Fundamentalism, extremism, violence: three very different things

Note the subtle Newspeak dictionary push on these two terms, oft appearing in posts by some atheists: “using the term fundamentalist when he really means extremist”. And the phrase “ALL religious fanaticism”.

Remember, Newspeak was the 1984 Orwellian Big-Brother idea of changing their subjects’ thinking by narrowing their language.



1 a often capitalized : a movement in 20th century Protestantism emphasizing the literally interpreted Bible as fundamental to Christian life and teaching
b : the beliefs of this movement
c : adherence to such beliefs

2: a movement or attitude stressing strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles <Islamic fundamentalism> <political fundamentalism>

Anyone can be “extremist” in what they believe. Walter Block, Rothbard’s most prominent disciple, is an “extremist” in applying the *fundamental* principle of non-aggression to every social interaction. Property owners have the right to shoot trespassers dead for the mere act of trespassing, even if the trespass is to prevent death by starvation. He says you have no obligation, based on the NAP, to save the life a guy clinging to your balcony on the 30th floor.

(Having seen him speak by Skype at a meeting once I think he would try to save the clinging guy and would probably not shoot such a trespasser, but agree that the NAP imposes no such obligation (even though God does for his believers).

What is happening here is the push of a meme that tries to equate these three concepts when it is applied to “religion”, but to try to keep it separate at all costs from the religion of “philosophical materialism” (which is philosophically equivalent to the application of so-called “atheism”).

The anti-God, anti-Christian meme tries to conflate three very different, and incompatible, concepts into one:

#1- fundamentalism
#2- extremism
#3- violence, especially when the violence is brutal

Fundamentalism was a term coined in mid-20th century for some Evangelical Christians that emphasized returning to Biblical “fundamentals”, such as a belief in the straightforward narrative of the Bible, the “Trinity” (“these three are one”), expiatory salvation, the Resurrection, and so on).

Extremism derives of course from “extreme”, as in taking one’s beliefs to an extreme. But this is not always bad. The sort-of libertarian-leaning Barry Goldwater once said, ” I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!” Walter Block is “extreme” in the application of the non-aggression principle: no exceptions. Atheists are not immune to having their own versions, of course, because they are people too. Ayn Rand is an example. In John Galt’s famous interminable speech in which he took forcible possession of every private and public network to broadcast his speech, Ayn Rand took her extremism to the maximum in condemning God as if he forced anybody to do anything. But not just any God, but the Biblical God.

Then there is the violence. Probably most pagan religions have, or had before Christian and Western influences, were very violent. The Aztecs and many Mayans and the Incas when the Spanish arrived, the Arawaks had eliminated the previous tribes from Hispaniola generations before Columbus, and many North American tribes were warrior cultures. Charles Darwin once wrote a rebuke to those who would condemn missionaries as evil, reminding them that at that time world travelers were always relieved to see a church steeple on a remote island, when they found themselves having to port at the island. That way they knew they would EAT dinner instead of BE dinner.

The story of Abraham and Isaac (the sacrifice) is one that is more a protest against the child sacrifice and infant sacrifice of those days. The Canaanites were Baal worshippers, and Baal required human sacrifice. Molech was another.

“The End of the Sword” is a book-based movie about the missionaries who eventually won over the Huaorani. That was a tribe in Ecuador that took itself close to ethnic suicide with all the violence. God listed the ubiquitous violence as one reason for the Flood.

I do not regard Walter Block, who is atheist, as anti-Christian. In fact he has proclaimed an enthusiastic welcome among libertarians among their numbers. He has even gone farther than that; he has said that there are two institutions of culture that are the strongest cross-generational defenses against totalitarianism and all state institutions, all other things being equal of course.

To say that Mother Theresa’s extreme Catholicism, or the Amish Protestant extremism, is as dangerous as the Inquisitors’ or of the power-seeking Jesuits is preposterous. And to equate it on a danger scale with the public beheadings of journalists or of adulteresses in Saudi Arabia is simply put, outrageous. It is not only ignorant; it is willfully ignorant.

Equating them all is like following Janet Napolitano’s enemies list. This is the one biggest gap in Ayn Rand’s NON-reasoning, and it is a fatal flaw.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, – Luke 4:18

<Tags: religion, Bible, infant sacrifice, atheism, anti-Christians, extremism, fundamentalism, Mother Theresa, Amish, Jesuits, Huorani, The End of the Spear, Barry Godlwater, Walter Block, Murray Rothbard, libertarianism, non-aggression principle>


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