undamentalism represents more than a continuation of traditional religion; it is also a transformation of old religious attitudes that arose in reaction to modernity and, in particular, Darwinism and progressive Protestantism. Its most prominent feature--the doctrine of biblical inerrancy--was a creation not of the 16th-century Reformation but of 19th-century Princeton University theologians attempting to preserve traditional belief in divine origins. Unlike the Calvinist tradition from which it grew, American fundamentalism is unsympathetic to science. After the Scopes "monkey trial" of 1925, it entered a quiescent period, reawakening in the 1960s and 1970s as a reaction to feminism and events such as the U.S. Supreme Court's 1963 decision banning prayer in public schools and its 1973 decision overturning laws against abortion in 46 states.
In the U.S., fundamentalism is one of several strains of evangelistic religion, which also includes charismatics and Pentecostals. Tracking the course of fundamentalism and its sister beliefs has long been difficult, in part because church statistics are unreliable and incomplete. Furthermore, fundamentalists and other evangelicals are not confined to certain denominations. Only 57 percent of Southern Baptists believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible, whereas about a fourth of the clergy in one typical division of the United Methodist Church, the biggest mainline Protestant denomination, participates in evangelical renewal movements. Catholics who call themselves charismatic can fall under the evangelical classification.
This article was originally published with the title Sizing Up Evangelicals.