New Meanings Of Extremism2944033

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We hear a whole lot about how to combat extremism today, perhaps as a preferred word for fundamentalism. But that is extreme; are people being labelled 'extreme' by way of 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. In contrast, the medieval nation-states of Europe that, 5 to 6 100 years ago were set on conquests to enhance their world-power status, appear as toothless old lions.


• SUBVERT SOCIAL ORDER

In the present context there's 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 western world by radical interventions that constitute a grave threat - therefore, the term 'extremism'.

In its most basic 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 as the ultimate goal may be the imposition of a whole new group of social values and non secular beliefs amounting to forced mass 'conversion'. Such goals offer no freedom to dissent since they spread fanaticism, from where dissent means death.

• RESPONSES

How western democracies are responding to these invasive extremes is critical. Responses speak most of your strengths and vulnerabilities. Some responses are on the degree 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 when an upswing of liberal humanism understands, alone terms, what it really conceives to become a wider kind of extremism. I believe that 'alarming', because for many Christians, who in earlier generations were respected for patriotism, hard work and social compassion, are actually feeling ostracised and stigmatised, and a few built to feel that they too are involved in extreme activities. Why is this when Christians are profoundly opposed to fanatical violence in each and every structural form?

One basic reason must not surprise us; Christ's individuals this fallen world have invariably been despised and persecuted for their beliefs, as 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 in the past for holding such views being a penal, substitutionary take a look at Christ's death, in order to his true deity, and for their view of sin and eternal, conscious punishment of people who chosen over reject Christ. Many non-Christians possess a strong aversion to such beliefs that they can consider extreme. This is no real surprise; the Bible teaches the 'word of the cross is folly to those who're perishing' (1 Corinthians 1:18). And individuals are fully entitled to think such beliefs are extreme when they wish.

• Who's FREE?

What has taken some aback is when the right to freedom of speech and freedom of conscience to carry various religious beliefs or none; rights and freedoms that grew under the wholesome Christian influences on post-Reformation societies, are now being turned against Christians introduced from them.

So deep is this irony that to communicate now against homosexuality or same-sex marriage or abortion is taken by a few secularists to socially offensive and extreme. A massive reversal has occurred in which 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 because they were resistant to the word of God. It really is granted that some past sanctions were extreme, however this in no way warrants pay-back time upon contemporary Christians.

Now, the older Christianised understanding of civil and social rights and freedoms to citizens, including minority religious beliefs, are now being given new secular and post-Christian meanings, which from a Christian viewpoint, represent loosing genuine rights and freedoms - witness loosing right to duration of countless aborted infants. A new secular totalitarianism is stalking our western democracies, which is time to note the profound irony that permits the "lawful" slaying of innocents by abortion on demand, considering the legislator's wish to be spared prior to the onslaught of other kinds of radical violence!

What is extremely disconcerting for Bible-centred Christians will be the current amount of confusion in how their very own beliefs have become associated and confused with radical, violent religious extremists.

• REDRESS

This type of confused association needs urgent redress by an acknowledgement that violent terrorism and anarchy represent specific types of extremism towards which appropriate counter-measures has to be sustained and also improved. But that Christ-centred Christianity is by no means extreme in the modern use of this secular term. It's high time to gain greater clarity on which constitutes extremism, lest legislators using secular sociological assumptions fail to understand the roots of their very own reactions and finish up taking measures to prohibit time-honoured freedoms and cause unwarrantable trouble to those that aren't extremists.