Blood That Cries Out From the Earth: The Psychology of Religious Terrorism

Does Religion Cause Terrorism? It's Complicated
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Religious terrorism has become the scourge of the modern world. What causes a person to kill innocent strangers in the name of religion?

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Request PDF on ResearchGate | Blood That Cries Out From the Earth: The Psychology of Religious Terrorism | Religiously motivated terrorism is a religious . Religiously motivated terrorism is a religious phenomenon; thus the psychology of religiously motivated terrorism is the psychology of religion. For many.

As both a clinical psychologist and an authority on comparative religion, James W. Jones is uniquely qualified to address this increasingly urgent question. Research on the psychology of violence shows that several factors work to make ordinary people turn "evil.

Blood that cries out from the earth : the psychology of religious terrorism, James W. Jones

Jones goes on to apply this model to two very different religious groups that have engaged in violence: Aum Shinrikyo, the Buddhist splinter group behind the sarin gas attacks in the Tokyo subway system, and members of the extreme religious right in the U. Jones notes that not every adherent of an authoritarian group will turn to violence, and he shows how theories of personality development can explain why certain individuals are easily recruited to perform terrorist acts. Psychological Themes in Religiously Motivated Terrorism.

James Jones seeks to understand Islamic terrorism as a form of sacrificial behavior undertaken in the name of a religious ideology and community.

It is an oath to the nation. What manifests and is called an act of violence or aggression by the outside observer—is understood by the terrorist as an act of martyrdom or sacrifice.

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Destructive acts are conceived as a form of devotion to a sacred object. In the case of Islamic radicals, the object or entity motivating acts of sacrificial violence is Allah.

A leader of Hamas stated:. Love of martyrdom is something deep inside the heart.

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But these rewards are not in themselves the goal of the martyr. This can be done in the simplest and speediest manner by dying in the cause of Allah.

If the desire for spiritual unification with God is fundamental to all religions—but does not usually lead to violence—how are we to understand those instances when this desire does lead to violence? Jones poses this question as follows: Why is the spilling of blood among certain religious fanatics experienced as necessary for redemption?