So, what do we say when confronted with Radicalism, Extremism and its ilk?

I’d normally point in the direction of Education, particularly when, for example, religious fundamentalism arises in the developing world.

I’m not surprised that when the only education available is from, say, an Islamic Madrassar, with their limited curricula and emphasis on doctrinaire content, that the output is ill-educated, indoctrinated pupils. That some/many of these go on to act out extremist acts in the name of their religion can be firmly linked to that limited education, surely?

But the fact is that western/developed nations are fostering the growth of increasing numbers of “radicalised”, “fundamentalist”, “extremists”. And we cannot blame the lack of a reasonable education on the inculcation of these people.

So what is it that makes them susceptible to the barmy notions of the crazy clerics? And this isn’t restricted to Islamists. We have the same thing going on with the ultra-Zionist Jews, extremist Buddhist monks, Hindu fundamentalism as well as militant Christian groups like the Maronites in Lebanon and the protestant/catholic civil war in Ireland.

There is a whole raft of other “minority” religions that have various similar levels of indoctrination. The Branch Davidians, the Jonestown People’s Temple and the Heaven’s Gate group all created their moments in horrible history.

And although not given to promoting genocide there are plenty of groups who are on edge of acceptability. Scientology has been a contentious body from its outset. It was used to practicing recruitment on the High Streets of many towns, and to its critics “preying on the weak and vulnerable” to become members in times of need and uncertainty. For me, that has echoes in the radicalisation occurring in Islam, albeit on a much wider scale and with far more horrendous outcomes for our society.

Why is it that certain of us (i.e. Human Beings) are susceptible to this sort of approach? Are we all vulnerable to it given certain emotional conditions? What is it about the human-psyche that abandons rational thought and starts buying this nonsense “hook-line-and-sinker”?

Because most of the nonsense spouted by these religious and quasi-religious bodies is as plausible as the myth of Santa Claus bringing the presents.

And tell me different when these groups stop calling for and carrying out murder in their name. Where are we, as a race, when we are able to justify killing others, for not thinking the right thoughts or for holding belief in the wrong schism?

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