Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Myth That Religion Causes War

        It has been commonly charged by the people who categorize themselves under the umbrella of the atheistic worldview that most wars throughout the history of mankind were enacted in the name of religion. In other words, a large fraction of the secular critics of Judeo-Christian tradition maintain that the greatest amount of lives lost in the pages of previous ages was due to zealous religious people attempting to conquer other nations for the sake of their gods. Many atheists reason that if no religions existed, then the world would function peacefully because there would also cease to be controversy over the validity of contradictory sets of religions customs, traditions, and practices. Of course, the claim that religion is the number one cause of war has been advanced to give people the impression that the freethinker worldview is optimistically plausible. But if people actually devoted time to scrutinizing the premises of this anti-theistic argumentation, then they would readily know and understand that it is absolutely untenable.

        While it is impossible to deny historical atrocities such as the Crusades, it should still be pointed out that it is fallacious to paint all religions as being morally bankrupt. Moreover, this argument is historically inaccurate. Robin Schumacher noted the following,

        "An interesting source of truth on the matter is Philip and Axelrod’s three-volume Encyclopedia of Wars, which chronicles some 1,763 wars that have been waged over the course of human history. Of those wars, the authors categorize 123 as being religious in nature, which is an astonishingly low 6.98% of all wars. However, when one subtracts out those waged in the name of Islam (66), the percentage is cut by more than half to 3.23%."

        In his work titled Lethal Politics and Death by Government, Professor R. J. Rummel noted that death in battle was not usually inspired in the name of religion, but rather that naturalistic philosophies were the primary cause. Though religions may be used by governments to influence a large population of people to wage war, that still does not make religion the cause of war. Logically speaking, wars have oftentimes been fought among groups who adhere to the same religion. Consider, as an example, the American Civil War. Battles are, for the most part, conducted strictly for secular purposes, which can include but are not limited to controlling foreign territories or obtaining resources. Therefore, governments are the source of war, not religions.

        The idea of war is not limited to the scope of the human race. In other words, the notion of battle can even be found within the organizational ranks of the animal kingdom, from ants, to bees, and to monkeys. If religion is the cause of all wars, then would this not mean that animals have the intellectual and rational capacities to subscribe to a belief system? Consider also, that relatively few atheistic societies have existed throughout history. That fact in itself speaks volumes against the claim that religion is the cause of all wars because it renders impossible the process of comparing religious and secular societies.

        If it is true that religions can inspire people to act viciously, then it is also follows that the concept can influence people to act in accordance to what is morally good. Christianity is a religion that has been founded on principles of love, hope, generosity, and peace. Thus, one would have to be terribly misguided to assume that religion is inherently evil. Furthermore, we cannot consistently affirm the existence of moral values without a supernatural Law Giver. If we choose to abide by the relativistic moral code enforced by the secular worldview, then it follows that truth can be self-contradictory and thereby self-refuting. If we cannot uphold objective morals, then neither can we uphold objective human rights. There would also be no such thing as value, certainty, or purpose. In short, a society that tries to function independently of God's presence will inevitably collapse internally. Nevertheless, we can never condone the establishment of atheistic governments in the twentieth century that treacherously usurped power and inhumanly murdered several million innocent people. So it is incumbent to understand why religion is an indispensable support for continual survival of the human race.

        The information which comprises the structure of this essay reveals the utterly dishonest nature of the claim that religion is the number one cause of all wars. Such a claim is historically inaccurate, as well as it is philosophically indefensible. Governments cause war, not Christianity. All quarrels originate from the inherently lustful nature of the human heart (James 4:1-2). In fact, secular societies are more guilty of taking innocent lives. Consider the examples of non-religious dictators such as Hitler (a moral relativist), Stalin, Karl Marx, and Mao Zedong. The evidence clearly does not point in favor of the theory that most people throughout history have died in the name of spreading their religions.

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