Cause of war

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jonthecatholic's picture
Cause of war

I’ve come across a bunch of accusations that religions cause war. Some would go further to say all religions have ever contributed to the world is war. Some would even say that all wars were caused by religious ideas.

I can agree that wars are caused by conflicting ideas. When one group says slavery is wrong and another group says it’s fine because they’re “not human”, they’re going to clash.

This is how wars start. Sometimes, the idea is religious in nature. But all the time, it simply needs to be an idea. It can be secular or religious in nature.

Ownership of a piece of land, for example. One country might say it’s theirs. Another will claim it belongs to them. Clashing ideas need not be religious in nature to create a war.

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Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ JoC

@ JoC
The cause of war "need" not be religion, however every war in memory has been fanned to levels of hatred by the use of religious differences.

Notable wars in were caused by Europe Reformation (and Counter-Reformation) or Reformation wars, were a series of religious wars waged in Central, Western and Northern Europe from 1522 to around 1700 following the onset of the Protestant Reformation and the Counter-Reformation in Europe.
Note how long those religious wars lasted JoC. The millions put in misery because of the loving christian god?

Do you not think a loving god would appear and say. "woah guys...these ones are right...the rest of you must give up now. Now shake hands and go home"

Now shall we go back to the 12 crusades including that abomination the 'Children's crusade"? All the crusades carried the imprimatur of the Popes...the inheritors of Peter...divine blessing and all that.

Do you want to go further back? Shall I change continents to make your argument even more ridiculous?

jonthecatholic's picture
12 crusades? There were only

12 crusades? There were only 7. None included a children’s crusade. Please give me evidence of this. 1522 to 1700? Maybe a series of smaller campaigns in a span of 180 years.

How about World War 1 and 2? The war on terror? These three are the most recent ones.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ JoC

@ JoC
Oh you make me laugh! Only 7 religious terrorist invasions called crusades? ONLY SEVEN? You have kinda made my point and destroyed your own. There were in fact eight or nine crusades, though only the first four were of any importance. there were some minor crusades as well which I included to make up the 12. But if you are nit picking about 7,8, or 9 RELIGIOUS wars I'll go with 9 and include the Children's Crusade.

Although historically inaccurate I will give you the popular definition of the Childrens' crusade. There were probably two ...but lets see if you know what researc is instead of bold and baseless assertions.
" The Children's Crusade was a popular crusade by European Christians to regain the Holy Land from the Muslims, said to have taken place in 1212. The crusaders left areas of Northern France, was led by Stephen of Cloyes, and Germany, led by Nicholas. The traditional narrative is likely conflated from some factual and mythical events which include the visions by a French boy and a German boy, an intention to peacefully convert Muslims in the Holy Land to Christianity"
Footnote: The 30,000 children taking part never made it to Antioch, they were sold into slavery, kidnapped, raped and murdered along the way until they got to Italy where the good christian citizens sold them as slaves all over the middle East...onya...

World War 1 was a family spat between the Royal Family of Russia, Germany, the UK and the Scandinavians.

World War 2 was a war against the vicious rule of Nazism...supported very nicely by the vatican please note.

The total number of years of these wars W1,W2 was 10 years. The religious wars in Europe were much bloodier and lasted as I quoted 188 years ( One was even called the 30 years war) devastating the continent and more than decimating the population. These "small campaigns" wiped out towns and cities, whole populations were put to the sword...hardly minor if they came to your town.

The Crusades lasted more than 200 years and resulted in religious slaughter.

In terms of cruelty, disruption and percentage death of population religion has it in spades. ALL the European wars since 1900 combined don't even come second! !

So please what was your point?

Happy to go to other continents..just sticking to christian wars there are millions dead because of the "god of love" in China, the Phillippines, India, right up to the present day.

You should really do some research instead of wishful thinking JoC.

Fleeing in Terror's picture
Incorrect assumptions on both

Incorrect assumptions on both accounts.

I got the Great Courses DVD on religious studies.

Religious Studies officially started as a field after the end of the religious wars after the Reformation. The scholars sat back to try to figure out why the countries were all trying to kill each other.

I loved the story in the first session. The budding anthropologists heard about the cockatoo tribe in Australia and went to study them to figure out how religion started.

The ceremonies didn't seem that serious, mostly just the goofy stuff you do at high school spirit week. They weren't afraid of the cockatoos unlike lions and tigers and bears (Oh, My!)

They didn't eat cockatoos and weren't trying to charm them into the soup pot.

They didn't think that cockatoos had magically powers to great wishes like the genie of the lamp.

It was mostly - We are the cockatoos! Rah! Rah! Rah! = social group bonding.

