New Meanings Of Extremism3196107

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We hear a great deal about what extremism is these days, perhaps being a preferred word for fundamentalism. But who's extreme; are people being labelled 'extreme' by a non-extreme majority? Plenty of this new labelling is driven by understandable fear. Post '9/11' the earth has watched radical new movements bent on western domination. Compared, the medieval nation-states of Europe that, five or six hundred years ago were intent on conquests to enhance their world-power status, appear as toothless old lions.


• SUBVERT SOCIAL ORDER

In the present 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 western world by radical interventions that constitute a grave threat - therefore, 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 thought with foreboding because the ultimate goal will be the imposition of a complete new set of social values and religious beliefs amounting to forced mass 'conversion'. Such goals offer no freedom to dissent since they spread fanaticism, that dissent means death.

• RESPONSES

How western democracies are addressing these invasive extremes is significant. Responses speak most of one's own strengths and vulnerabilities. Some responses are saved to 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 the rise of liberal humanism understands, alone terms, what it conceives to become a wider kind of extremism. I believe that 'alarming', because for many Christians, who in earlier generations were respected for patriotism, work and social compassion, are now feeling ostracised and stigmatised, and a few made to believe that everybody take part in extreme activities. Why when Christians are profoundly against fanatical violence in each and every structural form?

One basic reason should not surprise us; Christ's individuals this fallen world have invariably been despised and persecuted for their beliefs, because 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 view of Christ's death, or his true deity, as well as for their view of sin and eternal, conscious punishment of those who chosen over reject Christ. Many non-Christians possess a strong aversion to such beliefs that they consider extreme. This can be no real surprise; the Bible teaches that the 'word from the cross is folly to the people that are perishing' (1 Corinthians 1:18). And people are fully eligible to think such beliefs are extreme should they wish.

• Who's FREE?

But what is taking some by surprise is when the authority to freedom of speech and freedom of conscience to hold various faith or none; rights and freedoms that grew beneath the wholesome Christian influences on post-Reformation societies, are now being turned against Christians and taken from their store.

So deep is that this irony that to communicate now against homosexuality or same-sex marriage or abortion is taken by a few secularists as being socially offensive and extreme. A massive reversal has took place that the new secular consensus rules. Biblical morality has largely been jettisoned, but western neo-paganism is discovering it is no 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 by no means warrants pay-back time upon contemporary Christians.

Now, the older Christianised comprehension of civil and social rights and freedoms to citizens, including minority religious beliefs, are increasingly being given new secular and post-Christian meanings, which from your Christian viewpoint, represent the loss of genuine rights and freedoms - witness losing directly to life of an incredible number of aborted infants. A brand new secular totalitarianism is stalking our western democracies, and it's also time for you to note the profound irony that allows the "lawful" slaying of innocents by abortion when needed, considering the legislator's want to be spared before the onslaught of other styles of radical violence!

But what is quite disconcerting for Bible-centred Christians may be the current amount of confusion in how their very own beliefs have become associated and mistaken for radical, violent religious extremists.

• REDRESS

This type of confused association needs urgent redress by an acknowledgement that violent terrorism and anarchy represent specific forms of extremism towards which appropriate counter-measures has to be sustained and also improved. But that Christ-centred Christianity is simply by no means extreme in the current usage of this secular term. It really is about time to get greater clarity about what constitutes extremism, lest legislators using secular sociological assumptions fail to view the roots that belongs to them reactions and handle up taking measures to prohibit time-honoured freedoms and cause unwarrantable trouble to those who are not extremists.