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Has Religion Been the Underlying Cause of Most Wars?

  1. profile image0
    Emile Rposted 5 years ago

    I've heard people in the forums repeatedly accuse the religious of being war mongerers. And blame religion for the lion's share of strife throughout history.

    I do firmly believe that religion has been an invaluable tool used to assuage the guilt associated with aggression. Claiming the moral high ground does seem to justify the means.

    However; does anyone have valid evidence that, without religion, our  collective history would have been less bloody? Examine the last few hundred years.

    Would Europe's imperialistic era have been averted? Would Americans not have pushed west, to the Pacific? Would we have been spared the death tolls of two World Wars? Would communism have been more compassionate and spared the lives of countless millions? Would the English not still be occupying Scotland and Northern Ireland? Would the genocides in Africa have happened and still be ongoing? Would capitalism have poisoned the world?

    If there was no religion, how would our history have been different?

    1. pennyofheaven profile image81
      pennyofheavenposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      No and probably not any different. Wars are reflections of the inner battle that has been ongoing on both a collective and individual scale. Sort out the war within and the outer wars are less likely to occur. Might be a long time coming.

      1. Paul Wingert profile image79
        Paul Wingertposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        If there were no religion, there would of been no Spanish Inquisition or witch hunts (even though they were no wars but aggression towards so-called heathens in which millions of innocnet people died), 9 crusades (again more aggression towards so-called heathens where countless thousands of innocent people died), and many other cases of war of agression against innocent people that I can't think of right now because I just woke up.

        1. profile image60
          nonto21posted 5 years ago in reply to this

          Good post.

        2. pennyofheaven profile image81
          pennyofheavenposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          Religion does not kill people. People kill people. People will find reasons to justify what they do. If religion did not exist there is no telling what reason they would have found to do exactly what has been done in history.

          1. profile image60
            nonto21posted 5 years ago in reply to this

            It's either possessions or belief, one of the two.

            1. pennyofheaven profile image81
              pennyofheavenposted 5 years ago in reply to this

              Only two? Power(over others)is not another possible reason?

              1. profile image60
                nonto21posted 5 years ago in reply to this

                The power over others, is not the cause, it's the motivation.

                It takes one to say "they have that and we need it". Or "They believe that and we don't agree".

                1. pennyofheaven profile image81
                  pennyofheavenposted 5 years ago in reply to this

                  We are exploring motivations. Power over others is as I see it...is, We can take what we want because we think we can even though we don't need it or.. we can control this nation because we are more powerful and can use this nation to our own ends.

          2. Castlepaloma profile image24
            Castlepalomaposted 5 years ago in reply to this

            Religion has been the greatest tool used to kill people, which there has always been the easiest system to be control's by the rich for the masses poor. Authorities have always killed more people than the criminals do. We have learned how overall to control ourselves better today than in any other time in human history in which in turn will shrink Religiosity control over the masses.

            1. pennyofheaven profile image81
              pennyofheavenposted 5 years ago in reply to this

              When people kill in the name of religion it is their choice to kill not what the religion advocates. Thou shalt not kill is not that hard to adhere to. When one kills even though one might understand that commandment, one is not following religion nor can one justify killing in the name of religion. It reinforces therefore that religion does not kill. People kill.

              1. Castlepaloma profile image24
                Castlepalomaposted 5 years ago in reply to this

                That is what pro gun people say, guns don't kill people, people kill people

                If hand guns were no more, there would be 1/6 the killings from them

                War is other, nine times out of ten a uniformed soldier who kills is murderer in a uniform, in which too many laws are funny that way

                1. pennyofheaven profile image81
                  pennyofheavenposted 5 years ago in reply to this

                  Difference being that guns do not have a law that states thou shalt not kill. Religion has this law.

                  A soldier may view it as doing his job and although it is his job it may conflict with what lies deep inside and does more damage to the one killing then to the one who has been killed. If that makes any sense to you?

                  1. profile image60
                    nonto21posted 5 years ago in reply to this

                    To kill in the name of a God, negates the policy of "thou shall not kill".

