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Monotheism is a compelling idea. At once, the monotheisms provide purpose and fellowship here and now with paradise hereafter for the faithful. See Religion and Violence for an eyeopener on the fellowship side.

How monotheism relates to terrorism seems to be intrinsic. An Authoritarian hierarchy is set up by the mere act of defining God. Each monotheism has its prophets who are usually given God-like authority in words written by scribes during codification of prophetic teaching long after the death of the profit. After popes, bishops, caliphs, and the like, rabbis, preachers and mullahs are steps down in the hierarchy. Also, like the true authoritarian, you either believe or you don't--no room for doubt or another option. No room, especially, for another person's God!

Most adherents are not that single minded; they allow others to believe as they wish. But many Christians and Muslims work actively to convert the rest of the world to their extreme beliefs. Performed to excess, such behavior leads to extremism. The crusading Popes and today's Zionist and Muslim terrorists were/are type examples.

The history of monotheism began some 3,600 years ago in a remote corner of what is now Jordan. The Migdol Temple provides a history written in stone where the thinking of humanity slowly changed from poly- to monotheism. See Daily Star Lebanon for the story.

Monotheism history is basically a study in sectarianism. Each major monotheism is comprised of multiple, even numerous, sects that believe differently from any of the others. Each sect traces its origin to a minor prophet who distinguished his brand of God and/or religious practice from all others.

Basic differences in people, genetic and cultural, drive the splintering through their very own minor prophets--Muhammed Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, Martin Luther, and Joseph Smith are examples.

A disinterested observer sees at once that each sect relies on selective readings of the "Good Books." One sees that need for control and power-in-action is operative. Fixed ideas, arrogance, and fundamentalism express the continued influence of Authoritarianism.

All these are expressions of the Authoritarian Personality. And so were the following:

Armageddon I (WW II) visited Europe in the fourth decade of the Twentieth Century.

Armageddon II (The Cold War) closed out the Twentieth Century as the Soviet system of communism collapsed under the weight of economic pressures from more efficient systems.

Both wars came unannounced by God. Each was unlike any prior war. But each was decisive, like Armageddon. Both ended with many people waving their own brand of God as triumphant. Western Europe and Japan have experienced nearly five decades of peace after WWII if you count Kosovo as part of Eastern Europe. But neither war ended terror, religious strife, or genocidal violence. Pax Americana, mainland version, some 15 decades long, expired with 9/11.

We refer you again to Religion and Violence. To extract a bit from that page, Jessica Stern writes in her "Terror in the Name of God:"

"Writing this book has helped me to understand that religion is a kind of technology. It is terribly seductive in its ability to soothe and explain, but it is also dangerous. Convents such as the one I visited as a child may make good people better, but they don't necessarily make bad people good. They may even make bad people worse."

"What is so deeply painful about terrorism is that our enemies, whom we see as evil, view themselves as saints and martyrs. As such, religious terrorism is more than a threat to national security. It is psychological and spiritual warfare, requiring a psychologically and spiritually informed response. ..."

"Participants in the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the kamikaze suicide-bombing raids all understood the appeal of purifying the world through murder.... This powerful yearning for bliss cannot be denied if we are to fight 'terror in the name of God,' the gravest danger we face today."

We agree exactly.

A further reference that is a must read by those interested in saving humankind is Karen Armstrong's "The Battle For God." Armstrong provides an unique view with insights of a lifetime woven into the fabric of her book.


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