Understanding the Extensive Connections Between Religions and Terrorism?

In light of the awful terrorist attacks that have been launched once again in Israel I thought it urgent to repost this item.

What are the connections between religions and terrorism? 

That's a big question. I tried to answer, explain and understand it in the past through my extensive scholarly research and my academic teaching.

Here is a selected list of my blog posts of study resources in the analysis of the connections between terrorism and religion (compiled when I taught a course on religion and terrorism at FDU a few years ago). Click on each one to read it.
  1. Questions about American Christian Terrorism
  2. Religion and Jewish Terrorists (and see the JTA report)
  3. What is a Religious Culture of Violence and Terror? 
  4. Who were Shoko Asahara and the Buddhist Aum Shinrikyo Religious Terrorists? 
  5. How did Religion Motivate Sikh Terrorists? 
  6. What is the Logic of the Theater of Religious Terror? 
  7. Why Do Religious Terrorist Martyrs say that they aim to kill the demons? 
  8. What do Sexuality and Humiliation have to do with Terrorism? 
  9. Will the War Against Religious Terrorism Ever End? 
  10. From Kahane to Osama: How Do Men Make Religious Terrorism Into Cosmic War? 
  11. How can we end religious terrorism and achieve the peace of God? 
  12. Concluding Questions on Religion and Terrorism

I have studied this subject at great length and taught courses in the area because I believe that understanding can help us resolve tragic conflicts. 
I also believe in the power of prayer to help us bring peace to the world.
I recommend to you all of my books: My Home Page

Thanksgiving Turkey Drumstick Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin Pie Table Song - A Lone Pumpkin Grew

Thanksgiving is upon us soon and we sing traditional holiday songs at our Thanksgiving dinner.

Here are the words to one of our classic favorites...

Oh a lone pumpkin grew on a green pumpkin vine.
He was round
he was fat
he was yellow.
"No silly jack-o-lantern shall I make," he said.
"I'm determined to become a useful fellow."

So he raised up his head
when the cook came around
and at once he was chosen the winner.
His fondest wish came true
he was proud pumpkin pie
and the glory of the great thanksgiving dinner...

For the glory of the jack is in the lantern
as he sits up on the gatepost oh so high;
and the glory of the turkey is the drumstick
but the glory of the pumpkin is the pie.

Here we are singing the song in 2006:

Here's a YouTube 2009 home video of the song -- we don't know the folks -- it sounds like our familiar melody and we endorse it.


Life Advice from a Long-time Swimmer: Swim 100 laps every day

The Tosefta quotes Rabbi Meir (2nd century CE Talmudic scholar) saying that everyone should strive to recite 100 blessings each day. It then goes on to enumerate them - mostly in daily prayers.

Let's play with the word for blessings. They are berakhot ברכות in ancient Hebrew. Okay then. In modern Hebrew the laps that one swims in a pool are called berechot בריכות. A blessing is a berachah and a pool - and a lap in a pool - is a berechah.

I playfully read the ancient Talmud this way: Don't say 100 berakhot (blessings), say 100 berechot (laps).
Footnote about Meir from Wikipedia: Meir was buried in a standing position near the Kinneret. It is said that he asked to be buried this way so when the Final Redemption occurs, Rabbi Meir would be spared the trouble of arising from his grave and could just walk out to greet the Jewish Messiah. He requested that he be buried in Israel by the seashore so that the water that washes the shores should also lap his grave (Jerusalem Talmud, Kelaim 9:4).
And so I have crafted some Talmudic encouragement for myself to swim 100 laps a day. On many days each year, I do get to that goal.

Here are a few of my past reflections on swimming...