Fundamentalist vs Extremist: Difference and Comparison

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

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

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

Key Takeaways

  1. Fundamentalists adhere strictly to religious or ideological principles, while extremists pursue these beliefs excessively or violently.
  2. Fundamentalism can exist without promoting violence, whereas extremism involves aggression or coercion.
  3. Extremist actions frequently threaten social order and stability, while fundamentalism can coexist with other societal beliefs.

Fundamentalist vs Extremist

A fundamentalist is someone who adheres to the fundamental principles of a religious or political ideology and can range from moderate to extreme positions. An extremist is someone who holds extreme views and uses violent or illegal means to achieve their goals by disregarding human rights.

Fundamentalist vs

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. Political groups use it 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 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 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 has a religious undercurrent that indicates a steady attachment to a set of irreducible thoughts.

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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. Political groups use it 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.

George Marsden defined Christian fundamentalist theory as 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 has been since the 7th century. It generated an opening for revolutionary principles and beliefs.

In Buddhism, their fundamentalism targets other groups or ethnicity. 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, and 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 entails 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, and it’s difficult to trace its complexity in it.

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

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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 professed to be part of “political extremism”.

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

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, which first started in 1910, whereas extremists are the ones who follow extremism, which started long back in the 1st century.
  5. Fundamentalism is 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

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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8 thoughts on “Fundamentalist vs Extremist: Difference and Comparison”

  1. How interesting the difference between fundamentalism and extremism. I wonder when those ideologies are used as a strategy or method.

  2. This was a very informative article, it adds a new perspective to any previous knowledge I had on the subject.


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