Essay on Does Religion Cause War?
Number of words: 688
Religion and violence are one of the hottest topics in the world. This notion is enhanced by unquestioned beliefs, such as the concepts purporting that religious individuals are intrinsically anti-science and that religions hold absolute facts about the world. Therefore, arguments exist based on whether religion causes war. Some analysts believe that it may lead to violence, while others are of the contrary opinion. Thus, this paper will unveil the reasoning detailing why religion often exists in warfare, but not the main cause. In this standpoint, facts specifying how people utilize religious faith in order to cause conflict will make a significant part of the discussion. Religion does not cause war, but it is always present in most wars because parties struggling for political and economic influence, wealth and territories, and power tend to use it as a tool to justify their wrongdoings and even control how people think.
Fight for political space is one dominant theme, which is often intertwined with religion. A group of individuals will tend to challenge those in power, especially when they feel excluded from leadership. With the use of religion, such groups may convince others that their cause of action is justifiable and that it is based on faith (Eriksen, 2016). For example, the Syrian War had different faith-based groups, such as Islamic State of the Iraq and Levant (ISIS), whereby each party had support from different nations, such as U.S., and Russia, among others. So, every country supported a given group based on ideologies. In consideration of this instance, it is explicit that religion is used to justify a cause of action, but not necessarily the cause of war.
Some group of people or organization use religion in order to gain power by controlling people’s mindset. This approach restrains people from accessing the most fundamental freedoms, thus encouraging victims to be violent. According to Fiedler (2014), religion often exists as a culprit amid sectarian violence. For example, Muslims in Palestinian and Jews based in Israel often fight over a piece of land basing their arguments on history. This war is evidence that religion is just a recipe for the violence. So, in this case, it is not the religion causing the war, but people who group themselves based on religious faith and origin.
A clash of civilization is another major cause of conflict, which is closely linked to religion. This concept delves on the divergent views between Western culture and those of the Middle East. The West represents a monolithic reality adapted to modernism while Muslim world signifies old age, that is, backward (Cavanaugh, 2007). This perception results in unending opposition between these two groups, thus enhancing conflict between the Arab world and the West. For example, Muslims believe in Jihad War – a concept, which is regressive according to the western culture. Therefore, the conflicts that may arise are then fueled by these divergent viewpoints, which show that religion only acts to enhance the warfare, but not the actual cause.
In conclusion, religion is often entangled in most causes of war, but it is not the real instigator. First, the fight for political and economic power is one of the significant reasons for war globally whereby the parties involved make use of religion as a mask to achieve their goals. Second, the struggle for power forces the perpetrators to utilize religion as a tool to control and justify their cause of action. Third, class of civilization between the West and Muslims tend to enhance warfare that may exist between them. In all the three cases, it is evident that religion is an implicit instigator, which is well-knotted in the causes, but not the genuine initiator.
Cavanaugh, W. T. (2007). Does Religion Cause Violence? Harvard Divinity Bulletin. Retrieved from https://bulletin.hds.harvard.edu/articles/springsummer2007/does-religion-cause-violence
Eriksen, I. (2016). Religion alone does not cause civil war. ScienceNordic. Retrieved from http://sciencenordic.com/religion-alone-does-not-cause-civil-war
Fiedler, M. (2014). Religion is often a presence in violence, but it’s not the cause. National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved from www.ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/religion-often-presence-violence-its-not-cause