Customer Review

163 of 175 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Look At Fundamentalism, May 5, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Battle for God (Hardcover)
I picked up this book hoping to gain some insight into "why" fundamentalists view the world as they do. Armstrong did her research which I expected (having read "A History of God", I sensed she would accomplish that) and she delivered interesting observations and a wealth of history. What was a pleasant surprise was that rather than trying to 'fight' fundamentalism, she made a real effort to try to 'understand' it (unlike Bruce Bawer in "Stealing Jesus" whose knowledge of fundamentalism history was unfortunately outdone by his bitterness and intent to strike back).
The contrasting of the fundamentalist perspective with the non-fundamentalist perspective was an eye opener. She points out the need for both meaning in life and reason. The trouble with applying a literal understanding of the Scriptures was discussed as well as the problem of relying upon 'reason' alone.
Even though Armstrong's observations were not as exhaustive as the history she describes, she gives you enough history to enable you to decipher and try out some theories of your own. Overall, I was much more impressed with this work than "A History of God".
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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 7, 2008 12:16:14 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 7, 2008 12:18:09 PM PDT
Bruce Bain says:
"...she delivered interesting observations and a wealth of history."---reviewer "A Customer"

As for HISTORY, "Battle for God" is a book with serious historical omissions. The Civil War era is merely one example of a relevent historical period in Ameican life that is entirely omitted, and also the emigration of the Puritans to American colonies and the political and relevencies and persecutions of religious sects by governments of the 17th Century are omitted. Neither does the book identify the Abolitionist Movement as a fundamentalist movement, which it certainly was.

Finally, and most pointedly, at no location in the entire book, does the author even DEFINE what FUNDAMENTALISM is. The result is that throughout the entire book, Armstrong employs a glittering generality, the term FUNDAMENTALISM, and the term is entirely devoid of substantial or identifiable meaning. This makes the entire book one of the most unscholarly works ever composed on the subject of religion.

Rather than classifying "Battle for a God" as a history of a religious movement, it is perhaps more accurately categorized as historical revisionism.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2008 11:49:27 AM PST
T. McGinnis says:
Jesus christ, does this Bain person EVER shut up? His comments are on almost every single review of this book, as if being bombarded with stupidity will make the rest of us just as stupid.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 30, 2008 2:38:59 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 19, 2009 1:25:46 AM PST
Bruce Bain says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 25, 2009 11:28:40 AM PDT
Bruce, it is true she leaves out the Civil War period, but for a book that covers so much of the world since 1492 this is an easy omission. The world after all does not revolve around the USA, no matter how much people in the USA may think it does.

Regards

John

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2009 1:30:05 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 11, 2010 6:13:50 AM PDT
Bruce Bain says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 11, 2009 11:21:40 AM PDT
The reviewer and Karen Armstrong both seem to refer to "The literal interpretation of Scripture", I often wonder what they think they are saying. Fundamentalists, like me, follow the natural sense of Scripture which is some places symbolical, metaphorical, poetic, parabolico, and, yes, literal. I think what are getting at is that we Believe the Bible is true.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 21, 2010 8:29:09 AM PST
compsciguy says:
Bruce Bain you scare me. You are ramblilng like a lunatic and I'm proably going to have nightmares! Thanks, pal!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2010 5:22:40 AM PST
Bruce Bain says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on May 4, 2010 7:03:05 PM PDT
David Emme says:
Was led here because of desiring to know how exactly in emergent circles i.e. McLaren and others mischaracterize fundamentalism as people who crave certainty and attack uncertainty or complex issues. I always wonder how people come to this conclusion when fundamentalism was never to be against uncertainty but in errors of misinterpreting the scriptures as subjected to a rationalist and secular mindset.

In fact, the whole point in fundamentalism is found in the original writings published by Torrey as the title betrays a total lack of certainty, "The Fundamentals of the Faith." When looking at those which are composedthye whole point was rationalism reasoned and underminded faith, we hold the bible as true but only through faith. Faith is the most uncertain ideal as to belie ve something we cannot prove.

The reaction is and was because of an attack by reason on religion and faith-yes-fundamentalism was reactionary. I am supposing in the school yard when confronted and attacked-some kids ran away while others stayed and fought. I guess maybe we can also say that America was reactionary to Japanese military the day after Pearl Harbor was attacked. On the other hand, if we even count the Oklahoma Bombing and those kiling doctors because of the practice of abortion-I would say the amount of violance from "fundamentalism" is probably less then one percent of one percent of the amount of people killed by Catholicism whether in crusades or on the torture rack-I still wander why people view fundamentalism is seen as violent and desiring to start WW3 or kill those we disagree with.

Of course communism killed more people then probably any other country or conception of war and did more to impose and enslave whole nations-yet fundamentalism is the true enemy. My conclusion-they hate God, they hate the bible, they hate Christ, and they hate Christianity. I hate Islam-does not mean I am ready to string up those who freely practice their religion in America. In fact, as a disabled Vet because of war-I tend to embbrace those I disagree with or hate as freely practicing your religion is the essence of freedom in a western democracy that I fought for. This does not mean I have to like their religion or even involve myself in their religion-it does mean we should defend those whom we hate as able to freely worship the way they decide to worship whether Islam, Hinduism, or even Wicca/Satanism.

When writing this-speaking of hate-this is about ideas and religions and not people as also a fundamentalist and scriptural practice is to love your enemies. In other words-this is more about conflict between one religion with another. Surely anyone can find good patriotic Muslims who hate Christianity-I do not have a problem with this as far as things go.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 3, 2012 12:09:49 PM PDT
TBob says:
Too bad it's three years later because I am interested in your comment and would like to hear more. I think it would help me (and others) fill out our admittedly pretty flat view of Fundamentalists, like you.
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