The Fundamentalist Lurking Within: Are these people crazy or what?

When there is a government budget deadlock, which is rare by the way, we all have our villain spotted in the mess. Our villains include Fox News if you are lean one way or MSNBC if you are on the other team. With the economy we can blame big banks for the loss of our home value, our realtor for the bad price we paid for it or either the current or former president for not doing the right thing.

Villains are always right there in front of us and the media of all kinds from broadcast to Facebook gladly feeds our shark like hunger 24-hours a day in every time zone. The noise from this screaming drives the media. There is no better way to get an audience or reaction than to point out flaws, blame a loser or complain about bad service on twitter, blogs or even the local news.

Even worse, we decry “fundamentalism” because I believe it is nice to categorize villains and extremists in some other class than the rest of us. It is either the radical Islamic plot to take us down like 9/11 or, in Norway, a Christian fundamentalist bomber bent on saving his culture. Could it be that you and I are really not that different from these people? Could our views be extreme to someone and make them feel the same emotions we feel about them? We claim their insanity, but perhaps we are naive. Perhaps. Maybe, there is a fundamentalist lurking within each of us.

Am I the villain? Think about it. Congress is voted in by us. We chose to overextend our living using homes as ATM machines. Fox News or MSNBC exist because of you and I. As you and I enjoy and praise the prices of Walmart we also may be enslaving a child who makes those $10 shoes across the planet. As we hug a tree, we may be ripping away the job of an honest blue collar logger. Either way, I am a villain to someone and so are you.

With all the villains we see, a hero cannot win with the cards we have dealt. We all understand there are winners and losers in economic as well as social issues. So, we draw a line in the sand. Then nobody wins. Like with our doomsday nuclear arsenal, we make sure of that. No reasoned conversation can exist. It means that improving the environment is not acceptable if it at all slows jobs. It means that certain groups demand rights with disregard of the historical context of thousands of years.

Freedom of and from religion does not have to mean its abolition. Even many of my fellow Christians claim to be “non religious” in order to be more palatable. Recently, a large organization removed “crusade” because of course those were bad in history. We want to not offend. Fundamentalists are the ones who offend, so you and I better not be one of those.

People of faith have it in their hands to deal the best cards today. Our restraint is not in neutering our message or marketing the distinctiveness from our lingo. It is in having the belief that evil exists in us all and that good is possible–with God’s intervention in and through us. If we leave it to media, the talking heads and our politicians than we are left with too much spice and no substance. If we leave it to the elites who fuel these and other institutions to think for us, then we cannot be people who see change that can better all of us.

You say, “But I am not a fundamentalist!” Really? The reason fundamentalists scare you and I is because we cannot see ourselves believing anything strongly enough to sacrifice our lives to see it come to pass. This is true even of most people of “faith” today. We live small and fear what price anything more requires of us.

But, we do believe! We believe in our materialism, our kid’s suburban soccer league, or in the freedom to watch TV for hours on end. We choose our path with a cost, whether or not we are cognizant of it. Living for self is our God. We completely recoil in terror from anyone who lives differently. But, it is not about being selfless, it is about being beyond self. This what a hero is, right? The hero gets the wound or worse as he fights for more than his flawed self.  Are not heroes as crazy as we think “fundamentalists” are? Perhaps.

So, do you have a fundamentalist lurking inside of you waiting to get out? All it takes is a Pearl Harbor event to awaken. Do you agree?

 

 

 

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Rich Kirkpatrick

Rich Kirkpatrick

Writer, Speaker, and Musician. Rich Kirkpatrick was recently rated #13 of the “Top 75 Religion Bloggers” by Newsmax.com, having also received recognition by Worship Leader Magazine as “Editor’s Choice” for the “Best of the Best” of blogs in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

66 comments

  1. “Either way, I am a villain to someone and so are you.”——————-

    That was the one statement that grabbed me as i read your post.

    The thing is, I choose my enemies.  I do not let them choose me.  I know exactly who is going to be offended at my words or upset at my ideals.  Like moths to a flame or starving hyenas to a carcass, I can predict their movements as easily.

