Religion and war [Letter]

As a theologian and biblical scholar, I wish to respond to two points made by commentator Thomas Schaller, whose disdain for using religion to underwrite war I share ("The Islamic State's false promise," Sept. 30).

The practices he attributes to fundamentalist Christians in military institutions are simply more extreme forms of the misguided religious language used to support war in general. We see this, for example, in the pervasive rhetoric of "God bless our troops" from the president on down to local newspapers, church prayer meetings and everyday conversation.

Moreover, as a specialist in the Book of Revelation, I must point out that John Dominic Crossan is not the only interpreter of that book. Other prominent biblical scholars do not understand the symbolism of Revelation to mean that it portrays a literally violent Jesus or implicitly condones war in God's name.

We should not blame fundamentalist Christians or the book of Revelation for linking Jesus or God to the violence of war. The connection is deeply seated in the human heart and in human culture — what is commonly called sin.

Michael J. Gorman, Baltimore

The writer is a professor at St. Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore.

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