Saturday, March 8, 2014
Has religion been one of the main causes of war?
As I often read tabloid newspapers, I often come across opinions that cause me to either think, consider what I believe for myself, or groan, and roll my eyes. One that made me think, and consider my own understandings of world history, appeared in Saturday's edition of the Herald Sun. David Allwood, responding to Jackie V’s positive assertions about Christianity, stated, “most wars are caused by religious beliefs.” Without trying to defend those conflicts that have been waged in the name of religion, like the Crusades, it is incorrect to blame religion as the main cause of wars in world history. The three volume Encyclopedia of Wars, chronicled some 1763 wars from the history of the world. The authors found that 123, or 6.98 per cent of wars were religious in nature. Furthermore, the wars that have led to the most loss of life were waged by people who wanted nothing to do with the idea of God. 42 million people died under the Communist rule of Joseph Stalin. In the 20th century, almost 170 million people died in conflicts under non-religious dictators. So, it can be argued that, to blame religion as a major cause of war, is an argument that, under examination, does not stand.