New Meanings Of Extremism146991
We hear a lot about the reality of extremism today, perhaps like a preferred word for fundamentalism. But who's extreme; are people being labelled 'extreme' with a non-extreme majority? Plenty of this new labelling is driven by understandable fear. Post '9/11' the world population has watched radical new movements bent on western domination. Compared, the medieval nation-states of Europe that, 5 to 6 century ago were focused on conquests to improve their world-power status, appear as toothless old lions.
• SUBVERT SOCIAL ORDER
In our context there is certainly politico-religious extremism, where radical spiritual convictions fuel and foment violent political engagement. As conceived by non-extremists these radical movements are threatening to subvert the prevailing social order in the west by radical interventions that constitute a grave threat - hence the term 'extremism'.
In the most elementary form radical extremism seeks territorial advance and conquest of existing political powers. Some extremists use explosives to strike widespread panic and maximum carnage. Non-extremists anxiously see these movements as threatening to overthrow their long-established and hard-won tolerant and liberal democracies.
Such threats are believed to be with foreboding because the ultimate goal is the imposition of a complete new pair of social values and non secular beliefs amounting to forced mass 'conversion'. Such goals offer no freedom to dissent since they spread fanaticism, from which dissent means death.
How western democracies are addressing these invasive extremes is important. Responses speak most of your strengths and vulnerabilities. Some responses are saved to the amount of heightened national security and intelligence alerts; some involve granting greater powers to police, and strategic counter-measures to forestall the covert plans of terrorists.
One alarming feature is the place the rise of liberal humanism understands, by itself terms, what it really conceives to be a wider type of extremism. I believe that 'alarming', because for most Christians, who in earlier generations were respected for his or her patriotism, effort and social compassion, are now feeling ostracised and stigmatised, plus some built to believe that everybody take part in extreme activities. Why is this when Christians are profoundly opposed to fanatical violence in most shape and form?
One basic reason must not surprise us; Christ's individuals this fallen world have invariably been despised and persecuted for his or her beliefs, since they separated themselves from the close association with non-Christian life-styles, excessive pleasures and entertainments. And then, Bible-centred Christians have already been censured before for holding such views like a penal, substitutionary look at Christ's death, or his true deity, and then for their view of sin and eternal, conscious punishment of people who chosen over reject Christ. Many non-Christians use a strong aversion to such beliefs that they consider extreme. This is not surprising; the Bible teaches how the 'word from the cross is folly to the people that are perishing' (1 Corinthians 1:18). And individuals are fully entitled to think such beliefs are extreme when they wish.
• WHO IS FREE?
But what takes some by surprise is when the legal right to freedom of speech and freedom of conscience to carry various faith or none; rights and freedoms that grew underneath the wholesome Christian influences on post-Reformation societies, are increasingly being turned against Christians introduced from their website.
So deep is this irony that to talk now against homosexuality or same-sex marriage or abortion is taken by some secularists as being socially offensive and extreme. A huge reversal has happened in that the new secular consensus rules. Biblical morality has largely been jettisoned, but western neo-paganism is finding it is not any match for radicalised Islam. Once, in Christianised societies, some behaviours were marginalised since they were up against the word of God. It's granted that some past sanctions were extreme, however this in no way warrants pay-back time upon contemporary Christians.
Now, the older Christianised comprehension of civil and social rights and freedoms to citizens, including minority faith, are being given new secular and post-Christian meanings, which from the Christian viewpoint, represent loosing genuine rights and freedoms - witness losing to lifetime of an incredible number of aborted infants. A new secular totalitarianism is stalking our western democracies, which is time to note the profound irony that allows the "lawful" slaying of innocents by abortion at will, considering the legislator's need to be spared before the onslaught of other kinds of radical violence!
But what is extremely disconcerting for Bible-centred Christians will be the current degree of confusion in how their very own beliefs have become associated and mistaken for radical, violent religious extremists.
This kind of confused association needs urgent redress by an acknowledgement that violent terrorism and anarchy represent specific forms of extremism towards which appropriate counter-measures must be sustained and also improved. But that Christ-centred Christianity is simply by no means extreme nowadays in this usage of this secular term. It is about time to gain greater clarity on which constitutes extremism, lest legislators using secular sociological assumptions fail to comprehend the roots that belongs to them reactions and finished up taking measures to ban time-honoured freedoms and cause unwarrantable trouble to the people that aren't extremists.