I've always dreamed of going to Paris one day. Paradise, to me, would be sitting at a bistro on the banks of the river Seine, overlooking the Eiffel tower, writing my next best-seller (hey, if you're going to dream, dream big). Sadly, Paris was attacked, some say, for its very love of that freedom and tolerance and joie the vivre that make it paradise. And yes, evils exist elsewhere in the world too. But Paris, the idea of Paris, was peace and joy and culture. It was the something good in this world that was worth living for, worth fighting for.
But this is about the discussions that went on after, about who is to blame. And by that I mean the larger question of whether ideology can be blamed for the actions of its followers. One might choose to make a comparison against the gun control debate. Can you blame a gun for murder? Or do people kill people? But I think this analogy is flawed because guns are mere tools, they cannot be the cause for violence, only an easy means of venting existing violent emotions. Ideology on the other hand, can be the reason for why that gun was picked up. And when it isn't personal, it is always ideology, whether it is murdering doctors by anti-abortionists, or the mass shooting at a church by a white-supremacist, or whether it is the holocaust. It always comes down to ideology and the zealous belief in its truth over everything else that is sacred, even human life.
The common thread among all these is the sense of supremacy. And most religion, at least when taken too seriously, is about just that. It is about being superior to those who do not believe, to the point even of destroying those who disagree, because of course, violence must be resorted to when words cannot win your argument.
In fact, if you think about it, this goes for patriotism too. When it isn't about what you can do for your country, or about paying taxes or voting or protesting against unjust laws, when it is about hating the "outsiders", hating your very neighbors, patriotism becomes a similar form of supremacy, and one that is encouraged in a populace that must be ready to go to war.
It is easy to understand why ideology must encourage this if it is to survive. It is much harder to understand the Why of the people: why would you choose the potential of reward in the afterlife over real life and real happiness? How can you burn paradise in the unlikely hope of finding another?