The Myth that Religion is the #1 Cause of War

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The Myth that Religion is the #1 Cause of War Empty The Myth that Religion is the #1 Cause of War

Post by guest_07 Mon Jul 18, 2016 4:27 pm

theists 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.”

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%.

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.

The Myth that Religion is the #1 Cause of War Religious-wars-bar-chart

The Myth that Religion is the #1 Cause of War Wars-pie-chart

the source:
https://carm.org/religion-cause-war

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Post by VivaStPauli Mon Jul 18, 2016 6:24 pm

*cough* Hitler was catholic *cough*

That being said, Hitler, Stalin, or Mao were able to do what they did because they had followers brainwashed into their seperate ideologies so hard they might have as well been religious.

Of course religion isn't the cause of all wars. But the same principle of human lack of skepticism and logic that leads one to believe in magic carpenters can be used to convince people that the Jews are poisoning their wells, and that's causing the plague.

Stalin, Osama bin Laden - different manifestations of the same underlying problem.
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Post by rwo power Mon Jul 18, 2016 6:38 pm

Moreover, Hitler singled out a group based on religion (Jews) whom he wanted to exterminate. So he used religion very conveniently to have a dedicated target there.

And of course you do not seem to look at all the civil wars where religious groups are exterminated by the major religion - the death tolls due to such is horrible, too - but as these are usually not really reported as "real" wars, they are probably often overlooked.
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Post by DuringTheWar Mon Jul 18, 2016 8:12 pm

The obvious response to "Hitler was a catholic" is to ask what church did he go to, and who was his confessor.

Two questions I'd be fascinated to know the answers to, but as of yet have had no luck finding out.

The desperation for hitler to be Catholic seems somewhat like the desperation for the Nice truck killer to be a devout Muslim, which patently he was not.
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Post by DuringTheWar Mon Jul 18, 2016 8:14 pm

Inb4nazibeltbuckleslogan
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Post by BarrileteCosmico Tue Jul 19, 2016 3:47 am

Religion is often tied to identity and tribe. There have been tons of tribal wars fought since forever and a half. It's rarely a cause but more of a pretext.
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Post by Tomwin Lannister Tue Jul 19, 2016 5:00 am

It's not really wars that are in focus right now

Religion is giving pieces of shit reasons to commit acts of terrorism and kill citizens all too often today. And Religion will continue to be the cause of a lot of negative bullshit and stand in the way of progress because some people are still living with views that don't make any sense in the modern world.


Of course, if people could learn to keep their beliefs to themselves and not force it upon others it would be much less of an issue.


Non belivers/Sinners etc are going to hell anyway in these peoples beliefs right? So let them get on with it and God can judge them when they die.

I could never follow any religion myself.
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Post by zizzle Tue Jul 19, 2016 6:55 pm

Tomwin Lannister wrote:It's not really wars that are in focus right now

Religion is giving pieces of shit reasons to commit acts of terrorism and kill citizens all too often today. And Religion will continue to be the cause of a lot of negative bullshit and stand in the way of progress because some people are still living with views that don't make any sense in the modern world.


Of course, if people could learn to keep their beliefs to themselves and not force it upon others it would be much less of an issue.


Non belivers/Sinners etc are going to hell anyway in these peoples beliefs right? So let them get on with it and God can judge them when they die.

I could never follow any religion myself.



But how am i supposed to prove that i've got a bigger dick ? obviously war is needed
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Post by LeBéninois Tue Jul 19, 2016 7:31 pm

Men have always had faith is something greater. That faith itself has been and still is important imo.

The problem is religion. Every single one of them think they know the truth and their way is the best way to reach paradise. I've met very open and humble people , muslims, christians etc but I've also met pretentious people who are convinced that their religion is the right one, like if they know for sure what God want and think. Very pretentious.
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Post by Robespierre Tue Jul 19, 2016 9:25 pm

The religion is always the means, the means to an end.

I report what I wrote in an old thread

Robespierre wrote:

The religion is basically an accesory element . Even in crusades and religious wars during 1600s was so. social status, resources, markets, power ( at that time the spices were gold )
the wars are governed by economic factors, the wars are a an investment , the wars are a cost to get a bigger advantage, and the religions can be functional to determine those factors (direct or indirect factors ) as it was and as it is now.
When the religions stops to influence these factors, it is extinted. And it is replaced by another element (or another religion ) that replaces it as "fusible link " into society.
Now surely these terrorists are brainwashed by their trainers because of Jihad.
But Is is even more that " a state to expand the religion".
The State of Isis generates profit ....
Isis got a million dollars in a year because of activities of looting
At his Calphat Isis , such as Maphia, pretends as for blackmail money to local sellers . Otherwise you're exiled by his house. They don't treat well even his ppl.
And then money for kidnapping etc
It is not just because of getting arms for Jihad
And they don't like anyone is trying to destroy this criminal State.
Indeed ISIS is losing at their home now.
And more they see away their criminal dream of a Caliphate in Siraq, more their militants will take the path of martyrdom, bringing with him many people as possible, throwing more and more into a war so generalized. ( Ankara, Beirut, Paris.  ) .


