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Religious Fundamentalism: Spilling blood in the name of God

“God fights on the side with the best artillery”… These words of Legendary French Commander Napoléon Bonaparte have sadly become the reality of modern terrorism.

The great inventor, philosopher and poet Leonardo Da Vinci or better known as the ‘Renaissance Man’ once proclaimed, “Every man must live by a code.”

The saying cannot be more ubiquitous than modern-day warfare in the contemporary world that is hardened in the fire of fundamentalism, particularly of religious zeal!  

It is noteworthy to understand the three-dimensional and complex essence of human nature knitted in fine fabrics, yet combustive in nature.

Religion has always played the role of both a benefactor and the defector for human civilizations. Be it the pagan worshippers or the modern day cult-followers, the philosophy of religion has, in one way or the other, its deep rooted indictments in violence.

The modern-day war is no more about philosophies, nationalism, uprisings or the fight to right the wrong. The business of war has become a manifestation of various religious ideologies which are in a bare-fisted knuckle-fight to prove one’s supremacy over the other.

But if we dig deep into the annals of religion, it starts like every other revolution that is meant to protect the interests of the oppressed and to provide a sense of security in times of fear and turmoil.

It then gradually splinters into fragments that are shaped according to the ideological interests of religious zealots. But the question of the hour is what or who is to be blamed? Shall the gods be summoned or the zealots to be blamed that hide under the shady cloak of religious supremacy steeped in own vested interests.

Neither Islam nor Buddhism or any other religion preach violence in particular, but Islamic fundamentalism or the quite recent massacres in the name of religion in the Rohingya region of Mayanmar showed the world a very different picture of religion and it’s adversities on human civilization as a whole.

How many more wars the civilization has to witness and suffer in the name of gods…

In the modern age, following the decline of ideas such as the divine right of kings and with the rise of nationalism, terrorism has more often been based on anarchism, and revolutionary politics. But terrorism has witnessed a paradigm shift since the 1980s, however, there has a magnanimous increase in terrorist activity motivated by religion.

Since the ancient times, important symbolic acts linked to religion like blood sacrifice have their roots embedded to violence in the name of religion and ultimately terrorism. Political and religious motivations have always insight violent acts such as suicide terrorism, self-sacrifice, or martyrdom.

Analysing the Christian tradition, it sheds light on the long history of religious groups that promoted self-immolative acts and acts of such extremities can be contemporarily attributed to modern political groups such as the Irish Republican Army.

In the same way every religion has its own unique way of demonstrating violence.

Insurgency analysts and terroristic behavioural experts often come to common conclusions that such acts are a result of systematic and psychologically oriented procedures.

Suicide terrorism has time and again proved extremely efficient, inexpensive, easily organized, and extremely difficult to counter, delivering maximum damage against little cost.

Psychologically speaking, such shocking nature of suicide attack accelerates public attention while at the same time effectively glorifies the culture of martyrdom, the benefit being more people are attracted towards these so-called heroic acts.

Retaliation against suicide attacks increases the group's sense of victimization and commitment to adhere to a particular doctrine and policy. This process serves to encourage martyrdom, and hence suicide terrorism.

Robert Pape, a political scientist who specializes in suicide terrorism, concludes that the huge vested interests with little to expend marks reasons of most suicide attacks as "religious".
The question of the hour remains, how much blood is still left to the spilled in the name of religion? It’s a question quite often supposed to haunt any civilized man who values the qualities of peace.


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Siddharth Deb's picture

A masters in mass communication from NIMC Kolkata, Siddharth is a journalist and specialises in insurgency and conflict management. He can be reached at

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