Terrorism: Hating the Sin

About Al Stefanelli
Al Stefanelli is the Georgia State Director for American Atheists, Inc. He is the author of "A Voice Of Reason In An Unreasonable World - The Rise Of Atheism On Planet Earth," and is also a freelance writer and journalist (circa 1985). His work is widely published on the Internet and in print. His blog can be found on Freethought Blogs. Visit his website at www.alstefanelli.com
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Psychologists agree that terrorism is a behavior that is obviously anti-social and reveals the terrorist to be a sociopath. However, what many people think are the stressors that lead up to someone becoming a terrorist are actually incidental. The belief that politics, economics and even religion produce terrorists is simply not so. Individual politics are incidental, as we have observed that terrorism is not confined to middle-eastern cultures. It actually exists within all political genres, but does manifest in different ways in different cultures.

Economics are incidental, as well. Rich and wealthy people can be terrorists, although they are usually the source of the financing. Generally, it is the poor who usually end up strapping explosives to themselves, and although their motivation might be different, their mindset is not. Even religious affiliation is incidental. While it might appear that all terrorists are Muslim, we know this is not the case.

Yes, at this point in our history a large percentage of terrorism is at the hands of the Muslim extremist, but terrorism, as it is defined, exists within both major world religions. Islam and Christianity are broken down into various divisions, denominations, sects and cults and not all of them are created equal. Not every division, denomination, sect and cult approves of terrorism, and many of them are very vocal about their condemnation.

While there are very obvious differences between Christianity and Islam, the two Abrahamic religions have a good bit in common. When both the Quran and the Bible are put under the microscope of literary examination, they are not the bastions of love and tolerance that many of their respective expert apologists claim they are. Because both of these holy books can be interpreted in many different ways, it leaves the terrorist and/or extremist with plenty of material to draw from for the promotion of hate and intolerance against whomever is the target of their vitriol.

The Bible and Quran have much in common when it comes to “death commandments” for everyone but members of their respective groups. The moderate Christian or Muslim do not intepret their holy books this way, which is admirable. But, the extremists of both of these religions maintain that any member who does not interpret it their way are not “true” to their faith. Thus, the charges against Islamic extremists for their unspeakably horrific acts toward infidels cannot be levied against them alone.

Christian extremism has perpetrated their own brand of terrorism.  Every day the news wires are rife with violence in the name of Allah or Jesus. Stories of innocent blood spilled are not uncommon. Video channels have no shortage of material by and about Christians or Muslims that only serve to incite more hate against those who do not believe. While the United States and other modern nations are trying to advance in areas of science and education to compete successfully in the global arena, Christian and Islamic fundamentalists consistently attempt to push these countries back into further ignorance.

Islamic extremism may be a problem mostly in countries outside the United States, but in America, Christian extremists groups are growing at an uncomfortably rapid pace. These groups are responsible for abortion clinics being attacked and sometimes destroyed by explosive devices, physicians who are practicing legal medicine being murdered and death threats sent to politicians who are of a different mindset. Homosexual high-school and college students are being murdered or committing suicide due to the senseless intolerance of their fundamentalist Christian classmates who have been taught hateful ideologies by their parents. On the international scene, young boys are being routinely molested by Catholic Priests who have vowed to be celibate, which is something that is so unnatural for a human being that the Catholic Church should have seen this coming like a slow-moving freight train.

Christian and Muslim fundamentalists are suffering from a particularly dangerous form of the mental illness of delusion, as their beliefs have progressed beyond the harmless mainstream and have taken on psychotic tendencies. While press coverage is given to the ones who are outwardly psychotic, such as Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church and Osama bin Laden of Al Qaeda, those who hold to the extremist ideals of each of these religions are not much different.

The ability of the fundamentalist to distinguish between reality and fantasy is blurred by their indoctrination. They hold completely inaccurate understandings of world history and most of the sciences. Reason gives way to fairy tales, impossibilities and outright untruths. There exists an abundance of fundamentalist Christians in America who actually believe that the United States is a Christian nation founded on biblical principles, in spite of the historical documentation that proves otherwise. These Christians would have no problem putting a bullet into the head of anyone who disagrees with them. This I know for a fact, as I have received many death threats from both Muslims and Christians alike

While Islamic extremism is outward in its animosity toward unbelievers, many fundamentalist Christians will claim that they hate no one because, according to them, Christ commands them to love the sinner but hate the sin. However, this attitude inexorably leads to judgment, condemnation and eventual exclusion of even family members from all social circles, and sometimes professional ones. Hating the sin but loving the sinner requires the same separation of sentience from the accused that  Islamic extremists doctrine does. In essence, it removes their humanity, making it very easy to mete out whatever punishment is deemed appropriate. This makes terrorism a lot easier.

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Posted by on July 19, 2012. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION,HERESY. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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2 Responses to Terrorism: Hating the Sin

  1. Avi Bernstein Reply

    July 19, 2012 at 8:26 am

    A very interesting article, but no mention is made of the use of terrorism by states – only by individuals. Terrorism is the use of violence for political gain; although interestingly there is no specific definition of the term. The United States has regularly used terrorism since the Second World War as one of many tools to achieve influence and control. Recently, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq plus assassinations by drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan are all examples of state sponsored terrorism.

    • Michael John Scott Reply

      July 19, 2012 at 1:13 pm

      I actually teach terrorism, not the act but the history, at a large university. It is part of the graduate program in criminal justice and you are right Avi, there is no real definition beyond what the FBI has cobbled together:

      “Terrorism is defined in the Code of Federal Regulations as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives” (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85).

      “The FBI further describes terrorism as either domestic or international, depending on the origin, base, and objectives of the terrorist organization.

      “Domestic terrorism is the unlawful use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual based and operating entirely within the United States or Puerto Rico without foreign direction committed against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof in furtherance of political or social objectives.

      “International terrorism involves violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or any state, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or any state. These acts appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion, or affect the conduct of a government by assassination or kidnapping. International terrorist acts occur outside the United States or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to coerce or intimidate, or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum.”

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