  2. Ms Dee profile image86
    Ms Deeposted 5 years ago

    Rather than generic 'religion,' it is the belief that all peopel are *not* created equal. There are some religions that believe this and some that do not. There were/are athiestic regimes that believed this. For an excellent scholarly view of the clashes of civilizations over the last few centuries, check out books by the Bat Ye'or. There are even YouTube interviews with her, though it takes some concentration to listen to her spoken English that is heavily accented, as she is from the Middle East.

    1. profile image0
      Emile Rposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      You can't distance any Western religion from the problem. Christianity, over the last few hundred years, has been used for  justification of everything from slavery, the subjugation of women to the invasions of entire countries. That is in America alone. 

      I'm simply curious if anyone has solid evidence that, without it, we would be better, as a species.

      1. Ms Dee profile image86
        Ms Deeposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        I agree. In my statement, I am not implying Western civilization is not part of the problem. Also, I do not assume, however, that Christianity is just a Western religion, for history proves the contrary. In addition, take out religion and people would still carry their own beliefs and assumptions on what they think is right, so I fail to see how taking religion out of the equation would be the key.

  3. MrMaranatha profile image86
    MrMaranathaposted 5 years ago

    With some notable exceptions... Most historical battles and full scale Wars were fought on grounds of Conquest by Cities,Nations,Kings with the Goals of expansion and Fiscal dominance... Not only of Gold.. But also of the food supplies and the good ground that was suitable for the production of foods and commodities. Lets face it... To think like the ancients:  "If your not my close family and your not my friend or my fathers friend... then you are fair game for my conquests."

    If you go back a few thousand years, Most of the world had the same Gods by different names... The worshipers of Ba'al did not fight the worshipers of Molech over grounds of religion... Neither did the the worshipers of Diana Fight over the supremacy of Artemis. 
    They would however have fought over Land, Crops, Vineyards, Cities, Revenue, and anything else that caused them to feel the need.

    One of the main problems today is that people make blanket statements with little or no historical substantiation... and they also tend to ignore the evidence of Pre-Judeo / Christianity wars and religions.  Even those sources however show  that in the very early times there were wars being fought on grounds of conquest.. and many of those wars had nothing at all to do with religion... 

    Of course since People have their own Gods... Gods and religion will always be written into the histories as having favored the winners...  But that is not the cause of the war by any means.

    1. profile image0
      Emile Rposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I'm in full agreement. Maybe I misunderstand the opposing argument; but it appears as if some naively believe that religion fights wars for the glory of their gods. I think the name of any god is invoked so that people will feel more justified by their selfish desires  and actions.

      It's like people insisting God has blessed America. This helps them ignore the truth of actions that have hurt other nations in our relentless need for financial prosperity and our rampant consumerism. It isn't God. It's greed.

    2. profile image60
      nonto21posted 5 years ago in reply to this

      It hasn't been the cause, but an excuse. Force the heathons to believe, if they refuse to yield, kill em til they do.

  4. DoubleScorpion profile image87
    DoubleScorpionposted 5 years ago

    I don't know for sure if human history would have been different without religion...But, if it wasn't for religios differences, the first settlers might not have came to America. Most of the Middle East (As all of their laws are based in religion) wouldn't be fighting over "religious" reasons.

    A good chunk of "disputes" are based on "I am better than you" which if you look back will find is "taught" by those who follow a religious path. Hate, bigotry, jealousy, superiority, all have there base in religion. I am not saying the non-believers don't have these traits, but most non-believers were raised as believers of some sort.

    I often wonder what would things be like today if there was no religions...better, worse, similar....I honestly don't know...but it seems anytime something is structured, someone has to be "in charge", and that leads to people lying, cheating or other to get into that position of power. And in my opinion, this leads to the types of things we see today.

    Just look at the politics in the USA...Republican or Democrat...the country is split and look at some of the platform items...religious based...and if this was a monarchy, that would be "reigning king(priest) and followers" VS "Rebel leader(priest) and followers". Gladly they don't resort to all out war to figure out who gets to "rule"...

    1. Castlepaloma profile image24
      Castlepalomaposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Jesus would not get elected in America yet I can't imagine a non Christian getting elected as an American President, The system is ridge and religious people are easier to brainwash into their war budget which is being Half of the world's war budget and the US prisons being quarter of the World's total.
      Mainly in the name of God ,

      Thank God, per capita there is less Wars per capita in the World than in any other time in human history, Go figure, less Christian too per capita also.

