The Abrahamic Family Tree and The New Dark Age

The New Dark Age And The Social Effects of Ideological Extremism

We live in a time in history of amazing scientific progress. So, it is discouraging to see regressive beliefs gain traction. The rise of extremism has sparked concerns about the New Dark Age. We need to understand ideological extremism. Whether you realize it or not, it affects our lives.

Extremism is the belief in unconventional ideas and acting to get their point across. Shedding light on this kind of thinking exposes their reasons for doing things. It unmakes the reasons they perpetuate oppression, persecution, and violence.

Warning: This journey may not be comfortable. It’s important to address it without attacking the people who follow these faiths. To do this, we will look at historical and current examples to gain insight.

Radical Ideologies and Extremism

Radical beliefs are far removed from socially neutral policies and values. They are opinions at the extremes of the spectrum regarding religious or political beliefs. Radical beliefs advocate for a complete overhaul of societal structures.

Radical thinking isn’t bad. One can have radical ideas that promote positive, healthy outcomes. Or, one can have radical thoughts that have harmful outcomes. These are the two ends of the spectrum of thinking.

Beliefs can be far to the right or the left of moderate thinking. The far left is linked with progressive ideas, personal rights, and positive social ideals. The far-right supports divisive and harmful philosophies such as racism and nationalism.

An ideology is a system of ideas, beliefs, and values. Far-right thinking opposes universal and holistic values, democracy, the rule of law, personal liberty, and science. It attacks those with other beliefs. These positions support more radical and rigid forms of religious and political beliefs. This mindset is based on their belief in the preferential treatment of one group over all others.

The Social Effects of Ideological Extremism

Extremist thinking used to be on the fringes of society, but in recent years, it has spread into mainstream beliefs. Its goal is to take positions of power. Then, it uses this power to insert its beliefs into laws that govern society. These policies always harm people outside the group.

These policies promote worldviews that undermine the basis of democracy. They stifle scientific progress. They eliminate individual rights that protect civil liberties. Instead, they enact laws that take away freedom of thought and action. It is a slippery slope leading to more and more radical thinking. These are the harsh consequences of extremist ideologies.

Trying to Understand Ideological Extremism

Our concern is with the radical ideologies and extremism on the far right of the spectrum. It is a skewed worldview that is inherently harmful to society. This way of thinking is learned through ongoing systematic indoctrination. It is passed down from generation to generation, making it a closely held belief system. Since it is accepted as the cultural norm, people don’t see it as abnormal or harmful. Even if they do see it, they are often powerless to change it.

Ideological extremism is a cancer in society. It damages the fabric of our society like cancer attacks the body. When someone becomes a follower of a harmful worldview, it affects everyone. It has far-reaching consequences for relationships, scientific research, and the health of society.

Religion and far-right politics spread these radical ideas. Their platforms are often based on racial, ethnic, or economic superiority. They use their social power to promote sectarian fundamentalism. This is also often labeled as nationalism.

Nationalism is the belief that your country is better than others. It’s a way of cloaking racism and preferential treatment as patriotism. These are harmful forms of extremist thought. The social effects of ideological extremism create an “us versus them” mindset. It is a mindset of isolation and fear which prompts violence.

Radical ideologies and extremism in Western culture come from the Abrahamic family tree. The Abrahamic religions are rich historical and cultural narratives. They have their roots in the mystery religions of the Mediterranean region, which date back to 6000 BCE. These were the religious cults from Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, and Persia.

Extremism is a part of the Abrahamic paradigm. It adopted the laws and patriarchal hierarchy of these cults. The laws give them a way to justify ethnic, racial, and religious unfairness. It promotes acts of war and genocide. This evil is cloaked with religious piety and token humanitarian outreaches. Their outreaches are a public relations ploy. The real reason they reach out is to adopt people into their cults.

The Social Effects of Ideological Extremism

social effects of ideological extremism understand ideological extremism understanding radical ideologies and extremism

To understand The New Dark Age, we must first revisit history. The first dark ages occurred from 500 to 1000 CE, during the Dark Age of Christianity. During this period, the Church was in control of society.

