Definition of Religious Fanatics

I feel very misunderstood whenever I talk about religious fanatics. Religious fanatics are not the same as religious people. They are the opposite of religious people.

A fanatic’s only allegiance is to her or his own interests. A fanatic’s only God is his or her own self. There would be nothing bad about it if only fanatics admitted that honestly and didn’t try to pass of their self-interest for something that is supposed to benefit all humanity. Why do you think the Soviet Communism soon acquired extremely religious overtones? That was because the Soviet Communism shared with religious fanaticism the crucial quality of complete self-righteousness that knew no moral barriers and experienced no qualms.

A religious fanatic is a sociopath who finds blabbering about God very convenient to dupe the simple-minded into putting up with the fanatic’s exploitation and nastiness.

Religious people worship God. Religious fanatics believe they are God.

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11 comments on “Definition of Religious Fanatics

  1. Now that is a much better statement! It truly distinguishes the religious fanatic from the atheistic fanatic.

    Napoleon believed ultimately only in himself, as did Mao Zedong, Adolf Hitler, and Josef Stalin. Of course that did not ameliorate their capacity for malevolent behavior. Surely they are the worst three perpetrators of murder, rape, pillage and enforced starvation in the history of mankind?

    • I think that Lenin was also horrible. He died early which is why most people don’t know that he was more cruel than even Stalin. I think he was the definition of a sociopath and Stalin learned everything he knew from him.

  2. Okay, this is a reasonable working definiton for one kind of religious fanatic. But I’m far from being convinced that you’re as able to detect them as you seem to think you are.

    I spend a lot of time thinking about the mechanics and effects of religious faith (which I am incapable of) and I have a hard time drawing the line (for one thing I don’t think it’s a discrete division).

    Some kind of tendency toward religious/spritual belief seems to be part of the design features of homo sapiens. Those of us who don’t have it should probably think of ourselves as missing something rather than being on to something better.

    My working assumption is that religious faith is something like fire, life for most people is poorer and more brutish without it but it’s a dangerous force that can harm those who weld it (no matter what their intentions). At the societal level there’s a broad spectrum between too much (Saudi Arabia) and not enough (lots of enlightened western european countries on a demographic death march).

    I’m also thinking a lot about this because just at this moment I’m trying (with much less time than I’d like/planned on) to come up with an introductory lesson on religious belief/practice in the US…

    • I don’t know much about religions other than Christianity but, among Christians, I have an easy method of discerning between a fanatic and a religious person. A truly religious person perceives the religion as a very intimate personal affair and doesn’t use it as a weapon against others. Steve Hayes is a great example. he is an Orthodox deacon who has been commenting on my blog for years and I promise that you’d never guess his religious affiliation – or even that he has any – from his comments. He is the most non-judgmental, happy and secure on his beliefs person you can imagine.

      My parents’ priest, father Anatoly, is another great example of a true Christian. When my mother told him it bothered her that her daughter wasn’t officially married to her baby’s father, the priest said that what really mattered is that they live in love and who cares about anything else? And he is like that in everything. Never brandishes his faith as a weapon, never uses it for any extraneous purpose.

      True Christianity is known through deeds, not words. So the moment a person starts pontificating and bullying others, we can safely conclude: this is a manipulative, sociopathic fanatic.

    • Of course. But the religious argument is the most potent and inflexible one. It’s one thing to do something because identity politics command you to and it’s quite another when God does. :-)

  3. What a biased statement.Lenin is not cruel by the standards of his time.If i correctly remember most of the massacres occured without his permission.He desperately tried to pass on the leadership to trotsky .

    • “If i correctly remember most of the massacres occured without his permission.He desperately tried to pass on the leadership to trotsky .”

      - I have no idea where this is coming from. Once, Stalin complained to Lenin that his arch-enemy Trotsky was executing most people for no reason. Lenin got extremely angry, grabbed a bunch of blank execution orders, signed them, and passed them to Trotsky to enable him to kill whoever he wanted. Lenin is the one who invented the Red Terror and started the Soviet Gulag. He also played Trotsky and Stalin beautifully against each other.

      • Even if you are correct isnt it strange the crimes of communists are often exaggegarated with a good deal of hyperbole whereas the crimes of the freedom loving countries like britain and usa are ignored.Please compare the difference in which churchill and

      • “Even if you are correct isnt it strange the crimes of communists are often exaggegarated with a good deal of hyperbole whereas the crimes of the freedom loving countries like britain and usa are ignored.”

        - Let’s avoid the passive voice. Exaggerated by whom? Ignored by whom? I can only discuss specific sources that either exaggerated or ignored, not vague generalized statements.

  4. “A fanatic’s only allegiance is to her or his own interests. A fanatic’s only God is his or her own self. There would be nothing bad about it if only fanatics admitted that honestly and didn’t try to pass of their self-interest for something that is supposed to benefit all humanity.”

    True and often males try to project their own misogyny onto a patriarchal God.

    For instance, the defeated Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin has a new successor in Congress, Georgia Rep. Phil Gingrey. On Thursday, he said to the Cobb chamber of congress:

    “[Akin] went on and said that in a situation of rape, of a legitimate rape, a woman’s body has a way of shutting down so the pregnancy would not occur. He’s partly right on that,”

    And,

    “And I’ve delivered lots of babies, and I know about these things. It is true. We tell infertile couples all the time that are having trouble conceiving because of the woman not ovulating, ‘Just relax. Drink a glass of wine. And don’t be so tense and uptight because all that adrenaline can cause you not to ovulate.’ So he was partially right wasn’t he? But the fact that a woman may have already ovulated 12 hours before she is raped, you’re not going to prevent a pregnancy there by a woman’s body shutting anything down because the horse has already left the barn, so to speak. And yet the media took that and tore it apart.”

    http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2013/01/phil-gingrey-legitimate-rape/60889/

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