Can religion Cause War?
Critics often argue that religion causes wars and thus human suffering. But does history support this, or not? The audit considers 73 major wars in the past 3 millennia, 32 of which took place in the twentieth century. It tests whether religion had a part in causing each war by examining factors such as support for the war by religious leaders and the use of religious motivation by political leaders. This is the most thorough and expert assessment I could find. Its assessments are subjective but the results are clear, and perhaps surprising, If we take only those events that can be classed as wars (not an easy distinction to draw. I have included the crusades and several civil wars), his figures show that christianity is culpable in 3 major wars in which about 10 million people died, non-christian belief systems (Nazism and Communism) are culpable in 2 wars in which 45 million people died, and a further 6 wars in which about 40 million people died have unclear culpability. It seems to me that his figures over-simplify culpability, and he certainly considers far fewer wars than the previous study does, but his conclusions are not all that different to the above study: wars can be caused by religion, irreligion, or by forces where religion is irrelevant, but the worst wars (in terms of deaths). This is a question we hear very often, and there are a number of ways of approaching the issue. I'd like to try a scientific approach.The position is that religion causes war. Just like, say, alcohol causes inebriation and sunlight makes things grow.If we wanted to test the alcohol/inebriation or sun/growth hypotheses scientifically, what would we do? Quite simple: Remove the alcohol from whatever drinks we are serving and see if our clients are still inebriated. Same with the sun/growth theory: Remove the sunlight and see if things still grow. With the religion/war hypothesis, we don't have to actually...