Don't be so smug as to believe that your own religious beliefs are different from those of the religious fanatics who destroyed the World Trade Center towers in New York City.
Assuming that those 19 suicide terrorists who succeeded in killing themselves and thousands of others for Allah were recruited and persuaded to destroy everyone and everything for religious reasons and not strictly for political reasons, something changed them from being benign believers in their god with a simple desire for a happy and peaceful afterlife in paradise to becoming a sacrificial ram doing the hellish work of a charismatic leader whose cause could be either religious, political, personal, or all three.
The same could happen to you if you persist in believing that you are the work of a supreme being who created the world and you, who cares about your personal well-being, and who is offended by anyone who doesn't believe the same way that you do.
All it takes is a charismatic leader, either dead or alive, a popular cause, and the promise that the rewards will be greater than the sacrifice, either here on earth or there elsewhere.
We are told that the Muslim terrorists were each promised a number of virgins in paradise to take care of their every desire, and although the number ranges from 42 to 72, why should that particular promise be so persuasive? Would the virgins remain virgins for eternity? If not, then would they each be replaced after their deflowering? And why would someone unskilled and inexperienced in sex be any inducement to begin with? Were the terrorists mostly interested in having sex with them, in teaching them the pleasures of sex, or in having them wait hand and foot on them, seeing to their every need?
Incidentally, where do the virgins come from? Are they manufactured as needed by Allah? Or are they kept supplied in paradise by the slaughter of new virgins every year here on earth? And what are their ages? A 16-year-old virgin is much more desirable to a lusty man than a 60-year-old virgin is.
However, I cannot believe that the promise of a supply of virgins in the afterlife is all that is necessary to convince a sane man to commit suicide and slaughter thousands of others with him, many of his own religious faith.
Come to think of it, what does a charismatic leader with a cause promise women who are willing to fight and die for that cause? Virgin men in the paradise afterlife to wait on them for sexual desires? Virgin boys? Or simply an endless supply of male servants to do their bidding?
Perhaps in a male-dominated faith-based cause, women are not wanted for anything other than the servicing of the men, and any suicidal female terrorists might wistfully find themselves magically transformed into virgins on their way to paradise, where once again, but for eternity this time, they must continue to pleasure the men.
At any rate, if you paid attention during the all-faiths memorial service after the September 11 destructions, you would have recognized the same fanaticism at work in every religion.
Yes, there was tolerance for the moment among the religions, but did you catch the statement from one religious leader that all the dead were much happier now in heaven and wouldn't change being there even if they could come back to earth?
All that was missing was the bald-faced statement that all the men had a large number of virgins around them up there.
In other words, according to some religions, existence in the never-proven afterlife is better and more desirable than any life on earth.
Now, if you can convince anyone who follows your cause and is willing to further your cause to the death, how difficult is it to convince that fanatic to commit an obscenely horrible act?
"My God is better than your god" just doesn't hack it anymore in religious arguments these days after the twin-towers tragedy. What little more does it take to proceed to "My God can kill more of your god's followers than your god can kill"?
And the analogy of the recent tragedy with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is incorrect. That was the beginning of a political war for the United States.
Check the history of your own religion. How many wars has your religion caused or started?
How many has it won?
With or without virgins?
Approved by your "god"?