Religious Zealotry

Hoping

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I fully agree. But Godliness and religion are often estranged from each other.
For sure...
Thank God we have the best definition of religion, in the bible.
It is written..."Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." (James 1:27)
 

PureX

Well-known member
For sure...
Thank God we have the best definition of religion, in the bible.
It is written..."Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." (James 1:27)
I.e., to serve those who are suffering, not to rule over them, condemn them, and punish them for their weakness. Seems a lot of self=proclaimed Christians these days want to rule over their fellow humans, and judge and punish them and even blame them for their suffering.
 

Clete

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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?
All I've read of the thread is this opening post and because I'm sure someone else will have already taken this tack, I'll simply throw in my two cents with as brief a response as I can think of and see if anyone wants to pick it up. If it's already been hashed over then no big deal....


People have the right to be as religiously zealous as they want to be. What NO ONE has the right to do is to infringe on someone else's rights.
Labeling a system of belief as "toxic" only has one purpose, which is to socially stigmatize that system of belief and is just a back door way of hindering a person's freedom of religion.

In short, let people believe what they want to believe and do what they want to do unless / until their behavior becomes criminal.

Of course, those who think that what is criminal is a matter of public opinion are hopelessly doomed to not have any substantive answers to what "criminal" means and are relegated to voicing nothing more impactful than their own personal opinions. The zealot, whether religious or political, will often defeat such a person politically because, when moving a population of people is the goal, all it takes is a noisy minority of about 20% to move the whole herd, most of which merely want to go along to get along.

Clete
 
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Clete

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I.e., to serve those who are suffering, not to rule over them, condemn them, and punish them for their weakness. Seems a lot of self=proclaimed Christians these days want to rule over their fellow humans, and judge and punish them and even blame them for their suffering.
It is the duty of all moral people, most especially Christians, to judge others according to righteousness and to lay blame where it properly belongs.

John 7:24 Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.

In other words, your response presents a false dichotomy. Visiting the fatherless and widows in their affliction and keeping one's self unspotted from the world cannot be done apart from judging ungodliness, and a society that does not punish fools is a society not worth living in for either the fatherless, widows or those who might visit them.

Clete
 
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Clete

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The Constitution trumps the Bible, when it comes to the laws in this country.
Only if those laws are to be unjust.

Further, the U.S. Constitution is written in a manner that permits it to be amended. Thus, to whatever degree the Constitution itself is unjust (i.e. unbiblical) in can and should be changed. And so, no, the Constitution does not trump the bible - period. That which is unjust is unjust, whether it is legal or not.

Clete
 
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PureX

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It is the duty of all moral people, most especially Christians, to judge others according to righteousness and to lay blame where it properly belongs.
And therein lay the formation of the toxic religious zealot, using his own understanding of God, and his own clan's holy books to appoint himself the right hand of God. Inerrant and unquestionably righteous in his own eyes, now, and free to mete out divine vengeance as he sees fit. It's a very old story, with a very sad ending.
 

Clete

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And therein lay the formation of the toxic religious zealot,
No it doesn't!

Yours is precisely the sort of stupidity that leads to governments outlawing religions. You'd fit right in over in Moscow and Beijing.

It's so idiotically hypocritical!

Your sitting there telling me that it's wrong (i.e. toxic) to judge!

BY WHAT STANDARD?

using his own understanding of God, and his own clan's holy books to appoint himself the right hand of God.
No one is appointing themselves any such thing!

Inerrant and unquestionably righteous in his own eyes, now, and free to mete out divine vengeance as he sees fit. It's a very old story, with a very sad ending.
You are truly an idiot. Honestly, is this really the sort of thing you find persuasive? This nonsense spewed from the clear blew sky in response to a post that was made not a half an hour after I had just posted that "NO ONE has the right to infringe on someone else's rights.".

You're a pathetic fool who couldn't think his way out of a wet paper bag.
 

PureX

Well-known member
No it doesn't!

