Five Types of Extremism and Terrorism in Religion


In some countries, religion plays a key role in the political system. For example, most Muslim-majority countries have adopted various aspects of sharia, the Islamic law. These laws have profound implications for the lives of up to 23% of the world’s population – more than 1.57 billion Muslims. In western countries, religion also affects political decisions. For example, 51% of Americans would be less likely to vote for a candidate who did not believe in God. Christians make up 92% of the US Congress and 71% of the general population.


Fundamentalism in religion is a special form of religious illiteracy and bigotry that is often violent and destructive. In the United States, protestant fundamentalism in the UMC is currently under court review in order to determine whether its anti-LGBTQ stand is constitutional. It is important to note that the fundamentalists’ views were formed in a poor, rural community where the dominant groups laughed at the fundamentalists.


Extremism in religion can be a complex phenomenon. While it is often associated with terrorism, there is more to it than that. Many individuals and religious groups may be negatively stereotyped as ‘extremist’ or ‘terrorist’ despite not sharing the same ideology or beliefs. These negative stereotypes can lead to status loss, discrimination, and wasted political capital.


Mysticism in religion is the study of spiritual experiences gained through religious practices. This concept is distinct from the traditional notion of religion. According to Stendahl, religion is a twofold process, consisting of both material and spiritual aspects. Mysticism is a characteristic of true believers and is often present in religious experiences. He believes that without mysticism, religion is incomplete and contaminated.

Evolutionary mentality

Evolutionary psychology has become a fundamental foundation for the study of religion. In fact, Veblen’s instinct psychology, which explains why humans have the desire to believe in supernatural agents, is the basis for the evolutionary psychology of religion. The theory of evolution also recognizes that human beings have certain innate behavior patterns.


Idolatry is the worship of an object that contradicts the nature of God. It is a sin that carries a severe punishment. Worshipping an idol is forbidden in the first two commandments. Moreover, it is punishable by death.

Influence on mental health

Research shows that religion has an impact on mental health. People who practice religion are less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. People with higher levels of religiosity are also more likely to recover from serious mental illness. Researchers distinguish between two types of religiosity: public and private religiosity. Public religiosity refers to active participation in a religious congregation, while private religiosity involves religious belief and practice occurring more subtly within an individual’s mind. Both types of religion are beneficial for mental health, but different methods of practicing them have different effects.