A friend and occasional commenter to the Bye-Laws, it was once joked, never did anything halfway; instead this person went overboard with all things from the passing hobby to general consumption. Since everything was taken to extremes with them, I suggested practicing “extreme moderation.” This was a joke, of course. In actuality, if moderation were practiced – even extremely – this person would be unrecognizable to their friends, and that wasn’t the goal. The oxymoron in the title isn’t the target of this discussion, though. Instead, the title refers to the apparent pattern of my own personal convictions and attitudes toward them. (Isn’t a title with layers and layers of possible meaning fun?) Over and over again in my intellectual awakenings I see a new idea latched onto vehemently and radically only to become more temperate, nuanced, and reasoned over time. Reflection on this process makes it seem like the initial stages are so strong in order to ingrain the new thought paradigm and expel the old paradigm; with time and deeper consideration a zen-like peace with the new outlook replaces the zealous attitude.
The first thought paradigm to be put asunder was that of Christianity. I studied Christianity with as much vigor as my school work, probably as a supplemental challenge, through Junior High. My approach to it was academic mostly. Read the rest of this entry »