Religion: Abraham's Children

From the beginnings of history, when many of his favorite gods were gods of war, man has invoked the deity in battle. Medieval Crusaders cut their way toward Jerusalem—sometimes through fellow Christians—shouting "Deus vult!" (God wills it!). Yankee soldiers in the Civil War marched into battle singing about God's "terrible swift sword." In World War II, both sides felt that God was behind them: Wehrmacht soldiers fought with GOTT MIT UNS emblazoned on their belt buckles; Americans were urged to "praise the Lord and pass the ammunition."

The war between Israel and the...

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