Fundamental flaws

February 25, 2005

Daniel Swift's review of Malise Ruthven's Fundamentalism implies, perhaps inadvertently, that Christian fundamentalism is homogeneous and that it leads to religious violence (Books, February 18).

Yet, the movements Swift singles out, "Mormonism, Seventh Day (sic) Adventism and the Jehovah's Witnesses", are seen as dubious by mainstream North American Christian fundamentalist denominations, which in turn are regarded with suspicion by Orthodox believers - the chief Christian fundamentalists in Europe.

Jehovah's Witnesses and Seventh-Day Adventists endorse pacifism; and while US fundamentalist politicians' "celebration of the state often shades into religious polemic", US Seventh-Day Adventists, because of their "fundamentalist" reading of the Bible, generally reject such leaders.

Ignoring the heterogeneity of Christian fundamentalism and demonising it are unhelpful responses to religious violence.

David Trim Newbold College, Bracknell

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