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The Myth that Religion is the #1 Cause of War


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#1 jv_coach

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 02:28 PM

The Myth that Religion is the #1 Cause of War

by Robin Schumacher
edited by Matt Slick

Atheists and secular humanists consistently make the claim that religion is the #1 cause of violence and war throughout the history of mankind. One of hatetheism's key cheerleaders, Sam Harris, says in his book The End of Faith that faith and religion are “the most prolific source of violence in our history.”1

While there’s no denying that campaigns such as the Crusades and the Thirty Years’ War foundationally rested on religious ideology, it is simply incorrect to assert that religion has been the primary cause of war. Moreover, although there’s also no disagreement that radical Islam was the spirit behind 9/11, it is a fallacy to say that all faiths contribute equally where religiously-motivated violence and warfare are concerned.

An interesting source of truth on the matter is Philip and Axelrod’s three-volume Encyclopedia of Wars, which chronicles some 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%.

religious-wars-bar-chart.jpg

 

wars-pie-chart.jpg

That means that all faiths combined – minus Islam – have caused less than 4% of all of humanity’s wars and violent conflicts. Further, they played no motivating role in the major wars that have resulted in the most loss of life.  

Kind of puts a serious dent into Harris’ argument, doesn’t it?

The truth is, non-religious motivations and naturalistic philosophies bear the blame for nearly all of humankind’s wars. 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 by Government:

Non-Religious Dictator Lives Lost
  • 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 - 2,397,0003

Rummel says: “Almost 170 million men, women and children have been shot, beaten, tortured, knifed, burned, starved, frozen, crushed or worked to death; buried alive, drowned, hung, bombed or killed in any other of a myriad of ways governments have inflicted death on unarmed, helpless citizens and foreigners. The dead could conceivably be nearly 360 million people. It is though our species has been devastated by a modern Black Plague. And indeed it has, but a plague of Power, not germs.”4

The historical evidence is quite clear: Religion is not the #1 cause of war.

If religion can’t be blamed for most wars and violence, then what is the primary cause? The same thing that triggers all crime, cruelty, loss of life, and other such things. Jesus provides the answer very clearly: “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man” (Mark 7:21–23).

James (naturally) agrees with Christ when he says: “What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel” (James 4:1–2).

In the end, the evidence shows that the atheists are quite wrong about the wars they claim to so desperately despise. Sin is the #1 cause of war and violence, not religion, and certainly not Christianity.

 

 

http://carm.org/religion-cause-war


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#2 westend1

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 05:35 PM

You are partially correct.  lots of killing comes from power crazy fanatics.   But, look at today.   Lots of killing comes from differences in religion.   Some is real, some is blamed on religion, but it is just a way to get religious masses to fight for a cause, even if they don't understand it.  Imagine.


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#3 jv_coach

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 12:53 AM

So please name me the "lots of" in which you speak?  
----

An interesting source of truth on the matter is Philip and Axelrod’s three-volume Encyclopedia of Wars, which chronicles some 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%.

religious-wars-bar-chart.jpg

 

wars-pie-chart.jpg

That means that all faiths combined – minus Islam – have caused less than 4% of all of humanity’s wars and violent conflicts. Further, they played no motivating role in the major wars that have resulted in the most loss of life.  

Kind of puts a serious dent into Harris’ argument, doesn’t it?


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#4 Amphibious Rodent

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 01:02 AM

I've lived in the middle east for several years. I've had many conversations with the people who live there in reference to politics. Of course I never really allowed them to know what I truly believe. My intention was to understand them and their logic. In fact they are little different from you or I. They put up a front as opposed to American's which are generally relatively transparent. Don't get me wrong, many of us are fake as well. But they use religion to hide their true intentions. As well as using it to get the poor and uneducated people of their populace to do their dirty work in the name of God. In fact it's really to benefit their on personal goals. So my point is, simply put, it's used as a disguise. It's not a religious war, they only use it to get what they want. Of course their countries media, and access to what really goes on there is controlled.

#5 jv_coach

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 04:31 AM

I've lived in the middle east for several years. I've had many conversations with the people who live there in reference to politics. Of course I never really allowed them to know what I truly believe. My intention was to understand them and their logic. In fact they are little different from you or I. They put up a front as opposed to American's which are generally relatively transparent. Don't get me wrong, many of us are fake as well. But they use religion to hide their true intentions. As well as using it to get the poor and uneducated people of their populace to do their dirty work in the name of God. In fact it's really to benefit their on personal goals. So my point is, simply put, it's used as a disguise. It's not a religious war, they only use it to get what they want. Of course their countries media, and access to what really goes on there is controlled.

You make some valid points but what if one put "in the name of their god"  instead of" in the name of God" would that make a difference? Does or does not each religion have a different view on Deity ie Hinduism, Islam, Judaism , Christianity, Secularism,Atheism, Agnostic, New Age Spirituality.  
With all that being said  the study shows that of all religious war, Islam is the  major culprit (thus your time in the mideast) and even with Islams bloody Jihads  religion is not the major factor in wars. So the point of the article is for an atheist to take the moral high ground and accuse Christians for causing all wars is intellectually dishonesty mixed with hypocrisy. Not saying you do that , but I have heard it more than once.