    I do not mind being a villain.  Jesus said that folks would hate us because of Him.

    Awesome.

    1. You are right. But, many hate Christians because of things other than Jesus!

      1. And those things are probably worth hating.  

  2. “Either way, I am a villain to someone and so are you.”——————-
    That was the one statement that grabbed me as i read your post.
    The thing is, I choose my enemies.  I do not let them choose me.  I know exactly who is going to be offended at my words or upset at my ideals.  Like moths to a flame or starving hyenas to a carcass, I can predict their movements as easily.
    I do not mind being a villain.  Jesus said that folks would hate us because of Him.
    Awesome.

    1. You are right. But, many hate Christians because of things other than Jesus!

  3. “Either way, I am a villain to someone and so are you.”——————-

    That was the one statement that grabbed me as i read your post.

    The thing is, I choose my enemies.  I do not let them choose me.  I know exactly who is going to be offended at my words or upset at my ideals.  Like moths to a flame or starving hyenas to a carcass, I can predict their movements as easily.

    I do not mind being a villain.  Jesus said that folks would hate us because of Him.

    Awesome.

    1. You are right. But, many hate Christians because of things other than Jesus!

      1. And those things are probably worth hating.  

  4. “Either way, I am a villain to someone and so are you.”——————-

    That was the one statement that grabbed me as i read your post.

    The thing is, I choose my enemies.  I do not let them choose me.  I know exactly who is going to be offended at my words or upset at my ideals.  Like moths to a flame or starving hyenas to a carcass, I can predict their movements as easily.

    I do not mind being a villain.  Jesus said that folks would hate us because of Him.

    Awesome.

    1. You are right. But, many hate Christians because of things other than Jesus!

      1. And those things are probably worth hating.  

  5. “Either way, I am a villain to someone and so are you.”——————-

    That was the one statement that grabbed me as i read your post.

    The thing is, I choose my enemies.  I do not let them choose me.  I know exactly who is going to be offended at my words or upset at my ideals.  Like moths to a flame or starving hyenas to a carcass, I can predict their movements as easily.

    I do not mind being a villain.  Jesus said that folks would hate us because of Him.

    Awesome.

    1. You are right. But, many hate Christians because of things other than Jesus!

      1. And those things are probably worth hating.  

  6. No man is worse than the other.  That is the thing that we all fail to understand.

    1. Yes, by nature. But, not by behavior. Some of us do not blow up buildings.

  7. No man is worse than the other.  That is the thing that we all fail to understand.

    1. Yes, by nature. But, not by behavior. Some of us do not blow up buildings.

  8. No man is worse than the other.  That is the thing that we all fail to understand.

    1. Yes, by nature. But, not by behavior. Some of us do not blow up buildings.

  9. No man is worse than the other.  That is the thing that we all fail to understand.

    1. Yes, by nature. But, not by behavior. Some of us do not blow up buildings.

  10. No man is worse than the other.  That is the thing that we all fail to understand.

    1. Yes, by nature. But, not by behavior. Some of us do not blow up buildings.

  11. Great post. 
    My only thought relating to the events in Norway, I completely disagree with what happened. However, most people have strong feelings and ideas but no one wants to do anything to see things change.

    1. The question underneath: craziness, or not? I think reasoned people do evil things. Our problem is we can’t face that, because we are reasoned people–in theory.

      1. But who decides “crazy”?

        1. Conventional thought is that the 9/11 bombers were crazy. I think not. They reasonably believed in their cause and paid the ultimate price for it. Now, evil is not always this outlandish and it is something people choose. Insanity makes it easy on us as a theory. Evil means you and I might not be so far off from these “crazy” people. 

  12. One issue is our definition of right vs wrong compared to the mainstream definition of right vs wrong.  The distance between the beliefs of an individual and the beliefs of most other people.
    Another issue is our beliefs compared to our willingness to act on those beliefs.

    A person whose values/beliefs are far from the normal set may be considered extreme.  A person with normal value/belief sets may be considered extreme if they’re more willing than others to act on those beliefs.