I have to  add Nice now ...
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Post by titosantill Tue Jul 19, 2016 9:51 pm

i could have sworn i wrote something here a while ago. good post robespierre; religion is an accessory, its almost a bit ethnocentric to reach the conclusion that religion is the number one cause of wars, because most of the cases people use are cases involving powers such as the states vs mid east, britain vs some other european power that may have been catholic, the crusaders, and so on. there have been societies outside europe that didn't worship anything and still fought wars, over territory, cattle, people, and so on. if you get to read books on historical figures, the rise of the ancient zulu nation for instance, you'll read of wars fought between brothers, and family members that had nothing to do with religion

you read about ancient rome, its rise and fall, the primary aim was never to sell their gods to the world. moments of individualism, if i can use that term, in the bid for power and conquest promoted some of their wars. and when such leaders were not in power, other leaders would often wage wars in a bid to maintain tax earnings gained from smaller nations. some of the roman elite slandered people who didn't believe in what they did, but it never was a primary cause of war

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Post by titosantill Tue Jul 19, 2016 9:54 pm

if everyone worshiped the same being or power, yet you still have a group of people who can barely get a loaf of bread to eat in a year, whilst another group has feasts of cattle, wine, grapes and orgies everyday, if the numbers are a bit even there's bound to be some sort of conflict....and if its easy to pick differences in both people whether race, color of eyes, hair color, religion, it will be used as a tool to promote the fight

there have been religious wars fought in the past, true, but in some cases, we know little about the economic backgrounds that surrounded those wars and in others we do. once again, if your read wide, you'll note that the Torah, the Bible, the Quran all talk about the movements of the ancient israelites, the wars waged with canaan for example. the promise was them going into a land of milk and honey- sounds to me like a battle for land/territory, an economic war, it just happened that the Canaanites didn't worship the same God the ancient israelites did, but the aim first (And i may be wrong, i'm not a priest nor rabi, nor imam), was to get the ancient israelites a home after their ancient egyptian experience.

btw i use the word 'ancient' because i know how one thing can turn into another on gl, it is Not my intention to associate any ancient nations from tens of thousands of years ago with the present day countries of the same name, to avoid this turning into a "this country have always been wretches, or that country did this or that, or this never happened to us" argument
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Post by titosantill Tue Jul 19, 2016 10:25 pm

@viva, raises a good point, yes the cult of personality of those 3 dictators can be viewed by some as religion in a sense, but no. for a couple of reasons,

when the topic of wars and religion are brought up, it is mainly with regards christianity, crusades, islam, and conflicts in india back in the day and such. its the "how do you fight for something or someone you do not know" question. i don't think an atheist will question the existence of any of those dictators, unless such an individual is a complete moron

two and more importantly, how much of mao stalin hitler was rule of fear? we've heard stories of people being singled out in stalin rallies for not applauding vehemently, idi amin insisted even during interviews that he was addressed in a certain term by the people of uganda (i can't remember the title he requested). in such cases, one wonders how much of it is fear rather than being enthralled by such a leader. i think some are enthralled initially, and then the fear takes over and it leads people to do stupid things and even betray others

that fear can also be distinguished from the fear of the afterlife. cos i know people will go "well some of these guys from those religions are scared of hell". but its very different scenarios. someone who believes in no higher power may care little for participating in things on the basis of religion, but if he was living under any dictatorship, i bet he'll stop, drop, roll if said dictator ordered him to show some form of loyalty

the fear associated with dictatorships could also be a tool in the building of the personality cult. i doubt it counts as a religion when you can see them everyday, and you know if you do something crazy, they could have soldiers at your door the next morning, drag you in your undergarments and have you beaten like you stole something
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Post by Tomwin Lannister Wed Jul 20, 2016 2:20 am

zizzle wrote:
Tomwin Lannister wrote:It's not really wars that are in focus right now

Religion is giving pieces of shit reasons to commit acts of terrorism and kill citizens all too often today. And Religion will continue to be the cause of a lot of negative bullshit and stand in the way of progress because some people are still living with views that don't make any sense in the modern world.


Of course, if people could learn to keep their beliefs to themselves and not force it upon others it would be much less of an issue.


Non belivers/Sinners etc are going to hell anyway in these peoples beliefs right? So let them get on with it and God can judge them when they die.

I could never follow any religion myself.



