For Love of the Father: A Psychoanalytic Study of Religious Terrorism

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Ruth Stein's pioneering study explains suicidal terrorism from a psychoanalytic perspective. She argues that most Islamic extremists undertake destructive and self-destructive actions not out of blind hatred, nor even for political gain, but to achieve an explosive merger with a transcendent awesome Father, God. The extremist is thus motivated more by his love for God than his hatred of the infidel. The contemporary Islamic terrorist kills God's enemies to express his intoxication with and complete submission to the God-idea. Stein further shows that this same leitmotif of filial submission and sacrifice runs through patriarchal monotheism in general.