Wednesday, 27 February 2013
War! (Huuah) What is it good for?
This is what I've been up to during my recent bloggy absence. It's not turned out anything like I expected, mainly because I dropped a whole load of stuff while I was putting it together. It's a big subject, you see.
Yes, this is my attempt to tackle the rather tired argument that religion just causes wars - or at least that religion is the cause of more or bloodier wars than anything else.
First lets clarify a couple of things: first, I don't like to consider myself religious, and I don't consider true Christianity to be a 'religion' in the sense that word is generally used, but that's for another post.
This is an argument that has been levelled against Christianity and other religions though, so my thoughts probably also apply to both.
At the most obvious level, of course religion causes wars. As messed up as people can be sometimes, we still rarely tend to fight over things we agree about. Political and ideological differences are bound to be pretty high on the list of things that nations and groups of people fight over, not least because these are the things people tend to be the most passionate about.
I started looking up some figures, but it soon became apparent that there was no easy way to establish how many people were killed in 'religious' and 'non-religious' wars because, statistics being what they are, the figures can show exactly what the person presenting them wants them to show.
Similarly, atheists will gladly point to Hitler's Catholic parentage and declare WWII a religious war; while the Jewish Holocaust had religious connotations, it could be argued that this was a war against the Jewish race, or the start of an attempt to wipe out all religion... in any event, suggesting that Hitler was acting out of Christian faith is both unfounded and, frankly, more than a little ridiculous.
Many wars are like this; some have religion or religious groups involved, but whether religion is the primary cause depends on your point of view.
Yes, there were the Crusades, which plainly were (ostensiby) religious wars. I would suggest, however, that you would have to be daft to ignore God on the basis of some ill-advised wars a few centuries ago.
But that's not God's fault, that's people. Even if you accept that many wars are fought in the name of religion, the fact remains that God doesn't want us to go round gratuitously killing and maiming each other. That is human nature, not God's nature. People are basically messed up, and even if you take religion out of the equation entirely, they will still go about being mean to each other and starting fights.
Religion doesn't kill people. People kill people.