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October 20, 2014

Religion, War and Atrocity

The vivid pictures of beheadings by IS, publicized for their own propaganda purposes, make a dramatic emotional impact. One effect is to associate the gruesome acts with the Salafist doctrine (correctly) and with Islam generally (incorrectly). We are told that "Muslims do this kind of thing, things that we would never do." Yet, we Christians and other non-Muslim Americans killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. What might the reaction among Muslims, and devotees of other religions, have been were there photographers on the spot able to record the suffocated, the fried, the irradiated, the cremated? Does the nature of the cause in whose name these actions were taken make a crucial moral difference?

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