Extremist see so little; only what they want to see. I thought about this as I watched the final presidential debate last night, and was reminded again when I got to work this morning.
I saw in the debate views on both sides that I liked and agreed with. On the other hand, friends at work this morning greeted me with total praise for every word that came out of Obama’s mouth, and condemnation for every word uttered by McCain. Things just aren’t that black and white for me (no pun intended). I believe that every person, no matter how “different” they may be, has opinions that can be valued and accepted by others.
Yet extremism blinds people to the worth of others who are “different” from themselves. I believe the fundamental makeup of the extremist is that they are not willing to even consider the views of others. This goes for political extremists, environmental extremists, religious extremists; you name it.
Referring back to the types of topics I typically write about, here are a couple of examples of religious extremists:
- The members of the Topeka, Kansas church who loudly proclaim that God hates everyone except for them. They apparently read the bible looking only for things that support their view. If they come across something that is in conflict with their views, perhaps they ignore it or simply spin it.
- Those who believe that God does not consider homosexuality a sin. Based on what these people have to say, it appears they read the bible in the same way as the “haters”, or maybe they don’t read the bible at all.
What these two groups have in common (other than how they read the bible), is that they are blinded by their extreme views; unwilling to even consider evidence that is in conflict with their beliefs.
Extremists don’t always stand out like the radical Obama supporters where I work, or the religious nuts who carry signs saying “God hates you”, or the suicide bombers in the Middle East. We all may be blinded by our own extreme views and beliefs. Think about it; where are your blind spots?
October 16, 2008 at 1:08 pm
I have never read the bible or koran, I’m just not relaigious but I do believe in God. within ourselves. Religion- politics to me and I don’t like politics as it is dirty and look at Palin she has her own extreme crazy ideas she wants us to follow and scariest thing to believe.
Abortion and all other things are personal choices and noone can dictate us what to do.
But is freedom also an extreme?
October 20, 2008 at 7:19 am
You’ve touched a sore spot with me that I’ve been wrestling with for a while. I’m a Kansan, so I’ve had my fill of the Phelpses over the years (although Fred, the patriarch of the clan, is an amazing speaker). I agree, too, that the epistles list homosexuality as a sin (although Paul doesn’t target it specifically, but lists it along with a whole bunch of other sins like anger, malice, greed, envy–little attitudes that we like to think aren’t quite so serious of sins since we have probably committed them at one time or another.)
So my sermon this week is on “love God, love your neighbor as yourself”. Ultimately, I’m of the mind that we’re called to be respectful and kind to everyone, and let God decide who deserves to be condemned (if anyone–I’m a big believer in grace, too).
I have had gay friends (and friends who are parents of gay children). I have friends who had abortions. Perhaps I can’t be hateful about those subjects because I love my friends.
And yes, my biggest gripe about this election is the unfettered adoration showered on Obama, and the criticism of every move blasted at McCain. Is it possible to look at the pros and cons of each candidate without painting one as evil and one as good? I think they’re both good, sincere candidates with different philosophies on how to run the country.
Great post . . .
October 20, 2008 at 10:04 am
Thanks for your thoughts and comments. I’ve written other posts about Phelps and his church, and their message of hate. If you’re interested, check out the following posts:
Thanks for visiting again. May God bless you and your ministry.