It was a time marked by the suppression of scientific inquiry. The Christian Church established a culture based on male superiority and superstition. Then, they used their power to persecute those with different beliefs and erode personal freedoms.

This time in history showed the power of religious indoctrination. Humanity lost much valuable knowledge. The Chuch systematically purged the culture. It destroyed anything that did not align with its doctrines.

The Abrahamic faiths are struggling to preserve their beliefs in a modern world.   The advances in science create a huge challenge to their authority. It is hard to argue that radical ideologies and extremism are just fringe beliefs. They are desperate to keep their membership base. Their members give them control of the culture and cash flow. It forces them to embrace even more radical views. Here are some of the ways this kind of thinking damages society.

1. The fragmentation of society. Ideological extremism is a force that divides rather than unites communities. When people align themselves with more radical thinking, it fractures society. People become isolated, which creates echo chambers. Here, people surround themselves with others who reinforce their beliefs. The consequence? A breakdown in constructive dialogue with other views. They have limited exposure to diverse perspectives, which erodes social cohesion.

2. Distrust and polarization. One of the social effects of ideological extremism is the surge in distrust. Everyone outside of their social enclave becomes an enemy.   When extremism becomes the norm, those holding opposing views are viewed as subhuman. This mindset justifies violence instead of engaging in meaningful conversations and exacerbates polarization, creating a sharp divide that hinders collaboration and understanding.

3. Erosion of Democratic values. Democratic societies are built on values such as respect, tolerance, and compromise. Democratic cultures protect the weak to keep people from being marginalized.   Radical ideologies and extremism threaten these ideals. Their aim becomes causing harm for the sake of causing pain. The erosion of democratic values challenges the very essence of civil society. Erosion shows up as more authoritarianism and less checks and balances in government. When insurrections aren’t prosecuted, they become trial runs for future insurrections. This was seen in Germany in the 1900s. Does it sound familiar?

4. Rise of radicalization and violence. Ideological extremism, when left unchecked, can fuel radicalization and even violence. Those entrenched in extremist beliefs justify violent actions to further their cause. The effects extend beyond isolated incidents. Acts of violence in support of extremism are acts of domestic terrorism. This spills into the collective consciousness of society, creating fear and anxiety evidenced by the rise in gun violence by conservative believers. When a culture tolerates radical, harmful ideas, it sows seeds of fear and mistrust.

5. Impact on mental health and well-being. The social effects of ideological extremism aren’t limited to societal discord alone. People trapped in extremist beliefs experience more stress, anxiety, and depression. The pressure to accept increasingly radical ideas leads to isolation and emotional exhaustion. Recognizing and addressing the mental health aspects of extremism is crucial. People living with the effects of cognitive dissonance are more susceptible to violence.

6. The New Dark Age has an adverse impact on scientific progress. Historically, extremists express hostility towards science. We see this in areas such as evolution, climate change, and reproductive rights. The emergence of anti-science advocates only strengthens these divisions. We see an increase in Dark Age pundits who give inaccurate advice. Many encourage the rejection of scientific evidence. The COVID-19 pandemic saw how the opinions of these radicals led to avoidable deaths.

Summation of Social Affects of Ideological Extremism. Religious extremist ideologies have evolved into a formidable force, shaping our societies. They are well-established in the cultural narrative even though they produce negative effects.

As the more far-right radical leaders gain more control, society will slide backward. The impact of this will increase the friction in the culture, causing fractures. Cultural fracture almost always leads to violence. Those who hold harmful bias and prejudice protect their beliefs with a show of force.

Once we understand ideological extremism, we can address its challenges. In this way, we can work towards a more inclusive, empathetic world. The answer to this social cancer is through dialogue and critical thinking. We unmask the hate that polarizes the culture and begin the healing process.

The Abrahamic Family Tree and The New Dark Age

Like any family tree, the Abrahamic triad has its dark side. Religious bigotry intertwined with politics is a threat to the world. Acts of terror carried out in the name of religion leave no doubt about their intentions. These acts seek to drag us further into conflict. To solve this problem, we need an honest appraisal of these systems.

