Dying for Heaven

Dying for Heaven

Holy Pleasure and Suicide Bombers-- Why the Best Qualities of Religion Are Also Its Most Dangerous

Book - 2009
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Why do terrorists do what they do? Not only are religiously motivated terrorists willing to self-destruct to achieve their goals, but neither threats nor incentives consistently prevent their devastating acts. Compounding this is the fact that soon extremist nations and terrorist groups in the Middle East and Asia will have nuclear weapons and may be driven by religion to use them. Is nuclear terror inevitable or can it be prevented?

Ariel Glucklich, Georgetown professor of religion and advisor to the U.S. defense community, reveals the fallacy of our country's three major assumptions about the motivations that lie behind terrorism:

that religious terrorists are acting out of hatred for us, that belief in paradise is the chief factor in their willingness to die for their cause, and that religious extremism is always irrational.

The astonishing reality Glucklich reveals is that these radicals

sincerely believe they are motivated by love, actually are attempting to fight internal enemies or "heretics" within their own societies, and desire fame and honor in the here and now, rather than a promised afterlife in heaven.

Dying for Heaven offers a groundbreaking theory of religion and religious destructiveness; the book examines the motivations fueling those who perpetrate religious violence around the globe--from Al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorists to violent Hindu nationalists, from Jewish-Zionist fundamentalists in Israel to leaders in Iran's race for nuclear weapons, and to Christian messianic defenders of American power. The continuing rise of religion as a global force and the proliferation of nuclear weapons create a unique challenge for policy advisors, who now must understand how far religious extremists will go toward nuclear annihilation. Dying for Heaven provides the key for understanding the religious drive to self-destruct and offers ways to combat the culture of suicide terrorism.

Publisher: New York : HarperCollins, c2009
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780061430817
Branch Call Number: 201.76332 GLU 2009
Characteristics: 345 p. ; 24 cm

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BPLNextBestAdults May 15, 2013

Growing up, our world was safe because no one was suicidal. The Russians wouldn’t nuke us, because we could nuke them. But what if one’s faith in the afterlife outweighs one’s fear? Glucklich”s research in the psychology of religion leads him to observe that religion makes us happy. He spends time philosophizing about happiness, pleasure and their origins I enjoyed his clear explanations, the analysis and the classification of concepts. It was slow going, because there was something to consider in each paragraph. Also, he doesn’t take himself too seriously. As in life, the reward of reading the book is in the path taken, the ideas considered. Unfortunately, the path grows faint at times and the solution he suggests was disappointing. ik

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