I have just begun Karen Armstrong’s provocative latest work – Fields of Blood, Religions and the History of Violence. I was particularly struck by this early observation.
“The warrior in battle may feel connected with the cosmos, but afterward he cannot always resolve those inner contradictions. It is fairly well established that there is a strong taboo against killing our own kind – an evolutionary stratagem that helped our species to survive. Still we fight. But to bring ourselves to do so, we envelop the effort in a mythology – often a ‘religious’ mythology – that puts distance between us and the enemy. We exaggerate the differences, be they racial, religious, or ideological.”
Armstrong has written a number of books on religion and is best known for her A History of God.