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Davis, W.A. (2006). Bible Says: the Psychology of Christian Fundamentalism. Psychoanal. Rev., 93(2):267-300.

(2006). Psychoanalytic Review, 93(2):267-300

Bible Says: the Psychology of Christian Fundamentalism

Walter A. Davis

“I know you're a Christian, but what are you a Christian against.”

—Kenneth Burke

“The Constitution guarantees Americans freedom of Religion, not freedom from Religion.”

—Senator Joe Lieberman

In Apocalypse, a patient study of Christian fundamentalism based on extensive interviews over a five-year period with members of apocalyptic communities, Charles Strozier identifies four beliefs as fundamental to Christian fundamentalism. (1) Inerrancy or biblical literalism, the belief that every word of the Bible is to be taken literally as the word of God; (2) conversion or the experience of being reborn in Christ; (3) evangelicalism, or the duty of the saved to spread the gospel; and (4) apocalypticism or endism, the belief that the biblical book of Revelation describes the events that must come to pass for God's plan to be fulfilled.1 Revelation thus becomes an object of longing as well as the key to understanding contemporary history. Each of these categories, Strozier adds, must be understood not doctrinally but psychologically. What follows attempts to constitute such an understanding by analyzing each category as the progression of a disorder that finds the end it seeks in apocalyptic destructiveness.

Before undertaking that examination, a note on method is warranted.

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