A lot of the Reformation wars weren't absolutely split Catholic/Protestant = they involved - Who can we gang up on to line our own pockets?

The Crusades were similar. The Pope was horrified at the infighting among 'Christian' countries and offered up the Muslims as an alternate target. A lot of the Crusaders were for - Oh, boy! a chance to PARTAY!

David Killens's picture
The Crusades were 100%

The Crusades were 100% religious. Bin Laden had his people suicide in the name of their religion. ISIS. The French Wars of Religion. The Thirty Year War. Jihad. Holy War. Milkhemet Mitzvah. Indo-Pakistani War of 1947. Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Indo-Pakistani War of 1999. Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Croatia. Sudanese Civil War.

And I am barely scratching the surface. Yes, religions cause wars.

JoC, you are in denial.

jonthecatholic's picture
I’m not actually in denial. I

I’m not actually in denial. I agree to this. But there do exist many wars waged on secular grounds. Ww1, ww2, and the war on terror for example.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture

The Germans in both wars sported "Gott Mit Uns" in both world wars...was he?

"The War on Terror" is not a war at all. It is a political fiction like the "War on Drugs" for political gain and the benefit of a small clique of rich people.

algebe's picture
@Old man shouts.." "Gott Mit

@Old man shouts.." "Gott Mit Uns"

Also "Gott Strafe England" (God punish England). Ironically, that slogan came from a poem written by Ernst Lissauer, a Jew.


Attach Image/Video?: 

Sheldon's picture
Every single nation in WWI

Every single nation in WWI was theistic, and in WWII the Bolsheviks had seized power from the christian tsarists regime (one of the bloodiest and barbaric in modern history). Totalitarian regimes always disregard the rights of the individual, it has nothing to do with atheism, as there are plenty of theocracies that do this. The Bolsheviks used atheism as a weapon to try and extirpate the concept that the tsar was slightly more than human, and his power was a divine right.

The war on terror is secular? That is the stupidest lie I've seen posted on here.

David Killens's picture
The war on terror? Are you

The war on terror? Are you kidding, the war on terror is pure religion. It started when US troops did not leave Saudi Arabia, and Bin Laden used that as an excuse to wage jihad.

jonthecatholic's picture
Okay. Though the known reason

Okay. Though the known reason for the war on terror is definitely a non-religious one. It was waged against a radical religious group which people of varying faiths people of no faith would be against.

You could say it was a non-religious idea against a radical religious one. Not necessarily a purely religious war then.

Sheldon's picture
I know, that was my point, I

I know, that was my point, I asked it as a question in response to the claim.

Edit: Sory but the posts are all jumbled up because of the way the forum inserts them in the middle of a thread, it's bizarre, as the "in response to" part is now showing a post that is not the one I responded to originally. rest assured I am in complete agreement that the war on terror was caused by religion.

Why can't posts be placed at the end of a thread so you can easily read through new posts, with a reference to the post number you're responding to? I find this system quite confusing at times, and it means conversations only flow if everyone is online at the same time, otherwise conversations are lost. Maybe it's me and I am misunderstanding how to read new posts?

Nyarlathotep's picture
Yes, it is a serious problem.

Yes, it is a serious problem. It drove me crazy enough to write my own script to identify new posts.

Sapporo's picture
Fundamentalist ideologies are

Fundamentalist ideologies are particularly prone to being divisive and prone to escalating conflict. In the case of religion, when you claim to represent absolute truth and promise infinite rewards in the afterlife, this is especially problematic.

jonthecatholic's picture


Fleeing in Terror's picture
That includes the ideology of

That includes the ideology of the right to bear arms. Paranoia is a self fulfilling prophecy.

algebe's picture
There are wars that are

There are wars that are unambiguously attributable to religion, such as the Crusades, the 30 Years War, the various Arab-Israeli wars, the Iran-Iraq War, and ethnic cleansing outrages in Africa and the Balkans. In some senses, World War II was a religious war for the Japanese.

And then there are wars in which religion has played an auxiliary role in morale building, including "god is on our side" proclamations, and the demonization of the enemy as infidels.

I guess the key question is can you fight a war with an atheist army? General Patton didn't think so. Just about every army has chaplains. The so-called atheist totalitarian states, like Pol Pot's Cambodia, Mao's China, and Kim's North Korea, replaced gods with their own personality cults. Whether that still works in China is anyone's guess. I don't think their army has fired a shot in anger since they went to war with India over a bunch of useless rocks and ice back in the 1960s.

jonthecatholic's picture
I think the examples you

I think the examples you mention are actually atheist states.

