Abrahamic Religions And Terrorism: The Common Themes And Power Of Politics

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Alexander D. Parker (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: https://library.appstate.edu/
Nancy Love

Abstract: This project focuses on religious violence conducted in the name of the Abrahamic faiths, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. The purpose of this project is to investigate various terrorist attacks conducted in the name of the Abrahamic faiths and examine the common religious characteristics. What I discovered was that these terrorist incidents share four identical themes and have a variety of outcomes, but they are always political. Before diving into the main arguments, I define the terms terrorism, religion, and power, in order to provide a better understanding of the main argument. Competition created by the existence of other faiths creates an uncertainty about which tradition holds the correct claims of the afterlife, terrorism is designed to leverage one faith above the others and erase this uncertainty. The project seeks to explore a variety of common themes found in these acts of terrorism. These include blind obedience and divine command theory, cosmological warfare, sacred space, and fear. The project concludes that these common themes help change the political structures of the attacked and do so in a way consistent with the goals of the terrorists, ultimately giving the perpetrator(s) the success and power over the other. Using the examples of Robert Bowers’ Pittsburg Synagogue massacre, Anders Breivik’s synchronous attacks in Norway, the expansion of the Islamic State, the assassination of the Israeli Prime Minister by Yigal Amir, and September eleventh, this paper concludes political power is the primary objective of terrorism within Abrahamic traditions. Lastly, a section is included about the role of faith in terrorism and opinions on how to combat religious terrorism.

Additional Information

Honors Project
Parker, A. (2020). Abrahamic Religions And Terrorism: The Common Themes And Power Of Politics. Unpublished Honors Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2020
Terrorism, Religion, Power, Politics, Abrahamic Traditions, Faith

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