Difference Between Fundamentalist and Extremist

Political ideologies have been a matter of debate and argument throughout the decades.


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Political ideologies are based on a set of principles, ideals, doctrines, symbols of a social movement, institution and a large group that demonstrates the social order.

Political ideologies are of many types, some of those are Fundamentalist, modernist and Extremist.

Fundamentalist vs Extremist

The difference between Fundamentalist and Extremist is that Fundamentalism is based on religious matters, whereas Extremism is based on extreme ideas or actions. Fundamentalists’ beliefs are literal elucidations of dogma; they do not accept what needs to be modified or reinterpreted to the original version, whereas an extremist actively supports or participates in militant behaviour to proclaim or enforce their chosen dogma/doctrine.

Fundamentalist vs

Fundamentalism, type of orthodox religious movement which is characterized by the support of stern adherence to sacred texts.

Political utilization of the term “fundamentalism” has been denounced. It is used by political groups to chastise opponents. “Fundamentalist” has been used derogatorily to refer to philosophies viewed as literal-minded.

While extremism means the standard or the quality of being farthest. The term is used religiously or politically. Extremists’ perceptions are typically contrary to the moderates.

The policies that break or violate international human rights norms are known as political extremism.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonFundamentalistExtremist
Action They believe in safe play and are non-violent. They believe in direct attack and are violent.
BeliefThey have certain faith or belief. They are extreme fanatics.
Basis of Ideology Ideology is based on mainly God and religions. Ideology is based on religious as well as political matter.
Wing nameThey are often considered as leftists. They are full-fledged called rightist.
Origin It started in the 20th century. It started long back in the 1st century.

What is Fundamentalist?

Fundamentalism usually has a religious undercurrent that indicates steady attachment to a set of irreducible thoughts.

Fundamentalism is a type of orthodox religious movement which is characterized by the support of stern adherence to sacred texts.

Political utilization of the term “fundamentalism” has been denounced. It is used by political groups to chastise opponents. “Fundamentalist” has been used derogatorily to refer to philosophies viewed as literal-minded.

Fundamentalism is based on various religions or religious beliefs. Such as Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and Judaism.

Christian fundamentalist theory was defined by George Marsden, it states the demand for stern obedience to certain holy dogmas.

The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the year 1910, declared or interpreted the five fundamentals: Apostolic inspiration and the impeccability of scripture, Untainted birth of Jesus, to believe that Christ’s death was the amendment for transgression, the resurrection of Jesus’ body, Chronicled reality of the prodigy of Jesus.

In Hinduism, several scholars identify politically agile Hindu movements as a segment of the “Hindu fundamentalist family.”

In Islam, the Shia and Sunni religious dispute is since the 7th century. It generated an opening for revolutionary principles and beliefs.

In Buddhism, their fundamentalism targets other groups or ethnicity. In countries like Myanmar and Sri Lanka, they are Buddhist dominated countries and they suppress the Muslim minority in their countries.

In Judaism, it is characterized as extreme patriotism, Christocentric, proponent ideology.

To continue the fundamentalism in practice, one would need an ideal perception of the ancient verses or languages of the original text, if indeed the true text can be discerned from among variants.

In addition, humans are the ones who pass on this understanding between the cohort.

Even if someone wanted to follow the actual word of God, the essentiality for people is first to understand that word entail human elucidation.

Through that process, human frailty is inseparably mixed into the deep meaning of the saintly words.

As a result, it is next to impossible to stick to the unassailable word of God; one can only attain a human understanding of God’s wish.

What is Extremist?

Extremism is a composite event, it’s often difficult to trace the complexity in it.

In simpler terms, extremism can be defined as activities such as faith & belief, frame of mind, feelings, strategies of an individual far detached from the customary.

It displays as an acute form of dispute betrothment. Two political writers, Eric Hoffer and Arthur Schlesinger Jr, during the middle of the 20th century, gave what professes to be part of “political extremism”.

The True Believer and fervent state of mind about the mental processes and sociology of the ones who join dogmatic mass movements was stated by Eric Hoffer.

Arthur Schlesinger stated the crucial centre, advocating an assumed “centre” of politics within the conventional political conference takes place and bringing out the purported need for societies to tow definite paths regarding what should fall outside this acceptability.

Arno Gruen stated, “The lack of identity linked with extremists is the outcome of self-destructive and self-hatred that leads the way to feelings of vengeance towards life itself, and a constraint to kill one’s humanity within.

“Extremism is seen as not a strategy, nor an ideology, but as a mental illness which caters for the destruction of life. Dr Kathleen Taylor believes religious fundamentalism is a mental illness and that is definitely “curable”.

Main Differences Between Fundamentalist and Extremist

  1. Fundamentalists believe in safe play, whereas extremists believe indirect attack.
  2. Fundamentalists have a certain belief or pattern, whereas extremists are fanatics.
  3. Fundamentalists use religion as one of the major reasons for their ideology, whereas extremists attack the basis of religion as well as political reasons.
  4. Fundamentalists are the ones who follow fundamentalism and it first started in 1910, whereas extremists are the ones who follow extremism and it first started long back in the 1st century.
  5. Fundamentalism is often considered to be left-wing or leftist, whereas extremism is considered to be right-wing or rightist as it believes in action and violence
Difference Between Fundamentalist and


  1. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/mono/10.4324/9780203010969/religious-fundamentalism-political-extremism-ami-pedahzur-leonard-weinberg
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09546551003689399
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