Religious Zealotry

PureX

Well-known member
Many of the original European settlers coming to North America were either expelled from their homelands because they were considered religious zealots, or they were expelled by religious zealots that would no longer tolerate their different religious views at home. Such that the founders of these United States had the specific intent to establish a nation wherein church and state would forever remain separate, so that this could not happen, again. We would be a nation that would allow both religious freedom and demand mutual religious tolerance. And for the most part this seems to have been achieved. However, in the last 500 years or so of human history, religious zealotry and intolerance has been on the rise, and been responsible for a significant degree of horrifically inhumane behavior in the forms of systemic oppression, torture, rape, murder, slavery, and outright genocide. And it's still going on today.

I am not singling out any particular religion because religious zealotry seems to occur across the gamut of religious ideologies. I even read some time back about some Buddhist monks attacking and killing some other Buddhist monks. No religion is immune, it seems. So I am curious about at what point, and/or by what identifying factors do we verify what we might call "toxic religious zealotry"? At what point does one pass from being a fervent religious adherent to being a dangerous religious zealot? Is it just one's willingness to do other people harm in the name of our own presumed religious righteousness? Or is there something identifiable in the ideology, itself, that allows people to cross that line between civility and malevolence?

Do you know anyone that you would consider a religious zealot, as opposed to their being just a fervent believer? If so, how did you determine the difference? Also, how do you think we as a society should protect ourselves from people who believe that their own ideals and actions are justified by God, Himself?
 
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Rusha

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Many of the original European settlers coming to

Do you know anyone that you would consider a religious zealot, as opposed to their being just a fervent believer? If so, how did you determine the difference? Also, how do you think we as a society should protect ourselves from people who believe that their own ideals and actions are justified by God, Himself?

Yes. Unfortunately. Determined by their intolerance on issues that are legal but go against their religious views and preferences.

Insofar as dealing with them, take away their power to hold any type of position that holds authority.
 

Hoping

Well-known member
Many of the original European settlers coming to North America were either expelled from their homelands because they were considered religious zealots, or they were expelled by religious zealots that would no longer tolerate their different religious views at home. Such that the founders of these United States had the specific intent to establish a nation wherein church and state would forever remain separate, so that this could not happen, again. We would be a nation that would allow both religious freedom and demand mutual religious tolerance. And for the most part this seems to have been achieved. However, in the last 500 years or so of human history, religious zealotry and intolerance has been on the rise, and been responsible for a significant degree of horrifically inhumane behavior in the forms of systemic oppression, torture, rape, murder, slavery, and outright genocide. And it's still going on today.

I am not singling out any particular religion because religious zealotry seems to occur across the gamut of religious ideologies. I even read some time back about some Buddhist monks attacking and killing some other Buddhist monks. No religion is immune, it seems. So I am curious about at what point, and/or by what identifying factors do we verify what we might call "toxic religious zealotry"? At what point does one pass from being a fervent religious adherent to being a dangerous religious zealot? Is it just one's willingness to do other people harm in the name of our own presumed religious righteousness? Or is there something identifiable in the ideology, itself, that allows people to cross that line between civility and malevolence?

Do you know anyone that you would consider a religious zealot, as opposed to their being just a fervent believer? If so, how did you determine the difference? Also, how do you think we as a society should protect ourselves from people who believe that their own ideals and actions are justified by God, Himself?
No, I don't know any of what you label "zealots".
I do, however, know fervent believers.
But your definition of zealot infers ungodliness.
A better question may be... How do we tell a righteous zealot from an unrighteous zealot?
The answer to that question is...How do they line up to the precepts of Jesus Christ?
As He neither used violence nor condoned it, any violence would confirm an unrighteous zealotry.
 

PureX

Well-known member
No, I don't know any of what you label "zealots".
I do, however, know fervent believers.
But your definition of zealot infers ungodliness.
A better question may be... How do we tell a righteous zealot from an unrighteous zealot?
The answer to that question is...How do they line up to the precepts of Jesus Christ?
As He neither used violence nor condoned it, any violence would confirm an unrighteous zealotry.
But there are many malevolent behaviors one can engage in short of physical violence. And many of these kinds of behaviors will negatively effect the well-being and security of society as a whole.

