With God on Their Side by
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Prompted By 9/11

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The September 11, 2001, attacks were horrific. Nearly 3,000 people died. It was horrible, but not nearly as horrible as Hiroshima or Nagasaki. It was also elegant. A few determined, religiously-devout individuals, using their enemies’ own technological marvels, flattened the iconic towers of the greedy and tyrannical infidels and attacked the center of their military might. The attack continued the 300-year Crusades of long ago and ignited both focused and misguided retaliations which only further served to incense the faithful. And the faithful will fight forever, no matter the cost. The attacks taught us that the power of strongly-held superstitious beliefs will trump the most powerful of contemporary humanitarian concerns. Does anyone think that those suicide bombers would have been willing to die if they did not believe themselves to be righteous martyrs who would reap eternal rewards in an afterlife? Such beliefs will always pose a deadly risk for everyone.

"...the faithful will fight forever, no matter the cost."
Profile photo of Lou Moffett Lou Moffett
I was born in 1946 and raised in the Bywater district of New Orleans.
I attended Jesuit High School and then Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, graduating in 1968 with a major in psychology and a minor in philosophy. In 1968-69, I did graduate study in personality at the University of California, Berkeley, I returned to LSU to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology although my dissertation was on the psychology of sculpture. I completed my internship at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Palo Alto, California, and then became a staff psychologist there specializing in the treatment of men with severe substance use disorders. During those years I also taught at Stanford's School of Education and was a clinical educator in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the Medical School.
I also taught at Palo Alto University, and, in 2008 I retired from the VA and became a full-time professor at PAU and then retired from there in 2013.


Tags: religion, God, martyrdom
Characterizations: right on!

Comments

  1. John Zussman says:

    By placing 9/11 in a historical and dialectical context, it seems like we are on an inexorable path of escalation. I wonder if there is a way out. Thanks for this perspective.

  2. Patricia says:

    Lou, you’re so right on both fronts: much of the shock of that day was about trying and failing to get our minds around how someone could actually carry out such an act, no matter what your beliefs. The other was the simplicity of the plan: the atomic bomb cost billions of dollars, many years, and more than a few lives just to produce. The human mind produced both attacks, it’s debatable, and scary to think about whether science or belief is a more effective weapon.

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