      Religion is a great tool for the rich to use. It's much easier to kill a sub human demon than just a plain human being. When do you see an Atheist claim a war or decare a war in the name of Atheists. Most people are killed in the name of God greater than any other reason. Or the threat of Bible self prophecy shall finish us off in the end because most of us fear Satan, Hell and God most, all within the kingdom of heaven and earth.

      Money is the root of all evil OR is Satan the root of all evil?  Jesus, whoever believes in him shall not perish. Like the Kings that conquer nations, and after they are conquered, people bow down to him. Whether it’s to save Satan or a King, we all can pray to Jesus for salvation. I see soidler often praying before going into battle, would an atheists or is it that we just do not know what we do.?

      A big change is coming folks, toward our slowly moving spiritual age

    2. profile image0
      Emile Rposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      True, religious persecution was the reason some of the settlers came here; but not all of them. The continent would have been settled, probably in the same time frame.

      I don't know enough about the Muslim factions in the Middle East to make a judgement call. I do know that the countries, as they are cut up, wasn't a natural distribution. Didn't Europe determine what the borders of the countries would be when the Ottoman Empire was divvied up? I would think tribal differences contribute greatly to the sunni/shiite problem.

      And, I do see a holier than thou attitude among the religious, but I get the same vibe from New Yorkers, atheists and a couple of Europeans. A pedestal appears to be baggage any if us can carry.

      But, I think it is in our nature to create an us against them scenario. Our insecurities are responsible for the need for safety in numbers. I don't see religion as being unique. Street gangs, political parties and cheer leading squads can achieve the same level of control over their membership.

      1. DoubleScorpion profile image87
        DoubleScorpionposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        I really don't know for sure...

        I do know that religion can be a very effective tool in controlling the masses...As anyone who grew up in a strict church and broke away later in life can attest to...And as we can see from the actions of certain cults in the last century or so.

        This is a topic we could probably discuss for hours on end. And as I have time, I'll keep responding.

  5. Druid Dude profile image61
    Druid Dudeposted 5 years ago

    I have repeatedly pointed out that none of the wars the U.S. has ever involved itself with, including the Revolution were not engaged in for religious reasons. WWII, was fought because of Hitler's aggression towards his neighbors and his dream of world conquest. The facts of the Holocaust were only discovered as Liberation from Nazi occupation was unfolding. The death camps were a complete surprise to the Liberators the Allied Forces. In hindsight, flyovers of the enemy territory had produced aerial photos of death camps, but the Allies had mis-identified what they were looking at. Hitler's hatred of the Jews wasn't borne from a religious, but a socio-political circumstance. He wasn't avenging Jesus. Read 'Mein Kampf'. So, I disagree. Religious wars or religion caused wars were small in comparison and conducted a thousand years ago. Even Islam would rather live in peace than not. The Israelis would rather live in peace. Problems between those two groups goes beyond religion to the very beginnings of their related cultures. Islam is only 1600 years old.

    1. profile image60
      nonto21posted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Yes. But Hitler used religion as an excuse, so religion could be seen as the motivation.

  6. MrMaranatha profile image86
    MrMaranathaposted 5 years ago

    Religions kill people like... Spoons made Rosie O'Donnell Fat.

    1. Castlepaloma profile image24
      Castlepalomaposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I can see the greed connection there

      1. pennyofheaven profile image81
        pennyofheavenposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        Er.. what connection. Spoons don't make anyone fat like Religion doesn't kill people. Where is the greed pray tell lol?

        1. DoubleScorpion profile image87
          DoubleScorpionposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          Using a spoon to eat with greed (over eating)....Using religion as a tool for greed (personal gain)

          1. profile image60
            nonto21posted 5 years ago in reply to this

            +1

          2. pennyofheaven profile image81
            pennyofheavenposted 5 years ago in reply to this

            Ok got it. The tools you mentioned somewhere. Never would have made the greed connection on my own!

    2. profile image60
      nonto21posted 5 years ago in reply to this

      lol

 
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