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World Association of Christian Fundamentalists

The World Association of Christian Fundamentalists (WACF) was established in the United States in 1911 to oppose both liberal theology and science and to state what its members considered the fundamentals of the Christian faith:

  • inerrancy of the Bible

  • Jesus' literal virgin birth

  • Jesus died to atone for our sins

  • bodily resurrection, and

  • the second coming.

The fundamentalists recognized that their beliefs could not be reconciled with developments in modern science, so they chose to declare that modern science was in error everywhere it opposed their understanding of what was written in the Bible. The fundamentalists did not accept the attempt of "liberal" theologians to interpret the Bible allegorically in order to accommodate its teachings with the discoveries of modern science and to provide interpretations of Biblical stories that weren't blatantly false, absurd, or immoral.

The WACF may no longer be active but the anti-scientific attitude, seen as the only way to defend the fundamental tenets of their religion, lives on in Protestant groups today that defend what they call "creation science" or "intelligent design." For many years, organized fundamentalists such as the Creation Science Institute and the Discovery Institute have tried to (a) get evolution removed from the science classroom, (b) that failing, get the creation story of the Bible taught alongside evolution, and (c) that failing get a philosophical challenge to evolution to be taught alongside evolution. Plan (a) has been their most successful ploy, starting with the Scopes trial and continuing into the 21st century by getting elected to local school boards and intimidating publishers of science textbooks. Plan (b) was ruled a violation of the Establishment Clause by the U.S. Supreme court in 1987 (Edwards v. Aguillard). Plan C was ruled a violation of the Establishment Clause by federal judge John E. Jones III in 2005 (Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover School District, et al.). The attempt to package these anti-scientific notions as scientific was aptly described by Judge Jones as an example of "breathtaking inanity."

Plan (a) tries to prevent public schools from teaching science that conflicts with the fundamentalists' religious beliefs. Plan (b) tries to get everyone in public schools to be taught what certain fundamentalist Christians believe about origins: that scientists are wrong about the age of the universe and our planet, and they are wrong about the origin of the variety of living species. The truth, these folks say, is written in a book revealed to some desert nomads by a sky god a few thousand years ago. Plan (c) tried to get school districts to teach that whenever something complex seems designed and we don't know how the parts evolved to work together, we should declare that a miracle happened and stop investigating the matter scientifically. This "stop work" order is called a "scientific theory" by advocates of "intelligent design." It's a ruse, it's dishonest, and it is inane, but there are better adjectives to describe the inanity than 'breathtaking'.

See also Christian ultra-fundamentalism, young Earth creationism, and "Onward Christian Soldiers: The Holy War on Science" by Robert Todd Carroll.

further reading

Dawkins, Richard. (2006). The God Delusion. Houghton Mifflin and my review of the book


"Orthodoxy and Fundamentalism: The Fundamentalism of the Orthodox Ecumenists" by Archimandrite Cyprian Agiokyprianites

Last updated October 22, 2015

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