Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Does Religion Cause War?

I always figured that people were the major cause of war and conflict, but found this an interesting riposte to the standard atheist 'religion is a major cause of war' thing.

Here's a very different take. Sorry chaps, but it's hard to argue with.

7 comments:

  1. follow the link on 'this'

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  2. A much better measure of the (bad) impact of war would be to estimate lives lost as a proportion of the world population at the time of the war, when you do that you find that for example, WWII would only rank 9th, well below the annihilation of American Indians, the An Lushan revolt in China and good old Genghis Khan to name but a few. According to most reputable sources the number of wars in recorded history is many times the figure used in this chart, and that's not counting the countless skirmishes and violent local disputes, a proportion of which would have certainly been theological in nature. Who knows which ones were truly religiously inspired it's probably impossible to know, but I think we're on safe ground if we say the (relative) body counts are significant.

    I would agree with you that ultimately people cause wars between people. The question IMO should really be has Religion (overall) been a force for good in the world or not? I would say not (in general terms) rather than try to be specific about any precise measurement, it's simply not possible to be precise IMO. On the other hand its hard to think of any wars that have been inspired by atheism (other than flame wars on blogs :) plenty of examples from Theocracy, Communism, Fascism and National Socialism etc. and no reasonable person would argue that psychopaths like Stalin didn't persecute religious people, then again he tried to eliminate lots of traditions, unsurprisingly mainly things that threatened him. I think it would also be safe to say that most religious people who have been killed or murdered in history have been dispatched by religious people of different or even just slightly different faiths simply because most people in (recorded) history have been religious! If religion is not a major cause of war then you have to accept that it made no difference to those wars happening either, hardly a positive for it.

    Interestingly compared to Genghis the % of the world population Stalin murdered is puny, in fact all of the 20th century wars put together aren't even a blip when viewed in a historical/population context, for example when put in 20th century terms the An Lushan revolt alone killed over 400M people, ~8X more destructive than WWII!

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  3. I have heard the argument that religion is the cause of most violence in the world (not just wars, but violence generally). I've said to people that if that were so, then the Soviet Union must have been one of the most peaceful and non-violent place, because they claimed that they were well on the way to eliminating religion as an influence in society. But there is no indication that it was less violent than other societies, and in the period of Stalin's purges (1936-1940) one could say it was probably more violent than most.

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  4. I decided to read no further after encountering the word ‘hatetheism', I think the writer needs to grow up.

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  5. I decided to read no further after encountering the word ‘hatetheism', I think the writer needs to grow up.

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  6. Did a similar blog about terrorism this week. I think those who claim that faith causes wars n terror need lesson in stats check out the blog thesillyvicar.com

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