Why Religious Extremism Can Be Unattractive

religious symbolsI know a guy who when he was in junior high was totally focused on his religious faith. While everyone else was playing sports and seeking dates, he was defending Christian dogma against the heathen and pointing out the sinfulness of his classmates.

He had a naturally decent personality, but do you think this guy was popular? Of course he wasn’t!

I know how deeply frustrated this guy was. This junior high boy was me. Once when I told my parents that my goal was to become the youngest expert on religious groups ever, they told me to knock it off. And my dad is pastor!

I have nothing against deeply religious people or religion. I am a Christian who values his faith. But, except for meeting people within extremist religious organizations, being zealously religious, especially if combined with judgmentalism, is extremely unattractive.

There are a few reasons why religious extremism can be unattractive. First, society no longer values religion like it used to. That means someone who can only talk about religion won’t be able to build rapport with a large number of people. Now, people are much more likely to be talking more about sports or even the weather than religious topics.

Second, religious extremism tends to be very judgmental and negative in tone. By and large, modern men and women feel enough judgment and have enough negativity to last a couple lifetimes. They seek experiences that make them feel better, not worse.

While religion can certainly be a positive influence (and is for the most part), religious values that make people feel worse are only attractive to a small number of people. That means the guy screaming that non-Muslims are going to hell or publicly condemning gays isn’t likely going to win many friends and dates.

Finally, at least in the Western world, religion is largely a private matter. This means that it’s not a conversation topic that a lot of people feel comfortable talking about, at least not on a deep level. While you should never stop sharing your faith (if that’s important to you), keep in mind that many people want their religious views to remain private.

So, while it’s very possible to be popular and deeply religious, if you cross into extremism, even a mild form of it, you’re likely not going to be liked outside of your fellow religious extremists. Look at Tim Tebow. While the guy is passionate, he’s hardly (in spite of the media), radical. And, he’s popular among all different types of people.

So, if you’re on fire for your faith, that can be a good thing. But, if that is starting to verge into religions extremism, especially the judgmental side, you’ll probably want to cool it down. If you want lots of friends and dates anyway.

About Jonathan Bennett

Jonathan Bennett is a writer, speaker, dating expert, and business owner. His articles have been viewed millions of times, and he has been featured in a variety of publications, including the Wall Street Journal.

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