Holy Shit” of Terror: Middle Ages & Renaissance

Ser­i­al killers are a spe­cial kind of breed for law enforce­ment agen­cies. This has been a pop­u­lar germ for numer­ous movies and count­less nov­els. Detec­tives inves­ti­gat­ing ser­i­al mur­ders build a pro­file of the killer based on gath­ered evi­dence, then match clues to the pro­file, which even­tu­al­ly lead them to the iden­ti­ty of the ser­i­al killer. In these inves­ti­ga­tions, the Behav­ioral Sci­ences Unit of the FBI plays a major role in the ini­tial pro­fil­ing.Zodiac_blog_2100x147

Where is An Unqui­et Mind going with this, you may won­der.

I am read­ing Michael Connelly’s A Dark­ness More Than Night, a reg­u­lar police pro­ce­dur­al.

Among the dif­fer­ent types of ser­i­al mur­der­ers, there is one cat­e­go­ry of cas­es where reli­gion is involved. These cas­es are col­lo­qui­al­ly termed “Holy Shit” cas­es by FBI pro­fil­ers.

Cave Cave Dus Videt
Cave Cave D(ominu)us Videt
Beware Beware God Sees

Holy Shit,” McCaleb said qui­et­ly to him­self. It was not said as an excla­ma­tion. Rather, it was the phrase he and fel­low bureau pro­fil­ers had used to infor­mal­ly clas­si­fy cas­es in which reli­gious over­tures were part of the evi­dence. When God was dis­cov­ered to be part of the prob­a­ble moti­va­tion for a crime, it became a “holy shit” case when spo­ken of in casu­al con­ver­sa­tion.

This is where the unqui­et mind kicked in full gear. What fol­lowed next:

It also changed things sig­nif­i­cant­ly, for God’s work was nev­er done. When a killer was out there using His name as part of the imprint of a crime, it often meant there would be more crimes. It was said in the bureau pro­fil­ing offices that God’s killers nev­er stopped of their own voli­tion. They had to be stopped.

Sub­sti­tute a mob in place of a ser­i­al killer and what you have is a seem­ing­ly unstop­pable mob soci­ety com­mit­ting mass mur­der in the name of God. The his­to­ry of reli­gious vio­lence over thou­sands of years of human his­to­ry is proof. Name a reli­gion and there is a group com­mit­ting mass mur­der in its name, at any point in human his­to­ry, past or present.

How about Stal­in and Hitler who com­mit­ted geno­cide of mil­lions, but were not asso­ci­at­ed with any reli­gious ide­al­ism?

What dis­tin­guish­es the inde­scrib­able atroc­i­ties com­mit­ted by Stal­in and Hitler is pre­cise­ly what Con­nel­ly, though unin­ten­tion­al­ly, observed above. Nei­ther Stalin’s or Hitler’s heirs prop­a­gat­ed the geno­cide. They were stopped, per­ma­nent­ly. The ide­ol­o­gy behind their actions could not sur­vive real­i­ty and the col­lec­tive human force on the plan­et. How­ev­er, in the case of reli­gion, ide­ol­o­gy over­comes real­i­ty – reli­gious ide­ol­o­gy, when it’s God-moti­vat­ed, is a dif­fi­cult cock­roach to exter­mi­nate.

In this and the past cen­tu­ry, God-based vio­lence has been decried by the “peace-lov­ing” reli­gious advo­cates as being posi­tions of “extrem­ist” fac­tions, for whom the reli­gion is “peace-lov­ing”, and is thus, not to blame.

From the past Chris­t­ian cru­sades to the cur­rent Mus­lim jihad, from Saf­fron ter­ror to Sikh extrem­ism, all reli­gions have caused mass-ser­i­al-killings on an unimag­in­able scale. Holy shit.

Observe the nature of change in reli­gious vio­lence. It was eas­i­er in medieval eras to iso­late and burn heretics on the stake. In the mod­ern world, it’s not so easy, hence one needs to make a pub­lic state­ment of vio­lence against the pub­lic in gen­er­al. Because much of today’s pub­lic is “civ­i­lized”. The medieval strate­gies of burn­ing heretics on the stake don’t work in today’s soci­ety, so they need to kill on the mass scale to make a state­ment.

It is called “ter­ror­ism” in recent decades, but its roots lie in thou­sands of years past.

Is human soci­ety ful­ly “civ­i­lized”? Not at all, most of them still hold one or the oth­er reli­gion as their phi­los­o­phy of life, while decry­ing vio­lence on that religion’s behalf.

It took thou­sands of years for humans to emerge out of the dark­ness of the Mid­dle Ages, which was fol­lowed by the Renais­sance. I am just hop­ing that we evolve out of our cur­rent Dig­i­tal-Mid­dle-Age so that our kids or our grand­chil­dren can achieve peace­ful glo­ry and hap­pi­ness in their Dig­i­tal Renais­sance.

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  • Very Well Explained about the Ter­ror­ism, I owe to you. Thanks for shar­ing this.