Christiane Amanpour's three part, six hour special report, God's Warriors which aired last week on CNN was a great bit of reporting. I won't presume to "review" the program. I am a bit surprised that no one has seen fit to discuss it here at BC. Suffice it to say that Ms. Amanpour is, in my opinion, one of the best reporters anywhere. She took great pains to be as impartial as possible, revealing her incredulity only briefly in response to some instances of obvious sexism.
The overarching theme of this omnibus presentation was the advent of religious radicalism now prevalent in all three of the major monotheistic religions of the world - Judaism, Islam, and of course, good old Christianity.
That in itself is not news to most earthlings of the human persuasion who haven't spent the last twenty or so years in the asteroid belt. But the program served to put into perspective to some extent, the history and events which brought each tradition to this dangerous pass.
It is worthy of note that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world and, of course, much of the violence being visited upon the planet today is rooted in radical Islam. But it is also important to understand that there are radical Jews and Christians who are equally disposed to doing violence in the name of their god. God's Warriors does an admirable job of articulating that fact.
What ultimately renders any lasting resolution to the conflicts between these religious traditions so remote is the inability or unwillingness of any of them to accommodate the others in compromise. To do so would be forsaking their god. The true believers of each tradition maintain an unswerving faith that theirs is the one and only true path; that all others are deluded, following false gods or being led down the garden path by Beelzebub himself.
I know there are those, especially in the U.S. who believe that the right wing evangelical movement is waning. Certainly, since the last mid-term elections, it would appear that the Christian fundamentalists have lost their momentum. But they are a hearty lot. They have proven to be every bit as steadfast and driven as Osama and his boys.
Radical Christians are in part driven by the awareness that radical Muslim leaders have made great strides in galvanizing their followers into a fairly monolithic and overtly devout group. The Christians don't want to be caught with their spiritual pants down. They are compelled to mobilize and strengthen their flocks in preparation for the ultimate battle against the supposed heathen Islamist hoards. Many are booking passage to Armageddon as I type. I think a new Holiday Inn Express just opened there. There may be package deals on Expedia or Price Line, maybe an "Apocalypse Special"