Is Religion the Main Cause of War and Violence?
Some state that religion is the main cause of war and violence. Faith is the root of all wars throughout history. This has almost become a mantra for many atheists and secular humanists. Known atheistic writers, like Harris, make sure that this thought becomes embedded in the thinking of many people. In his book, ‘The End of Faith,’ Harris depicts faith as ‘the most prolific source of violence in our history.’1
One cannot deny that there have been wars infused by religion (like the Crusades and the Thirty Year’s war), but it is fantasy to point at religion as main cause. To give the argument some weight people point at the terrorists who, in the name of Islam, destroy trains, buildings or other targets in order to murder as many as they can. It does not take a genius to discover the fallacy behind this argument. It is like saying that baseball lovers are dangerous for society because in the past someone was killed with a baseball bat.
Philip en Axelrod describe, in their three-volume ‘Encyclopedia of wars‘, about 1,763 wars that have been waged over the course of human history. Of those wars, the authors categorize 123 as being religious in nature,2 which is an astonishingly low 6.98% of all wars. However, when one subtracts out those waged in the name of Islam (66), the percentage is cut by more than half to 3.23%.
With other words: All religions combined, minus Islam, only gave rise to less than 4% of all wars and violent incidents in history. Further, they played no motivating role in the major wars that have resulted in the most loss of life.
Facts state that almost all wars were motivated by non-religious and naturalistic motifs. Lives lost
during religious conflict pales in comparison to those experienced during the regimes who wanted
nothing to do with the idea of God—something showcased in R. J. Rummel’s work ‘Lethal Politics…‘ and ‘Death bij Government‘, laat dit duidelijk zien:
Non-Religious Dictator Lives Lost3
- Joseph Stalin – 42,672,000
- Mao Zedong – 37,828,000
- Adolf Hitler – 20,946,000
- Chiang Kai-shek – 10,214,000
- Vladimir Lenin – 4,017,000
- Hideki Tojo – 3,990,000
- Pol Pot – 2,397,000
The historical evidence is quite clear: Religion is not the number 1 cause of war.
If not religion what than is the main cause of war and violence conflicts? The same thing that causes
all crime, cruelty, loss of life, and other such things. Jesus provides us with the answer:
James obviously agrees with Jesus and notes:
In the end, the evidence shows that the atheists are quite wrong about the wars they claim so desperately to be religion’s blame. Sin is the number 1 cause of war and violence, not religion, and certainly not Christianity. Next time when someone points at religion as the root of wars and violence you can ask them whether the have heard this, know this, think this or actually examined this.
- ↑ Harris, S., The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason, London: W. W. Norton & Company, 2005, p. 27.
- ↑ Philip,C. & Axelrod, A., Encyclopedia of Wars – 3 Volume Set, New York: Facts On File, 2005. Geciteerd in: Vox Day, The Irrational Atheist: Dissecting the Unholy Trinity of Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens, Dallas: BenBella Books, 2008, pp. 103-106.
- ↑ Rummel, R. J., Lethal Politics: Soviet Genocide and Mass Murder since 1917, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 1990, p. 23.
- ↑ Rummel, R. J., Death by Government, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 2009, p. 9.
Original article by R. Schumacher edited by M. Slick:
‘The Myth that Religion is the #1 Cause of War’ (https://carm.org/religion-cause-war)
Further adjustments for Apologeet.nl by: J. Hofmann (juli 2015).