Fundamentalism has emerged as one of the most powerful forces at work in the world. However, it remains incomprehensible to large numbers of people. In The Battle for God, Karen Armstrong brilliantly and sympathetically shows us how and why fundamentalist groups came into existence and what they yearn to accomplish.
Focusing on Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim fundamentalism, she examines the ways in which these movements, while not monolithic, have each sprung from a dread of modernity -- and often in response to assault, sometimes unwitting, sometimes intentional, by the mainstream society.
Armstrong sees the fundamentalist groups as complex, innovative, and modern -- rather than throwbacks to the past -- but contends that they have failed in religious terms. Maintaining that fundamentalism often exists in symbiotic relationship with an aggressive modernity, each urging the other on to greater excess, she suggests compassion as a way to defuse what is now an intensifying conflict.