Extreme is a great word today where able youths find it very challenging. It's cool, such as extreme makeovers, extreme sports, extreme videos etc. Extremists (here I mean those who love adventure) are enjoying themselves to the max, sometimes dangerously. These are people who usually do no harm to others.
But some extremists, especially the political and religious ones are super dangerous in our world today. They are fanatical about achieving their idealistic dreams no matter what it takes. Anyone or anything that stands in their way should be marginalised or opposed violently! The majority of the people normally suffer at the hands of these extremists, creating unrest and chaos. They would come with a narrow interpretation of religious scriptures (here I mean all religions) with no room for flexibility and without an ounce of being teachable. Logic and reason are strange to them. Therefore, justice and mercy are often side stepped to advance their extreme idealogies.
One day, James and John were walking with Jesus towards a Samaritan village and they saw extremists there opposing Jesus. Samaritans believed God must be worshipped in Mount Gerizim and opposed Jesus and His men for going to Jerusalem instead. Then out of anger, James and John screamed, "Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?" With these, they too became "extremists". What about Jesus? The Bible says, Jesus turned and rebuked them (James and John), and they went to another village. (Luke 9)
Jesus knew about the conflict between the Jews in general and the Samaritans. By His actions and words, Jesus presented a godly view of dealing with people. "Love your enemies" was coined by Jesus and showed to the very extreme by His deeds. He demonstrated it by dying on the cross while all of us are yet sinners!
Extremists cannot understand the language of God although many claim to love Him. They would carry on calling down fires from heaven. Then they wonder why violence breeds greater violence. And why oppression and injustice breed more uglier extremists. "Love your enemies" is unthinkable in the extremists' eyes. For them, it's "Resist to your own peril" or "Conform or be consumed" or even "Either you are with us or die".
This world has become a playground for such people who unknowingly (or knowingly) create such distrust among so many people groups. Among different religions. One day, they may be a clash of civilizations and what remains of us then. If you are sober today and think the extremists should be for adventurers who harm no one, then do your best to love people rather than hate them because of their differences.
But most of all, be like Jesus, and like the ancient texts in (Micah 6:8) He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
(This article was written by me two years ago. Bringing it up again in rememberance of all the victims in the 911 attacks by extreme extremists)