Robert Michael Hicks: Few Call it War: Religious Terrorism: Then and Now

Most Americans could not fathom how Islamic terrorists could bring down the World Trade Center or an army psychiatrist could turn on his own soldiers, taking their lives in the name of his religion. How could an ex-army veteran blow up a federal building, or a Jewish doctor gun down Muslims at worship? Or how can one understand why a meditation guru would put sarin gas in a Tokyo subway? None of these incidents fit our conceptions of the benevolence of religion. More importantly, is there something inherent within religions that justifies the taking of human lives?

In Few Call It War, Dr. Robert Hicks explores these questions and takes the blinders off illuminating the roots of religious violence, what religious terrorists have in common, and how they differ. He focuses on the current administration’s struggle to call ISIS or ISIL what it really is: War. Hicks disagrees with the administration’s slow recognition of this enemy. In reality, this war is not as unique as some might think. It is a modern explosion of ancient religious ideologies that masks its historic roots. As Hicks points out, all major religions have used violence and terrorist methodologies at some points in their histories. Few Call It War reveals how the teachings of religious founders and the sacred writings attributed to them provide rich soil from which contemporary religious clerics and ideologues gain converts.

Hicks raises the crucial question often asked: “Is there any difference between a Timothy McVeigh and an Osama bin Laden?” For those making the moral equivalence arguments between various terrorists, Hicks dispels the equivalence with a clear understanding of history and religious ideologies. If one is interested in gaining an answer to the question, “Of all the religions in the world, which are most prone to using violence?” Few Call It War provides a well-reasoned answer that is well worth the read.

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