In the world of jihad, sin and failure can make a man more dangerous. Jihadist ranks are filled with drug and porn addicts, men who live lives very different from the media stereotype of the devout holy
warrior. But while they visit prostitutes and frequent strip clubs, they also retain a belief that they can still inherit paradise in one glorious act of martyrdom. Indeed, their hedonism can empower their jihadism. Jihad is their only way to glory. Then there’s the third sin: the belief that a good Google search or a quick Wikipedia read transforms a reporter into a theologian. Few things are more irritating than the argument that, “If you really believed the Bible then you’d . . . ” followed by a theological interpretation of such profound stupidity that you’d be embarrassed for the reporter if he or she had an ounce of shame. Finally, in spite of the enormous diversity of human experience, there are still those (even in the ranks of reporters and pundits) who believe that all religions basically teach the same things. Experience with Evangelicals and jihadists most clearly shows the distinctions. Evangelicals represent one of America’s most generous and charitable communities. But for Mormons, they’d be the most generous. Christians follow a God who gave his life on a cross. Jihadists follow a warlord, and they’re generous mainly with the sword.