Thinking about the terms Zeal and Zealots I was struck by the different opposite emotions that I associate with them.
Zeal describes a passion or enthusiasm for an ideal or a cause. The image I have is of energetic vibrant people pursuing whatever it is that fills their souls with joy. Whether it’s seeing the light in the eyes of someone illiterate who finally can read, or the excitement of winning a race, climbing a mountain, seeing the young gymnast they are training sticking landing after landing. Zeal evokes a positive vibration, gusto… a zest for life.
And then there are zealots. The term, from two thousand years ago, comes from the Zealots, who were Jews living in present day Israel. They fought relentlessly against the Roman Empire and to preserve religious rites and practices. The revolt against Rome lasted 7 years culminating in the fall of the fortress of Masada in AD 73.
Modern Zealots are fanatical and extreme in pursuit of their cause. Zealots are uncompromising. Not content to practice what they believe is right, they seek to impose their beliefs on everyone else. For them it is their way or the highway. They set negative vibrations reverberating through the ether.
And sadly zealotry in many spheres abounds in our world today. Whether religious, political, environmental causes, there are many who seek to destroy those who do not share their ideologies.
This quote from journalist Nicholas Kristof sums up my belief. ‘The great divide is not between faiths but one between intolerant zealots of any tradition and the large number of decent peaceful believers likewise found in each tradition’.
I believe that most of us, the silent majority, do not want to be grouped, classified or categorized and set against each other, but rather just want to be left alone to greet our fellow humans as individuals, with joy not fear or anger. So I will end on a note of optimism that as civilised human beings we will reject the cult of divisiveness and intolerance that is permeating our daily life and instead embrace our humanity.
With Z we come to the end of these 26 days of blogging. I approached this with zeal – a determination to show myself that I could do this, despite the many other challenges of this month. Not being a Zealot I did not try to convince anyone else to join me in the blogging, and actually there were over 300 bloggers who took the challenge. I’m glad that many of you chose to accompany on my journey through the alphabet by reading my posts and communicating. Thank you.