Do Religions Cause War? Are They a Main Cause?

A Question and common belief among many people who aren’t religious is that Religions cause lots of War. Religions often don’t cause war but are used to discriminate people to fuel many wars. Ask yourself how many wars over the past 100 years were caused by religion? The main war that comes to mind is World War 2. During World War 2 the holocaust occurred in which Jews in the areas that Hitler occupied were discriminated against to the point where Germans were killing them by the millions in concentration camps and gas chambers. This discrimination that occurred was both religious and political. One doesn’t need to know much to know that the christian Nazi’s were horrifically cruel to the Jews that they captured and killed.

However, other than the holocaust there aren’t many wars that incorporated religion known to most people other than the crusades, which had a more complex reason for occurring than just to take control of Jerusalem for its religious importance. There are more religious Wars that are important to know. Take a look at this graphic:

image08

This graphic shows many of the most important and severe religious wars that have ever taken place. The coolest statistic about this is that it shows about what percentage of the world population at the time died during the war. When looking at the statistics for the Crusades in which only 1-3 million people died and it was only .3% to 2.3% it is curious why people emphasize this religious war rather than the Thirty Years War which was between the protestants and Catholics in the Holy Roman Empire in which 3-11.5 million people were killed. One possibility to explain the Crusades popularity is that is was mainly between the Islamic and the Christians, whereas the Thirty Years War was between Protestants and Catholics, two groups that people know less about. Also, in today’s society with all the Islamic extremists terror attacks, it is not surprising that more people learn about the crusades since it was an old example of the conflict between religious like we see today. However, terrorism isn’t nearly as bad as the crusades were, its the same religions in conflict. After learning about all these religious wars by examining the graphic it’s important to compare these statistics to those of non-religious wars, some of which had religious hatred implemented as a side-factor. Take a look at this graphic:

World Wars

This graphic is from a Wikipedia page listing all of the worst wars by death count. World War 2 is number 1 for highest death toll because of the combination of the fact that it was worldwide, it was a battle between the major world superpowers: Germany, U.S, Japan, and many other Asian and European countries. The holocaust, a religious killing also played a large roll in this, but many of the wars up here were simply political. The mongol conquests, #2, wasn’t really religious; it was just the mongols striving to claim as much land to gain power as possible. So are most wars religious? Not really.

Like in World War 2 many wars aren’t based off of religion, but religion plays a big role. So to answer the question, Religions aren’t a major cause of war, usually its political reasons, but religion does play a large role in deaths in significant wars like the holocaust in World War 2. The reason why most people think religion is associated with war is because it is often used as a reason to justify the brutal treatment or killing of others who may believe something different. So in a sense, religious discrimination has been used in lots of wars but religion itself isn’t used as a reason for war. Take a look at this graph as well:

religious-wars-bar-chart

5 comments

  1. I’m not positive where you are getting your information, but good topic. I must spend some time finding out more or figuring out more. Thank you for magnificent info I was in search of this info for my mission.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m no longer sure where you’re getting your information, but great topic. I must spend some time finding out more or understanding more. Thank you for excellent info I used to be in search of this info for my mission.

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  3. I am now not positive the place you’re getting your information, however great topic. I must spend some time finding out much more or working out more. Thanks for wonderful information I used to be on the lookout for this information for my mission.

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  4. I think you should look at some other statistics. History books reveal conflicts, not defined as wars because they were feuding factions within countries. In Sudan, muslim/non muslim conflicts. Kurds/arabs. Pakistan formed because of religious differences within India. Puritans left England because of persecution and settled in the U.S.A.

    Wars were fought because combatants believed gods were on their side, they felt righteous.The Japanese revered their emperor as a God. Thus, they followed any instruction due to his religious authority. Japanese raped and killed more chinese than germans killed Jews. Your analysis is shortsighted.

    Many religions are interwoven with their government and by using religion they can justify wars and conflicts. This could be an entire book and probably already is. I would go as far as to say communism is a form of religion. They have creeds a manifesto and other religious aspects. North Koreans revere their leader as a messiah, how many has he murdered? My point is religion, whether a religious conflict or not, allows people to justify murder.

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