Also, using our own religious ideals to determine toxic religious zealotry on the part of others would seem to be a bit ... problematic. As every religious zealot out there would be doing the same thing in return. That doesn't seem an effective strategy for determining anything except our personal bias. Which is something we would all be guilty of.

So I guess I would have to ask, do you think that religious zealotry ... anyone's ... justifies socially toxic, harmfull, or uncivil behavior toward other people? For example, if Mr. X's religious ideology determines that Mr. Y is an unrepentant sinner, deserving of man's loathing and God's punishment, should Mr. X be free to mete out that loathing and/or punishment on behalf of his God and his religion? What if Mr. X is a zealous believer of YOUR religion? Would he be justified, then? If not, what would you propose we do about him if he decides it is his job to mete out that loathing and punishment, and he begins harassing and slandering Mr. Y, and tries to get him fired from his job, and kicked out of his apartment, and shunned by his peers, and so on? Because some religious zealots will do this kind of thing. And much worse.
 

Hoping

Well-known member
But there are many malevolent behaviors one can engage in short of physical violence. And many of these kinds of behaviors will negatively effect the well-being and security of society as a whole.
So true, but, again, if thy don't line up with the teachings of Jesus Christ they are just warmongers.
Also, using our own religious ideals to determine toxic religious zealotry on the part of others would seem to be a bit ... problematic. As every religious zealot out there would be doing the same thing in return. That doesn't seem an effective strategy for determining anything except our personal bias. Which is something we would all be guilty of.
Not my own ideals, but the ideals of Jesus Christ.
So I guess I would have to ask, do you think that religious zealotry ... anyone's ... justifies socially toxic, harmfull, or uncivil behavior toward other people?
Nope.
But then again, nothing justifies it.
For example, if Mr. X's religious ideology determines that Mr. Y is an unrepentant sinner, deserving of man's loathing and God's punishment, should Mr. X be free to mete out that loathing and/or punishment on behalf of his God and his religion?
Nope, as you clearly stated, it is God's punishment to deliver.
What if Mr. X is a zealous believer of YOUR religion? Would he be justified, then?
Nope, as if he were of my sect, he would be following the precepts of our Lord Jesus Christ.
If not, what would you propose we do about him if he decides it is his job to mete out that loathing and punishment, and he begins harassing and slandering Mr. Y, and tries to get him fired from his job, and kicked out of his apartment, and shunned by his peers, and so on? Because some religious zealots will do this kind of thing. And much worse.
I would let him know that his behavior is out of bounds and tell him to repent of it.
If he does repent of it, he would be treated as a brother still.
If not, he is free to leave.
He has adopted the "religion" of the unGodly.
 

annabenedetti

Well-known member
Do you know anyone that you would consider a religious zealot, as opposed to their being just a fervent believer? If so, how did you determine the difference? Also, how do you think we as a society should protect ourselves from people who believe that their own ideals and actions are justified by God, Himself?

In real life, no, although I know a few fervent believers who come close. On the internet, yes. Quite a few.

Zealotry by its very definition indicates an excessive or undue amount of zeal, belief doesn't have that negative connotation. Fervent belief is internal and can remain internal, while zealotry is more inclined to be external, with zealots impelled by their zealotry to impact those around them in an attempt to bring them willingly or unwillingly under the arc of their zealotry.

How to protect ourselves? Politically, at the ballot box first and foremost.
 

PureX

Well-known member
In real life, no, although I know a few fervent believers who come close. On the internet, yes. Quite a few.

Zealotry by its very definition indicates an excessive or undue amount of zeal, belief doesn't have that negative connotation. Fervent belief is internal and can remain internal, while zealotry is more inclined to be external, with zealots impelled by their zealotry to impact those around them in an attempt to bring them willingly or unwillingly under the arc of their zealotry.

How to protect ourselves? Politically, at the ballot box first and foremost.
I think you may have hit on the key difference as being 'internal' or 'external' in expression. I had not thought of it in those terms but perhaps that is the delineation I was looking for.

The zealot is seeking to make the world comport with his ideology, whereas the fervent believer is focusing and expressing his devotion within himself, and his own life.

Good point, Anna.
 

PureX

Well-known member
I would let him know that his behavior is out of bounds and tell him to repent of it.
If he does repent of it, he would be treated as a brother still.
If not, he is free to leave.
He has adopted the "religion" of the unGodly.
Hmmm, ... is there anyone that you have recently said this to? Someone that you feel was using their religion to actively loath and/or punish others for their "unrighteousness"? I'm just curious. Of course I understand if you feel it's inappropriate to answer ths.
 

