When people are fanatically dedicated to political or religious faiths or any other kind of dogmas or goals, it's always because

these dogmas or goals are in doubt. - Robert T. Pirsig, author and philosopher (1928- ) Just to clarify, the doubt would be on part of the "believers." The vast majority of people know the dogmas and goals are hogwash. While this seems a contradiction--why believe something about which you have doubts?--it is a strange fact of human nature. It's not like the captain going down with the sinking ship. It's more like the crew of a sinking ship vowing to defy all the facts of their sinking and a force their ship to refloat by virtue of their collective will. Going back into history, the cultures that fought the invasion of the barbarians in the late Roman times of Europe tended to be the ones that disappeared by being wiped out. Those that succumbed to the invading hordes from the east usually survived and found the newcomers prepared to mostly assimilate into their new culture and blend the two. Belief in the purity of your own culture, it turned out, resulted in annihilation. In modern times, the Palestinians are a prime example of a people who are fighting a losing battle because they believe they have a right to wipe out Israel and own all the land that now comprises the Israeli state. In fact, the only reason there is a war now is that the states neighbouring Israel refused to accept what became known as the Palestinians as citizens of their own countries because the latter were considered too crude and brutal. Former Jordanians and Egyptians, for example, now identify themselves as Palestinians because their former home countries rejected their repatriation. No one wanted them. Israel was created in lands where the Arab people had been supporters of the Germans during the world wars and the international community wanted to silence the troublemakers by giving their land to the new state of Israel. Then they provided economic, financial and moral support to ensure that the troublemakers remained silent. The fact that present day Israel exists on biblical Israeli lands was a bonus, not a true founding principle. However, the Palestinians didn't remain silent. They devised a war in which their own people--by the design of the leaders of the warrior factions--died in much greater numbers than the "enemy." Apart from selling them weapons, the international community collectively offers little (or no) support for the Palestinian cause of taking control of Israeli lands and sending Israelis off in ships. As annoying as Irael may be to its neighbours, it presents no threat to them. The Palestinians, on the other hand, have turned the Middle East into a potential war zone. Finally, we must consider the terrorists of the world. Without exception, they subscribe to a version of Islam that is of their own invention, that doesn't really exist except in the minds the followers. The followers belong to many cults, none of which supports mainstream Islam nor is supported by it. Consider these questions that the radicals refuse to think about. Do the men and women who commit suicide for the purpose of killing mostly other members of their own religion really believe that Allah wants this to happen? Do they really

believe that 72 virgins--male virgins for the women, women for the males--await them when they reach heaven? Do they really believe that the world will be a better place because they have committed suicide--the worst sin in Islam--and created a bloodbath of body parts of innocent people (murder is the second worst sin)? Of course they have doubts. But because that is the only course of action that their teaching has allowed--not Islam, but within the terrorist cults--they want desperately to believe it. And perhaps to die before their belief is proven wrong. Think about it. If the belief set you had devoted your life to, the only one you knew, were about to be proven to be totally false and its members shamed, might you not seriously consider giving up on your wasted life? Especially if others of your ilk would praise you for your heroism when otherwise your life would be proven to be a waste of oxygen and protoplasm. Fanaticism is a refuge for desperate people who have little else to live for. Bill Allin 'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to make some sense of the difficult problems that confront our world. Learn more at http://billallin.com