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Does Religion Cause War?

Does Religion Cause War? - Freeman's Perspective

There’s an opinion among some people that “all wars are caused by religious belief.” But is that actually true? Does religion cause war?

Very seldom. Wars are about control and ownership of physical territory. The winner gets to impose his or her laws, steal what is easy to steal, and to reap the taxes of the populace. Sometimes the conqueror will go further, using their power to require new behaviors of the conquered populace. In the unusual case where the central reason for a war is to impose an idea, and if the idea is a religion, that war may be due to religion.

What people should say is that religion is involved in most wars. This is true!

Religion does play a key role in most wars. (It’s being done right now in America, as described in Christianity and War). After all, the rulers need to convince the young males to fight and die – and, as a rule, they are not overly interested in such things. Religion works really well at sealing the deal, and getting the young men armed and to the front lines. Other things (fear, revenge, proving their courage) get the young men started on the road to fighting, but when it comes to actually facing death, even young minds quickly make their ways to the ultimate questions, and not only does religion provide answers to these questions, but it often adds a rationale for fighting. (All this said, don’t completely overlook the fact that if you’re in a situation like England faced in 1940, you need such motivated young men to step forward.)

Even Stalin, a confirmed atheist and tyrant, was forced to let the Orthodox Church open up and function a bit during World War II. It simply kept people more willing to die. Religion is a very good way to motivate and console the people who actually have to fight and die in a war.
So, to answer the question: Does religion cause war? Not really. Rather, the all-too-common truth is this:

After war is chosen, religion makes the young men willing to face death.

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com

[Does Religion Cause War is an excerpt from Paul Rosenberg’s book, Mindless Slogans – 101 Cheap Substitutes for Actual Thought]

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  • Dar

    “Religion works really well at sealing the deal, and getting the young
    men armed and to the front lines.”

    Well, from what I hear, soldiers in a war fight more to survive and protect their buddies and homes, than faith.

  • Philip LaFrance

    Who said, “There are no atheists in foxholes”? Soldiers do indeed understand the meaning of comradeship amidst the horrors of battle but seem to turn to God in their greatest time of need. However, it is not the job of governments to force these men to get closer to God by having a bayonet pointed at their chest. Man has warped what God and Jesus are all about.

    • Gil G

      The same God that ordered wholesale massacres? The same God who allows people to die for mocking religion (Make fun of a bald prophet and get mauled to death by bears)? The same God that intends to torture most people for all eternity?

  • Trutherator

    There are religious warmongers among the neocons, especially some that have been on “Christian media”, Christian radio and networks. It was especially rough during the Bush years, when their favorite Skull and Bones hypocrite said Jesus was his favorite “philosopher”. Sealed the deal from some of them. They started playing up the Muslim scare, that was more along the lines of “It’s okay to go over there and fight them”. Played right into the hands of both the neocons and the radical Muslims.

    But a strange thing happened with Syria. It helped that it was a president who makes to pretense to love Christianity, he makes it very transparent that he really doesn’t like it. At Notre Dame, he made it a point to cover up a Christian symbol behind him. And with the abortifacient “contraception” insurance flap, he made his contempt for Christian and religious conscience very obvious.

    But with Syria, Christian media actually covered the way the “rebels” attacking the Assad regime have a flaming hatred for Christianity. In Iraq and Afghanistan they have covered that issue, but much less.

    This is Ron Paul’s doing, and the Internet. There are Christian voices condemning these wars and the United States government is bringing down God’s judgments on all our heads, because complacent Christians let their country and their children go to hell in a hand-basket.

    Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

  • Trutherator

    There are religious warmongers among the neocons, especially some that have been on “Christian media”, Christian radio and networks. It was especially rough during the Bush years, when their favorite Skull and Bones hypocrite said Jesus was his favorite “philosopher”. Sealed the deal from some of them. They started playing up the Muslim scare, that was more along the lines of “It’s okay to go over there and fight them”. Played right into the hands of both the neocons and the radical Muslims.

    But a strange thing happened with Syria. It helped that it was a president who makes to pretense to love Christianity, he makes it very transparent that he really doesn’t like it. At Notre Dame, he made it a point to cover up a Christian symbol behind him. And with the abortifacient “contraception” insurance flap, he made his contempt for Christian and religious conscience very obvious.

    But with Syria, Christian media actually covered the way the “rebels” attacking the Assad regime have a flaming hatred for Christianity. In Iraq and Afghanistan they have covered that issue, but much less.

    This is Ron Paul’s doing, and the Internet. There are Christian voices condemning these wars and the United States government is bringing down God’s judgments on all our heads, because complacent Christians let their country and their children go to hell in a hand-basket.

    Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

  • Tim Panogo

    You are correct about one thing: Without religion, many of these young men would have little appetite for war. Religion it seems, and it’s assurances of an afterlife, leads many to death in this one.

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The Westphalian Order of States is in Trouble
Westphalia’s End Part 4: What Comes Next?

If you have not read the first three parts of this series, please do that first: They are a necessary...

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