Martin E. Marty

Christian Post Contributor

A New Use for ''Cults''?

I spotted a new idea, or at least a new idea to me, for approaching terrorism, a phenomenon fraught with religious significance, or at least significance that scholars of religion might probe. This one comes from psychologist Marc Sageman, whose Understanding Terror Networks I must now read, and which was commented on by columnist David Ignatius in the Washington Post Weekly (September 18-24). Some may find Sageman and Ignatius wildly optimistic because, unlike so many administration and military leaders, they do not think we have to talk about the "dangerous killers" in the Muslim world as agents of a "permanent war, much less a clash of civilizations," or as the "21st century" struggle, a century being a long time. We do not need to think and talk in those terms "unless we make big mistakes" or choose to "go to war with Iran," and thus help give those terms new life.