Religious Violence Course at CEU Summer University Explores Motivations, Political and Socioeconomic Causes

Juergensmeyer, affiliate professor of religious studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, explored what motivates those who commit increasingly ruthless acts in the name of religion. Drawing on experience gained by interviewing terrorists, he said that most of these fanatics are quite different from what one would expect.
“They were kind, ordinary, communicative people at first sight. At one point, however, we always touched a point where their expression changed, they leaned closer and started to talk about a cosmic war between good and evil,” Juergensmeyer said in a lecture entitled “Global Rebellion: Religious Challenges to the Secular State” on July 22.