Religious / Political [fanaticism or dogmatism or zeal or..]

A-friend

Senior Member
Persian (Farsi)
I wonder if you help me to tell the following choices apart helping me to choose the best word in the following blank:
--- The 11 September event symbolizes the worst of religious and even maybe political……………..
a) fanaticism
b) dogmatism
b) zeal
c) passion
------------------------
[I have written this example myself]
[Bringing up this question I am going to distinguish the differences between these words in usage. Actually I have read all of the definitions and relative threads but anyway I do not know what is their exact Persian equivalent!]
[Here are all of my takings from many articles regarding this topic:
- Fanaticism: Only extreme religious or political beliefs
- Dogmatism: Being completely certain of your beliefs and expecting that other people agree with you without arguing {This concept can be used only for religious and political matters}
- Zeal: Eagerness to do something especially a particular religious or political aim
- Passion: A very strong feeling, belief or liking something]
[Accordingly in my opinion the best choices can be “a” and “b”; but doubt whether “b” and “c” work here or not?]
 
  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    I think only A really works here. For an American reader you would not want to chose a word with even the slightest hint of a positive connotation on this emotionally charged context
     

    gramman

    Senior Member
    fanaticism — I don't agree that this can relate only to extreme religious or political beliefs, despite the Macmillian Dictionary's definition. I'd say this is often the case, but certainly not always. Here's an article published on Estonia's Department of National Defence College website (The Many Faces of Fanaticism) that "presents fanaticism as a universal phenomenon that can manifest itself in almost every sphere of human activity." My enthusiastic support for the Boston Red Sox is surely an example of fanaticism. Unwavering loyalty like this creates an atmosphere that can lead to game-tying grand slam home runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. To me, fanaticism is distinguished by a high degree of irrationality.

    dogmatism — I'd say the key here is that beliefs are advanced as facts. Ideologues are dogmatic. I don't agree that there is an expectation other people will accept them; the idea is that others should accept them. There is also often a connotation of arrogance. And again, I don't see this as being limited to political or religious matters. Philosophers and economists can certainly be dogmatic.

    zeal — I agree with your focus here on the accomplishment of some end/goal. Zealots have great enthusiasm and devotion. I think of fanaticism as extreme/excessive zeal.

    passion — Lots of enthusiasm and interest, but typically a "quieter" level of emotion — a less prideful and close-minded perspective.
     

    A-friend

    Senior Member
    Persian (Farsi)
    fanaticism — I don't agree that this can relate only to extreme religious or political beliefs, despite the Macmillian Dictionary's definition. I'd say this is often the case, but certainly not always. Here's an article published on Estonia's Department of National Defence College website (The Many Faces of Fanaticism) that "presents fanaticism as a universal phenomenon that can manifest itself in almost every sphere of human activity." My enthusiastic support for the Boston Red Sox is surely an example of fanaticism. Unwavering loyalty like this creates an atmosphere that can lead to game-tying grand slam home runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. To me, fanaticism is distinguished by a high degree of irrationality.

    dogmatism — I'd say the key here is that beliefs are advanced as facts. Ideologues are dogmatic. I don't agree that there is an expectation other people will accept them; the idea is that others should accept them. There is also often a connotation of arrogance. And again, I don't see this as being limited to political or religious matters. Philosophers and economists can certainly be dogmatic.

    zeal — I agree with your focus here on the accomplishment of some end/goal. Zealots have great enthusiasm and devotion. I think of fanaticism as extreme/excessive zeal.

    passion — Lots of enthusiasm and interest, but typically a "quieter" level of emotion — a less prideful and close-minded perspective.
    Thanks deaar Gramman
    But I wonder if you let me know your suggestion from among my presented choices :)
     

    gramman

    Senior Member
    Which one seems to fit best? Can any be ruled out?

    The 11 September event symbolizes the worst of religious and even maybe political……………..
    a) fanaticism
    b) dogmatism
    b) zeal
    c) passion
     

    A-friend

    Senior Member
    Persian (Farsi)
    Which one seems to fit best? Can any be ruled out?

    The 11 September event symbolizes the worst of religious and even maybe political……………..
    a) fanaticism
    b) dogmatism
    c) zeal
    d) passion
    If you are asking me, well according to your statements and dear Suzi's sayings, I guess the best choice is "a". but I doubted whether in your opinion "c = zeal" can work too or not! :)
     

    gramman

    Senior Member
    >>[Z]eal can work too or not?

    Well, Merriam-Webster has zealotry as:
    excess of zeal : fanatical devotion
    and zeal as:
    a strong feeling of interest and enthusiasm that makes someone very eager or determined to do something
    The WRF Dictionary has zealot as:
    an immoderate, fanatical, or extremely zealous adherent to a cause, esp a religious one
    So it may be that zealotry fits better than zeal. Here's a thread on Yahoo Answers (not the most authoritative source) where the posters generally agree with this distinction:
    "Zeal" is the normal or neutral word that means enthusiasm or great energy in such collocations as "revolutionary, religious, missionary zeal."

    Zealotry, on the other hand, is a derogatory word to describe an attitude or behavior of a zealot, especially in matters of religion and politics, as in the collocation "religious zealotry."
    Here's a thread on stackexchange.com's English Language and Usage forum (Can “zealot” have a positive connotation?) that contains a discussion of this question.

    This article on the University of Maryland Law School's website (Rethinking Zeal: Is it Zealous Representation or Zealotry?) advances an argument based on this idea that zealousness is good and zealotry is bad.

    The Online Etymology Dictionary indicates that the use of zealot to mean "a fanatical enthusiast" was first recorded in the seventeenth century.

    So it looks like zeal came into the language as a way to describe this stuff in general (passion, ardour, enthusiasm) and zealot developed as a term to describe people who took this to an extreme in their religious beliefs and practices.
     
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