The Christian Dark Age is not the only dark age humanity has witnessed. Christianity is only one limb of the Abrahamic religions. The other two, Islam and Judaism, have their radical ideologies and extremism as well.

This Dark Age is a movement to the more radical points with the faiths. Here, hate and intolerance overshadows love, compassion, and acceptance. It demonstrates how extremists distort the beliefs of their religions, making them regressive. Thus, their goal is to turn the clock back to the time when religion controlled society.

Within the Abrahamic tree, branches of radical ideologies and extremism have taken control. Let’s look at some examples of Christian, Israeli, and Islamic extremist ideologies. They all share some of the same characteristics:

1. Sectarianism is the poisonous fruit of divide and conquer. It has plagued humanity since time immemorial. From the Crusades to the Protestant Reformation and present-day conflicts, religions divide societies, perpetuating societal disintegration. The Abrahamic family tree of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism promotes this ideal. They blind followers from the shared essence of humanity in the name of control and cash flow.

2. Religious, ethnic, and racial superiority, a mirage of power.   One of the darkest aspects of the Abrahamic tree is the proposition of superiority. Within each religion, a struggle for dominance has emerged. They create boundaries to protect their membership and maintain control. This struggle results in violence and oppressive systems that have scarred societies. This battle for superiority has led to discrimination, prejudice, and conflicts. The idea of religious purity always hides under the threat of violence. It pushes humanity further away from peace and harmony.

3. Male domination and the shackles of gender inequality. An undeniable attribute of this triad of religions is patriarchal domination. From ancient traditions to modern interpretations, women have been subjugated under patriarchal control. They have been deprived of their autonomy and equal rights. The male dominance within these institutions hinders the growth of inclusive societies. And continue to sustain cultures of inequality and oppression.

4. Discrimination against women and diverse sexual preferences. Discrimination and persecution are hallmarks of the social effects of ideological extremism. They systematically discriminate against women and people with diverse sexual preferences. It all goes back to male domination. This marginalization is deeply ingrained in religious doctrines. Male superiority justifies the denial of basic rights. This bias extends to include those who do not conform to traditional gender roles. The perpetuation of these inequities is at the heart of the myth of male superiority.

5. Promoting violence, including genocide. The Abrahamic family tree has a history of using violence. It fuels extremists to take actions up to and including genocide. Many religious traditions face instances of radicalization. The Abrahamic religions protect these aberrations. Many sects justify violence against “non-believers” and those with opposing views. This philosophy develops an environment of intolerance and hatred. It poses a significant threat to global peace and stability.

The consequences of extremist ideologies are a stumbling block to society. They take time and attention away from global concerns like climate change. Rather than helping humanity, organized religion is a threat to peace and progress.

The Abrahamic Family Tree of Christian Extremism

In this modern age of science, one might assume that extremist beliefs would be a relic of the past. The reality is that Abrahamic extremism is a significant threat to global stability. The social effects of ideological extremism are felt globally. And these effects aren’t new but a continuation of the same societal cancer.

Historical Examples:

1. The Spanish Inquisition, which lasted from the 15th to the 19th century. It is a prime example of extremism. Driven by zealous religious fervor, it aimed to root out heresy within Catholicism. Countless lives were lost or destroyed during this brutal period. People were tortured and killed for crimes as vague as questioning church doctrine. The Inquisition reminds us of the frightening consequences when religious zealotry goes unchecked.

2. The Salem witch trials in the early 1690s shook colonial Massachusetts. These trials showcased the grave dangers of Christian extremism. Here is an example of superstition used as an excuse to subject people to torture. Anyone accused of witchcraft went through terrible trials and was executed. It shows how extreme religious beliefs can cause mass hysteria.

Current Examples:

1. Violence against abortion providers. There are many cases of violence perpetrated by Christian extremists against abortion providers. Advocating for the sanctity of life, some take it upon themselves to carry out acts of terrorism. They commit bombings and shootings against clinics and medical personnel. These violent acts not only endanger lives but also impede the rights and autonomy of women.

