Is religion the cause of most wars?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by iDisk, May 14, 2011.

  1. iDisk macrumors 6502a


    Jan 2, 2010
    Menlo Park, CA
    To be sure, many conflicts throughout history have been ostensibly for religious reasons, with many different religions involved. For example, in Christianity, there occurred (just to name a few):

    • The Crusades — A series of campaigns from the 11th to the 13th centuries with the stated goal of reconquering the Holy Land from Muslim invaders and coming to the aid of the Byzantine Empire

    • The French Wars of Religion — A succession of wars in France during the 16th century between Catholics and the Protestant Hugenots

    • The Thirty Years' War — Another war between Catholics and Protestants during the 17th century in what is now Germany

    This list is by no means exhaustive. In addition to this, one could add the Taiping Rebellion and the never-ending Catholic/Protestant struggles in Northern Ireland. Christianity has certainly been a factor in many conflicts throughout its 2,000-year history.

    In Islam, we see the concept of jihad, or “holy war.” The word jihad literally means “struggle,” but the concept has been used to describe warfare in the expansion and defense of Islamic territory. The almost continual warfare in the Middle East over the past half century certainly has contributed to the idea that religion is the cause of many wars. The September 11 attacks on the United States has been seen as a jihad against the “Great Satan” America, which in Muslim eyes is almost synonymous with Christianity. In Judaism, the wars of conquest chronicled in the OT (in particular the book of Joshua) at the command of God, conquered the Promised Land.

    The point should be obvious that religion has certainly played a part in much of the warfare in human history. However, does this prove the point made by the critics of religion that religion itself is the cause of war? Religion is definitely the reason given behind many of history’s wars. However, is that the same as saying religion is the cause of much war? The answer is “yes” and “no.” “Yes” in the sense that as a secondary cause, religion, on the surface at least, has been the impetus behind much conflict. However, the answer is “no” in the sense that religion is never the primary cause of war.

    To demonstrate this point, let’s look at the 20th century. By all accounts, the 20th century was one of the bloodiest centuries in human history. Two major world wars, which had nothing at all to do with religion, the Jewish Holocaust, and the Communist Revolutions in Russia, China, Southeast Asia and Cuba, have accounted for anywhere between 50-70 million deaths (some estimate upwards to 100 million). The one thing these conflicts and genocides have in common is that fact that they were ideological, not religious, in nature. We could easily make the case that more people have died throughout human history due to ideology than to religion. Communist ideology necessitates ruling over others. Nazi ideology necessitates elimination of “inferior” races. These two ideologies alone account for the death of millions and religion had nothing to do with it. In fact, communism is by definition an atheistic ideology.

    Religion and ideology are both secondary causes for war. However, the primary cause for all war is sin. Consider the following Scriptures:

    “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:1-3).

    “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Matthew 15:19).

    “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

    “The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5).

    What is the testimony of Scripture as to the primary cause of war? It’s our wicked hearts. Religion and ideology are simply the means through which we exercise the wickedness in our hearts. To think, as many outspoken atheists do, that if we can somehow remove our “silly need for religion,” we can somehow create a more peaceful society, is to have a mistaken view of human nature. The testimony of human history is that if we remove religion, something else will take its place, and that something is never positive. The reality is that true religion keeps fallen humanity in check; without it, wickedness and sin would reign supreme.

    Even with the influence of true religion, Christianity, we will never see peace in this current age. There is never a day that goes by without some conflict going on somewhere in the world. The only cure for war is the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ! When Christ returns as He has promised, He will close this current age and establish eternal peace:

    “He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4).

  2. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
  3. iDisk thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 2, 2010
    Menlo Park, CA
    Anyone with questions or anything Respectful, educated and NON hostile, to say about the thread posted, then lets talk :).... As you already know or may be aware of my view on it, I feel it's 100% true. That mans wicked hearts (with the influence of the enemy satan) is the cause of many wars today in our modern era, all the wars I think boil down to mans (meaning political people) sinful desire for more control and $$$$$$. It's not religion that causes wars but, sin.
  4. skunk macrumors G4


    Jun 29, 2002
    Republic of Ukistan
    And which religious ****head invented sin?
  5. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    so where did you plagiarizer this one from.

    Also I would not call religion the cause of most wars. At most it is will be an excuse for war but not the root cause. Crusades for example came from the quest for more land and riches and just was the excuse for it.
  6. Peterkro macrumors 68020


    Aug 17, 2004
    Communard de Londres
    For all I know it's on hundreds of sites:
  7. ComputersaysNo macrumors 6502


    Apr 15, 2010
    Religion is the **** that makes parents deny medical treatment to children because they believe god will save them. And guess what...that doesn't happen. I'm more than willing to start a war over that. So yes, religion causes wars.
  8. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Shropshire, UK
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone 4: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Op: I have no problems with debate about these issues but when you just post text from another site verbatim and with no comment of your own, it's less of a debate and more like spam.
  9. rasmasyean macrumors 6502a

    Jul 11, 2008
    Religion is also the cause of most PEACE as the "net effect".

    It is used to unite people under a common banner and so they don't "kill eachother" when times are rough. Therfore it creates PEACE.

