Threat of Religion-Based Terrorism

This article explores apocalyptic theology in four American extremist religions: Christian
Identity; Nordic Christianity and Odinism; violent, "freewheeling" fundamentalism; and
Creatorism. It is argued that violent eschatology interacts with criminology in the sense that
politicized religions produce criminal behavior and, at times, terrorism.

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Headnote
Bell & Howell Information and Learning foreign text omitted:
This article explores apocalyptic theology in four American extremist religions: Christian
Identity; Nordic Christianity and Odinism; violent, "freewheeling" fundamentalism; and
Creatorism. It is argued that violent eschatology interacts with criminology in the sense that
politicized religions produce criminal behavior and, at times, terrorism. A brief history ofthe
relationship between religion and racist violence is presented as well as an analysis of the social
factors that produce political eschatology. The article concludes with an examination of religious
terrorism and technological weapons. Mass destruction is the greatest threat of religiously
motivated terrorism.
Religious violence in the name of a holy cause is nothing new in the history of conflict, and
terrorism in the new millennium will be influenced by resurgent fundamentalism and religious
doctrines of violent intolerance. This will be especially true when religious dogmas embrace
eschatological or "end-of-time" theology. The purpose of this article is to explore criminological
aspects of eschatology as it is expressed in domestic, right-wing, racist violence and extremism.
Two methodologies are employed: historical-descriptive analysis and theological explication.
After defining some basic parameters, the article begins by placing right-wing extremism in the
context of American history. This is followed by a description of recent events that have spurred
the growth of the radical right. A theological discussion follows the historical segment.

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