“That there are men in all countries who get their living by war, and by keeping up the quarrels of nations, is as shocking as it is true; but when those who are concerned in the government of a country, make it their study to sow discord, and cultivate prejudices between nations, it becomes the more unpardonable.”
During the French Revolution, Thomas Paine was a fervent supporter of the revolutionary cause, but became sharply critical of the resulting Reign of Terror, nearly facing the guillotine himself. Paine saw little justification of excessive violence, no matter what the cause invoked to justify that violence.
Can the bloody and senseless sectarian violence in Iraq truly have anything to do with Allah, God, or any divine being men claim to know? Whether it is unleashed by decades of totalitarian rule coupled by an ill-advised and poorly managed war, does the frenzy of violence of the past days, weeks, and months serve only to illustrate how little we have progressed toward the true ideal of living in the image of God?