“Call me a Fanatic": Spiritual Zeal, Scientific Scepticism and the Problems of “Belief”


Type
Article
Change log
Authors
Abstract

Anthropologists have pointed to the politics at play in the uneven application of the term “belief” to describe different cultural representations of reality. They have observed that westerners sometimes reserve the term “belief” for the description of non-western epistemologies, while categorising their own perspectives, informed by theories of scientific empiricism for example, as “knowledge.” This is an important critique, so what to do when our non-western interlocutors insist on being called “believers?” This article considers the ideas of a Nigerian Pentecostal church who not only characterize their faith using the language of “belief,” but even aspire to be branded “fanatics” by outsiders. Drawing on the teachings of the church, striking congruences between the understandings of belief deployed by this group and by scholars of religion are brought to light, collapsing the distance between self-described African Christian “fanatics” and those who critically analyse them.

Description
Keywords
5005 Theology, 50 Philosophy and Religious Studies
Journal Title
Implicit Religion
Conference Name
Journal ISSN
1463-9955
1743-1697
Volume Title
25
Publisher
Equinox Publishing