abortion rates in the Western countries, evangelical activists draw strength from its ideology and attempt to fight all these social problems through the formation of pressure groups pressuring and cajoling the government to make improvements in all realms of lives, from abolishing abortion to anti-pornography laws to religious education in school. These actions by evangelical activists from their perspective can be seen not only as morally rewarding but also efforts made that adhere to their religious beliefs. Political Islam's appeal in the Middle East can also be attributed to the erosion of traditional values brought about by modernization.22 Furthermore, complicated by the colonial experience, the failure of secular nationalism, the Israel creation and unhealthy US interferences in the region, political Islam remains a very attractive alternative to western ideas.( the reason been that Islam cover all aspects of lives and offer solutions to just about everything) In conclusion, this paper has shown the similarities and the differences between 21st century religious fundamentalism and 20th century European Fascism and also argued that to call religious fundamentalism "new fascism" is not only incorrect but unjustified. This paper has also argued for 21st century religious fundamentalism to be considered as an ideology through the demonstration of it fulfilling the various criteria of an ideology. Lastly, this paper has provided the writer's perception for the basis of 21st century religious fundamentalism mass appeal. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Political Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Political Philosophy essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Analyse the similarities and differences between Classical and Modern Liberalism

    4 star(s)

    the individual and the state, which are reflected by the different strands. The tenant of 'Justice' is based on the liberal belief in equality and implies that people are given what they are 'due'. The principle of equality relies on the belief that people are 'born equal' and thus liberals theoretically disagree with favouring, i.e.

  2. Main features of fascism

    destroy opposition and not letting them interfere with the rule of the government and this is a clear characteristic of dictatorship. One of the main features of fascism is the racial intolerance, for example the Nazi in Germany believed in the ideology of supremacy of the race "racial purity" so

  1. In what ways is Fascism Totalitarian in Nature?

    the ability to act and inspire others to act in a decisive way. This connotes a reference to Social Darwinism, in which great leadership is not born from rational procedural, such as democratic elections, but from a great struggle for power, in which the strongest candidate emerges victorious, Hitler identifies

  2. Assess critically Marx's distinction between ideology and science

    [2] Thus Feuerback in his Essence of Christianity rejects religion as a hindrance in the way of man's understanding of himself. "What man calls Absolute Being, his God, is his own being", he writes - "The power of the object over him is therefore the power of his own being."

  1. Free essay

    What do you consider to be the defining elements of a socialist outlook?

    This is where individuals are treated in an equal manner, despite differences in areas such as race, class, gender or religion; all people start on a level playing field. Secondly, communist state socialism advocates absolute social equality; where there are very little or no economic differences between individuals, therefore leading to a very equal standard of living.

  2. Political Ideologies

    or government intervention - but necessary to maintain order and stability - evil because it encroaches on individualism * Minimal government intervention is require * Economic liberalism - markets are self-regulating bringing greater benefits for all Modern Liberalism (John Stuart Mill)

  1. Could one censor pornography, on Millean grounds?

    in an attempt to use the "elevated faculties"5 that we all possess. So in this light Mill believed that people should "not live according to customs or social traditions but rather on the basis of their own judgement - based on their own needs, desires personality and interests"6.

  2. Is Fascism an Ideology?

    "The majority of the many books on fascism written since 1945 concentrate on the historical causes of the fascist phenomenon, rather than analysing the ideology - because there is so little to analyse." (Goodwin, 2007) This would therefore largely discount Fascisms ideological status as rather than comprising of a coherent

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work