    However, in order for a colony of humans to survive and prosper in dire times, it has to envelop another colony before it colapses or destroys itself. Therfore religion unites one group of ppl and pits them against another group of ppl (sometimes refered to as "infidels").

    After this WAR is over...the emerging colony(s) is usually stronger, is in posession of more resources, has fewer humans to support with the collective resource, and has a better future than either of the "past" warring colonies. Therefore it creates PEACE...that is, until the cycle happens again. It's a balancing act with Man and Nature.

    You see, even though we consider ourselves "intelligent" we are still part of the animal kingdom. The difference is that we roam in larger packs and we are cannibals when it comes to survival of the fittest. ;)
  10. AP_piano295 macrumors 65816

    Mar 9, 2005
    So they can go out and kill other "united groups".

    Religion doesn't cause war, people cause war, religion is just another convenient excuse.
  11. Apple OC macrumors 68040

    Apple OC

    Oct 14, 2010
    Religion has caused a lot of violence and killing ... that is for sure
  12. AP_piano295 macrumors 65816

    Mar 9, 2005
  13. rasmasyean macrumors 6502a

    Jul 11, 2008
    Exactly...religion is just a psychosocial tool. When a government decides it's people need more whatever resources, or just simply wants to "expand" to build a bigger colony, it uses religion to bring out the "warriors" of the sheep to do their bidding. Then the "defending government" will do the same with its own ppl, and there you have it...WAR! The "stronger civilization" winds up on top.
  14. decafjava macrumors 68030


    Feb 7, 2011
    Religion, or political ideology or language or favourite music or OS or whatever.
  15. Huntn macrumors P6


    May 5, 2008
    The Misty Mountains
    You are rationalizing. Religion is a projection of mans thinking. They are intertwined. At it's best religion lifts us up. At it's worst and most intolerant (most of the time), religion drags us down and wants to make control freaks and murderers out of us, based on a variety of power/control/economic issues. Religion is not separate, it is us and represents what we want to believe in and how we want to conduct our lives. I'll give you one point. If religion did not exist, we'd find other ways and standards to abuse one another.
  16. kainjow Moderator emeritus


    Jun 15, 2000
    Tip: when posting something that isn't yours, put it in between [quote]...[/quote] tags, which cleanly separates it from your own original opinions/thoughts on the subject. It's also better to not quote the entire article, instead post a section of it and link to the original.
  17. rasmasyean macrumors 6502a

    Jul 11, 2008
    Let's put it this way. If you want to solve "World Peace", you can't eliminate "religion". What you do is invent an unlimited supply of energy. Or at least more than we can consume...for a while. Then MAYBE we will not have anymore wars. Unless perhaps, we'll fight eachtoher just for bragging rights.

    If you eliminate "Islam" or take those muslims out of the picture, the West will fight eachtoher for whatever oil is left. Or you will have "Buhdist suicide bombers come back from Vietnam". Not even the Romans were "peaceful" enough with eachtoher, so the US, UK, or whoever can find some way to hate eachtoher too.
  18. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    It not the religions so much as the religious. Plenty of reasons for tribes to fight beyond religion, however.
  19. Sydde macrumors 68020


    Aug 17, 2009
    Most assuredly. War is expensive and difficult to prosecute, there is always the equivalent of money at the root of it. (Like "evil"?)
  20. JoeG4, May 14, 2011
    Last edited: May 14, 2011

    JoeG4 macrumors 68030


    Jan 11, 2002
    Bay Area, Ca.
    No, I think in every case wars were started due to greed. I would agree that a lot of governments used religion as a tool to "rile up the troops" due to corruption in the government-religion systems, but the OP here is also using religion as a scapegoat. Very nice.

    Probably the biggest problem caused by religion is the "You can't trust them! They're a XX and you're a YY!" mentality (think Irish Catholic vs Protestants). Thing is, you want to eliminate religion and consider this the biggest problem caused by it? It's certainly not the only thing that people have caused wars over.

    Other things include skin color (south Africa is a particularly good example) and I'm pretty sure on a localized scale even skin/eye color has done it in the past. In a lot of the world, gender and very often sex preferences also cause these problems.

    It still happens. Every single time a woman gets into politics in the US they're eventually called a b!tch. And just like clockwork eventually someone attempts to insinuate that they aren't material for their elected position because they're "a whore". Then again, we have issues in general as a society about puritan leaders lol :D

    Point being: I don't think it's a cause, it's a motivator in some cases but it's a motivator in the same way that a lot of other things can also be motivators.

    How about one that hits home: I see a lot of people on this board insulting Windows users and Android users as if they were some lesser being.
  21. blackfox macrumors 65816


    Feb 18, 2003
    At it's simplest, wars are the result of political failure - which is basically the failure to critically think or make the mental effort to divine a solution.

    So my answer is laziness.
  22. NT1440 macrumors G4


    May 18, 2008
    Religion is merely the most easily manipulatable mobilization tool to get the masses geared up for war. Warfare itself, is almost always a combination of resource control and political power seeking, with the convenient religious wrappings of course.
  23. freeny macrumors 68020


    Sep 27, 2005
    Location: Location:
    I don't think religion is the cause of most wars but a HUGE amount of people have been killed in the name of religion. I think wars have always been more political.
  24. Pink∆Floyd macrumors 68020


    Nov 21, 2009
    Up There

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