Originating as a religious/political group in the Holy Land, the term Zealot has now come to be associated with any extreme religious or political belief and practices.
a person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of their religious, political, or other ideals.
a member of an ancient Jewish sect that aimed at a world Jewish theocracy and resisted the Romans until AD 70.
I am not religious, but I am happy for anyone to believe in any religion that gives them comfort, as long as their beliefs are not forced on others in any way.
Zealot is not used that much these days, as the modern term we recognize has become the more familiar ‘Fundamentalist’. This can apply to Muslims, Christians both Catholic and Protestant, as well as other religions practiced around the world.
In most cases, it involves the hatred of any other religion, and the assertion that their religion is the only one that should be allowed. We have seen what happened in history with the Crusades, and the Muslim conquest of much of Europe. Further east, the Ottoman Turks established a vast empire, and presecuted Christian Orthodox people in the conquered lands.
Then there was forced conversion, making subdued people convert to a religion on pain of death if they refused. In more recent times, we have seen what fanatical religious beliefs can still do, from the sectarian killings in Northern Ireland, to the terrorist attacks carried out by Muslim fanatics all around the world.
Large groups like ISIS have conquered territory and murdered thousands of people, and in America, New Zealand, and other countries, Christian Fundamentalists have attacked black people, immigrants, homosexuals, and Muslims.
These people are not practicing the religions in the true sense. They are spreading hate, fear, and terror. Many claim to be doing so because of their ‘God’, whatever their professed religion.
This is the 21st century, not the 1st. There is no place for Zealots in the modern world.