Fundamentalism As An Addiction?

A reader writes:

Nice essay. My favorite line:

"From a humble faith comes toleration of other faiths. And from that toleration comes the oxygen that liberal democracy desperately needs to survive."

That's it in a nutshell, buddy.

Elsewhere on the blog today you quoted Mark Foley on Clinton:

"It's vile. It's more sad than anything else, to see someone with such potential throw it all down the drain because of a sexual addiction."

Let's call fundamentalism what it is: religious addiction. Religion, like sex, like food, can become a drug. What should be a healthy and joyful part of a normal balanced life becomes a sickness, a neurotic attempt to fill the void within. It can even descend into psychosis ("An illness that prevents people from being able to distinguish between the real world and the imaginary world. Symptoms include hallucinations [seeing or hearing things that aren't really there, or delusions], irrational thoughts and fears."). We're used to associating religious addiction with small cults. But it can infect whole societies. And it's extremely dangerous. It can damage, even destroy an individual life. It can fuel pogroms and inquisitions, mass suicides, terrorism, torture and murder. It can bring on wars. It can destroy the potential of whole societies - certainly, whole democracies - for generations. Perhaps, in some cases, for good.

So let's not mince words. The first step in fighting an addiction is calling it what it is: Fundamentalism is religious addiction.

I prefer to think of extreme religious fundamentalism as more a function of neurosis than addiction. Any thoughts?