1. Killer300
    Offline

    Killer300 Active Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2011
    Messages:
    1,064
    Likes Received:
    37

    Religious Extremists

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Killer300, Aug 28, 2011.

    How does one write religious extremists? Mine happen to be of a fictional religion, but still. Any tips for this one?
     
  2. ManOfSteel
    Offline

    ManOfSteel Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    2
    Make them talk about the righteousness of "Their Ways" and the moral corruption of the "others".

    Like everything else, you can learn to write this by reading what others have written. Read/watch some Anders Breivik and Osama Bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahiri.
     
  3. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,684
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    Religious extremists are sort of like any other extemists: the proof is in the behavior. How do they show intolerance? How fanatical are they in doing whatever they are trying to do? There are lots of examples about in the portrayal of extremists in fiction, but my personal favorite is Liam O'Flaherty's protrayal of Gallagher in "The Informer". O'Flaherty does not have him fulminate over the justness of his cause or the evils of his opponents; instead he focuses on Gallagher's persistence in pursuing the unfortunate Gypo Nolan. Brilliantly done (good film, too, but reading it will give you what you need).
     
  4. Anonym
    Offline

    Anonym Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2010
    Messages:
    292
    Likes Received:
    10
    The True Believer by Eric Hoffer is a good book on the subject, or at least on the psychosocial underpinnings of fanaticism of all stripes: religious, political, etc.
     
  5. Backbiter
    Offline

    Backbiter Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Messages:
    316
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Illinois
    Religious extremists, I believe, always say that their ideas are right. Even if shown a completely logical counterargument, they still stick with their own ideals.

    I also picture them as being people that would do anything and everything to uphold their beliefs. Including eliminating anyone that might get in the way.
     
  6. Mallory
    Offline

    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    Messages:
    4,274
    Likes Received:
    191
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    Very defensive when challenged, lecture you nonstop about how their way/belief is always right, how the way they lived their life and the choices they made must be best for everyone, etc.
     
  7. shadowwalker
    Offline

    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2011
    Messages:
    3,299
    Likes Received:
    851
    Don't forget there are also those who don't scream and wave guns ;) Frankly, I find those who are quietly and stubbornly confident of the rightness of their beliefs to be much more unsettling than the screamers. And they carry out any violence with the same single-mindedness - often with pity for their victims. That old "I'm doing this for your own good" ideology.
     
  8. Killer300
    Offline

    Killer300 Active Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2011
    Messages:
    1,064
    Likes Received:
    37
    Well, something to note is all the character live in a theocracy,(quite a brutal one at that at times, considering they put down peaceful protests with lethal force consistently) so in a sense everyone is religious.
    Okay, there is a tiny minority of people that are atheist, but they would be DEAD if that was revealed.
    But anyway, damn, these are the closet we have to generic villains. Well, no worry about having these two killing children and all in many ways.
     
  9. Kio
    Offline

    Kio Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Messages:
    270
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    Southern Water Tribe
    Not to be confrontational, but isn't that overdone? You know, having the evil religious majority oppress the poor atheist minority? Someone should totes switch it up and make the religious people the oppressed one, because I'm starting to see that that's where a lot of progressive countries are going. The majority of my friends are agnostic/atheist. I have one or two Christian friends and I previously had a Hindu friend, though we fell out of contact.

    Dunno, I can mention that I'm a Christian and I'll have raging internet atheists calling me backward because, obviously, by default, I'm a complete moron for having faith in something they think is "baseless and pointless".

    As for your question, extremists IN GENERAL (that includes atheists) have a similar attitude. They're preachy, they're intolerant, they're narrow-minded, they're judgmental, and they're self-centred. They believe that their belief is the best and anyone who confronts them is either (for the religious extremist) a sinner or (for the atheist extremist) someone of "lesser intelligence".

    Everyone can be arrogant about something. Simple as that.
     
  10. Killer300
    Offline

    Killer300 Active Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2011
    Messages:
    1,064
    Likes Received:
    37
    Actually, there will be sympathetic religious people in this one. It's a theocracy, and quite the oppressive one, but it actually brings many improvements too. This isn't a black and white story, I assure you of that. They aren't a cookie cutter religious cult, to say the least.
     
  11. Kio
    Offline

    Kio Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Messages:
    270
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    Southern Water Tribe
    Okay, thank god. I thought for sure I was going to see the same rehashed black and white nonsense I've been forced to see since the dawn of the internet. However, I stand by my point: all extremists are the same cognitively. They act similarly and are too stubborn to budge from their view point. Most likely they were born raised this way or, in the case of many atheist "horror stories", were raised in a Christian household then decided to rebel and go to the opposite side of the spectrum. Everything is black and white, there are no in-betweens...etc, etc.

    Hope I didn't offend you. I acted rashly in my last post, so I'm sorry about that.
     
  12. Killer300
    Offline

    Killer300 Active Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2011
    Messages:
    1,064
    Likes Received:
    37
    Yeah, I'm an atheist myself, however that doesn't mean I'll make a black and white story. On a topic like this, it will ring false, and will just piss people off. Some people might be able to pull that off, but I can't. So, I have to go for the,"easier," ground of making a more grey story regarding this subject.

    The story is more about good intentions that don't work out because of how far they are taken.
     
  13. Mr. Sweet
    Offline

    Mr. Sweet New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    I believe extremists are, by definition, outliers.

    So in your story, in which the atheists are the minority, wouldn't they be the extremists?

    Just a different perspective.
     
  14. Holo
    Offline

    Holo Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Messages:
    112
    Likes Received:
    0
    One thing about writing an extremist of any sort is to make them three dimensional. They cannot just be zealous, hypocritical, evil people. I have a religious extremist in my story and I made sure to give him plenty of good qualities, some of which streamed from his religion. I made him a family man and also showed him helping people in need in the name of his god. But I also showed that he was bigoted towards the "calamities" (my main characters) so to speak. Basically, you should show both the positives and negatives of their zealotry so the reader will be somewhat torn or at least sympathetic.
     

Share This Page