    1. And all it takes is Pearl Harbor event to execute a war. We are but one step away from extremism–any of us.

      1. I guess it depends on the nature of the extremism.  For example, Pearl Harbor thrust my grandfather into extreme ACTION, but not because of any type of extreme belief.  He was drafted, and had no desire to fight the Japanese until his values of honesty, integrity, character, and honor (none of which I would consider extreme) dictated that he follow orders to join the Army and fight for his country.  
        Is that considered extremism?

        When it comes down to it, that’s what most soldiers do in war.  They’re not usually evil or extreme.  They’re just doing what is right on a much less extreme level – being honorable, courageous, loyal, etc…

        The leaders on the other hand…

        1. Many Japanese soldiers were also full of integrity like members of my family buried with honors. Our extremism was imprisoning Japanese Americans and other pragmatic choices. So, we did “extremist” things. Extremist however is not the same as evil. Evil can appear benign. We can cover our tracks with belief that the masses opinion of right is right. When we think we are not capable of being extreme or evil we are foolish. Soldiers also commit genocide–the extreme thing of rebellion in that case a holy act. It’s not that we are always wearing the white hat and we must humbly examine ourselves, our culture, and our leaders.

          1. I totally agree.  My point was more general.
            I think extremism could be defined as a person who not only has extreme beliefs, but also takes extreme action.  Its the combination of extreme action and belief.

            For example – I wouldn’t consider the guys who flew into the buildings on 9/11 extremists because they actually had some legitimate and non-extreme foundational beliefs which spurred them to extreme action.  If the Bible called people to a holy war in certain circumstances, then we’d see Christians do the same things.

            This guy was an extremist by my definition.  He had an extreme belief (one far from the masses) AND took extreme action (one that most in the masses wouldn’t consider under normal circumstances).  

            Then again, I guess “extreme” is measured from something, so its relative to either popular (mainstream) belief or perhaps an absolute right/wrong.

            What do you think?

          2. My thought is our media creates “extreme” or “fundamentalist” to mask the greater discussion and create villains which sells newsprint and commercial slots on CNN. It is too easy.

  13. One issue is our definition of right vs wrong compared to the mainstream definition of right vs wrong.  The distance between the beliefs of an individual and the beliefs of most other people.
    Another issue is our beliefs compared to our willingness to act on those beliefs.
    A person whose values/beliefs are far from the normal set may be considered extreme.  A person with normal value/belief sets may be considered extreme if they’re more willing than others to act on those beliefs.

    1. And all it takes is Pearl Harbor event to execute a war. We are but one step away from extremism–any of us.

      1. I guess it depends on the nature of the extremism.  For example, Pearl Harbor thrust my grandfather into extreme ACTION, but not because of any type of extreme belief.  He was drafted, and had no desire to fight the Japanese until his values of honesty, integrity, character, and honor (none of which I would consider extreme) dictated that he follow orders to join the Army and fight for his country.  
        Is that considered extremism?
        When it comes down to it, that’s what most soldiers do in war.  They’re not usually evil or extreme.  They’re just doing what is right on a much less extreme level – being honorable, courageous, loyal, etc…
        The leaders on the other hand…

        1. Many Japanese soldiers were also full of integrity like members of my family buried with honors. Our extremism was imprisoning Japanese Americans and other pragmatic choices. So, we did “extremist” things. Extremist however is not the same as evil. Evil can appear benign. We can cover our tracks with belief that the masses opinion of right is right. When we think we are not capable of being extreme or evil we are foolish. Soldiers also commit genocide–the extreme thing of rebellion in that case a holy act. It’s not that we are always wearing the white hat and we must humbly examine ourselves, our culture, and our leaders.

