Reasons Why Extremist Rhetoric is All The Same

By the word “extremists,” I am referring to individual adherents of any faith who respond to the world around them in mentally and socially imbalanced ways.

1. They see the world in black and white; right and wrongs. The only exceptions are those that work in favor of their larger arguments.

2. They appeal to fear in order to gain followers. Ex: “If you don’t follow Q, then you will burn in the pits of Hell.”

3. They use logical fallacies when trying to “prove” their points. Ex: “This is wrong, because the guy with the religious man with the big beard says so.” (Appeal to Authority).

4. They are desperate to convince you they are right. If they cannot, they resort to the fallacies as a rhetorical tactic.

5. They condescendingly think they know something you don’t know.

6. They believe that they are neo-prophets. Their  role in this life is to show you the way to salvation.

7. They carry a lot of theory (book knowledge), but rarely any experience or practical knowledge about the way to their Creator.

8. They speak before they listen to others. This deafness leads them to make commentaries about subjects, religions and people without knowledge.

9. Anything that doesn’t line up with their worldview is simply “wrong” or “misunderstood”.

10. If they don’t get their way, they become violent. Ex: blow themselves (and others) up, burn Holy Books of other faiths, commit murder, verbally and physically attack, force others into submission, build oppressive theocratic regimes (these make me want to vomit), they silence their people, and so on. (Honestly, the Buddhists are the only ones who have gotten this peace thing down).

11. Last and certainly not least, they do not understand neither God nor Peace.


Intolerance: The Root of Violence

Today, I received an e-mail from a name that I didn’t recognize. When I opened it, it read “We met once at one of the MSA meetings last year. I hope you remember me. I just wanted to get your thoughts on this.” At that point, I knew exactly who the individual was. How could forget the man who made it his mission to attend all the MSA meetings with his Bible to remind us how Muslims would burn in hell if we didn’t accept Jesus as God into their lives!

I simply reminded him that violent individuals don’t represent Islam anymore than Terry Jones represents Christianity. Moreover, I asked him if he realized the ignorance in asking me to answer for the actions of individuals whom I’ve never met; asking me to explain why complete strangers are committing acts of violence. I asked him how he would feel if I asked him, an African American man, to defend the crimes committed by Blacks in the U.S.—because clearly, Blacks are one monolithic group (!?).

Within three e-mail, this individual:

condemned me to Hell; insulted my religion; insulted my ability to think; had me answer for crimes of complete strangers; and accused me of following my faith ignorantly and blindly. I asked him to think about how his own attitude reflects the same kind of ignorance and intolerance that he criticizes Muslims of having.

I still cannot believe that I had to deal with this from a complete stranger! I sent him a final e-mail inviting him to attend the local Interfaith Peace Conference this upcoming weekend (they teach individuals how to interact and speak with people of other faiths in order to produce more peace-oriented discussions).

I know people like him, and the best way to deal with them is to stay away from them. I have met Christians, Muslims, even atheists with this same attitude. They all sound like boring records—-except one preaches this and the other preaches that. They all try and convince the others to convert to their religion…or else.

They all sound the same. Two words: keep away.