My point is this: you don’t deal with violent expressions of faith by pretending that confidence is the problem and content doesn’t matter.
And yes, sinful humans have committed atrocities in the name of Christ, but in each of these cases, the problem was a failure to be true to the content of the Christian faith. It wasn’t certitude and confidence in Christianity that led to the Crusades, but the idea that Jesus could be coopted by a political and military endeavor. The crusaders weren’t “holding too tightly” to the content of Christianity; they weren’t holding tightly enough. How else can we explain the transformation of a Savior suffering for His enemies into a warring king charging into foreign lands?
So here we are in the 21st century. And ironically, despite the popular pluralism espoused by the president and writers like Saletan, one of the drivers of religious conflict today and one of the explanations of the West’s inability to deal adequately with radical Islam is exactly this failure to consider the content of the beliefs being presented.
It’s simply not true, no matter how often our leaders tell us, that confidence in our beliefs is bad while the content of our beliefs is neutral.