          1. I totally agree.  My point was more general.
            I think extremism could be defined as a person who not only has extreme beliefs, but also takes extreme action.  Its the combination of extreme action and belief.
            For example – I wouldn’t consider the guys who flew into the buildings on 9/11 extremists because they actually had some legitimate and non-extreme foundational beliefs which spurred them to extreme action.  If the Bible called people to a holy war in certain circumstances, then we’d see Christians do the same things.
            This guy was an extremist by my definition.  He had an extreme belief (one far from the masses) AND took extreme action (one that most in the masses wouldn’t consider under normal circumstances).  
            Then again, I guess “extreme” is measured from something, so its relative to either popular (mainstream) belief or perhaps an absolute right/wrong.
            What do you think?

          2. My thought is our media creates “extreme” or “fundamentalist” to mask the greater discussion and create villains which sells newsprint and commercial slots on CNN. It is too easy.

  14. One issue is our definition of right vs wrong compared to the mainstream definition of right vs wrong.  The distance between the beliefs of an individual and the beliefs of most other people.
    Another issue is our beliefs compared to our willingness to act on those beliefs.

    A person whose values/beliefs are far from the normal set may be considered extreme.  A person with normal value/belief sets may be considered extreme if they’re more willing than others to act on those beliefs.

    1. And all it takes is Pearl Harbor event to execute a war. We are but one step away from extremism–any of us.

      1. I guess it depends on the nature of the extremism.  For example, Pearl Harbor thrust my grandfather into extreme ACTION, but not because of any type of extreme belief.  He was drafted, and had no desire to fight the Japanese until his values of honesty, integrity, character, and honor (none of which I would consider extreme) dictated that he follow orders to join the Army and fight for his country.  
        Is that considered extremism?

        When it comes down to it, that’s what most soldiers do in war.  They’re not usually evil or extreme.  They’re just doing what is right on a much less extreme level – being honorable, courageous, loyal, etc…

        The leaders on the other hand…

        1. Many Japanese soldiers were also full of integrity like members of my family buried with honors. Our extremism was imprisoning Japanese Americans and other pragmatic choices. So, we did “extremist” things. Extremist however is not the same as evil. Evil can appear benign. We can cover our tracks with belief that the masses opinion of right is right. When we think we are not capable of being extreme or evil we are foolish. Soldiers also commit genocide–the extreme thing of rebellion in that case a holy act. It’s not that we are always wearing the white hat and we must humbly examine ourselves, our culture, and our leaders.

          1. I totally agree.  My point was more general.
            I think extremism could be defined as a person who not only has extreme beliefs, but also takes extreme action.  Its the combination of extreme action and belief.

            For example – I wouldn’t consider the guys who flew into the buildings on 9/11 extremists because they actually had some legitimate and non-extreme foundational beliefs which spurred them to extreme action.  If the Bible called people to a holy war in certain circumstances, then we’d see Christians do the same things.

            This guy was an extremist by my definition.  He had an extreme belief (one far from the masses) AND took extreme action (one that most in the masses wouldn’t consider under normal circumstances).  

            Then again, I guess “extreme” is measured from something, so its relative to either popular (mainstream) belief or perhaps an absolute right/wrong.

            What do you think?

          2. My thought is our media creates “extreme” or “fundamentalist” to mask the greater discussion and create villains which sells newsprint and commercial slots on CNN. It is too easy.

  15. One issue is our definition of right vs wrong compared to the mainstream definition of right vs wrong.  The distance between the beliefs of an individual and the beliefs of most other people.
    Another issue is our beliefs compared to our willingness to act on those beliefs.

    A person whose values/beliefs are far from the normal set may be considered extreme.  A person with normal value/belief sets may be considered extreme if they’re more willing than others to act on those beliefs.

    1. And all it takes is Pearl Harbor event to execute a war. We are but one step away from extremism–any of us.

      1. I guess it depends on the nature of the extremism.  For example, Pearl Harbor thrust my grandfather into extreme ACTION, but not because of any type of extreme belief.  He was drafted, and had no desire to fight the Japanese until his values of honesty, integrity, character, and honor (none of which I would consider extreme) dictated that he follow orders to join the Army and fight for his country.  
        Is that considered extremism?

