Jim Rigby, a member of the Third Coast board and pastor at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, has been offering tips on “Self Defense from a Fundamentalist Attack” on his blog. Here’s the final installment:

We come now to the end of our series on defending ourselves from fundamentalism. Today’s lesson is perhaps the most important, and that is how to spot the most dangerous fundamentalist of them all.

It is fairly easy to see when others are being fundamentalists. The problem is that fundamentalism is contagious. We pick up the same traits and don’t even realize it. As we saw in the first essay, fundamentalism is our human survival instincts, so, all of us fall in and out of fundamentalism. We humans often don’t feel our emotions, but instead see a world defined by anger or fear. So the most dangerous fundamentalist in your life, may live in the mirror

Our task today is to learn how to catch ourselves when we are slipping into fundamentalism.  So here goes. I know I am being fundamentalist when:

 I reduce the world to a melodramatic struggle between heroes and villains. In real life our roles are never that clear. When I cannot feel my own mixed motives, when I feel like I or my group is humanity’s last hope against some apocalyptic evil, it is usually I who has become a fundamentalist.

I think in polarized categories of black and white. When life seems dangerous or frustrating, I am tempted to simplify my mental map. I will ask either/or questions to reduce the information to bite size bits. To myself, I will feel like Socrates bringing razor sharp clarity to the confused and muddled idiots around me, but in truth I am turning off my color vision and reducing the world to a binary clarity never found in the real world.

Read the rest of his post on his blog.