Fundamentalism denotes a belief system that draws sharp boundaries between who’s right, who’s wrong, who’s in, and who’s out. The term “fundamentalism” arose in the early 20th century in an attempt to identify the core doctrines of the Christian faith (“the Fundamentals”). It has since come to designate a narrow conception of religious faith that has difficulty distinguishing essentials from non-essentials and leaves little room for ambiguity, doubt, paradox, or mystery.
The psychology and neuroscience community is coming to regard religious fundamentalism as harmful to society and as a form of mental disturbance (cf. Kathleen Taylor’s widely reported criticism of fundamentalism). At the same time, fundamentalism is enormously influential in American culture and poses a challenge to American educators (cf. the Gallup poll showing that roughly half of all Americans think God created humans as is in the last 10,000 years).
The FBI was developed by a cross-disciplinary team of scholars with expertise in psychological testing, social psychology, philosophy, and religious studies. Because the dominant form of fundamentalism in the U.S. is Christian, the FBI focuses on Christian fundamentalism.
Taking The Test
The FBI consists of 40 pairs of statements. For each pair, select the statement that best reflects your views. Do not opt for a statement simply because you know it is “the right answer” or because you should choose it given your upbringing, background, or social circle. Choose a statement because you believe it or because it’s closer to what you believe. This is a forced-choice test. For some statement pairs, you may not feel comfortable with either choice, but do the best you can. The answer consistent with Christian fundamentalism is marked with a hash sign (#) — add one for each such answer. The test is short and will take only a few minutes to complete.
Use of this inventory is strictly for educational purposes. It must not be taken as offering psychological advice. It must not be taken as a proof of religious orthodoxy. Take this test only if you are interested in learning about fundamentalism and how it is assessed.
Christians of all stripes will have a positive (non-zero) score on this test. Evangelicals will tend to be around 20. More conservative Christians will tend to be in the upper 20s or lower 30s, less conservative Christians (also many Roman Catholics) in the teens. Liberal Christians will tend to be in the single digits. Mid 30s and above correspond to stricter fundamentalists.
There is an ultimate truth and I have found it.#
I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.
The Bible is unreliable.
The Bible is accurate in its teaching.#
The traditional Judeo-Christian conception of God is mistaken.
An all-powerful and all-knowing God created the world and governs it today.#
The earth is several billion years old.
The earth is only a few thousand years old.#
In marriage, husbands and wives share equal authority.
In marriage, husbands have greater authority than wives.#
Humans are by nature sinners, and God is under no obligation to save them.#
Humans are by nature good, and God should do everything he can to help them.
If heaven exists, conscious faith in Jesus is not required to enter it.
Heaven is only for those who explicitly profess faith in Jesus.#
Hell is a real place of conscious eternal torment.#
Hell is a metaphor for pain and suffering.
The Bible contains no contradictions.#
The Bible contains contradictions.
Drinking alcohol in moderation is acceptable.
Drinking alcohol is sinful and should be avoided.#
Society would benefit most if everyone trusted Jesus as Lord and Savior.#
Society would benefit most if everyone practiced virtue.
Absolute moral truths exist.#
Morality is relative to culture and circumstance.
A mother may terminate a pregnancy at any time.
Abortion is wrong in most circumstances.#
I wish that U.S. laws matched Old Testament laws more closely.#
It’s a good thing that U.S. laws don’t match Old Testament laws more closely.
I know of people who I am sure will spend eternity in hell.#
I question whether any particular individual will spend eternity in hell.
Jonah spent three actual days in an aquatic creature’s belly.#
The story of a fish or whale swallowing Jonah is fictional.
Many of the miracles described in the New Testament did not actually occur.
The miracles recorded in the New Testament happened largely as described.#
Mary, Jesus’ mother, was a virgin when she bore him.#
Mary’s gynecology is irrelevant to faith.
Executed by crucifixion, Jesus rose bodily from the dead.#
Jesus’ resurrection is a pious fiction.
Clinical psychology and psychiatry have a legitimate role to play in helping people.
So-called mental disorders are best handled by applying biblical principles to one’s life.#
Sex outside marriage is wrong and harmful.#
Sex outside marriage is, by itself, no cause for alarm.
Prayer only affects the person praying; God does not answer prayer.
God can and does respond to prayer by making a difference in the world.#
If there is a heaven, good people by doing good deeds enter it.
Heaven is for those God freely saves; good deeds do not earn salvation.#
Only what’s done for Christ has any real and lasting meaning.#
Christians have no monopoly on making the world a better place.
To deny that God created the earth in six 24-hour days is dangerous to faith.#
The days of creation in Genesis need not be taken literally.
Humans evolved from primate ancestors.
Humans were created as is; they did not evolve.#
Noah’s flood was global, its waters covering the entire planet.#
Noah’s flood, if it happened, was a local flood in the ancient Near East.
Humans speak different languages because languages evolve.
God’s judgment at the Tower of Babel resulted in diverse languages.#
God as Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) expresses a deep truth about reality.#
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity is incoherent and false.
Jesus was a great man but not God.
Jesus was both man and God.#
Jesus shed his blood on a cross to atone for the sins of the world.#
Blood sacrifice saves no one from sin.
Satan and demons are figurative ways of describing evil.
Satan is a real force for evil in the world.#
Jesus will return to earth at the end of the age.#
If Jesus were returning to earth, he would have done so already.
Pornography can be part of a healthy eroticism.
Pornography is addictive and destructive.#
Humans have no special status above other animals.
Humans are inherently more valuable than other animals.#
The 66 books of the Old and New Testaments alone are divinely inspired texts.#
Other texts besides the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments may be divinely inspired.
Jesus lived a sinless life.#
Jesus made mistakes like everyone else.
Most people will spend eternity in hell and wish they had never been born.#
If there is life after death, most people will be glad they were born.
Gay marriage is a legitimate form of marriage.
Marriage is properly confined to one man and one woman.#
Above all else, think for yourself.
Above all else, trust and obey God.#