But how am i supposed to prove that i've got a bigger dick ? obviously war is needed



We all know u have a big dick z dog, no homo etc
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Post by McLewis Wed Jul 20, 2016 6:28 am

Religion has always been merely a pretext for war so of course the facts that the OP trotted out will neatly debunk that myth. Not sure how that's news to folks who truly pay attention to both sides of this topic.

It's clear as day to me that ISIS have subverted Islam to justify the means to the ends they continually perpetrate just as foolhardy, greedy and selfish French, German, and English kings and nobles exploited Christianity's repeated (and equally morally bankrupt) call to retake the Holy Land back from the Muslims as a means toward pillaging and plundering Jerusalem over and over again for its wealth and historical significance.

Religion itself does not cause war. I believe it incapable of such on it's own unless it's core tenets are designed specifically to incite its followers to war. This is not something that occurs within Christianity or Islam, as far as I know.  As with all things in life and in our history, it is man's lust for greed, for power...to simply be right in one or all things...to dominate, possess and control. That's what drives causes towards the point of war, violence and ultimately death. Fervent believers of religion to the point of zealotry are such people of this particular lust.
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Post by Tomwin Lannister Wed Jul 20, 2016 8:01 pm

There will always be wars even without Religion, undoubtedly.

However would small minded, borderline religiously brainwashed people be sacrificing themselves, slaughtering innocent civilians because of a clash in beliefs if religion was removed from the equation entirely? Probably not.

Religious wars are not the problem right now for a large part of the World. Religious murders are.
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Post by Cruijf Wed Jul 20, 2016 10:24 pm

That would be a good argument if these people were even pretending to be religious. They're not. Omar Mateen frequented the club he supposedly hated because he was uber religious. The Nice truck driver drank regularly, beat his wife, and never entered a mosque. These are not zealots, they're psychopaths. And if they were white that's how they'd be labelled.
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Post by Tomwin Lannister Wed Jul 20, 2016 10:34 pm

Obviously not every idiot out there is doing what they do because they're a grade A religious nut. But PLENTY of them are.

And Omar was apparently struggling with the fact that his closet homosexuality clashed with his RELIGIONS hatred for homosexuals. Remove the Religion from that equation, and you've probably just avoided a massacre.

Same applies to devout Christians with old testament views on how to live your life. It *bleep* peoples brains up from an early age.

It's quite difficult to radicalise somebody using Religious BS if the person(s) in question don't care about it in the first place.
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Post by Adit Wed Jul 20, 2016 11:46 pm

People are joining ISIS from all over the world due to one influence , Religion.

We can pretend that religion is not involved but the reality is it is very much involved. We are not talking about a group of terrorist that are accidentally happened to be Muslims , we are talking about group of terrorists who are muslims because that is their selection criteria. Religion.
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Post by Lucifer Thu Jul 21, 2016 12:08 am

Religion is the opium of the people- karl Marx. Best possible description of religion imo. Like opium when people under the influence of religion do things that they would not dare normally ala killing people.

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Post by RealGunner Thu Jul 21, 2016 12:39 am

Adit wrote:People are joining ISIS from all over the world due to one influence , Religion.



Not true, as it's evident by the profile of the Nice attacker.
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Post by Winter is Coming Thu Jul 21, 2016 8:51 am

A little old, but here's an interesting graph

An FBI report shows that only a small percentage of terrorist attacks carried out on U.S. soil between 1980 and 2005 were perpetrated by Muslims.

Princeton University’s Loon Watch compiled the following chart from the FBI’s data:

The Myth that Religion is the #1 Cause of War Piechart2

even since 2005 how many have happened in the US? roughly 5-10 give or take.
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Post by Peccadillo Mon Jul 25, 2016 9:42 am

Tomwin Lannister wrote:Obviously not every idiot out there is doing what they do because they're a grade A religious nut. But PLENTY of them are.

And Omar was apparently struggling with the fact that his closet homosexuality clashed with his RELIGIONS hatred for homosexuals. Remove the Religion from that equation, and you've probably just avoided a massacre.

Same applies to devout Christians with old testament views on how to live your life. It *bleep* peoples brains up from an early age.

It's quite difficult to radicalise somebody using Religious BS if the person(s) in question don't care about it in the first place.

religion is simply a conduit to violence exploited by extreme organisations who provide these psychos with a platform upon which to fulfil their delusions of grandeur.

Omar + homosexuality - religion = no massacre (if we assume to be true) makes no broader statement beyond Omar's personal story. Many stories of religion deterring people from violence, drug abuse and other crimes. Need it be mentioned yet again that religious people and institutions were persecuted under the CPC, who to this day carried out the largest human tragedy in terms of death toll in history.

I happen to agree that religion conviction is clearly a major part of the cause of any ISIS inspired attack - how can  it not be. But I guess I would say so what and that you cannot say it is Islam when the majority of muslims appear to condemn this.
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