2. LGBT+ discrimination.  Extremists lead the opposition to equal rights for the LGBT+ community. They lobby against anti-discrimination laws to promote harmful conversion therapies. Such activities undermine efforts toward inclusivity and equality. Applying selective interpretations of religious texts, they justify killing those already marginalized. Their leaders perpetuate harmful narratives and create a hostile environment for everyone.

Confronting the New Dark Age of Christianity

Sadly, Christian extremism appears to be growing through various movements and organizations. One example is the Alt-Right. This a political ideology that intertwines Christian conservatism with racism. The Alt-Right does not represent all Christians, but it has a strong influence. In fact, it is more powerful than the silent majority. So, the Alt-Right is effective in molding public opinion and laws. It is crucial to address its existence and the dangers it poses.

The emergence of the Christian Alt-Right has elicited much debate and skepticism. This ideology combines conservative Christian beliefs with nationalism and prejudice.   The Alt-Right movement gained momentum during the 2000s by focusing on white identity. Since then, it has sought to redefine Christianity and the Abrahamic family tree. It has claimed Christianity as a banner. They ignore the roots of positive social activism. More recently, it has adopted a “no labels” campaign. This is a tactic to hide its radical ideologies and extremism.

Just as the branches of a tree grow, so too have the interpretations of their scriptures. Orthodoxy clashes with liberal viewpoints. Debates over gender inequality, LGBT rights, and religious tolerance created new factions. We are witness to the battles between extremist and more progressive viewpoints. It leaves many to consider if this ideological struggle is pushing us deeper into a new dark age.

The Abrahamic Family Tree of Islamic Extremism

While many find solace in the Islamic faith, it is crucial to acknowledge the rise of extremism in Islam. Islamic extremism has plagued society for centuries. The majority of Muslims are peaceful; they do nothing to curb radical factions. We must shed light on the practices of suppression, oppression, persecution, and discrimination.

Historical Examples

1. The Islamic State purges religious minorities. The Islamic world has witnessed instances of extremism that have left lasting scars. One such example is the rise of the Islamic State (IS). They claim responsibility for cleansing the culture of undesirables. The IS has destroyed many archaeological and cultural heritage sites. Their rule has seen the persecution of religious minorities and terror attacks. They desire to create an atmosphere of fear and unease.

2. Rise of the Taliban is an example of a brutal regime in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. This extremist group implemented strict interpretations of Sharia law. They openly oppress women, ban education, and carry out public executions. The Taliban illustrates the dangers of religious fundamentalism. It demonstrates how religious extremism can strip society of freedom, progress, and tolerance.

Current Examples

1. Al-Qaeda and its global campaign of Jihad. Regrettably, the scourge of Islamic extremism persists in today’s world. One of the most prominent current examples is the terror group known as al-Qaeda. This group has carried out many attacks worldwide.

In 1988, they bombed American embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. September 11, 2001, will forever be regarded as one of the darkest chapters in modern history. Airplanes were hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. These are only a few examples. Al-Qaeda distorts Islamic values by using terror to advance its extremist agenda. It perpetuates an image of violence and intolerance that affects countless innocent lives.

2. The rise of ISIS in the Middle East is yet another limb of extremism. Their violent tactics include mass executions, sexual slavery, and terrorist attacks. Their brutality intensified concerns about the spread of radical beliefs. The global spread of ISIS kindles the urgency for collective action.

Confronting the New Dark Age of Islam

The outcomes of Islamic extremism are grave. This social cancer affects not only Muslims but also the wider world community. It’s essential to keep things in perspective. Extremists represent only a tiny fraction of the 1.9 billion Muslims globally. Countless Muslims strive for peace, unity, and coexistence.

It is essential to educate ourselves and others about Islam’s teachings. Like any of the religions of the Abrahamic tree, Islam contains peaceful principles, which need to be highlighted. Education and dialogue play pivotal roles in combating The New Dark Age. Interfaith dialogues can promote harmony and debunk stereotypes. Reaching out enables different communities to bond and confront extremism collectively.

