Blog #13

            Chapter 14 starts off by talking about the two features of our world. One is the secularization of social institutions and patterns and the other is the growth of cultural pluralism. Livingston goes on to say that the secularizing process is at work in the modern world with the structural differentiation and specialization of institutions. The next section discusses religious fundamentalism, which according to Livingston is a worldwide phenomenon. Two groups that are talked about being fundamentalists are the Islamic Shi’ites and Gush Emunim. These groups are mostly resistance movements. American Protestant Fundamentalism also became very popular. Jerry Falwell was one of the leading Fundamentalist “televangelists” in America, according to Livingston. The author then goes on to explain a distinctive feature of American Fundamentalism is the appeal to a premillenarian, which teaches that history is rapidly moving toward its climax (Livingston, 2009, p.347). American Fundamentalism also challenges creation science by opposing theories of sciences.

            The next section is modernization and Islamic revitalization and leaders and movements. Contemporary Islam follows the interpretations of the Qur’an and Shar’ia and customs of Muhammad (sunna). A key characteristic of radical Islamism is the principle of itijhad or right of the leader, the mujaddid or “soldier of god” (Livingston, 2009, p. 351). The leaders of Fundamentalist focus on texts for their judgments; for example, concerning what constitutes holy war or jihad (Livingston, 2009, p. 352). A pioneer of fundamentalist Islam today is Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab, who began a reform called Wahhabism. This chapter ends on explaining how Ayman al Zawahiri joined Osama bin Laden and he became his strategist, and who was instrumental in the 9/11 attacks. 


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