Extremists & Moderates


At the time where there is so much talk about extremists and moderates, I thought a couple of definitions might be in order to help us clarify the challenges ahead.

The Extremists: those who claim to know the one true interpretation of the faith, and preach endlessly on every little thing, ignoring privacy concerns and insisting on hording the truth and ending the ongoing debate regarding our individual and collective becoming, rather than being satisfied with their role as participants and/or catalysts. The extremists, in essence then, are frauds and charlatans, even when some of their predictions turn up to be right and some of the things they preach make sense. For so long as they refuse to subject their ideas to the same rigorous and critical review to which they subject the ideas which they find objectionable, they lose the legitimacy that comes with open transactions.

The Moderates: those who acknowledge the diversity of interpretations that any given faith has and could still have, and are willing to unconditionally accommodate even outright rejection of it. For the chief concern of the moderates focuses less on agreeing a common definition of the faith than on agreeing ways for ensuring the basic freedoms of all, especially the freedom to practice one’s faith, each in accordance with their interpretation. The practical and much needed discussion that the moderates want to have, then, is concerned more with boundaries, be it between individuals and groups, and/or between the public and private spheres, and with how best they can all deal with those who insist on imposing their opinions on others, at the cost of nullifying all boundaries, except, of course those that fit their particular outlooks.