Ben Paynter has a feature in the current issue of Details magazine titled “The New Holy War.” The article discusses fundamentalist Christian excesses in the US military in Iraq. Atheists in the military find themselves forced to serve in an atmosphere of intimidation. A movement called the Dominionists comprises roughly a quarter of active US military personnel, from enlisted men to senior officers. Many in this group feel the Iraq war is a foreshadowing of a biblical “Armageddon.” (Christianity, like many complex belief systems, has a controlling central myth relating to “the end of the world.” As primitive Norse believed in an afterlife in “Valhalla,” so many Christians believe in an afterlife in “heaven.” As the primitive Norse believed in a final battle, that will result in a collapse of the cosmos (Ragnarok), so the Christians believe in a final battle called “Armageddon.” This shit would be funny if the true believers weren’t armed with nukes and empowered in their nutsiness by Robert Gates and George W. Bush.
Sorry to get carried away with my take on it. Ben’s more balanced story is linked from here. (It’s a 6MB pdf — Adobe Reader required).