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Religious Terrorism - Essay Example

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However there is a major difference between sect and cult.
A sect is a consequence of an established religion where mostly people either die off or expand into a major denomination so a sect-based religious group is more likely to play the role of the victim, not the aggressor.A cult, on the other hand, is a more dangerous, spiritually innovative group headed by a charismatic leader who usually motivates his group and has several aims other than to become a major denomination.
Today's terrorists are ultimately more apocalyptic in their perspectives and methods. For many violent and radical organizations, terror has evolved from being a means to an end, to becoming the end in itself. The National Commission on Terrorism quoted R. James Woolsey:
Another feature of religious cults that makes them incredibly dangerous is the personality-driven nature of these groups. Cultist devotion to one leader leaves followers less able to make their own moral decisions or to consult other sources of reasoning. If that leader is emotionally or mentally unstable, the consequences can be catastrophic. The more dangerous religious terrorist groups from traditional faiths may often share this feature of the cult as a charismatic leader who exerts a powerful influence over the members of the group. (Matthew J. Morgan, 2004) Again I would like to link the acts of religious terrorism to brainwashing, as to how it relates to terrorism. Cults usually possesses one main aspiration in mind i.e., to motivate and inspire their groups to the utmost till a stage comes where the groups no longer needs to be motivated and appear in one of the following categories:
Intentional Brainwashing - the victim knows as to what he is doing in terms of rights and wrongs. He is aware of all the consequences and still likes to be brainwashed.
Unintentional Brainwashing - the victim is deeply inspired by the aggressor to the utmost that he is unaware of his own condition. (Uncertainty)

It is important to distinguish religious terrorists from those terrorists with religious components, but whose primary goals are political. Religiously motivated terrorist groups grew sixfold from 1980 to 1992 and continued to increase in the 1990s. Hoffman asserted:
"The religious imperative for terrorism is the most important characteristic of terrorist
activity today."
Today's terrorists increasingly look at their acts of death and destruction as sacramental or transcendental on a spiritual level. The pragmatic reservations of secular terrorists do not hold back religious terrorists. Secular terrorists may view indiscriminate violence as immoral. For religious terrorists, however, indiscriminate violence may not be only morally justified, but constitute a righteous and necessary advancement of their religious cause.
As Hoffman observed, the constituency itself differs between religious and secular terrorists. Secular terrorists seek to defend or promote some disenfranchised population and to appeal to sympathizers or prospective sympathizers. Religious terrorists are often limited to their own constituencies, having no ...Show more


It is true that no religion teaches violent lessons, in fact all religions justify violence in different ways and perceptions, I believe it has more to be associated with human psychology rather than religion. In my opinion there is only one main factor behind every religious violence, i.e., 'Brainwashing'…
Author : hilpertbroderic
Religious Terrorism
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