You mention that almost every army has a chaplain. There’s actually a reason for that which has nothing to do with warfare. It has everything to do with the soldiers’ welfare. Like you can say that every army has a doctor/medic, it doesn’t follow that medical practitioners support war. Their purpose is solely for the welfare of the soldiers and not for warfare.

Tin-Man's picture
Quick question, JoC. (And I

Quick question, JoC. (And I am sincerely not trying to be a smart-ass at the moment.... for a change.) Have you ever served in the military and/or deployed into a combat zone?

algebe's picture
@JoC: I think the examples

@JoC: I think the examples you mention are actually atheist states.

As I said, they replaced god with personality cults, which are arguably religions in their own right. The attached picture shows North Koreans at prayer.


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chimp3's picture
The idea that other human

The idea that other human lives are expendable is a major cause of war.

LogicFTW's picture
This. So much this ^^

This. So much this ^^

Anyone in their right mind is not going to go to another country far from home and risk their lives in horrible war unless they feel they are gaining something much more then pay, and a bit of patriotism feeling. (True there are some people that just want to kill people and see the world burn.)

Defending your home and those you love and care about, sure I would do the same.

What is the difference? The belief of many soldiers, (especially in the past.) That they will go to heaven and be rewarded if they die. Why else would anyone want to be in the front lines of a traditional war in the past? We all normally have a powerful desire to live and not be injured.

Sky Pilot's picture
Big wigs might use the idea

Big wigs might use the idea of religion to start a war but all wars are started because the big wigs get personally pissed off at the other big wigs. The average person doesn't give a crap. He just gets swept up in the hysteria created by his group of big wigs so he gladly charges off to kill unknown people. It's fun.

The best way to stop a war is to blow the head off the first guy who says that there should be one. It will save untold numbers of lives and prevent all kinds of destruction.

People will never do that because they regard their big wigs as gods, who are supposed to be obeyed at all times regardless of the cost.

LogicFTW's picture
I propose something a little

I propose something a little less violent. All those that propose war should themselves, as well as their family and friends that agree with them, should be on the frontlines of the war they propose, as well as pay for it.

At least here in the US, I doubt the US would still be carrying on the wars it is in if all the politicians that voted for and the continuation of it, were themselves on the frontline, as well as their kids etc, and also paying for it out of their paycheck would insist on continuing the expensive wars the US wages.

Fleeing in Terror's picture
Most countries stopped waging

Most countries stopped waging war because it is no longer profitable. Previously, countries went to war to make money.

LogicFTW's picture
I tried doing a google search

I tried doing a google search for: "countries going to war to make money." Admittedly I did not spend too much time with the search, but no immediate fact based answers popped out. I only instead saw stuff about companies making money and war profiteers.

I have read about countries as whole go to war for lots of reasons, but never for the country as a whole to make profit. Only the industry involved in the war, and those that gain from the spoils. Admittedly countries are not going to want to admit they went to war to make money.

You could maybe argue US profited from World War 2, but really that that only started after the war ended, and much of the gain was simply because US manufacturing was ramped up from war manufacturing and supply, where much of the rest of the industrialized world with the infrastructure to manufacture was damaged or in ruins.

Nyarlathotep's picture
JoC - 12 crusades? There were

JoC - 12 crusades? There were only 7. None included a children’s crusade. Please give me evidence of this.

Catholic Encyclopedia - In 1212 a young shepherd of Vendôme and a youth from Cologne gathered thousands of children whom they proposed to lead to the conquest of Palestine. The movement spread through France and Italy. This "Children's Crusade" at length reached Brindisi, where merchants sold a number of the children as slaves to the Moors, while nearly all the rest died of hunger and exhaustion.

Nyarlathotep's picture
JoC - 12 crusades? There were

JoC - 12 crusades? There were only 7.

Catholic Encyclopedia - It has been customary to describe the Crusades as eight in number:

  • the first, 1095-1101;
  • the second, headed by Louis VII, 1145-47;
  • the third, conducted by Philip Augustus and Richard Coeur-de-Lion, 1188-92;
  • the fourth, during which Constantinople was taken, 1204;
  • the fifth, which included the conquest of Damietta, 1217;
  • the sixth, in which Frederick II took part (1228-29); also Thibaud de Champagne and Richard of Cornwall (1239);
  • the seventh, led by St. Louis, 1249-52;
  • the eighth, also under St. Louis, 1270.
    • This division is arbitrary and excludes many important expeditions, among them those of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.
jonthecatholic's picture
I stand corrected. There were

I stand corrected. There were only 7 MAJOR crusades. With some smaller expeditions. Thanks, Nyar.

jonthecatholic's picture
It seems this “Children’s

It seems this “Children’s crusade” was not one sent by Rome. But one of a slave trader selling children off to slavery.


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