Welcome to Silver and Shadow

"Look at that sea, girls--all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn't enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds." -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

This is a blog I will be using for topics other than food. Politics, religion, spirituality, humor, green living, anything that I want to talk about that doesn't fall under the food/cooking category.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Dangers of Zealotry

Zeal–noun fervor for a person, cause, or object; eager desire or endeavor; enthusiastic diligence; ardor.(Dictionary.com)

In the wake of the horrible attack in Norway yesterday, I couldn't help but notice how soon people were trying to link this to Al Qaeda or Islamic extremists. We soon found out that it was in fact a home-grown terrorist with right-wing nationalist tendencies responsible for it. The man who shot the Congresswoman and the crowd in Arizona, also a political extremist. People like to think that there's only one kind of extremist out there, and the knowledge of that somehow makes us feel safer, because it's easier to put see that way. X group looks like this, so as long as I am not around people who look like that, I'm safe from harm. Unfortunately life doesn't work that way. Zealotry comes in many forms, in many shapes, and many styles of beliefs. Religious(any) extremists, political extremists, ecoterrorists, people who are militant about what they eat, all of these are examples of zealotry. The problem is not what a person believes, the problem is that a person believes it so much that they are willing to kill or die for it. The belief literally becomes their entire identity.

One of the Ten Commandments in the Bible talks about not having any other gods before God, and I think this is a good example of that. Any time a belief is so strong that anything or anybody that goes against it is an intolerable threat that must be stopped is a dangerous state of mind. The inability to compromise or see from other points of view is a scary place to be, because inevitably, you will run across people who don't share your view. Because your belief is all you are, so all-consuming, they are a threat to you, personally, and must be removed as such.

It's good to have opinions and beliefs, but a person also needs balance and perspective. Whatever your belief may be, if it becomes something you believe in so passionately that you could kill or die for it--you're doing it wrong...