Idolater

"Never believe anyone who is not cross-examined."
I think you may have hit on the key difference as being 'internal' or 'external' in expression. I had not thought of it in those terms but perhaps that is the delineation I was looking for.

The zealot is seeking to make the world comport with his ideology
That's the definition of ideology though. Ideology isn't a philosophy though some are supported by philosophy, ideology is a plan to improve the world. As such political ideology is the most significant type of ideology, and also the ideology that sets the edge for all other ideology. Your religious ideology, or your health ideology, or your economic ideology, etc., is all limited by, and interacts with the prevailing political ideology.
, whereas the fervent believer is focusing and expressing his devotion within himself, and his own life.

Good point, Anna.
A good political ideology protects the moral and lawful expression of our religion. A good religion provides a vast array of different spiritual paths that all sorts of different types of people can pursue in their religious pursuit of happiness.
 

PureX

Well-known member
That's the definition of ideology though. Ideology isn't a philosophy though some are supported by philosophy, ideology is a plan to improve the world. As such political ideology is the most significant type of ideology, and also the ideology that sets the edge for all other ideology. Your religious ideology, or your health ideology, or your economic ideology, etc., is all limited by, and interacts with the prevailing political ideology.
Hmmm, ... I think I disagree with this. I think the word, "ideology" refers to the set of concepts and ideals one uses to negotiate life in the world. And that this could be specifically non-political, or non-economic, or non-religious, if one so chose. I know artists, for example, that place little energy or value in any of those three categories of human engagement. Their "ideology" is based more on cognitive aesthetics. So I think that there is no intrinsic reason why one's primarily religious ideology would need to be politically skewed. Or one's primarily political ideology would need to be religiously skewed.

And I think this may be what separates the fervent devotee from the zealot. The ideology of the fervent devotee remains fundamentally God-based, and internalized. While the ideology of the zealot becomes social-political, and externalized. And thereby less about God, and more about enforcing righteousness in the world.
A good political ideology protects the moral and lawful expression of our religion.
What about the other guy's religion? :)
A good religion provides a vast array of different spiritual paths that all sorts of different types of people can pursue in their religious pursuit of happiness.
Amen, brother! God is bigger than any man's religion.
 

Idolater

"Never believe anyone who is not cross-examined."
Hmmm, ... I think I disagree with this. I think the word, "ideology" refers to the set of concepts and ideals one uses to negotiate life in the world. And that this could be specifically non-political, or non-economic, or non-religious, if one so chose. I know artists, for example, that place little energy or value in any of those three categories of human engagement. Their "ideology" is based more on cognitive aesthetics. So I think that there is no intrinsic reason why one's primarily religious ideology would need to be politically skewed. Or one's primarily political ideology would need to be religiously skewed.

And I think this may be what separates the fervent devotee from the zealot.
Your lexical definitions are different from mine, but I understand your thinking. What you're describing as ideology I call philosophy, or theory. Ideology, and this is the definition stipulated by political scientists, is a plan to improve society and or the world.
The ideology of the fervent devotee remains fundamentally God-based, and internalized. While the ideology of the zealot becomes social-political, and externalized. And thereby less about God, and more about enforcing righteousness in the world.
Is there an objectively moral and therefore divinely approved political ideology? I, and the American framers thought so. It is an ideology that regards the fundamental rights of even "inconvenient" people like Blacks, XX DNA people, and the unborn. One of those rights is ethical independence, or the right to the pursuit of happiness, which includes religion. Ideologues who promote ideology repugnant to our rights are promoting immorality.
What about the other guy's religion? :)
The other guy has the same right to the pursuit of happiness as me, and we both are morally obligated to avoid violating anybody else's fundamental rights in whatever we do.
Amen, brother! God is bigger than any man's religion.
God has a religion.
 

