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Posts Tagged ‘fanaticism’

“More appalling is the bankruptcy of ethical fanaticism. Fanatics believe that they can face the power of evil with the purity of their will and their principles. But the essence of fanaticism is that it loses sight of the whole evil, and like a bull that charges the red cape instead of the one holding it, fanatics finally tire and suffer defeat. Fanatics miss their goal. Though their fanaticism serves the lofty goals of truth or justice, sooner or later they are caught in small and insignificant things and fall into the net of their more clever opponent.” Ethics p. 78

The second category Bonhoeffer describes is that of the ethical fanatic. I actually have seen this type in newly converted Christians. They usually come from a poorly run church, and know very little about the faith. But they are fervent and zealous in all they do, especially keeping themselves ‘pure’ and ‘holy’. Not that this is the only type of ethical fanatic…far from it.

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