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Questions of Faith 8

And another thing...

How do we avoid the dangers of religious extremists?


Why should we worry about religious extremism?  What is dangerous about the phrase "religious extremism"?  The dangerous part is not the "extremism" - the danger lies in which religion we're speaking of.

No-one was afraid of the religious extremism of Mother Teresa.  No-one is afraid of the religious extremism of the Amish.  There's a worldwide network of cells that meet to devote themselves ever more fully to their religious fundamentals  - they're called Quakers.  No-one is afraid of them.  Why?  Because it all depends on what your fundamentals are.  It all depends on which religion it is your are pursuing to extremes.

If you put Jesus Christ at the centre and truly pursue Him fanatically and to extremes it ought to produce communities of radically loving, radically other-centred people.  The more you become like Christ the more you are likely to die for your enemies.

Of course this is not true of all religions.  Neither is it true of all worldviews considered more broadly.  Some religions have been founded by those who have killed their enemies (rather than been killed by them).  To pursue these to extremes will indeed lead to war.  By the same token, naturalism taken to  extremes is incredibly dangerous.  It is a short step from "the stongest do survive" to "the strongest should survive."  It's a step we've seen taken by extremists last century, and the body count was the highest the world has ever seen.

It's not the "extremism" that matters.  Pursuing something to extremes can be wonderful for this world.  Christians giving their lives to the world in Jesus' name have made an incredible impact for good.  Don't fear 'extremism.'  Fear the religions and worldviews that can't be pursued extremely.  And for my money, that's all of them, except for Jesus.


0 thoughts on “Questions of Faith 8

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  2. codepoke

    I like this, Glen. It's a great observation and well said. We kind of have to squint as we read about Israel purging Canaan, and carefully explain why people who call themselves Christians occasionally go off on killing sprees, but the point is solid. Thank you.

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  4. woldeyesus

    Truly speaking, Christ's teachings are to religion what "new wine is to used wineskin" (Matt. 9: 16-17). Beware of religions of all colours! They are all obsolete (John 4: 21-26).

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