The Abrahamic Family Tree and Israeli and Jewish Extremism

The ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict provides fertile ground for suppression and discrimination. Israel targets non-Jewish communities with regressive policies. They impose regulations that disproportionately impact Palestinians. The policy of apartheid promotes discrimination and societal marginalization.   These policies are the fruit of radical ideologies and extremism. And they are not representative of a healthy society.

Historical Examples

1. Assination as a political solution. It is a sad reality. Religious extremism is not unique to any specific religion or period in time. Within Israeli history, we find instances of extremism that must be acknowledged. The assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 is a prime example. Yigal Amir, an extremist, orchestrated this. He opposed Rabin’s peace initiatives with Palestine.

2. Bombing by the Zionist Paramilitary. The Irgun’s bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1946 is another example. The Zionist organization, led by Menachem Begin, targeted the British headquarters. This act resulted in significant loss of life. The Irgun used terrorist acts in their struggle for Israeli independence. These extremist methods are a dark stain on the history of Jewish resistance.

Current Examples.

1. The Expansion of Israeli Settlements in the occupied West Bank. These settlements have been deemed illegal under international law. They represent a clear violation of Palestinian rights. The encroachment of Israeli settlements displaces Palestinians and disrupts their daily lives. These actions further deepen the divide.

2. Systematic Discrimination and Checkpoints. Checkpoint culture heavily impacts the daily lives of Palestinians. It intentionally creates an oppressive atmosphere of control and humiliation. Palestinians wait in long queues, and rigorous security checks impede their freedom. It affects everything from healthcare access to education. These practices reinforce the marginalization and powerlessness among the Palestinian population.

3. Targeting of Civilian Infrastructure and Blockades. The conflict in Gaza demonstrates indiscriminate violence toward civilians. Infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, and electricity plants are often targeted. These acts deteriorate living conditions and limit access to basic services. The use of blockades further exacerbates the suffering of Palestinians. It stifles economic growth and limits essential supplies. It shows how Israel has become a rogue state. It is no longer representative of the Jewish community. Instead, it uses the Jewish people as a shield and excuse to commit genocide.

4. The emergence of groups like Lehava destroys the cohesiveness of a healthy society. Their goal is to prevent interfaith relationships between Jews and non-Jews. Their activities often involve inciting violence, spreading hate speech, and intimidation. These tactics promote an atmosphere of hatred rather than harmony and mutual understanding.

Confronting the New Dark Age of Israeli Extremism

The ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict provides an environment where extremist elements can thrive. Attacking civilians and stealing their land are acts of an apartheid state. These actions tarnish the image of Israel. These actions perpetuate hate and hinder any hope for a peaceful resolution. We need the global community to confront these actions.

Conclusion on The Consequences of Extremist Ideologies

The fears of The New Dark Age are real. Many cultures around the globe have succumbed to the control of extremism in one form or another. We must face this issue. Electing leaders that can combat this cancer is vital. Education and open dialogue are key to preventing further societal erosion.

Additional References

1. Religious Literacy Project by Harvard Divinity School offers a variety of resources.   It includes an overview of the Abrahamic family tree. It outlines its significance in the context of religious history. Their website features articles, videos, and interactive tools.

2. TED Talk: Karen Armstrong’s “The Battle for God” discusses the rise of religious fundamentalism. She focuses on Abrahamic religions and looks at the past to help us understand how it relates to today’s issues.

3. “Islam: A Short History” by Karen Armstrong. Armstrong’s book offers a history of Islam from its origins to the present day. It delves into the complexities of the Abrahamic family tree. She studies how different branches interact and affect the world.

4. “The Great Transformation. The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions” by Karen Armstrong. This book provides a broad view of the Abrahamic religions. It explores the shared beliefs, values, and practices.

5. “The Darkening Age. The Christian Destruction of the Classical World” by Catherine Nixey. This book outlines the Abrahamic religions and their radical ideas.   It looks at the historical “Dark Age.” After that, it looks at how Christianity destroyed ancient knowledge and culture. It contributes to the discussion around a “New Dark Age.”