The claim from the religion hating left is made all the time that Bush is a "Christian" fanatic or a religious extremist as bad as those who lead the Taliban in Afghanistan or those of Al Qaieda. The term "zealot" is their favorite. They wield this club against Bush as further proof of the illegitimacy of his leadership.
But is it true? To answer this we first must define the word zealot properly. The word is best described as one who is fanatical for something and that is usually what one means when using the word zealot coupled with the word religious. Religious fanatic.
Next we need but ask everyone to identify and categorize other, well-known religious zealots (zealots for better or worse). Doing so is instructive in a very interesting way.
So, here are just a few of the most well known:
-Akhenaten, who was a Pharaoh during Egypt's 18th dynasty, created a religion that worshipped the sun. He systematically destroyed the previous religions of Egypt. Atenism and the Sun God are synonymous with his name (for those of you into pre history, his is thought to have created the first monotheistic religion).
-Joan of Arc. This woman believed that God was speaking directly to her. She is a well known Catholic zealot.
-Martian Luther, famed German Protestant is so well known that an entire religion is named after him, Lutheranism. He was zealous enough to upset one of the world's most powerful religious organizations and cast it aside to start his own sect.
-John Calvin. An early religious leader that, like Luther, has an entire religion named after him, Calvinism.
-Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism. This man and his acolytes were chased from state to state in early 1800's America until they settled in Utah from which they almost came to blows with the US army.
-Mother Theresa. Who thinks of anything other than Catholicism upon hearing her name?
-Karl Marx can even be considered a zealot of Marxism, even though such is not a religion proper.
(Christ cannot be considered a zealot for Christianity for it was created after his death and based on his teachings and life. The same holds true for Mohammed and Buddha. Neither of these men actually created the religions that were organized in their names after their deaths.)
With this small list we see a common thread. A specific branch or sect associated with such people. Their names are synonymous with that sect or branch. Sure Mormonism is a type of Christianity as is Calvinism and Lutheranism. But the word "Christian" does not identify them as zealots so much as categorizes them in a general, catch all category. No, we know of their zealotry by the specific religion they profess.
But can one be a "zealous" Christian, Muslim or Hindu? Can one be identified a zealot only by attaching a general, overarching name of a religious branch to them? It this a fair label?
To be a zealot one must be a strong believer. To be a strong believer one simply must have a quite specific set of tenets and dogma to which to adhere. One can be a zealous Catholic. On can be a zealous Sunni or Wahhabist. But one cannot be a zealous Christian because the term Christian is a general category, not a specific sect. Christian describes many, many religions not all of which are necessarily exactly the same. One simply cannot be a fanatic for a general thing.
Let's put this another way. One can be a football fanatic. Such a fanatic can also enjoy other sports, but he will generally have only passing interest in those other sports. He cannot love, with equal devotion, all sports. He can be a sports "nut", yes. But he cannot love soccer, baseball AND football just the same and be a true fanatic. There is a distinct difference between a person who has a general interest in multiple sports and one who is an utter fanatic for one sport. Religion, or any other human endeavor, is no different.
A religious "nut" is one who is wholly caught up in his sect. A person who is obsessed with the Jehova's Witnesses is not just a Christian. In fact, a fanatic of a religion will bristle when called by a generic title for their belief is so strong that they wish to be known by their specific sect. Such is the very essence of fanaticism and strong belief.
Now, is Bush a zealot for Christianity? To answer that we must further ask just what sect of Christianity he is supposed to be zealous for? Do you know the answer to this right away, without a second's hesitation as you would with the true zealots identified above? Is he a Baptist? A Presbyterian? A Catholic? Even a Calvinist? If you cannot name Bush's religion can he be considered a zealot for one?
While it is beyond question that his belief in his religious principle helps guide him in his decisions this does not automatically make him some kind of religious zealot. Every religious person's beliefs guide them in the decisions they make but not every religious person is a zealot. Bush definitely does not fall in the zealot category since most people do not even know what religion he professes.
So, do you know which religion Bush professes? Do you?
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