I’ve been reading and thinking about fanaticism, how and why it arises and the forms it takes. The idea can certainly be thought of in terms of most any passionate belief, but most often, I think, it is thought of in terms of religion.
At some point in the development of the human intellect belief in some sort of supernatural entity was a given; it defined a singular reality. But, as the mind evolved toward reasoned thought, belief in nature spirits gave way to religion, with its requisite doctrinal, dogmatic and political implications, which in turn led to skepticism. Beliefs came to a fork in the road and took it. As beliefs grew further and further apart, fanaticism reared its ugly head; people at opposite extremes being absolutely certain about things no one can be absolutely certain of. Unfortunately, this seems to be the place where humankind presently resides.
I guess a lot of people like to grasp certainty and then not think about it too much anymore. It would be good, wouldn’t it, if everyone put a little energy into questioning? You know, questioning what we can truly know, questioning the efficacy of our chosen beliefs, questioning the legitimacy of our op positional stances. Wouldn’t the resulting cooperation override the necessity of blind faith?