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#6 jv_coach

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 04:33 AM

"Evil shall slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous shall be condemned. The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned" (Psalms 34:21, 22). 

How unspeakably thankful we are to God for “imputed” righteousness. Guilty sinners though we are, we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ and will not be condemned with this evil world:

“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:18-19).


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#7 Amphibious Rodent

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 02:40 PM

You make some valid points but what if one put "in the name of their god" instead of" in the name of God" would that make a difference? Does or does not each religion have a different view on Deity ie Hinduism, Islam, Judaism , Christianity, Secularism,Atheism, Agnostic, New Age Spirituality.
With all that being said the study shows that of all religious war, Islam is the major culprit (thus your time in the mideast) and even with Islams bloody Jihads religion is not the major factor in wars. So the point of the article is for an atheist to take the moral high ground and accuse Christians for causing all wars is intellectually dishonesty mixed with hypocrisy. Not saying you do that , but I have heard it more than once.

I agree 100%. I'm saying most of the so called leaders or not in fact actually religious or Godly. Therefore the wars that are waged by such is not actually a religious war.

#8 mat

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 01:46 PM

On the other hand some wars seem to be over other things when there is actually a religious root such as the ongoing battle over the Gaza Strip. The battle is portrayed as being over land when in reality religion plays an underlying role. Just about all conflict with Israel is portrayed as something other than religion. By the same token; wars claim to be over many things when oil is probably the underlying root of many  war. JMO


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#9 jv_coach

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 02:11 PM

The number one cause of war is economics...Everything is about the economy


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#10 Amphibious Rodent

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Posted 22 February 2014 - 03:38 PM

I wish all the wars we got into at least got us some free oil. Doesn't seem to equate!!

#11 jv_coach

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Posted 22 February 2014 - 11:04 PM

I wish all the wars we got into at least got us some free oil. Doesn't seem to equate!!

Maybe we did not go to war for the oil?  

 

What would be the price of gasoline if we did not have that supply?


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#12 Amphibious Rodent

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Posted 22 February 2014 - 11:44 PM

Iraq really wasn't a player so much in our supply chain. Afghanistan isn't either

#13 Amphibious Rodent

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Posted 22 February 2014 - 11:46 PM

And I'm not saying we should go to war for oil. Or that we did.

#14 Amphibious Rodent

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 12:01 AM

Things or not that simple, nor can you blame it on Democrats or Republicans. If your looking for a simple answer to why we do the things we do, you won't find it. Politics is very complex. Ordinary Joe, I don't believe ever understands, and almost every politician gets dirty even though it was never his or her intention. The more you know about history the easier it is to understand our actions. The more you are willing to look from your enemies prospective the more you understand how difficult the solution is. And also that what you believe is based strictly on what you have been taught or believe. We can't pick where we where born, or what we where taught. And that shapes who we are. I've looked in the face of my enemies dead and alive. I find it hard not to respect them. And at times I've hated them. Due to extreme circumstances. Do not judge your enemies, nor anyone else. Do not hate the player, hate the game.if you believe in God, pray for yourself and your enemies alike.
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#15 jv_coach

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 04:34 AM

Things or not that simple, nor can you blame it on Democrats or Republicans. If your looking for a simple answer to why we do the things we do, you won't find it. Politics is very complex. Ordinary Joe, I don't believe ever understands, and almost every politician gets dirty even though it was never his or her intention. The more you know about history the easier it is to understand our actions. The more you are willing to look from your enemies prospective the more you understand how difficult the solution is. And also that what you believe is based strictly on what you have been taught or believe. We can't pick where we where born, or what we where taught. And that shapes who we are. I've looked in the face of my enemies dead and alive. I find it hard not to respect them. And at times I've hated them. Due to extreme circumstances. Do not judge your enemies, nor anyone else. Do not hate the player, hate the game.if you believe in God, pray for yourself and your enemies alike.  That is a big 10-4, and I will say a prayer for you too.

 

Iraq really wasn't a player so much in our supply chain. Afghanistan isn't either

If you are a reader get this book. http://www.barnesand...n=9781414319315


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#16 mat

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 02:13 PM

 

Maybe we did not go to war for the oil?  

 

What would be the price of gasoline if we did not have that supply?

I could live with higher prices if we were more independent and produced our own oil. As we are now we are too dependent on other country’s oil supplies.


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#17 PAMFAM10

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 04:51 PM

#1 cause of war is grred
MAKE SURE THEY REMEMBER FOREVER THE NIGHT THEY PLAYED THE TITANS

#18 Amphibious Rodent

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 11:48 PM

If you are a reader get this book. http://www.barnesand...n=9781414319315


I'll give that book a read. Thanks.




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