        When it comes down to it, that’s what most soldiers do in war.  They’re not usually evil or extreme.  They’re just doing what is right on a much less extreme level – being honorable, courageous, loyal, etc…

        The leaders on the other hand…

        1. Many Japanese soldiers were also full of integrity like members of my family buried with honors. Our extremism was imprisoning Japanese Americans and other pragmatic choices. So, we did “extremist” things. Extremist however is not the same as evil. Evil can appear benign. We can cover our tracks with belief that the masses opinion of right is right. When we think we are not capable of being extreme or evil we are foolish. Soldiers also commit genocide–the extreme thing of rebellion in that case a holy act. It’s not that we are always wearing the white hat and we must humbly examine ourselves, our culture, and our leaders.

          1. I totally agree.  My point was more general.
            I think extremism could be defined as a person who not only has extreme beliefs, but also takes extreme action.  Its the combination of extreme action and belief.

            For example – I wouldn’t consider the guys who flew into the buildings on 9/11 extremists because they actually had some legitimate and non-extreme foundational beliefs which spurred them to extreme action.  If the Bible called people to a holy war in certain circumstances, then we’d see Christians do the same things.

            This guy was an extremist by my definition.  He had an extreme belief (one far from the masses) AND took extreme action (one that most in the masses wouldn’t consider under normal circumstances).  

            Then again, I guess “extreme” is measured from something, so its relative to either popular (mainstream) belief or perhaps an absolute right/wrong.

            What do you think?

          2. My thought is our media creates “extreme” or “fundamentalist” to mask the greater discussion and create villains which sells newsprint and commercial slots on CNN. It is too easy.

  16. One issue is our definition of right vs wrong compared to the mainstream definition of right vs wrong.  The distance between the beliefs of an individual and the beliefs of most other people.
    Another issue is our beliefs compared to our willingness to act on those beliefs.

    A person whose values/beliefs are far from the normal set may be considered extreme.  A person with normal value/belief sets may be considered extreme if they’re more willing than others to act on those beliefs.

    1. And all it takes is Pearl Harbor event to execute a war. We are but one step away from extremism–any of us.

      1. I guess it depends on the nature of the extremism.  For example, Pearl Harbor thrust my grandfather into extreme ACTION, but not because of any type of extreme belief.  He was drafted, and had no desire to fight the Japanese until his values of honesty, integrity, character, and honor (none of which I would consider extreme) dictated that he follow orders to join the Army and fight for his country.  
        Is that considered extremism?

        When it comes down to it, that’s what most soldiers do in war.  They’re not usually evil or extreme.  They’re just doing what is right on a much less extreme level – being honorable, courageous, loyal, etc…

        The leaders on the other hand…

        1. Many Japanese soldiers were also full of integrity like members of my family buried with honors. Our extremism was imprisoning Japanese Americans and other pragmatic choices. So, we did “extremist” things. Extremist however is not the same as evil. Evil can appear benign. We can cover our tracks with belief that the masses opinion of right is right. When we think we are not capable of being extreme or evil we are foolish. Soldiers also commit genocide–the extreme thing of rebellion in that case a holy act. It’s not that we are always wearing the white hat and we must humbly examine ourselves, our culture, and our leaders.

          1. I totally agree.  My point was more general.
            I think extremism could be defined as a person who not only has extreme beliefs, but also takes extreme action.  Its the combination of extreme action and belief.

            For example – I wouldn’t consider the guys who flew into the buildings on 9/11 extremists because they actually had some legitimate and non-extreme foundational beliefs which spurred them to extreme action.  If the Bible called people to a holy war in certain circumstances, then we’d see Christians do the same things.

            This guy was an extremist by my definition.  He had an extreme belief (one far from the masses) AND took extreme action (one that most in the masses wouldn’t consider under normal circumstances).  

            Then again, I guess “extreme” is measured from something, so its relative to either popular (mainstream) belief or perhaps an absolute right/wrong.

            What do you think?

          2. My thought is our media creates “extreme” or “fundamentalist” to mask the greater discussion and create villains which sells newsprint and commercial slots on CNN. It is too easy.

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