Saturday, May 27, 2017

A Rise of Extremism

Extremism is a doubtful concept.  What kind of standpoint does the extremity of so-called extremism arise out of?  Are we not encroaching into an extremism ourselves when we curse someone "extremist"?  This afternoon on campus, an interesting scene attracted many students near the Bell-tower, the symbolic central place.  Two elderly men were delivering public speech condemning "sins" of secularism such as homosexuality and abortion with signboards written, "Why You All Deserve Hell," "Islam = Terrorism, Rape" and so on.  A horde of students sitting in front of them often responded with mocking and laughing.  

Religious extremists were they, liberal extremists the counterparts seemed to be.  The campus newspaper, run by a student editorial board, already opined at the current issue "Don't feed the trolls by the Bell Tower."  "Their words," notes the editorial, "carry very little weight for those who are not religious and do not believe in their brand of hell in the first place."  It seemed so.  The students responding them seemed more interested in how they could ridicule them by finding fault with the speech, sentence to sentence.  

Rather, their speech and presence could, the newspaper continues, help the campus community learn the reality of our society where there are "lunatics ... who have extremely deluded convictions."  It was said "undoubtedly problematic" even though such a speech act is not illegal.

The Op-Ed piece is depicted with a cartoon where a few angry-faced people stand with pickets on a small island named "Island of Ignorance."  I suspect the editorial, not they, as well as most of my fellow liberals, standing on one.

The view states that the speakers as extremists incorrectly represent an "otherwise peaceful and tolerant group of people" who are lay Christians and practicing their religions with good sensitivity.  Really?  Is it that no public evangelism and being quiet outside churches means peace and tolerance?  The identification of hell and Islam--and, for that matter, any religion except Christianity--is by no means extrinsic to most church communities in the US.  Besides, all humans are essentially sinful according to the biblical point of view, so no one without Christian born-again will evade the final judgment and following hell.  The speech act itself is so distinctive in the sense that few Christians attempt evangelism in such a provocative way that may well drive the whole mood of the campus to liminality and punkyard. 

Those who are concerned with the national history and ancestry of religiosity will find the recent feat of relativism in matters of sexuality and immigration hurting the core of their identity.  The extremity of religious extremism sprinkled against the church advocates shot out of the bystanders who make mockery and the editorial harshly sided with none but the campus evangelicals. 

It is also frustrating to read from the paper that it is "improbable that [the speech acts] will actually influence any individual with a conscience and brain on this campus."  From an evangelical perspective, this extreme kind of conveying ideas is one of the most frequently used and highly effective strategies.  I even presume that the speech would potentially have created a place for conversation, understanding, and reconciliation with those who hold different perspectives.  A blunt obstinacy from the side of campus community unfortunately dazzled  off actions that might calm down lateral extremity of any kind.  

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