PureX

Well-known member
Your lexical definitions are different from mine, but I understand your thinking. What you're describing as ideology I call philosophy, or theory. Ideology, and this is the definition stipulated by political scientists, is a plan to improve society and or the world.
But almost no one actually plans to improve society or the world. Even the most devoutly religious among us now better then to presume such a thing. And those who do have such grandiose desires are often the most dangerous among us, even when they have the best of intentions. In this sense, I would attribute 'ideology' to being a specific trait of zealots. And especially to religious zealots. Because they not only want to "fix" the world, they think they are anointed/appointed by God to do so. There's nothing more dangerous than a man who thinks he's the 'correcting hand of God'.
Is there an objectively moral and therefore divinely approved political ideology?
That's a very big question, with a couple of very important concepts that would need to be fleshed out and clarified. But without going into all that detail, I would answer, 'yes'. Although, I would not have worded the question in that way. The idea of a "divinely approved political ideology" is a VERY, VERY dangerous idea for we humans to be entertaining. There is such a thing as an objective moral imperative. And if we follow it, we will become aware of a divine (transcendent) agency at work within existence. And I do believe that we humans are being moved by these facts to pursue political and social solutions based on these divine (transcendent) values. BUT, we will get ourselves into all kinds of trouble if we presume that we have "divine approval" of how we think we are to go about doing this. And our founders were keenly aware of this danger. It's why they tried to build in so many checks and balances to the process of self-governance.
I, and the American framers thought so. It is an ideology that regards the fundamental rights of even "inconvenient" people like Blacks, XX DNA people, and the unborn. One of those rights is ethical independence, or the right to the pursuit of happiness, which includes religion. Ideologues who promote ideology repugnant to our rights are promoting immorality.
I would not disagree with this. There is no freedom without it being afforded to all, both equally and liberally. And there is no such thing as total freedom, or freedom without responsibility.
The other guy has the same right to the pursuit of happiness as me, and we both are morally obligated to avoid violating anybody else's fundamental rights in whatever we do.
The problems arise, of course, in our defining exactly what our fundamental rights are within a given circumstance. Abortion being a classic example.
 

Hoping

Well-known member
I think you may have hit on the key difference as being 'internal' or 'external' in expression. I had not thought of it in those terms but perhaps that is the delineation I was looking for.

The zealot is seeking to make the world comport with his ideology, whereas the fervent believer is focusing and expressing his devotion within himself, and his own life.

Good point, Anna.
How can you believe something without expressing it externally?
 

Hoping

Well-known member
Hmmm, ... is there anyone that you have recently said this to? Someone that you feel was using their religion to actively loath and/or punish others for their "unrighteousness"? I'm just curious. Of course I understand if you feel it's inappropriate to answer ths.
I haven't had to.
Pretenders only last for so long before they seek "blacker" pastures.
 

Hoping

Well-known member
That's the definition of ideology though. Ideology isn't a philosophy though some are supported by philosophy, ideology is a plan to improve the world. As such political ideology is the most significant type of ideology, and also the ideology that sets the edge for all other ideology. Your religious ideology, or your health ideology, or your economic ideology, etc., is all limited by, and interacts with the prevailing political ideology.

A good political ideology protects the moral and lawful expression of our religion. A good religion provides a vast array of different spiritual paths that all sorts of different types of people can pursue in their religious pursuit of happiness.
A good religion is the only path different kinds of people can use to pursue happiness.
A good religion won't provide ways to hell.
 

annabenedetti

Well-known member
I think you may have hit on the key difference as being 'internal' or 'external' in expression. I had not thought of it in those terms but perhaps that is the delineation I was looking for.

The zealot is seeking to make the world comport with his ideology, whereas the fervent believer is focusing and expressing his devotion within himself, and his own life.

Thanks, PureX. That's how I see it, at least. A good example here are the threads about recriminalizing or making it a capital crime to be gay.
 

Arthur Brain

Well-known member
Thanks, PureX. That's how I see it, at least. A good example here are the threads about recriminalizing or making it a capital crime to be gay.
Exactly and similar. Those who advocate for laws that would make sex out of wedlock a crime and force people into all manner of their own religious ideology in a myriad ways. The good thing is that those with such extremes have no chance of enforcing it, at least in the West.
 

Arthur Brain

Well-known member
Yes. Unfortunately. Determined by their intolerance on issues that are legal but go against their religious views and preferences.

Insofar as dealing with them, take away their power to hold any type of position that holds authority.
Thankfully, as much as it's vocal among those who advocate a lot of this stuff, they have zero power or authority to subjugate others to their zealous beliefs and we should be thankful for that. Other countries don't have that luxury.
 
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