Theist apologists frequently attempt to defend faith by claiming that extremism is not the wholly-owned subsidiary of religion. It exists in all forms, both outside and within religion…and that we may vanquish religious beliefs from the society, but shall never vanquish extremism itself.
Except, for the problem that all forms of extremism are not equally detrimental to humanity.
The way I see it, the effort to portray “militant Atheism” as the other, equally harmful end of extremism, is a pitiful one. It is meant to establish symmetry merely for the sake of symmetry, without realizing that a so-called militant Atheist isn’t half as dangerous as a soldier of God.
Religious Extremist: “Hands up! Or I’m gonna set this bomb off right here!”
Liberal Extremist: “Hands up! Or I’m gonna draw a funny picture of your Prophet! Don’t test me, dammit, I’ll do it!”
To suggest that religious and liberal extremism are equally devastating, is like saying that the Tobacco companies directly responsible for millions of deaths each year are just as bad as the pesky, anti-smoking campaigners. Even though they’re both annoying at times, they’re not evenly destructive….not even close!
Liberalism, by definition, is about providing choice to people, instead of dictating them what they must do/not do with their own lives. To what “extreme” can one linger in such an area? Theists sometimes quote Stalin as an example of “Atheist extremism”, which is absurd on so many levels that I’m unsure of where to begin..
Firstly, do they not seem to realize how ludicrous it is to say, “We may have had our crusades and our inquisitions and our witch-burnings and our jihads and our Osamas and our abortion-clinic arsonists and our homophobes and our Churches that single-handedly threw science a hundred years back, but you Atheists had Stalin, so it all balances out!”. It’s a hapless tu quoque or “you too” reminiscent of a smoke bomb thrown by a ninja in movies when it’s time to escape from an unwinnable battle.
Also, there’s a difference between doing something due to a certain stance, and doing something while having a certain stance. Stalin did not go around committing genocides in the name of Charles Darwin. He did it to satisfy his personal lust for wealth and political power.
Likewise, if a Muslim robs a bank to get rich, he cannot be termed an “Islamic extremist”. However, if he commits the same crime in the name of Allah or His Prophet, then it’d be apt to call him such and perfectly valid to question the Islamic teachings that are spawning such terrorists.
So, no. There’s really no such thing as liberal extremism. To argue that a passionate whistle-blower is as bad as the perpetrator, is utterly and absolutely illogical.