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Every Religion Is Responsible for Historical Wars (But None Can Beat the Abrahamic Religions)

Carlin George claims that “More people have been killed in the name of god than for any other reason.” This is one of the world’s oldest misconceptions since religion is associated with love and respect. But in the past, people were ready to defend and even kill for their religion and the Abrahamic religions are no exception.

Avalos Hector claims that people with certain faiths believe they have divine favor over others. This sense of righteousness has triggered more violence since their belief is better than the others. In the past, it has resulted in a number of killings with Christians stopping the expansion rate of Islam and vice versa.

We have blamed the Muslims for most of the modern attacks in our nations, but that’s not always the case. After all, we all have met and even lived with millions of peace-loving Muslims.  But did you know that Christianity is responsible for the death of most folks in history? Its closest competitor in terms of ranking is Islam.

Christianity

Despite being the world’s largest religion, most Christians associate death with other religions or atheists. But if you trace their origin you’ll discover that millions have lost their lives in the name of God. Originally, Christianity focused on pacifism of Jesus and they never used force, but everything changed during the fourth century.

St. Augustine introduced the “Just War” idea during the 4th century. This concept permitted the use of war to retain and preserve orthodoxy. Generally, wars could be waged for defensive reasons and they had minimal casualties and honorable intentions. Unfortunately, Just Wars weren’t considered virtuous and they questioned the salvation for the soldiers who killed others.

But after Rome fell, the level of violence increased, thanks to political instability. The church condemned these wars; particularly attacks on the clergies, peasants, townspeople and the pilgrim. They even banned wars on Easter, Lent, Fridays, and Sundays.

The many invasions forced the church to form armies for defensive purposes during the 9th and 10th centuries. This resulted in the creation of the Holy War, and Crusaders. The Crusaders were responsible for many wars and they even helped kings ascend to the throne.

Crusaders helped: 

  • Check the spread of Muslims in the region, 
  • Conquer Pagans
  • They helped retake the Christian territories that had been conquered. 

The Crusades were considered to be a way for people to seek forgiveness for their sins.

Pope Urban II launched the First Crusade between 1095 and 1291. They had numerous expeditions to Spain, the Baltic region and the Holy Land. The Crusades continued with their expeditions for centuries with their main goal being to slow or stop the advance of Islam power. The Christians also conquered several Pagan regions while killing millions of people in the process.

Islam

Unlike with Christianity, most scholars have associated Islam with violence, particularly with Jihad. Jihad refers to “struggle” in English and in the Qur’an it has been linked to the way of Allah. Jihad or struggle is considered to be a crucial act among the Muslims.

In fact, some of the followers of the Sunni scholar consider it to be among the 6th pillar of Islam; however, it has no official status. But in the Twelve Shi’a Islam, it’s ranked among their 10 religious practices.

The Muslims were responsible for the many historical wars in the past against Christians. They believed that their religion was superior, but many people lost their lives during the Crusades. The Muslims fought in the 8 main Crusades between the 11th and 13th century. Their main goal was freeing the holy land from the Muslims.

The Holy War is believed to be the cause of modern terrorism. This has resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands in modern times.

Scholarly Responses to Religious Violence

Religion may advocate for peace in modern times, but in the past things were different. The two main religions have caused the death of millions in history with Christianity winning.

Scholars like Hickey Eric claim that “the history of religious violence is longer than the history of the Abrahamic religions.” Thanks to their mutual antagonisms and struggle to fight the secular faiths, they have had to fight for their existence in the past.

Schwartz Regina, confirms that every monotheistic faith is definitely violent. Thanks to exclusivism, these religions can become violent against outsiders. This resulted in the formation of the Crusades and the invasion of Asia. Most folks argue that this invasion may have caused the modern wars that are caused by both religion and politics.

Therefore, the legacy of the Abrahamic religions is genocidal.  Christianity was responsible for the death of millions in the past, but Muslims are blamed for modern terrorism.

But most scholars believe that they’re peaceful people. Scholars like Irfan Omar believe that they have a history of non-violence. For example, only 4 out of the 10 of their conflicts with non-Muslims ended in armed conflict. Therefore, they were not as violent as the Crusades.

Unfortunately, the western society claims “Jihad” means a holy war. Most scholars claim they’re not synonymous; therefore, it isn’t the same thing as terrorism. Terrorism is motivated by religion and politics and they have committed various acts in the past. They have committed mass murder, suicide bombing and airline hijacking among other acts.

But political scholars like Robert Pape claim that a huge percentage of the modern suicide missions are secularly based. The leading cause of terrorism may be complicated, but they’re partially associated with religion thanks to their reward in heaven.

Other religions are responsible for the murder of millions, but none can rival these two with Christianity leading in the past. Islam has been associated with a huge percentage of modern religious killings.

In conclusion, religion is still causing the death of thousands of folks. Politics and revenge may be the root of the problem, but the promise of a better life after death still motivates the suicide bombers. This is the main reason why scholars claim that the cause of these wars is quite complicated.

The West who may be considered to be the Crusaders claim it is political, but the Muslims fight back believing it’s still religious.

References

  1. Avalos, Hector (2005). Fighting Words: The Origins of Religious Violence. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books.
  2. Hickey, Eric W. (2003). Encyclopedia of Murder and Violent Crime. SAGE. p. 217. ISBN 978-0-7619-2437-1.
  3. Omar, Irfan (22 June 2015). “1. Jihad and Nonviolence in the Islamic Tradition”. In Omar, Irfan; Duffey, Michael (eds.). Peacemaking and the Challenge of Violence in World Religions. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 9781118953426.
  4. Pape, Robert (2005). Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism. Random House. ISBN 978-0-8129-7338-9.

Faith Zion

Faith Zion is a passionate expert in African culture, history, and mythology, with a focus on ancient African history. As a PhD candidate in History, she has dedicated her academic journey to unraveling the mysteries of African art, religion, and mythology, particularly during the Predynastic period. With years of experience in the field, Faith's extensive research has enriched her knowledge in various mythological traditions, including African, Norse, Greek, Egyptian, Mesoamerican, Japanese, and more.

Faith Zion
Faith Zion
Faith Zion is a passionate expert in African culture, history, and mythology, with a focus on ancient African history. As a PhD candidate in History, she has dedicated her academic journey to unraveling the mysteries of African art, religion, and mythology, particularly during the Predynastic period. With years of experience in the field, Faith's extensive research has enriched her knowledge in various mythological traditions, including African, Norse, Greek, Egyptian, Mesoamerican, Japanese, and more.
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