Yours is precisely the sort of stupidity that leads to governments outlawing religions. You'd fit right in over in Moscow and Beijing.

It's so idiotically hypocritical!

Your sitting there telling me that it's wrong (i.e. toxic) to judge!
It's our responsibility to determine our own ethical priorities, and to judge our own actions in the world according to those priorities. Of course that will involve having to judge the behavior of others to determine our degree of participation and/or response. The problems arise when we presume tat our ethical priorities are God's ethical priorities, and that our ethical priorities are therefor absolute and sacrosanct: inerrant and unquestionable. Once we reach that point, we no longer have an effective conscience. Whatever we think is right is right absolutely, because (we believe) God says so.

This is the danger I am warning about when we encounter (or become) the religious zealot.
 

Idolater

"Lahey, I live in a tent!"
Black and white: Stealing is wrong. Never steal.

Gray: Ukraine war zone: my children are starving, I'm going to steal those Russian rations to feed them.

Are you always extreme black and white, with never any shades of gray?
As anna has already alluded to, to what degree? Some things are black and white sure. If someone forces themselves on another including in marriage then it's rape.

Other things aren't quite so clear cut so I'm reckoning you have shades of grey also.

An obvious example being: You're harboring Jews or any other undesirable in Nazi Germany and a Gestapo squad call around your house and ask if you're hiding them. What do you do? Tell the truth or lie?
In both these scenarios the stealing and lying part is black and white----of course you do. You steal the food, and you lie to the Nazis, absolutely no question.

The gray or grey part is whether you also attempt to kill the Russians and the Nazis.

This is not because trying to kill Russians /Nazis is gray or grey, trying to kill them is 100% black and white totally fine.

But, there are two possible options and two possible outcomes here.
Option 1. Try to kill the Russians /Nazis
Option 2. Don't try to kill the Russians /Nazis

Outcome 1. The Russians /Nazis kill you
Outcome 2. The Russians /Nazis don't kill you

It's grey or gray because even if you don't try to kill the Russians /Nazis, they may either kill you (Option 2 and Outcome 1), or not (Option 2 and Outcome 2).
But if you don't try to kill them, maybe they won't kill you (Option 2 and Outcome 2).
But maybe if you do try to kill them, then they won't kill you (Option 1 and Outcome 2), but then maybe they will kill you (Option 1 and Outcome 1).
And if you succeed in killing the Russians /Nazis, then they won't kill you, because you killed them first (Option 1 and Outcome 2).

So to not die in these scenarios, it is not black and white, but a shade of grey or gray.
 

JudgeRightly

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It's our responsibility to determine our own ethical priorities,

Morality is not arbitrary. There IS a standard, and it is NOT US.

and to judge our own actions in the world according to those priorities.

Supra.

Of course that will involve having to judge the behavior of others to determine our degree of participation and/or response.

Participation in what?

The problems arise when we presume that our ethical priorities are God's ethical priorities,

When we align our priorities to what is outlined in the Bible, there is no problem at all.

and that our ethical priorities are therefore absolute and sacrosanct: inerrant and unquestionable.

When God's priorities are our priorities, then our priorities ARE absolute and sacrosanct.

Once we reach that point, we no longer have an effective conscience. Whatever we think is right is right absolutely, because (we believe) God says so.

You seem to be doing the very thing you are condemning... That's called hypocrisy.

This is the danger I am warning about when we encounter (or become) the religious zealot.

When one places his own beliefs above what God says, that's when the person falls into error.
 

ok doser

lifeguard at the cement pond
It's our responsibility to determine our own ethical priorities,
Okay. I have determined that my own ethical priority allows for the murder of children pre-birth or post birth, based solely on the decision of the mother.
and to judge our own actions in the world according to those priorities.
According to those priorities I have taken action by handing out vouchers to abortion clinics to pregnant women and knives to mothers of small children



On what basis can YOU tell me that I am wrong?
 
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