Superstitious behavior causes all types of aberrant behaviors. Many people feel insignificant, and when they feel that they are aligned with an all-powerful force, such as God or angels, they start to feel a vicarious power. When that occurs, they are willing to do anything in the name of that God, even kill others or in the case of the followers of Islam, many are willing to take their own lives in an effort to move their agenda forward, or more specifically, move forward the agenda of the religious extremist leaders. So, why do people believe weird things? "More than any other, the reason people believe weird things," says Shermer, "is because they want to. . . .It feels good. It is comforting. It is consoling." Secondly, weird beliefs offer "immediate gratification." People like weird beliefs because they are simple. Weird beliefs also satisfy the quest for significance: they satisfy our moral needs and our desire that life be meaningful. Finally, he says, people believe weird things because weird things give them hope. If your view of the world from infancy is that the universe has a purpose only because a deity created it for a specific purpose, and that morality is obeying that god's will, then if that god says to persecute, murder, etc - then those things are by definition moral and good. The question ought to be not why do people do these things, but why don't more people do them? The reason is that most people are either ignorant of their religion's doctrine, or deliberately do not follow it. Many religions teach only what is right and what is wrong. A thinker will think in terms of what is productive and what is unproductive. Unfortunately, too many religions discourage thinking for the self. Man, taken from the sanskrit word manu-means thinker. Some key verses are overlooked such as, ''As a man thinketh, so is he". When a person hands over their privledge as a thinker to someone else, that one is sidestepping their own responsibility. Thinking is energy. Thoughts are real. Uncontrolled energy causes chaos. This is the how. The why rests with the individual. I think that there are some religions that do teach that one should kill for their god, but there are other religions that do NOT teach this. Jesus taught that we are to LOVE our enemies, not kill them. So perhaps some who kill in the name of their god are doing it in contradiction to the actual teachings of their religion. == == These people who do horrible things are simply horrible and vicious predators living off the weakness of others. These horrible predators use the gullibility of weak-minded people to entrap them with their fantasies, by preying upon their fear of death. You can observe from the preacher above who quoted "Jesus taught that you should love your enemies," this preacher conveniently absolves his religion of all the vicious atrocities and terrorism of the Christian Crusades and the barbarism against the Native Americans, the African Enslavement and various acts of extortion and exploitation in history. Consider the universe, it is bigger than we could ever imagine, and then consider yourself, a Human being is just another lifeform on a planet full of lifeforms, and Earth is just another planet in a universe full of planets, that makes us pretty unimportant in the great scheme of things, the idea of God was created bacause of human vanity and self importance, we need to feel important to the universe in order to justify our existence, so we created an idea of a great creator, who fashioned us in his own image and loves us very much, in return we worship him and obey rules and doctrine that was said was from God but was really created by men, the problem that arises is that anybody who does not blindly obey and goes against the status quo of blind religious conviction and conformity gets ruthlessly oppressed and persecuted by those advocating the common belief in the idea of God. The people who permit or commit the persecutions alleviate their guilt by claiming it was all the will of God, thus shifting the blame to an 'idea' and having a perfect alibi.