Posts Tagged Extremism

“Fundamentalism” vs. “Extremism”

Upon reading Jay Michaelsons recent post “The Creeping Jewish Fundamentalism in our Midst” (http://forward.com/articles/177405/the-creeping-jewish-fundamentalism-in-our-midst/) I want to object to the term ‘fundamentalism’. If, in fact, the term is meant to describe the fundamental beliefs or practices of a faith, then it should NOT be used to describe overly strict, non-normative, or just plain wacky interpretations. Better to call those whose interpretations of religious belief and practice are intolerant, sexist, anti-compassionate, violent, and nasty something else: ‘extremists’. The fundamentals of all faiths which, unfortunately, have extremists at their far right and left edges, have little to do with the views held by those extremists. Fundamentals include love, acceptance, understanding, support, mutual cooperation, and recognition that Holiness is to be found among caring people, exhibiting tolerance, tenderness and expressing their understanding of spiritual truth without vitriol and intolerance. As a religious person, the REAL fundamentals of my faith matter; when fundamentals are misused, I call it extremism, not fundamentalism.

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