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More than three hundred years after the case for toleration received classic expositions in writings by Pierre Bayle, John Locke and others, the grounds and limits of toleration remain hotly contested. While broad principles of religious toleration reign in most Western nations and elsewhere, the freedom to contest and reject dominant religious and political views is sharply limited in many places. The term ‘fundamentalism’ was originally coined by Protestant anti-modernists and biblical literalists. It has since come to be applied to a wide range of religious and even political movements, often highly traditionalistic, who reject accommodations with modern liberal culture or politics, and who see themselves as recovering an original and strict understanding of religious truths. In the United States, Protestant fundamentalists have long opposed the teaching of Darwinian evolution, and many promote ‘creation science’ or ‘intelligent design’ as alternatives. In Europe, Salman Rushdie’s depiction of Muhammad in The Satanic Verses provoked violent demonstrations and led the Ayatollah Khomeini to pronounce a death sentence on the author. More recently, ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ has come to be associated with militant hostility to the West.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationA Companion to Contemporary Political Philosophy
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781405177245
ISBN (Print)9781405136532
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


  • Extrinsic
  • Letter concerning toleration
  • Modus vivendi


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