Psychology of Apocalyptic Fundamentalism Review

August 28, 2006 at 1:12 am 2 comments

Strozier, Charles. 1994. ?Introduction? in Apocalypse: On the Psychology of Fundamentalism in
America.
pp. 1-24. Beacon Press,
Boston.

 

Charles Strozier has provided an interesting introduction to the topic of the psychology of apocalypticism, a phenomena which is essential to the study of fundamentalism.  In this introduction to his book length study of apocalypticism, Strozier outlines his definition of apocalypticism, the religious groups of which he interacted, (namely Pentecostal, Baptist and conservative Evangelical) and his method of study. 

 

Strozier’s psychological study of apocalyptic fundamentalism clearly departs from traditional approaches to such phenomena, which are motivated by the attempt to locate fundamentalist thought within the areas deep psychological problems.(1)  Rather Strozier considers apocalypticism as one form of response to the collective instability of an age which experiences ultimate threats to its existence.(2)  For Strozier, apocalyptic thought is common among the politically, socio-economically and emotionally disenfranchised and is, “necessarily rooted in private dramas of great significance and pain.”(3)  Indeed, implicit in Strozier?s outline of the causes and definition of apocalyptic fundamentalism is real or imagined disenfranchisement.  In his summary of apocalypticism, Strozier not only utilised such language, but gave special reference to African Americans.(4)  While only implicit, Strozier has failed to discuss the motivation of those fundamentalists who are not disenfranchised; who rather, are in a position a political and socio-economic power, despite the fact that these individuals are one of his primary groups of study.   Further, Strozier does not consider the important place of politics within apocalyptic fundamentalism.(5)  However, Strozier’s outline still provides a thought-provoking introduction to the study of apocalypticism.  Despite his leanings towards apologeticism, it is clear that this approach is far preferable than those that define such phenomenon degenerately.(6)

 

1. Savage, S. 2002. “A Psychology of Fundamentalism: The Search for Inner Failings” in ed. Martyn Percy and Ian Jones. Fundamentalism: Church and Society. p. 25. Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge,
London.  p. 25.

 

2.  Strozier, C. 1994. Apocalypse: On The Psychology of Fundamentalism in
America.
Beacon Press,
London. p. 3.

 

3. Strozier. Apocalypse. pp. 2-3

 

4. Strozier. Apocalypse. p. 2

 

5. For an outline of the political right and apocalyptic fundamentalism see Urban, H. 2006. ”
America, Left Behind. Bush, the Neoconservatives and Christian Evangelical Fiction” Journal of Religion and Society. vol. 8. http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/2006/2006-2.html  accessed on 21/8/06 at 12:00pm. 

 

6.  I use the term, “apologetic” here lightly and in reference to the tendency of scholars of new religious movements to take either an ?apologetic? or highly critical stance towards their subject matter.  These approaches are clearly informed by both each other, and the wider phenomenon of cult scares

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Entry filed under: Apocalypticism, Fundamentalism, Psychology, Uncategorized.

The Problem of Evil On The Fluff – ver 1.1

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. inaeth  |  August 28, 2006 at 10:36 am

    Dealing with the Book of Revelations is a very sticky subject. Most people don’t know the first thing about the historicity of biblical scholarship, nor the vast ramifications of linguistic translation; which, of course, leads to vastly different interpretations of various scriptures, the setting up of different sects, and ad infinitum. For example, for a scholarly overview of the modes of review for the “Book of Revelation to St. John”, go to http://www.preceptaustin.org/revelation_commentaries.htm , as this site has a very basic overview of the scholarship efforts in interpretation of the Book.

    Now, I know that there are more scholarly dissertations, complete with historical citations, that are available on the net, but for some reason I was not able to find them. Of course, it’s been six years since I last debated this particular subject in-depth, so don’t be surprised that I’m forgetting a lot. Be that as it may, check out this link: http://christianinquiry.spaces.live.com/PersonalSpace.aspx , as it has a lot of historically accurate information that I will try to substantiate tomorrow. While written by a Christian, s/he seems to be of the honest type, rather than the fundamentalist type. (Again, there is a huge difference between the two.)

    IMHO, I think you should have prefaced this particular entry as some sort of observations of the “Dispensational Milleniamism Doctrine of Pre-Tribulation Rapture” doctrine within the current fundamentalist sects within America. (As far as I know, America is the only country to subscribe to these beliefs en-masse. Even Canada, our neighbor to the North, has not given credence to these doctrines in the majoority numbers that are found within the U.S.) There is a lot to learn not only from the doctrines themselves, but more importantly why people would believe in these doctrines; which leads into the premise of dis-enfranchisement that the author was talking about.

    But, then again, it seems you are identifying current cause-effect relationships within American society, while I’m more interested in what the history has been. I guess they are symbiotic, in the end, or I could just be sipping another martini! 🙂

    Reply
  • 2. Communicate Insurance  |  January 11, 2007 at 2:47 pm

    Very interesting site… I wish I could build one like yours!nancy

    Reply

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