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Fundamentalism is any of several strongly-held religious beliefs. The term originated in the United States around the start of the 20th century of anyone holding to a particular set of Christian beliefs, but is now used more widely, including as a derogatory term.

Original fundamentalism

Fundamentalism originated with a movement in America in the early 20th century which aimed to re-establish the fundamental truths of the Bible against the encroaching liberalism in the Protestant churches. Associated with this movement was a set of twelve widely-distributed books titled The Fundamentals: A Testimony of the Truth.

This movement argued that there were five points were fundamental to Christianity, although which five they were varied a bit. It seems that the original list comprised the following:

  1. Inerrancy of the Bible.
  2. The virgin birth.
  3. The substitutionary view of the atonement.
  4. The bodily resurrection of Christ.
  5. The authenticity of miracles.

Later lists substituted the deity of Christ for the second point, and Christ's pre-millennial and imminent return for the fifth point.

Modern use

The term today is used more broadly than those original meanings, including being applied to sections of other religious groups, particularly Muslims, and as a derogatory term of anyone holding religious views that others might consider extreme. Some even use the term "fundamentalist atheist".

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