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An Extremely Critical View of Extremism

June 15th, 2005 · No Comments

My father would call me a bleeding heart liberal. Perhaps he would even go so far as to call me a socialist. Apparently, socialism is too extreme of a political ideology to discuss with Americans, so rather than try to defend noble causes like national health care, disability & unemployment insurance, or welfare programs, I’ll casually foray into a much simpler topic: religion.

Religion serves us well doing only one thing: answering spiritual questions. Religion should not be a governmental policy, as that would be a theocracy. Religion should not require full immersion of self to the organization at large, as that would be a cult. Also, religion should not be used as a rationale or justification, as that would just be asinine. How often do we hear those around us use religious texts to justify one thing or another?

“Gays can’t get married,” hardcore Christians say, because “the bible forbids it!” They will always have some scripture quote ready to defend such a statement. Of course, there are a number of things forbidden in the bible. One of my personal favorites is Deuteronomy 23:1, which says, “He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD.” But only a chapter prior to that, in Deuteronomy 22:13-21, the good book summarizes the procedure for a honeymoon. Specifically, if a man does the dirty with his new wife and “hates” her, that the burden of proof that she was a virgin lies on the father of the bride. Should he not be able to provide adequate proof that his daughter was a virgin, the girl must of course be stoned to death for the folly she had wrought to Israel.

Yes, I know that this is an extreme example of some of the content in the Bible. But it just goes to show that if you’re going to take one thing to be moral guidance, you have to take it all. Morals are flexible and highly reliant upon the social contexts they’re needed in. Murder, for example, is the ‘universal wrong’ that we all can relate to. It’s wrong to kill other people, right? Of course, but that’s only because we universally agree to that. Since we don’t want others killing us, the social contract forbids us from killing others. This is codified and enforced through law. Here’s another example – it’s wrong to run a red light. If you run a red light, another car can collide with you and someone could be seriously injured or killed. Of course, this example breaks down under scrutiny. A traveler on a lone highway arrives at a red light. They come to a complete stop, look both ways, and realize that there’s no one around for miles. They proceed through the light. Was this immoral? Does the fact that the vehicle and traffic law specifically forbids such an act completely summarize the “rightness” or “wrongness” of that situation?

Some people use religion for extreme purposes. The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is an example of an organization that uses extreme religious beliefs to justify a number of things. Not to be confused with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS herein) is the polygamist sect of cultists that you’ve probably heard of in the news recently. The state is cracking down on them for child & spousal abuse, polygamy, welfare fraud, reckless abandonment, and child rape. Polygamists, you see, need more females than males. That tricky little catch called “nature” pretty much ensures a 1:1 ration of males to females. How do the members of the FLDS handle that problem? They expel the young boys by driving them out hundreds of miles away from their cult town, and leave them on the side of the road. If you want to read an even more interesting discussion of this article, check out the Fark thread associated with it. The church is a front for dirty old cultist men that want to rape young girls and be immune from the law. If there is an afterlife, you can be sure they’ll all burn in whatever form of hell there is.

With so much extremism out there, it’s hard to find a religion to settle in with. I for one choose to define my own spirituality, and who can say there’s anything wrong with that? Religion at best can answer questions like, “Why?” Leave questions like “How” to the secularists. The Christians, the FLDS, the Scientologists, they’re all spooks. Not the followers, but the leaders. Please people; let your religion be a guide for life, and not an instruction manual. Everyone is different, so respect their beliefs too – until they are involved with pedophilia, pedophilia, or tax fraud (for Catholics, the FLDS, and Scientologists respectively).

If there is a higher being, I’m willing to be that he respects good will towards your fellow human beings and a strong will for self improvement more than he respects fundamentalism and sectarian extremism.

A woven table
Like this table top, we’re all interconnected. Let’s stop treating each other like crap; “god” will appreciate it.

Tags: My Thoughts

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