How to Respond to Fundamentalists

Sometimes, fundamentalists of any religion can appear as self-righteous and judgmental. These types of people do not like to be put in their places. It takes a strong but humble individual armed with knowledge to complete such a task.


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    If you are confronted by a judgmental person, first consider what truth there may be in their statements. Such a person is most likely to leave you alone if you show awareness of your faults rather than trying to cover them up.
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    If their presumption of you is incorrect, you can attempt to return their snap judgments back on them. Self-righteous individuals may be attempting to place their personal convictions on other people. Be blunt in reminding them to examine their own hearts before pointing at yours, but expect them to claim to have done this already, and remember that the aim is not to deny or ignore your potential shortcomings.
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    If they claim that they are above this type of self-examination, they are in essence claiming perfection. Claiming to be a perfect person is a lie within itself. Remind them that unless they are God, they are not perfect. When they claim perfection, let them know that they have just sinned.
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    Remind them that true religion encourages forgiveness, kindness, and charity above all things. Tell them that their actions and motives are perceived as proud, hateful, mean-spirited and unloving. They are sinning against you if they do not humble themselves and stop the attack.
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    If an aggressive individual continues the confrontation, calmly accuse them of harassment. Write down their name and any personal information available.
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    Do not give in to the desire to argue on the basis of scripture or religion, even if you can correctly present them. A self-righteous individual would gladly take the challenge, because they have a great talent at twisting words. You would be rewarding them for their poor behavior, as well as providing them with puffed up tales of their conquest after they "win" the debate.


  • Not all fundamentalists are jerks. "Fundamentalism" simply means a point of view based on the fundamentals of a movement.
  • Understand what constitutes a "win". Nothing you say or do is likely to produce an on-the-spot conversion. World views are built by minimizing cognitive dissonance. The challenge with fundamentalism is that it is a self-consistent world view. The best you can do is continue to present the inconsistencies between the self-consistent belief systems of fundamentalism, and the evident truths of the exterior world, and hope that the weight of dissonance between beliefs leads to an eventual shift in worldview. Make your points simply, clearly, and let them speak for themselves.
  • Avoid using insults, profanity or rude gestures. You will only succeed in making yourself appear foolish. The self-righteous person will feel exalted for being persecuted for their misplaced convictions.
  • Always stay calm if you believe you are being wronged. If you find yourself taking offence, truly question whether it may be because your "attacker" is correct.
  • If they think that God told them they are right, they are not going to be persuaded or intimidated or in any way deterred by anything that you could say. Just follow your own path and let them stand in their hole.
  • Some street preachers are only out for attention. Any attempt to engage such people is just encouragement. Ignore them and walk away.
  • Take the high road. Cheap personal attacks, and invocations of the Satan's name are indications that a point has struck home. Don't pursue them.


  • Fundamentalists have a tendency to become very angry (and sometimes even violent) if they perceive that their religion is being attacked.
  • Be very aware that religion is not based on logic and even more so with a fundamentalist.
  • Trying to use logic in a persuasive discussion with a fundamentalist will not work.

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Categories: Religion