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the Fear of Radicals

posted Mar 12, 2011, 7:31 PM by Kelvin Leu   [ updated Mar 13, 2011, 9:30 AM by hbchurch org ]
Ever since 9-11 we have been much more aware of the threat of radical Muslims than we were before 9-11. Statements from government authorities in recent months make it clear that the threat level is currently as high as it has ever  been. This is why a U.S. house committee began hearings on Thursday with the goal of identifying the real threat we are now facing from the radicalization of American Muslims. I, for one, hope that these hearings produce useful information that can be used to educate the public and also improve our national security.

After hearing the opening statement from the chairman of the committee, I started thinking about the term “radical”. It definitely fills our mind with negative images. We associate “radical” with people like the Dr. who killed the people at Ft. Hood a few months ago. All suicide bombers certainly fall into the category of “radicals”. Outside the realm of Islam we often think of  political extremists as “radicals”. I suspect that most Americans think of anyone whose ideas stray from the “mainstream” as a bit of a radical. And for most folks radical is synonymous with wrong.

Do you see the danger of automatically connecting radical with wrong?  If you label a person with whom you disagree as  a radical, its doubtful that you would ever be able to be open-minded enough to honestly evaluate his or her ideas or beliefs. Nearly all of us have a built-in fear of radicals that effectively closes our minds.

Is it possible that this is part of the reason that fewer and fewer people are interested in the way of the Lord? If you stop and think about it, Jesus laid out a series of very radical requirements for His followers (Matt. 5-7). Jesus was a radical of the first order when compared with “mainstream” Judaism in the first century and this caused many to reject His message.

As “mainstream” religious ideas move further and further away from the divine pattern, you can be sure to hear terms like “sect” (Acts 24:14), or “cult” or “radical” applied to the Lord’s church. Already, evangelical radio broadcasters tell their listeners that the church of Christ is a cult with the obvious intent of prejudicing people against the people of God and that can be very uncomfortable. None of us like to be branded with a term that turns people against us.

We must not fear labels or become intimidated by the influence of the push toward “melting-pot” religion. The way of the 21st century religious world is not the way of our Lord. He was a radical in His time and we must be too in our battle against Satan.

by Ken Dart
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